Learn to Play Drums - Top Tips To Get You Started! by:Martin V Algra
Set-up- When starting to learn to play drums it is essential to set up the kids drum set properly, to ensure that all the drums and cymbals are comfortably within reach and at the correct height to avoid over reaching. The snare drum should be positioned between the legs at about waist height when sitting. The high hat just to the left of the snare with the cymbals about 4" above the snare. The high tom tom(s) in front and slightly above the snare sloping towards you and the Floor tom tom on your right at the same height as the snare.
Tuning - Like any other instrument a kids drum kit needs to be tuned to give the best sound. Starting with the base drum, which should be tuned to low E by adjusting the tension of the lugs around the rim. Next is the floor tom tom followed by the high tom tom(s) so that the sound of each drum is slightly higher than the last. The snare drum has a sound all of its own, created by the coiled wires stretched across the bottom skin. Be careful not to over tighten the top skin as this will reduce the natural bounce of the stick.
Dampening - Most base drums and tom toms on a kids drum kit will produce a noticeable ring when struck, which can be very annoying and detract from the overall sound. I would recommend using felt strips stretched across and under the top skins (you will need to remove the top skins to do this). This will help to absorb the ring and give a satisfying thump when played.
Practice - When you learn to play drums, don't try to run before you can walk, it will take time and a lot of practice to become proficient. Start slowly just getting used to the base peddle and high-hat. Play 4 beats to the bar with the base peddle and 2 beats on the high-hat, the 2 & 3rd beat. Then introduce the snare drum with your left hand (if right handed) on the same beat as the high-hat, this is called the off beat. The base drum is being played On the beat and the high-hat and snare on the Off beat. Now you can try to play 4 beats to the bar on the ride cymbal with your right hand to match the base drum. Congratulations you have now mastered the basic 4/4 rhythm.
Finally look for some inspiration, listen and watch some great technical drumming from great artists. My personal favourite is Buddy Rich, arguably one of the best jazz drummers of his time who unfortunately passed away in 1987. Check out the YouTube video clip of Buddy Rich playing his heart out and be inspired.
About the author
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