So you've decided you want to learn to play the drums. Then it's time to figure out just what you'll need to know in order to get started. There is more to playing drums than just keeping a beat and hitting any old drum or cymbal. Learning to play drums like a pro will of course take time and effort but the rewards are great and drumming is a lot of fun. Many of the basics of drumming are actually quite simple to understand and are just a process of repetition until you have them firmly mastered.
The drums are really the heart of any band. This is the instrument that sets the tone and pace of most songs played. Which in my opinion is the reason that the drums are the coolest instrument in any band.
First, let's talk about equipment. You will need to have at least a standard five-piece drum kit. If you think a regular drum kit is like the one you saw at your last concert then it's important to understand that a working professionals drum kit has been built out over time. Components are added as the drummer learners to use them or have a specific need to incorporate them into their kit. Patience is key here as too many toms, cymbals and pedals at the beginning will be likely to slow down your process of learning. A standard five-piece set consist of a snare drum, bass drum, mid-tom, high tom and floor tom. You'll also need a set of hi-hats, a ride cymbal and one or two crash cymbals. A set-up like this will give you plenty to work with as a beginner and will handle most of you drumming needs. As your skills grow you can add to the kit as needed.
Of course, you'll also need a pair of drum sticks. Drum sticks come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and lengths. Different percussion instruments generally use different sticks. So you want to make sure that you're using sticks for a drum kit rather than sticks for a marching band drum for instance. Stick sizes are designated by a letter and number combination. For a drum kit I would recommend size 5A or 5B as a good stick size to get started with.
Last and most important, you will need to actually learn drums somehow or someone. Private drum lessons are a great way to learn how to play the drums. Having one-on-one instruction can be a really good way to show you the basics and get your questions answered. A weekly lesson can also be helpful in terms of motivation as there is an expectation that you have practiced what you learned in a previous week. The only real downside to private drum lessons is that it can be very expensive.
Another way to learn drums is by using various drum DVDs for instruction. There are many instructional drumming DVDs available that teach beginning through advanced drumming techniques. Many of these are geared towards a particular style of playing such as; rock, jazz, Latin, etc. If you are a self-motivated type of person then this is an excellent and very inexpensive way to learn to play drums.
In addition to these proven methods I'm starting to see drum lessons available online. Offering many of the benefits of private lessons and DVDs, online drum lessons generally charge a monthly rate for access to streaming or downloadable instructional videos.
The drums are an exiting and fun instrument to learn. Knowing what you need to get started will help eliminate any confusion and help speed up the learning process.