Drumming for Beginners: Your Guide to the Basics

Apr 18 / Von Baron
Welcome to my article on beginner drum lessons! If you're looking to get started with playing the drums, you've come to the right place.

In this article, I'll cover some important tips to get started with playing the drums, from choosing the right drum gear to learning some basic techniques.

Choosing the Right Equipment

While many drummers start out with just a snare drum or practice pad (like I did), it's always more fun if you can also get a drum kit.  There are a variety of different drum kits available, ranging from small practice kits to full-sized professional kits.

When choosing a drum kit, it's good to get something that's not too cheap so you'll be able to eventually use it for live performance.  Regarding size, smaller-sized drum sets work great for playing Jazz while larger drum sizes are perfect for Rock, Pop and Funk music. 

A typical Jazz drum set will includes a bass drum, snare drum, a rack tom, floor tom, hi-hat, two ride cymbals, a drum throne (drum chair) and a bass drum pedal. See my picture below.

Drum sticks and even brushes are of course necessary.  For drum sticks, I recommend any stick company's size 7a with wooden tips and for brushes I recommend the Vic Firth Heritage brushes. 
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The picture above is my Pearl Midtown compact drum set. I love it and use it on many of my gigs. Check it out as an option for your first drum kit. 

I also have another article you might like about compact drum sets that includes the Pearl Midtown too. 

Drumming basics 

Once you've got your drum kit setup, it's time to start learning some drumming basics. There are a couple of different ways we hold the sticks in drumming. One way is Matched grip where the hands are symmetrical and the other is Traditional where the hands are different. See my pics below. 

There are advantages to both grips but in the beginning, I recommend Matched grip. It's just a lot easier to use and gets you up and swinging fast. 

With your feet, start with heel down in both your hi-hat foot and bass drum foot. Later, we'll want to play heel up with our hi-hat foot but again, in the beginning, it's so much better to keep things simple so you get grooving. 

I also recommend to all beginning drummers that they start off learning Jazz drumming. Learning Jazz drumming first will hardwire your brain for success. It will make it so much easier to play any style of music you want to play in the future. 
Step into the world of Jazz drumming with my Intro To Jazz Drumming Course – Learn the basics of drumming and how to swing like a pro!

Practicing and Improving

As with any skill, the key to becoming good is practice. It's important to set aside regular practice time and really focus on the hard stuff so that you can get better faster.  Just playing the same things you already know will not help you reach your drumming goals.

Another tip I always share with my drum students is, "Play it slow to learn it fast."  Teach yourself the way your brain works.

If you play things slowly in the beginning, you'll teach it how to play things correctly from the start. If you play things too fast, you'll make more mistakes and teach your brain to play mistakes. 

I feel it's also really important to get feedback and guidance from other drummers and musicians. Taking lessons with a drum instructor, attending drumming or music workshops, enrolling in online drumming courses or simply playing with other musicians and asking for their feedback are great ways to accomplish this.


Learning to play the drums can be challenging in the beginning but they are so much fun to play even after you get just some of the basics under your belt.

Getting your drum kit, learning drumming basics, and practicing regularly, will help you to start enjoying playing the drums pretty quickly. So why not get started today?

Enroll in my Intro To Jazz Drumming Course and take that first important step toward having fun on the drums!
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