Quarter note beats – these are simple beats but they can challenge your dependence and independence. These beats are super common and super useful. Every Drummer should practice these from 60 – 260 b.p.m with mastery!
I put together this post as a list of the recommended equipment for beginning drum students. This is all you really need to get started learning drums. You don’t need to go out and buy everything at once, the items are in order that you need them. When I started playing drums I started with sticks and a practice pad for 6 months, then I got a snare, and 4 months later I got a starter Drumset.
Drum Sticks – BUY HERE $12-$15
I recommend 5B wood tip hickory sticks. My preferred brand is PRO-MARK These are a good stick for beginners they will get you started and on your way. They have an average length, average thickness, and average weight that is ideal for almost every situation. I do not recommend nylon tipped sticks especially for beginners because if the tips get chipped or damaged they can be very destructive to drum heads quickly.
Practice Pad – BUY HERE $30-$35
Evans RealFeel 2 sided practice pad – I have used this practice pad since 1999 and I highly recommend it. This practice pad is nearly indestructible there is no plastic to crack or foam rubber to disintegrate. The wood base is very sturdy and heavy duty. It has the best feel for quiet practice and warmups. The size is big enough to get the same feel as a real drum. The neoprene side feels like a real drum and is quieter, the black rubber side feels like a tightly tuned marching snare and is a little louder.
Snare Drum Stand – BUY HERE$45-$50
I don’t have a particular recommendation for snare drum stands but this one from Pacfic/DW is a great option for the price. What I look for is double braced legs, and a memory lock to ensure it doesn’t slip. It may be important for you to consider the minimum and maximum heights for the stand especially if you will be playing in school band standing up, or for smaller players sitting down.
Metronome APP – download here $FREE
In the past I would have told students to buy a metronome, but honestly it’s one more thing to carry and one more thing to loose. There are tons of free metronome apps available for apple and android devices so if you have a phone, ipod, tablet, or computer handy just download a metronome app and use it!
Music Stand – BUY HERE $20-$30
Music stands are essential for learning drums to hold your music up while you play. They also come in handy as you progress as a place to keep shakers, tambourines, triangles and other small percussion instruments.
Accent Warm Up – click to download PDF
This is a deceptively simple accent warm up shifting the accents around to different parts of the beat and going from left to right and right to left. Listen very carefully to the sound of your accented notes, and the sound of your non-accented notes to make sure they are even. I like to focus on having two stick heights one for accents and one for the rest of the notes and make sure I stay consistent. GO slow before going FAST.
In Ear monitors are the best option for drummers who want to protect their hearing and hear everything in the mix. The big hurdle is in ear monitors can be very expensive some wireless setups run in the $1000 range, and custom moulded in-ears can range from $400-$1000+. This is a big financial hurdle especially for something you’ve never tried before. The good thing about being a drummer is we are typically tied to our drumsets so we don’t NEED a wireless setup this helps with the cost.
There are a few things to consider about in-ear monitors the most important thing is if something on stage isn’t Miced up, you will not have it in your monitor mix. It also important to know the limitations of your mixer (or the clubs mixer) you generally need your own mix for monitors which means your mixer needs to have a spare Aux send for the drum monitor mix.
Berhinger MicroMON 400 – $24.99
This is a super affordable monitor headphone amp, It takes a stereo or mono 1/4″ input. I like to stick mine in my stick bag on my floor tom so my headphone cables can reach easily. I would say the only thing about this monitor is that it doesn’t have a screaming output so typically I have to send a healthy loud signal from the mixing board, and I crank up the monitor level on the MA400 to around 7-8.
I use cheap in-ear buds, I try to find a pair that doesn’t have a microphone on it for cellphone use, but it doesn’t really matter. The soft buds that go inside your ear do a good enough job of blocking out the sound from your drums and the stage. Cheap buds will get you started with in-ears and you can save up for a better set.
It can be difficult to answer the quite common question I get of who are my favorite drummers, particularly in an ordered list, as there have been so many drummers who’ve influenced me, and also drummers I simply admire.
But this is my top three:
The drummer from Led Zeppelin, one of the hardest hitting, larger-than-life, drummers I can possibly think of. He wasn’t just a rock drummer, though; he brought so much to the world of drums and added it all to Led Zeppelin’s music.
His grooves on “Fool in the Rain” and”When the Levee Breaks” show his impeccable taste. The signature ‘Bonham fills’ on “Good Times, Bad Times” are so inspirational. I don’t know any drummer who hasn’t spent time trying to master the ‘Bonham shuffle’ on “Fool in the Rain” and tried to incorporate his style into their playing.
When I was growing up and learning to play drums, Stewart Copeland from the Police was the drummer I most aspired to be. He’s one of the tastiest drummers, always putting the groove first, while bringing so much color and syncopation to his playing.
He drew inspiration from world music and brought it to the rock world. “Walking on the Moon”and “Message in a Bottle” are my favorite Police tracks. His hi-hat work is always fantastic.
My very first band used to cover “Can’t Stand Losing You,” and Stewart’s playing on that track inspired a lifetime of four-on-the-floor bass drum grooves for me.
The most underrated drummer in rock is Brian Downey from Thin Lizzy. Most people associate Thin Lizzy with the dual lead guitars, but Brian Downey is one of my favorite drummers. Even before I started playing drums, I was blown away by the drum breaks on “Bad Reputation.” His shuffle on “The Boys Are Back In Town” is classic and often emulated. I love his work on the tracks “Emerald” and “Black Rose.” Listen to Thin Lizzy and pay attention to Brian Downey’s hi-hat control and his ride cymbal work, and you’ll understand why I think he’s the most underrated drummer.