When starting to play the drums or any instrument (including voice) it’s important to note that although it seems rational to think that playing fast is harder than playing slow, this simply is not the case in music. That’s why it’s a music myth that playing the drums is the hardest.
Because of our constant exposure to activities like sports, racing, or games in which the first to finish a task or the fastest person is deemed the winner, we may think that playing the drums is harder because of the speed involved. Although drummers and percussionist have a definite advantage over other instrumentalists in the “realm” of playing fast (more notes in the same or less time) this is not what makes a drummer or percussionist “good” per se.
The truth is: playing the drums isn’t harder than learning any other instrument. The job of any drummer is to be able to accompany a band using rhythms spread throughout different sources of sound. The primary rule of thumb when providing this accompaniment is to play these rhythms without ever slowing or speeding up the Tempo (speed of the pulse of the music) of the music and by giving the notes the full space they deserve, not more and not less. At times you will have to play fast, at other times you will also have to play slow and at other times you will play at tempi somewhere in between, however, all tempi have to be executed with the same level of consistency.
Practice Tip for Playing the Drums
It’s all in the timing! This concept may seem alien too many, but unlike the real world, where arriving late is bad and arriving early is a good thing, in music it’s extremely frowned upon to do either because it causes a clear disruption to the music’s natural flow or “groove” as is sometimes referred to by musicians.
The vast majority of human beings do not have to deal with timing in such a delicate and precise way, like musicians do, in part, because it isn’t a skill that is emphasized while a child is growing and also because there aren’t many tasks that call for this precision in timing. To start developing your sense of time it is highly advised to all students that they practice their music with metronomes. There will be many practice sessions in which the student may become extremely frustrated with this tool, quite simply because the metronome NEVER LIES. Despite some initial frustration practicing with this tool will make you a better player and will make performances far more enjoyable as well as improve many aspects of your musicianship.
Of course, there are also times in which other aspects of music need complete attention and focus during a practice session, so please don’t hesitate to consult your teacher on when the metronome should be applied.
Want to learn to play the drums? Barrett School of Music can teach you in the privacy of your own home! We teach ages 5 to 55 and anywhere in between. Contact our Tampa and Miami area music school to sign up for drum lessons.