Drumming is a fairly common hobby that many people consider starting. You may be chased away by the fact that drums are loud, and equipment can get expensive. However, there are way more positives to drumming than there are negatives.
Drumming has many physical, mental and social benefits – if you’re thinking of learning to play the drums you should definitely give it a go! While gear may seem expensive at first there are measures you can take to find a good budget-friendly drum set to start out with, and you can also experience drumming without purchasing any gear by trying out some drum lessons first.
I’m going to try my best to give you a full rundown on all the good things drumming has done for me. If you’ve ever wondered “should I start playing the drums?” then this article is for you.
Let’s jump right in.
It’s no secret that the drums are one of the most physical instruments you can play. You’re moving your whole body constantly to create sounds. But what physical benefits, in particular, does drumming offer?
I think the biggest benefit that I’ve noticed in myself from playing drums for several years is the improvement in my coordination and reflexes. Using all four limbs to play different things at once isn’t an easy task. However, it gets done by drummers fairly easily as they get better at the instrument.
I’ve found that the coordination skills developed transfer quite well over to other activities. So, if you start playing drums, you might just see an improvement in your tennis game.
Not many other instruments require the same amount of coordination between your limbs. Not ones that are as accessible as the drums, at least. So, an increased level of bodily awareness is a huge benefit, and it’s a great reason to start drumming.
Another fantastic physical benefit of drumming is an improvement in posture. Drummers sit at a chair that is referred to as the drum throne. The majority of drum thrones don’t have any backrest on them, so drummers need to sit up straight and keep their core tight while playing.
Once you get used to sitting up straight when playing drums, you may just find that you’re more aware of sitting up straight at the dinner table.
This benefit isn’t as prominent as the others, but I feel it’s worth mentioning as drumming has helped me with my posture over the years.
Some drummers struggle to sit up straight on a drum throne, so it’s a good exercise in being disciplined which is another great reason to start drumming.
Muscle memory is a term that refers to how our bodies get so used to doing something that they run on autopilot when doing those things. Think about how you don’t think too hard about what to do with your leg every time you walk. That’s your muscle memory kicking in.
Drumming is a prime example of how effective muscle memory can be, and it’s a hobby that makes you very aware of it. I found that becoming aware of muscle memory made me learn physical things a lot easier, and it started with the drums.
If you can learn things easily on the drums, you’ll find that you’ll be able to learn other physical hobbies easier than you would if you weren’t aware of muscle memory.
While there are a few valuable physical benefits, I think the best thing about drumming is the benefit it has on your mental health. It’s a fantastic hobby to have that will improve your memory and relieve stress.
Since you play the drums by hitting them with sticks, they act as an excellent tool for letting all your frustrations out. There’s nothing better than coming home from a long day at work and pounding on the drums to let off some steam. The bonus is that you’re creating music while doing it.
Even if you’re not using the drums as an anger management tool, they’re an instrument that allows you to create an endless number of things. The drums aren’t limited by your knowledge of keys or notes. Since they don’t have notes tied to them, you can play any drum and it will sound good.
I’ve found that creating drum patterns and making up solos gives me a great sense of achievement. I’d argue that the strong sense of achievement from nailing a part is another excellent reason for starting to play the drums.
The other great mental benefit of drumming is that it improves your memory. Since the possibilities are endless on the drum kit, you have to remember everything that you’ve learned how to play. Pulling from your memory bank to play drum parts has a good positive impact on your memory in general.
Drummers who play in bands need to remember how to play hundreds of songs. Some of them read music, so they don’t need to have as good of a memory. However, most drummers don’t read music notes when they’re playing drums at a gig.
I found in my life that trying to remember the drum patterns I worked on made me better at remembering other things such as grocery lists.
The great thing about being a drummer is that you don’t have a solo instrument. Most drummers end up playing in bands, so there are some good social benefits to bring up as well.
The biggest social benefit that I’ve experienced is having a greater sense of confidence thanks to my ability to play the drums. A great reason to start drumming is the fact that being a drummer is considered to be a pretty cool thing.
People love it when they found out that you play the drums. They give you a platform to express yourself in a louder way than you may have when you’re on your own. I’m a fairly shy guy, but I feel as confident as ever when I’m sitting behind a drum kit.
If someone comes up to me to talk to me after I’ve played a show, I’ll happily engage with them without second-guessing myself. That would hardly happen if I never played the drums.
So, if you’re looking for a hobby that will boost your confidence, drumming is definitely something you should look into.
I’m not joking when I say I’ve made dozens of friends because of my drumming abilities. This is because I’ve been asked to play in several bands over my drumming career, and I’ve met so many top-notch people along the way.
If you start drumming, you’re going to set yourself up to join a band and feel a strong sense of community around you. Playing music with others is one of the best feelings in the world, and there’s no better feeling than doing it from behind a drum kit.
Hopefully by now you’ve made the decision to start drumming and you’re ready to dive right in. I’ve spoken to so many people over the years that showed interest in drumming, but never pursued it because they thought the expense of starting would be too big.
I’m here to tell you that the initial stages of your drumming career can actually be fairly affordable.
If you want to experience drumming without spending too much money then you could start with drum lessons first and only buy some drum gear once you decide you want to dive into drumming more seriously.
Once you decide you want to buy some of your own drum gear, you’re going to need to get a drum set with hardware and cymbals. You have two options here. You could either get an acoustic or electronic drum kit.
The acoustic kit will be the best option as it’s the main tool for a drummer. However, an entry-level electronic kit will end up being cheaper and you don’t need to worry about noise if you live in an apartment.
Electronic kits also come with everything you need nicely packed into a drum module. There’s no need to buy extra components. An electronic kit around $400 would be the perfect kit for a beginner drummer.
If you want to get an acoustic set, I’d suggest looking at secondhand marketplaces. The great thing about drum sets is that they’re very resilient, so old drums are still perfectly usable. You can find some fantastic secondhand deals on acoustic drum kits.
With only $400, you could get some decent drum gear to get you started right away. As a beginner, there’s no need to spend more money than that. Some drum sets cost up to $5,000, but only the pros use those.
Once you have your gear, you may be wondering how much drum lessons cost. In this day and age, you can learn how to do most things for free on the Internet. There are so many good drum lessons on YouTube and different educational websites that you don’t need to pay anything for.
You could start by going through those to see if playing drums is something you’re going to pursue and dedicate yourself to. However, most free lessons aren’t enough to give you a solid foundation on the drums. I’d highly suggest finding some sort of drum teacher that will steer you on the right path.
One-on-one drum lessons can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour. The more experience a drum teacher has, the higher they’ll typically charge.
If you don’t have a private drum teacher, you could also consider subscribing to a drum lesson website where they give you more direction than free lessons do. Those educational websites typically cost from $20 to $40 a month.
Often people will be worried that they’re getting into drumming too late, or that it will be too difficult for them to learn, here are my thoughts on these two concerns:
The answer to this will vary depending on whom you’re talking to. There are certain things that are incredibly difficult to play on the drums. Concepts such as modulation and polyrhythms are things that many drummers never touch in their careers. So, drumming has the potential to be highly challenging.
However, I actually think drums are one of the easiest instruments to learn for beginners and that anyone can learn to play them. The biggest reason for this is that you don’t need to have any knowledge of music theory. You can’t play a wrong sounding note on the drums, making the room for error much smaller than it is with melodic instruments.
Everyone learns to play a basic rock beat in their first drum lesson, and that same beat can be heard in hundreds of songs from over the years. This means that most people can play drums to several songs after just one drum lesson.
The hard part about drumming comes when you start using all four of your limbs. Your coordination then gets tested, and many people struggle with that.
Overall, drumming is fairly easy at the beginning but gets more difficult as your progress with the instrument.
The great thing about drumming is that it’s not limited by age. I’ve seen so many videos of toddlers ripping it up on the drums. I’ve seen just as many of pensioners doing the same thing. Even though drumming is physical, most older people still have no problem with playing the instrument that they’ve loved for so long.
So, any age is good to start drumming. It’s never going to be too late.
It may be harder to learn if you’re older as older people often lose the ability to learn new things as quickly. However, someone who is 70 years old can still happily learn to play the drums if they put the time and effort in.
There are so many fantastic benefits to drumming that would convince almost anyone to start. If you’ve been thinking about it for a while, now is the best time to give it a go. You’ll thank yourself for it as playing the drums is great fun.
Whether you’re doing it casually or you intend to be in a professional band, there are so many things you can do with the drums because the instrument caters to all kinds of people.
There’s no age limit that stops you. You can start learning whether you’re young or old. There’s also no budget limit stopping you. If you’re unable to get a new kit, you can find a cheap one secondhand. If you can’t get that just yet, you can even start learning basic patterns with only a pair of drumsticks.
I’ll say it one more time, you should start drumming! You’ll have so much to look forward to the deeper you dive into learning the instrument.
Daniel started drumming as a teenager after realizing just how fun air drumming is. He was blown away by the power of the drums at his first drum lesson and hasn’t looked back since.
He has almost 20 years experience drumming and was heavily into Metal when he first started playing but has since transitioned to Jazz, Funk and Progressive Rock.
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