Would you like to take online drum lessons, but wonder if it is possible to learn effectively without a drum set at home to practice? Perhaps you have a child studying drums at school or with a private teacher, but like many parents, you need to see a commitment before investing in a beginner drum set. Or perhaps you just want to try a course of drum lessons first, to see if you like it, or have the time to learn an instrument? These are all common scenarios, and Drum Ambition is here to help! Here are five questions frequently asked by aspiring drummers of all ages.
1) Can I learn effectively without a drum set?
Yes! From the age of eight years old, I wanted to play the drums. Buying a drum set was not an option at the time, but that didn't stop me from listening and learning. The early days of learning the drums are very much about understanding rhythm, and building coordination. These are as much mental exercises as they are physical, as we are building the counting skills and muscle memory necessary to play basic drum beats. It's a fun process, and a challenging one. If you have a pair of drum sticks, you can "air-drum" every exercise on Drum Ambition. Air drumming means that you are effectively playing an imaginary drum set - the concept may sound odd, but it absolutely works. At my physical teaching studio in San Diego, I have many students who started this way, and have progressed very well indeed. Most have a practice pad to help them build technique.
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2) What is a practice pad, and how do they work?
You'll see a practice pad in the image above. These are rubber pads that are normally fixed to a wood base. Practice pads are used to build technique and will act as the snare drum on your otherwise imaginary drum set.
Practice pads can vary in size from 6 inches to 14 inches in diameter. We recommend the larger types as they will sit in a snare drum stand, which is a separate purchase. While pads range from around $15-$50, snare drum stands can cost more. You only need to purchase the least expensive snare drum stand, as it just needs to hold a light weight pad, not a drum. E-Bay can be a good place to shop for a snare drum stand under $25, as most general music stores and online stores carry more expensive models. Beware of the pads that come with "accompanying stands". These often attach directly into the base of the stand, sit too high, and are not as adjustable as a snare drum stand.
3) It's better to practice on a real drum set, right?
As we have shown, it is possible to learn drums and develop early playing skills without owning a drum set. There is an inescapable reality however, that it is a lot more fun to have drums to practice on. Pads and air drumming are great, but do not make sound, and will most likely only satisfy your requirements for a few months - long enough though, to help you decide if you are ready to take your drumming experience to the next level! Also, an actual drum set is more inspiring, and you will most likely find yourself practicing more, and thus, developing more quickly. If you are putting off a drum set purchase on grounds of noise objections, then you should be sure to check out our features on sound control, and electronic drums.
4) Should I rent a drum set from my local music store?
Some music stores offer a rental option, and it's always best to check their terms and prices. More often than not, unless the monthly rate is under $30, this can be false economy when you consider that you could buy a complete basic starter drum set package from around $350 upwards. The emphasis here is on the word "basic", but nonetheless functional and better than not having a set at all. We talk more about buying starter drum sets in this article.
5) Are there resources available to help me decide what and when to buy?
You will find many of the articles on this website useful. If you have a drum teacher, he/she will also be able to point you in the right direction with regards to suitable products, and where to buy. We always recommend visiting your local music retailer to help find out what's right for you. There are lots of benefits to building a relationship with a local music store. Many people have found this article very useful when deciding where and when to purchase their drum set.