We all have different goals when starting online drum lessons, or studying one to one with a drum teacher. For some, it is about undertaking a new hobby for fun, stress relief, or perhaps fulfilling a long term goal or aspiration. For others it might be to learn a song by a favorite band, play with other musician friends, or even the start of a serious professional endeavor. From my own experience, and from the feedback we have received from subscribers, and from our students at our teaching studio in San Diego, there are five milestones that stand out for many student drummers. These are not necessarily universal goals of all student drummers, nor are they rites of passage - they are just a collection of highlights from my own experience, and those working with me.
Playing your first drum beat.
Whether you are working through our first video lesson (which is free) or with a drum teacher in a teaching studio, you will never forget putting your first drum beat together. This experience is different for everyone. Some people take to it very quickly, and for others, it can take slightly longer - this is all natural.
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The result however, is the same; a huge feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment, and a lot of fun! At Drum Ambition, we walk you step by step through your first pop/rock beat, highlighting the importance of counting, and playing slowly to build co-ordination. If you follow these simple guidelines, you will be playing your first beat confidently and embarking on the journey of a lifetime. The first time I played a beat on a real drum set was in my first year of High School. It was part of a general music class, and because I had practiced on bean-bags and pots and pans for years, (my poor parents - sound control is easier these days), I was the only person in the class able to keep a beat, and that made me feel great!
Playing along with a favorite song.
I remember the very first song I played along to. As a nine year old growing up in England, I loved the band "Adam and The Ants". Yes, I am showing my age here, but glam-rock was the thing, and these guys were real heroes to me. Their music was always very percussive, and they had two live drummers. I learned the track "Kings of The Wild Frontier" by playing on pillows and bean bags. You may have a song that you aspire to play along with, and that's a great goal to discuss with your drum teacher. The first drum-chart that I was taught to read was "Woman" by John Lennon, and I will never forget how great it felt to sight read actual music from start to finish. It taught me the real value of learning to read music notation. It's great to have a goal, and aspiring to play a song is a really good one. Be realistic (try and avoid songs that are overly-technical or too fast if you are starting out) and discuss it with your teacher. There will definitely be some ground work that you have to cover first before you will be able to play along to a song - all fun stuff though. If you are a Drum Ambition subscriber, you can always reach out to me for guidance.
Buying your first drum set.
Remember; most people don't have drums when starting out, and begin their drumming career by playing air drums, using pillows or practice pads, and finding creative ways to build co-ordination. I love hearing stories on how students improvised to create their first drum sets. You will never forget the moment you go out to buy your first drum set, or if you are lucky like me, the day your parents take you to the music store to pick out your first set. It won't matter if it is new, used, pristine or beaten up - it is a drum set, and it is yours. It is the continuation of a truly life changing journey, whatever your goals.
Playing with other musicians.
While this is the goal of many student drummers, others are open and honest in that they do not have any plans to take the hobby outside of the house, and play with other musicians. If you fall in the latter category (which is, of course, perfectly ok, and indeed quite common) you may find that this view may change as you meet fellow beginners and hobbyists who play other instruments, and are looking for other musicians to learn and grow with. My advice is to be open to this possibility. Playing with other musicians and making music is a wonderful experience, and the friends you make, and relationships you build along the way could be life changing. They certainly have been for me. Regardless of this, the feeling you get when you click your sticks together and count in the band is a feeling that few people get to experience - the thrill of driving a band. Truly awesome.
Giving a drum lesson to someone else.
As you become more experienced, the chances are that a friend or family member will take an interest in what you are doing, and ask to have a go for themselves. They will look to you for guidance. This is a great opportunity for you to give your first drum lesson, and pass on the knowledge that you yourself have recently acquired. Passing on this knowledge is a great feeling, particularly as you see others progress as a direct result of your guidance. You never know, you might even make a few dollars from it one day.