Learning To Play the Drums: Common Challenges and How Lessons Can Help

Learning To Play the Drums: Common Challenges and How Lessons Can Help

how hard is it to play the drum

Maybe you’re a student who’s constantly tapping your pencil on your desk, and your mom (and your teacher) is certain you’ve got some drumming talent. Or you’re an adult who has been enthralled with drumming for years but has been hesitant to learn because it looks too hard — especially as an older student.

No matter your age or experience, the question remains, “How hard is it to learn to play the drums?” 

Let us introduce you to some of the challenges of learning the drums, things you can practice to make it easier, and reasons why drum lessons can make all the difference.

Table of Contents

Are the Drums Hard To Play?

The answer to that question depends on many factors, but yes, the drums can be a challenging instrument to play. Because drumming requires coordination and skill, a beginning drum student will need patience and must be willing to invest time and energy in regular practice. 

If you feel rhythms naturally and have built-in coordination, you might find it easier to play the drums than someone who struggles with these characteristics. However, despite the level of natural abilities, most students can learn drum basics quickly but will need more time and practice to become really skilled.

When you’re ready to give drum lessons a try, call our experienced team at Northwest School of Music. 

Our priority is your success in reaching your goals and enjoying the process every step of the way. Schedule your first lesson today and get a free session.

how to play the drums

How Hard Is It2 To Play the Drums?

Learning any new skill — whether it’s learning to play an instrument or learning to sew — comes with some sort of learning curve. Some factors can make it easier for some more than others, but learning to play the drums (and any other instrument) requires diligence, motivation, patience, and lots and lots of practice.

That being said, there are some things about the drums that may make it a more difficult instrument to learn, like:

  • The many pieces of the drum that need to be played simultaneously
  • The practice of playing multiple rhythms at once
  • The strength and stamina needed to play the instrument
  • Using both your hands and feet at the same time — usually playing something different

How Long Does It Take To Learn To Play the Drums?

The time it takes to learn to play the drums is dependent on many factors, including:

  • How often you practice
  • If you are taking lessons with an instructor
  • How old you are
  • Previous music experience
  • And more

Most beginners can pick up rhythms quickly and learn the basics of playing the drums within six weeks or so. However, it may take years of lessons and practice to become truly proficient.

With careful and committed practice, drum students should make steady progress. 

And the more you practice, the more muscle memory you’ll develop, which can help cement techniques in place — so you don’t have to focus and concentrate on them so hard —  to make room for learning new drumming skills.

how hard is it to play the drums

4 Challenges You May Face When Learning To Play the Drums

Learning to play the drums can be both hard and easy. 

If you feel rhythm easily, can clap to the beat, and are super coordinated, learning the drums may be a little easier for you. But for others, playing the drums can be challenging for the reasons outlined below.

But don’t give up before you get started — being aware of some of the challenges can help you be equipped to face them. 

Though playing the drums may not come naturally, you can overcome some of the hurdles with hard work and dedication.

#1: Equipment and Cost

The drum set itself is the most expensive piece of equipment needed as a drummer. Drum kits can range anywhere from $400 to $2,000 or more. Drum sets come in different kits for beginner, intermediate, and professional players. 

As a beginner, it may be best to start on an inexpensive set and upgrade as your skills improve. Renting is also an option if you want to try it out first before committing to a large purchase. Or you could start out with a single snare drum and add pieces as you become more comfortable and skilled.

In addition to the drum set, you may need to purchase other equipment like: 

  • Drum sticks
  • A practice pad
  • Drum tools for adjustments
  • Drum bags
  • Metronome

And don’t forget to add the cost of lessons to the budget.

To learn about our affordable lessons with our expert instructors, contact Northwest School of Music today.

how to play the drums

#2: Space

Another challenge you may encounter when learning to play the drum is the space needed for a full set. A full drum set can take up to 20 square feet of space, so if space is limited, you might have to get creative to find a way to make it fit. Maybe you can find a way to rearrange furniture to fit it in a bedroom, or maybe the garage is the ideal location.

You may also want to consider the noise factor and how playing the drums inside the home can affect the other members sharing the space. Keeping the drums in the garage can help. If your drum set is inside the home, deciding on specific practice times that work with all the members of the family may be the best way to go.

#3: Reading Rhythmic Notation

Reading drum music is different from reading music for other instruments since only rhythm is involved. 

Special notation symbols are used to notate various drum voices. A student will need to learn this notation along with many other marks and notations not on the music staff. Especially if you have previous experience reading music for wind or string instruments, understanding this new percussion notation can take a little getting used to.

#4: Age

Learning to play at an especially young age can be challenging — but not impossible. 

Older students may have had more time to master rhythm and coordination. But anyone at any age can learn to play the drums if you make the time to practice and have the motivation to practice regularly. 

If you are trying to determine if your child is ready to learn to play the drums, consider their attention span, physical development, and genuine interest to decide when to start.

how hard is it to learn to play the drums

4 Factors That May Make It Easier To Learn To Play the Drums

Even though playing the drums can be challenging for the reasons mentioned above, there are some factors that may make the drums a little easier to master. If you possess any of the following qualities, drumming may indeed be in your future. 

#1: Natural Talent and Previous Musical Experience

Natural talent and previous musical experience can go a long way in giving you a head start in learning how to play the drums.

Some things just come naturally to certain people, while others have to work at it. If you instinctively feel rhythms, you may be able to pick up some drumsticks and tap away without much instruction at all. If that’s the case, learning the nuances and other drumming techniques may come easy to you.

If you’ve had other musical experience — even with another instrument — you may also have a leg up on learning the drums. Understanding the basics of music, reading music, and understanding musical notation means you have an understanding of musical language. Familiarity with musical lingo can make learning the specific drum language and techniques a little easier.

Whatever your talent or experience, practice and dedication are necessary to excel and meet your musical goals.

#2: Dedication

If you’re determined and dedicated, you may overcome obstacles more easily because you stick with it and don’t give up. If you keep at it, you’re sure to improve, and playing may get easier as you go.

Dedication involves committing yourself to practicing regularly to get to the level you want to reach. The more you practice, the more you’ll improve. 

And because playing the drums involves good posture and playing with your hands and feet, it can be physically taxing. It might be a good idea to ease yourself into a regular practice routine while you build stamina.

Aim to eventually practice every day — even if it’s just for a short period of time. Sometimes life just gets crazy, and you may not be able to practice for 30 minutes every day. Practicing for short periods is better than not practicing at all.

Remember, learning to play the drums should be enjoyable and not feel like a chore. So experiment with your schedule to find a few times a week you can dedicate to practice to keep it fun and motivating — and fit in those short practice sessions when you can to see continual progress.

At Northwest School of Music, we encourage our students to replace the saying, “Practice makes perfect” with “Practice makes progress.” Our instructors are dedicated to helping you play at the level you desire and will offer help on how to practice at home and encourage you every step of the way.

how to play the drums

#3: Goals and Motivation

Are you motivated? How bad do you want it? Are you playing just because your mom is sending you to lessons, or do you really want to become a good drummer? 

What are your goals? Do you want to play just for fun, be a part of a band, or become a professional?

Answering those questions can help you set some goals, which, in turn, will help keep you motivated as you keep focused on where you’re heading. 

Whether you’re playing the drums for fun or to become a professional drummer in a band, lack of motivation will probably mean struggling on your drumming journey. When you have a goal in front of you, you’re more likely to do whatever it takes to get there.

#4: Taking Lessons

Taking lessons from a knowledgeable and experienced music teacher can help speed up learning while making the most of your practice sessions. Taking drum lessons (rather than trying to teach yourself) can also help you start off learning the correct technique and not learning bad habits you have to correct later. 

Taking drum lessons from an experienced instructor can also deliver the following benefits:

  • Encouragement and support
  • Thorough instruction
  • Pointing out errors and correcting them quickly
  • Recommendations for practice time and regularity
  • Providing supplemental material

When looking for a drum instructor, find someone who is experienced and who will listen to your goals and desires. Asking for recommendations and reading reviews are also excellent ways to find the drum instructor who will be right for you.

how hard is it to play the drum

Northwest School of Music: Offering Drum Lessons Focused on Your Goals

Get started with drum lessons today by contacting Northwest School of Music, where our team of skilled, educated, experienced instructors will ensure you find the perfect fit for your drumming journey.

Choose Northwest School of Music for these reasons:

  • Music lessons are available seven days a week.
  • We have a proven record of musical excellence since 2006.
  • We offer month-to-month lessons, with no contracts.
  • Virtual lessons are available and offer loads of benefits.
  • Morning and early afternoon lesson times are available for homeschoolers, college students, retirees, and working professionals.

In addition to drum lessons, we offer lessons for other instruments — guitar, violin, piano, voice, and more — so if drumming isn’t your thing, we would love to help you find another instrument you’ll enjoy playing for years to come.

how hard is it to play the drum
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503-999-4343

office@nwschoolofmusic.com

Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA

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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

Follow Us

Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

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