According to surveys, about 42% of people in Africa and worldwide began learning to play their respective musical instruments (acoustic or bass guitar, violin, saxophone, clarinet, etc.) between 5 and 9. However, that doesn't mean you can't learn to play musical instruments when you're older.
It's never too late! With the help of a professional drumming teacher, frequent lessons and practice, you'd master the instrument sooner than you realize.
In addition, the drum is not one of the instruments that kids easily get attracted to. When we are between five and nine years old, we mostly don't recognize the value of drums in music (sometimes not even when we are older), and there is the probability that it is not one of the instruments we want to learn to play.
Instruments such as the piano or the guitar usually take the lead. However, we gain patience and perseverance in learning to play the drums with age.
This article will explore all you need to know to begin your drum lessons in Lagos, Abuja or any other part of Nigeria. Ready? Let's dive in!
What Is a Drum Made Of?
Africa and Nigeria, in particular, are home to different kinds of drums. From the Dundun/Gangan (talking drums) of the Yoruba people to the Kalanga of the Hausa people. The Hausa and Yoruba also play the Sakara drums, while the Igba drum is popular among the Igbos.
However, in this article, our focus is on the 5-piece drum set known in every nook and crannies of Nigeria.
Playing the drums is, above all, knowing the instrument. If you arrive at a drum class and know what the instrument is made of and how it works, you will already have halfway walked, and you will better understand what the tutors teach.
In addition, you will improve more quickly in learning the fundamentals, apart from the binary and ternary rhythms.
To begin with, the drum is made up of three broad categories of instruments:
- The drums: These are the soundboards. They are available in different shapes and sizes and produce the drum beats as we know them.
- The cymbals or timpani: These come with a sharp and metallic sound, adding finesse and colour to the drummer's skills.
- The pedal: The pedal is fundamental to fixing the elements of the drum. It's used to hit the bass drum when pressed with a foot in quick succession.
Among the drums, we want to highlight the snare drum. This drum is shallower than the others and has a sharper sound, thanks to the timbre in the background. This piece serves to give rhythm to the song.
Now we will mention the rest of the drums:
- The bass drum: It is the drum that resonates the most and the one with the deepest sound. It is placed on the sides and hit with a pedal.
- The tomtom: There are generally three, and each one has a sound that usually goes from low to high. It is mainly used for drum rolls and adds diversity to the composition.
We move on to the different cymbals of the drum:
- The charleston cymbal: Used to mark the tempo of a song. These cymbals crash against each other and are used with a pedal.
- The ride cymbal: it is usually positioned to the drummer's right and can replace the charleston in some cases.
- The crash cymbal: Thinner than the ride and marks a moment with more force and emphasis.
- The splash cymbal: The smallest of the three and the least common.
However, the great thing about the drum is that you can customize it however you want and keep adding improvements or changes to it.
What Do You Need to Learn to Play the Drums?
Learning to play the drums requires several factors if you must play well. Below are some of these factors.
Of course, the desire to learn drumming is the first and the most fundamental thing you need. It would be best never to start playing an instrument out of obligation. You may not be very motivated or feel indifferent at first, but it is not the same as going reluctantly.
So, whether you want to learn how to play the 5-piece drum kit, talking drum, or any other African drum, you need to develop a strong desire to learn first.
Very related to the desire. Playing the drums is a mental and physical effort, so we likely do not always feel like practising. How to stay motivated? Marking routines. If we go to drumming classes with a professional tutor, we will already have fixed the hours in which we will practice the drums.
To maintain the level and learn little by little, you have to go to drum classes for at least two hours a week or more (if you have free time). The ideal to advance faster would be to go three or four times, although it may be difficult to achieve if you have a very busy schedule.
To play the drums well, you need to practice. Every great or professional drummer in the world today invested time and energy to practice new beats and master the art of drumming. The experience comes from playing the snare, bass drum and other parts of the drum set regularly.
As for the hours you should dedicate per week to drum practice, it depends on what your goal is:
- Do you play the drums for leisure and want to learn at your own pace?
- Do you want to join some music bands or groups?
- Are you interested in dedicating yourself professionally to music?
You have to be clear about your goal to establish a work rhythm.
Needless to say, to play the drums, you need a drum kit. In the previous section, we told you about the parts of the drum and the characteristics of each one. It is essential that you know them and become familiar with them.
Next, we will tell you some exercises that you can do without a drum but with which you will improve your learning.
- Air drumming: is to play the drums without drums. It's like you're playing an imaginary drum kit, but what you're playing is air. You can do it with or without drumsticks.
- Claps: choose the song you want and mark the rhythm with the palms.
- Pads: this is a device that resembles the function of a tom on an acoustic drum kit. It transmits to the module the sound it produces when you hit it but in a quieter way. It is used to practice rhythms.
If you want to learn to play the drums, you need to go to drum lessons. Many people indeed learn by themselves, but starting from scratch without knowing anything about music can be very complicated.
We recommend that you go to classes to understand the learning dynamics and get to know the instrument. And if you can afford it, ideally, you should attend a music school or hire a private drum tutor to practice every week.
Where to find a private drum tutor? We recommend Superprof!
At Superprof, you. can hire a tutor to teach you the art of drumming, whether you're located in Lagos, Abuja or other parts of Nigeria. Also, these tutors are professional drummers with several years of experience and are available to teach you in person or via online classes.
Before hiring a Superprof tutor, you can simply look up their profile on Superprof.com to see if they suit your need and read reviews from past students. You can also have a glimpse of their star ratings!
In addition, the first lesson with any Superprof tutor is free! So, you have nothing to lose.
How to Learn the Drums Quickly
You have to keep in mind that playing the drums, the bass guitar, or the piano, in the end, is the same thing. That's why, as with any instrument, starting to play the drums has to be something that you like and not an outburst or something that is imposed on you. The pleasure of playing is essential, especially when we start with an instrument.
Therefore, motivation has to be present from the beginning, although we always risk losing it along the way.
Well, to avoid this, it is best to focus on what motivates you so that, when you run out of it, you can lean on it to continue progressing. And for this, we recommend that you make a list.
Do it after meditating for just 10 minutes, going for a run, listening to some music band or groups, writing, or walking. And if that's not enough, here are some tips from Steve Chandler's 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself (which you can find on Amazon and other book stores):
- Choose a hero or heroine, a model to guide you.
- Set an achievable goal each day.
- Check your habits.
- Share your motivation with others.
- Tell yourself a little lie.
Also, to master the drumsticks and beats, we recommend that you start with beginner songs. Make a playlist of songs to get started, and you will end up saving time during learning. From hard rock to jazz, passing through funk, you can choose the musical style to learn all the techniques and thus find your style.
Besides, setting goals and objectives is fine, but announcing it publicly is better because you will force yourself to keep it. For example, you walk into your house and tell everyone there, "From now on, I'm going to do a 10-minute review of the basics every day." In this way, those around you will be in charge of reminding you of your task if you forget it.
Although the routine may seem scary, it is essential for every upcoming drummer who wants to be great! It is the only way to progress. Only by repeating, reviewing, and being curious do we end up improving.
On the other hand, don't forget to organize your drum week, so you don't miss a single practice. Remember that it is better to practice a little every day, even if it is only 10 minutes than two hours once a week.
Benefits of Playing the Drums
Playing the drums brings you more benefits than learning to play some other musical instruments. The satisfaction of advancing and seeing that practice bears fruit is undeniable. Also, when we play an instrument, we enter a parallel world in which we are in agreement and harmony with our instrument and ourselves. Only those who play a musical instrument know what this feeling is.
In addition, playing the drums is beneficial on a physical and mental level:
- Develops creativity: the drummer's mind is a creative mind that seeks the creation of new rhythms.
- Improves coordination: drumming requires coordination of the whole body, so to play the drums well, we need to have good coordination, which improves with practice.
- Increases concentration: playing an instrument requires concentration. Concentration is also an exercise aspect, and the more we do it, the more easily we acquire.
- Improves physical condition: when you play the drums, you are exercising. The drum kit is one of the most physical instruments out there, as it demands rapid movement of all parts of the body.
What other benefits would you say playing the drums has brought you? You can share your experience in the comments.
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