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How to Learn to Play Drums Without Taking Lessons

Difficulty Level: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's how:

  1. Check out drumming Web sites. They can be a great source of knowledge for beginning and pro-level drummers. Some sites offer free lessons while others charge a fee. But beware! When it comes to drum instrcution, there is a ton of bad information on the Web so I suggest you look into the credentials of the author before spending much time (or money) practicing things that may not only waste your time but, worse, may be detrimental to your drumming. While a good Forum / Message Board can be a valuable educational resource, you'll find the vast majority of Drum Boards on the Web contain nothing but idiotic comments. And not only by posting members, but often by those who are supposedly moderating the Boards!
  2. Subscribe to one or more of the major drum magazines. It's inexpensive and can provide you with valuable information about the music business, inspiration and creativity boosts, plus useful exercises to help you become a better drummer. And, as a free bonus, check out their Web sites as they often offer free tips and sometimes full blown lessons.
  3. Purchase good drumming videos. They are available for all levels from beginner through pro. You can check out the entire range of available videos on the Web and you can often find reviews online that can help with your purchasing decision.
  4. Although regularly scheduled drum lessons can get expensive, consider taking an occasional drum lesson either from a recognized pro or a local instructor. (Some instructors even offer a free initial lesson.)
  5. Search the Web, drum print magazines, local music stores, and local newspapers for information on upcoming drum clinics. They are very common, often held by known players, and are often free of charge. Although not every great player is a great teacher or clinician, you should attend every clinic you can. You have nothing to lose, especially if it's free. Even you aren't actually taught anything, you can sometimes get good ideas from watching.
  6. Take a Master Class. It's a form of group lesson that is usually less expensive than a private drum lesson and, depending on the clinician, you can often pick up a large amount of information in a short amount of time.
  7. Watch TV and listen to the radio and CDs. Once you've started to learn drum techniques from the previous sources, you need to learn how to apply them to music.
  8. Catch live concerts. Although rarely free, live performances can help inspire you and enable you to relate the technical side of drumming to the music, while picking up tips from watching the drummer.
  9. Most importantly, don't get caught in the technical trap! Many drummers who perform clinics often put on spectacular displays of chops, which is both good and bad. The good thing is that it can get the beginner motivated. The bad thing is that it can give beginners the false impression that all one needs to make a living from drumming is great chops! Become technically proficient is only one facet of learning to play the drums. The most important thing a drummer can do is learn how to play with a band. You can find musicians to play with in a number of places including local colleges, classified ads, open mic sessions at local clubs, music stores, and on the Web. Look for musicians who like the type of music you like and who you can get along with, personality wise. Once you start to apply what you're learning in your drum studies to music with an actual band, you'll be well on your way to becoming a working drummer!

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