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6-7 years ago, I started learning how to drum. However, I was a kid, and whenever I played or even had a lesson, it basically just ended in my trying to learn to play whatever rhythms of whatever songs I liked.

As a result, I can pick up some rhythm from some drum tab decently well, however my general drumming ability is, well, close to nonexistent. I don't have any knowledge of music theory, have a hard time "getting" the beat from listening to a song, have a hard time staying on time or playing over a song, and just don't know any of the stuff I should know.

Basically, I feel like a total beginner even though I technically shouldn't be.

Therefore my question: Do you guys have any advice for me on how to get better? What exactly should I train/learn first, and prioritize? How?

  • What we often say - go to a teacher. It's hard for some to learn by themselves, as you're possibly finding. – Tim Jun 23 at 10:11
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  • Learn the stick grips and how to use them and switch between them. Basically do a YouTube search for how to hit a drum and how to hit a cymbal. The precise way you hit drums and cymbals makes a big, big difference.
  • Learn drum rudiments, and not just how to play them. Practice them every day using the exact sticking notated.
  • Practice with a metronome, especially the rudiments. For the rudiments, try to use a metronome app that will automatically increase the tempo as you go. Every day practice the rudiments with slowly increasing tempo until you can’t keep up, then reset the metronome and go to the next rudiment.
  • Start searching and watching YouTube videos or whatever works for different techniques. There are a surprising number of techniques and technical aspects of drumming that are critical. Proper roll techniques (at least three different ones are out there), Muellar technique, Purdie shuffle, and heel-toe kick pedal technique are some to get started on. Practice them in isolation until you can do them well, then find songs and opportunities to add them into your playing.
  • Search for how to set up and arrange a drum kit and how to tune the drums. There’s a good amount of personal preference here but it’s important to know the pros and cons of different choices. Experiment with placement and tuning of kit pieces to find your most comfortable style.
  • Look for drum camera videos and drum covers and watch very closely how other drummers play. Look for their grips and how they hit. Watch their wrists and arms and toes and heels and ankles. Also look for drum lesson videos and closely follow ones where they slow things down.
  • Slowly increase your practice time. The better you want to be, the more you want to practice. Tom Morello, the guitarist for Rage Against The Machine had an 8 hour practice regimen every day. He broke it down into one hour sections of technique, sound, writing, learning songs, etc. come up with a regimen that works for you and slowly expand it. Stop watching movies and TV shows, stop playing video games. Just drum whenever you’re not at work/school or doing something with people.
  • Try out for bands. You’ll be challenged to grow and learn quickly and if you get into a band you’ll learn a lot. And it’ll be fun.

I want to specifically recommend YouTube videos on the Drumeo channel. They are consistently awesome. You can pay them for access to specific courses and expanded videos, but their free content is great. Also when you’re watching videos, look on the side for YouTube recommendations of other lessons and techniques. Even if you don’t start to learn a technique, just knowing what’s out there helps you plan your practice and self education.

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To partly address your question, I would recommend going through the video series on How to Practise With a Metronome in a Relaxed, Enjoyable & Precise Way. It does not seem very popular but shows an excellent method to become comfortable playing with the metronome and develop the sense of time.

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You need to see a teacher. Period.

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    That would indeed help, although I don't really have the budget to at the moment. Where I live teachers easily ask for 25Euros/hour, which I can't afford – Fly Jun 23 at 12:10
  • OK. Get some teaching material and try by yourself then. Might as well give my mate Colin a boost: drumsense.com – Laurence Payne Jun 23 at 13:16
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    @Fly - You don't necessarily have to have regularly weekly sessions with a teacher to benefit from them. Just getting one lesson from an experienced teacher can be very helpful, as they can assess your playing and give you ideas for what to work on. If you find the one-off lesson worthwhile, you can see if the teacher is willing to do bi-weekly or monthly lessons in order to save some money. – Peter Jun 23 at 19:07

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