Why is drumming so hard???
If that’s the question you find yourself asking on a consistent basis, then this article will be perfect for you. I am going to list five primary reasons why you might be struggling to learn the drums.
These are all areas of struggle I’ve dealt with personally over the last 13 years of playing the drums, and believe me, I wish someone would have pointed them out to me when I was first learning.
It would have saved me so much wasted time. So, without any further delay, let’s get into it.
Why is drumming so hard?
- Loosen up and relax!
- Finding the right learning material
- Not practicing with a practice pad
- Unorganized practice routine
- Inconsistent or sporadic practice sessions
Loosen up and Relax!
It might seem like a no-brainer, but this is something that many people struggle with. It can be tricky because it’s something you might not even realize you’re doing, but it can put a huge cramp (pun intended) in your playing. Not only will you tire yourself out sooner, but it’s just no fun to play the drums like that.
By staying loose and keeping a comfortable posture, you will be doing your body a huge favor. You want to hold the drumsticks with just enough pressure that they don’t fall out of your hands when you strike the drums. They need to be able to move in your hands so you can catch the rebound.
If you hold the sticks with an iron grip, you will lose speed, dexterity, and longevity. Period. Mentally strive to stay loose and keep yourself from tensing up while you play. Take a deep breath and relax.
Don’t slam the bass pedal down as hard as an elephant would, and don’t hit the snare drum like the Hulk. It’s not a competition.
Drummers also tend to speed up their playing if they begin to tense up. It’s a subtle thing, but the other musicians playing with you will be able to tell. It’s particularly evident during fills.
So just be cool and play relaxed.
Finding the right learning material
Here’s the deal with this one. There are so many resources for learning to play the drums in this day and age, that it can get overwhelming quite quickly. It’s a double-edged sword.
So the question becomes, where do you start?
Here’s what I recommend. If you are brand new to the drums, set aside a little extra cash to purchase some one on one drum lessons with a teacher. Even if it’s only a handful of times. I know it isn’t the cheapest thing, but they will get you started the right way.
They will quickly point out problematic areas, and make sure you begin developing good playing habits from the beginning.
If you don’t have the budget or simply don’t want to continue taking lessons with a teacher, you will need to decide your preferred learning strategy from here on out.
There are many good courses out there online, just make sure you find one that lays out a method from start to finish so you know how you are progressing as a drummer. A good drumming course will give you a plethora of practice options and it should start from the ground up.
I highly recommend checking out Drumeo as the price is much more affordable than taking one on one lessons with a teacher. I use it myself and I feel they have developed a great product that is packed with valuable learning material.
Want to learn rudiments? They have lessons for that.
Want to learn polyrhythms and advanced double bass techniques? They have lessons for that.
Want to learn jazz? They have lessons for that too.
Here’s the link again if you missed it: Drumeo
Not practicing with a practice pad
When it comes time for drum practice, there aren’t many other things I feel can help build your hand speed and coordination quite as well as a practice pad. They should be an integral part of every drummers practice time.
The great thing about practice pads are the portability they offer as well as the flexibility they provide. You can bring your practice pad anywhere and practice whenever you like. Want to watch your favorite show but also get some drum practice in as well? Go for it. That’s where drum practice pads shine.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Practicing your rudiments on the practice pad while playing along with a metronome is like the trifecta of drum learning. You will be building speed, dexterity, finger control, your knowledge of a variety of different rudiments, and last but not least, your sense of timing. All of which are very important aspects of becoming a talented drummer.
The following are options you can consider if you decide to purchase a drumming practice pad. Just make sure you do your due diligence and find the practice pad that is going to work the best for you at a price range you are comfortable with.
Unorganized practice routine
This is a detrimental habit that is easier than you might think to fall into. I think the main culprit here is that it’s just so much fun to play the drums in general. So the moment you sit down on the drum throne, your brain snaps to attention and wants to just jam out.
That’s fine, but it shouldn’t encompass your whole practice time. As fun as playing your favorite beats can be, there will always be the need for self-control and discipline. That means you’ll have to set aside time to specifically work on different areas such as your technique, rudiments, your timing as a drummer, and perhaps learning to play in different time signatures.
If you don’t focus on all of the different aspects of drumming, you’re only hindering yourself. It might not seem like you’re making much progress on a day-by-day basis, but I promise you that if you focus on the little things such as learning one new rudiment per week, or finally understanding quarter note triplets, you’re growth as a drummer will skyrocket.
So take some time and really put a good amount of thought into what you need to learn as a drummer and make yourself a gameplan as far was how to structure your practice time. Then when you have completed your daily routine, just go for it and have some fun on the drums with no particular agenda.
That’s they key to becoming a well rounded drummer.
Inconsistent or sporadic practice sessions
Finally, if you aren’t practicing on a consistent basis, you’ll notice that your technique and ability to play up to par will begin to go downhill. I would be a liar if I said I haven’t taken long breaks (unfortunately) from drumming only to kick myself for allowing such huge gaps to happen.
Even though it doesn’t take long for me to get back into the groove of things, it’s something that can be easily avoided if I had just been consistent with my playing and practice times.
Try to make your practice sessions a normal part of your daily routine. Or even every other day is fine, it’s just about making practice time become a habit. You just do it.
And I understand life happens. Sometimes it’s just not feasible to get any practice time in. Perhaps you are in the middle of a huge move and your drum set is all packed up. I get it. What I’m stressing here is that on the whole, you’re a consistent drummer.
If you keep these five tips in mind, you’ll find that your skill as a drummer will continually be increasing. Never give up, because there are an endless amount of things to learn on the drums and I think that’s what makes the drums my favorite instrument!
What to do next?
If you are brand new to drumming, you can check out my article: How to Hold Drumsticks
You might also want to check out this article: Acoustic Vs. Electronic Drums – Which One is Right for You?