Many drum students ask me how long it will take them to be proficient on the drum set when starting out. After a little digging, I usually discover that there are two things that most new drummers want to establish. The first, is how long it will take them to play the drums to a level where they will be able to have fun, and the second, is establishing if they really have the time to dedicate to learning a musical instrument. We all have busy lives, and time is a premium for most people. At Drum Ambition, we really do understand that.
It is, of course, an interesting question to answer because it is dependent upon your goals. If your goal is to play for fun as part of a hobby or stress relief, and you want to be able to play along to your favorite music or perhaps with some musician friends, then this is something that can be achieved significantly quicker then if your goal was complete mastery, and world domination.
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In many first lessons, I have been asked how accurate the so-called 10'000 hour rule is, and how it applies to learning the drums. This study was made famous in part by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. The upshot of the study is that it takes roughly 10'000 hours of practice from beginning to mastery of a given field, and Gladwell sights various examples from violin players in Berlin to computer programming. 10'000 is a massively daunting number, and frankly would make me question any new endeavor I would consider to embark upon. As a busy family man and working professional, that number makes my head want to explode.
So again, we return to your goals. If you want to master this instrument, and you have the time, inclination and practice hours to dedicate to it (and the 10'000 hours study is not unreasonable in this respect), then Gladwell's book might be a good preface to your studies. If you want to learn a new hobby, have fun, and perhaps use this as a step to continuing your wider drumming education, then I welcome you warmly to Drum Ambition - the Anti-10'000 hour online service that specializes in delivering structured, methodical and entertaining content to hobbyist and beginner drummers, with the overall goal of having fun on the best instrument in the world - in a realistic amount of time!
If you are still reading this, then I assume you are interested in our approach, and less concerned about Gladwell's research. I'm not disputing anything that you will read in Outliers. It is, in fact, a stellar book of research, and a fascinating read. I am just saying that you need to add perspective and context. Hobbyists are generally interested in proficiency, not mastery. In the Research and Development phase of Drum Ambition, I was much more taken by something I found on a TEDx video. If you have not seen them yet, TEDx talks are based on technology, entertainment and design. These are presentations that get straight to the point, and run a maximum of 18 minutes. In his presentation, Josh Kaufman talks about the critical first 20 hours of learning, and relates to his experience in learning the Ukulele. He found that it is possible to identify the core areas of study, and become a proficient hobbyist within 20 hours of practice.
This is our approach with Drum Ambition. We get you straight in to the drum beats, drum fills (that's when you play the tom-toms!) and give you some important tips on being musical along the way. We cover the basics of holding the sticks, posture, using the bass drum pedal, and how to set up and position your drums in our Special Feature Videos, and then in Module 1, you have a comprehensive series of 10 minute videos that walk you step by step through drum beats, fills, and music notation. If you don't want to learn the music notation, the videos are designed to be understandable without it. We do recommend you view the notation videos in conjunction with the lessons, because they are manageable videos of approximately 10 minutes, and reading music might not be quite the undertaking you may have expected. It is simple math, and like all Drum Ambition videos, is presented with scrolling on-screen notation and downloadable PDF files. If you would like to read more about the full contents of our curriculum, you can do so here.
If you combine Drum Ambition with your first 20 hours of practice, then you will see some really great progress. The good news is the 20 hours of practice can come in manageable 10 minute sessions as and when you can find time. With Drum Ambition available 24/7 on your PC, laptop, smart phone and tablet, you can learn on your own schedule, on your own terms, at your leisure. Don't forget, you don't necessarily need access to a drum set to practice many of the lessons. This article may help you.
When you use Drum Ambition, you are not alone. There is email support available, and at the other end of that email you will find me - the same person who is teaching you in the videos. I want to give you the experience of a one to one drum lesson, including support, advice and extra tips as and when you need help. We also have our service Drum Ambition Connect, which can pair you with a local teacher in your area as and when you are ready to take that next exciting step.