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Are Drums Hard To Learn? (And Other Beginner Questions Answered)

Samantha Landa  /  UPDATED Nov 14, 2023

Compared to other instruments, drums can be hard to learn. But the benefits are 100% worth the effort, and anyone can become a drummer with enough practice.

One day, you’re just a person going about your regular life. And the next day, boom – you’re a drummer.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just dive in like that?

While some people are comfortable taking the plunge – signing up for drum lessons and buying a practice pad or drum set – if you’re reading this, you might be the type of person who needs to think a bit more before you decide to take on a new hobby.

This article answers some of the most common questions people have when they’re first thinking about picking up this instrument. New drummers start here!

What’s the best age to start drumming?

The best age to start drumming is any age. Other articles might imply that younger is better, but this isn’t the case. Anyone can learn how to play drums, whether they’re 5, 15, 35, 60, or 75. As long as you have the time and energy to practice, you can do it.

“Is it ever too late to start playing drums?” Nope! Did you see a video of a 4-year-old performing a face-melting drum solo and now you aren’t sure if drums are for you? People of all ages doubt whether they missed their opportunity to get started, but there’s no ‘perfect’ age. It’s a healthy and fun activity that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. As they say, it’s better late than never.

Am I too old to start learning the drums?” Not at all! And you aren’t too young, either. The best time to start drumming is right now – what do you have to lose? Before you know it, you’ll be playing your favorite songs and wondering why you didn’t start earlier.

Is it easy to learn the drums?

Drumming can be both easy and hard. If you find that you pick up rhythms quickly, you have natural coordination, and you can clap in time, you may find that learning drums is easier for you than someone who struggles with these things. 

But like any new undertaking, there can always be a bit of a learning curve. Enjoy your successes, and use challenges as opportunities to push harder. You might even impress yourself! The best part? Whether you find drumming easy or hard, the more you practice, the better you’ll get. And the payoff feels amazing.

How long does it take to learn to play the drums?

You could be playing simple beats and songs in just a few weeks. It all depends on how quickly you pick up on the coordination and how often you’re practicing. The more you practice, the quicker your muscle memory will kick in, and the less you’ll have to think about what you’re doing.

Ask yourself, “How soon do I want to be playing drums, and how much am I willing to do to get there?”

Try this drumming workout every day – or every week, if you’re busy – and see how quickly you improve.

How much time do I need to commit to learning drums?

To see the quickest results, you should spend at least a few hours a week practicing drums. The more you practice, the faster you’ll improve. Try to set aside at least 30 minutes a day if you can.

However, life sometimes gets in the way, so this might not be possible for you. Any practice is better than no practice! Learning a new instrument should be fun, not feel like a chore. So even if you just sit down on the kit for an hour once a week, you can still make progress and enjoy yourself.

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Is playing the drums expensive?

Playing the drums actually doesn’t cost much to get started. It can get more expensive later, but it depends on the quality of gear you’re looking for.

When you first start learning how to play drums, you don’t need a drum set. You can start with a pair of sticks and a practice pad (or even sticks and a pillow). Once you’re able to play rolls and rhythms with your hands, you can add your feet, at which point you probably want to get a drum kit.

Like many other instruments, drum sets can run you back a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. It all depends on what you’re looking for and whether you buy used or new gear.

Check out this article for a detailed look at how much drum sets and cymbals cost, which brands you should consider, and much more.

If you decide to take drum lessons, the average price for a one-on-one teacher is $30-50 USD for a 30-minute lesson. You can also get a membership to an online drum lessons site like Drumeo for $29/month, which gives you access to thousands of lessons, live coaching and Q&As, the ability to submit videos for teachers to review your playing, and more. Or check out this New Drummers Start Here course, which is three months of specialized drum lessons for $7.

What do you need to start playing the drums?

All you need is a pair of sticks and some time in your schedule. You don’t even need a drum kit to get started (try making a DIY practice pad with stuff from the dollar store!).

If you’re planning to teach yourself or learn by watching videos online, there’s a ton of free content for beginners. If you prefer to have an expert provide some guidance, you can sign up for an online drum lessons membership or take one-on-one lessons in person.

If you’re buying a drum kit, make sure you have enough space, and a carpet so it doesn’t slide. Browse through the first part of our guide on how to play drums if you really want to be mentally prepared.

How do you start drumming? All it takes is one decision. And if you realize later that it’s not for you, it’s okay. The worst that can happen is you have to sell your drum set. You’ll never know how much you might love it if you don’t try!

How much space do I need to play drums?

You should have at least a few square feet of space. A basic electronic kit will have a smaller footprint than acoustic drums, but you also have to take into account an extra foot or so on at least one side so you can get behind the kit.

It can’t hurt to give yourself more space than you need, especially if you aren’t sure how close you’ll want to bring your cymbal stands or how close your seat will be to the drums. The only way to be sure is when buying a kit, ask how big the footprint will be, and measure the room. 

Do you need to read music to play the drums?

You don’t need to read music to play drums. In fact, there are many professional (and legendary) drummers who don’t read music, but who have made a career in music. If you can learn by listening and by ‘feeling’ the rhythm, reading music is just the cherry on top.

That said, if you learn better by reading, the language of drum notation can help you pick things up more quickly. Reading music can help you communicate better with your drum teacher or bandmates, and can be a valuable skill if you ever decide to become a professional drummer. If you want to learn how to read drum music, here’s an entire guide.

Where should I get drum lessons?

You can find drum lessons online or in person. The most important thing is to choose a drum teacher who has good reviews from students and who you feel comfortable with. You can always try one or two lessons and decide if this teacher is right for you and a good fit for your learning style.

Whether you become a member of a video lesson community, take virtual one-on-one lessons with your favorite drummer, or are introduced to a local teacher through a music school, you get to choose your learning journey. 

If you find that you aren’t ‘getting it’ with one style of teaching, try something else. Everyone can play drums – we just learn differently.

Should I start playing the drums?

Yes! Like learning any new skill, drumming just takes a bit of time and energy. Even if you only have a practice pad, even if you only play once in a while, and even if you’re just picking up drumming for fun or exercise or to make new friends…it’s absolutely worth it. 

Any drummer can vouch for the incredible community and feeling you get when you join this group of passionate people. There are so many reasons to start drumming. You have nothing to lose!

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We’ve launched a course to make getting started on the drums easier than ever.

It’s called New Drummers Start Here – and it’ll take you from a total beginner to playing drums with real music in 90 days or less.

Click here to check it out!

Samantha Landa currently drums with Conquer Divide and has been featured by outlets such as Sick Drummer Magazine and DRUM! Magazine. Sam proudly endorses Mapex Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads and Los Cabos Drumsticks.

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