A drum kit or drum set is a collection of drums and other percussion instruments set up to be played by a single player.
A standard modern drum kit (for a right-handed player), as used in popular music and taught in many music schools, contains:
- A snare drum, mounted on a specialised stand, placed between the player's knees and played with drum sticks.
- A bass drum, played by a pedal operated by the right foot.
- A hi-hat stand and cymbals, operated by the left foot and played with the sticks, particularly but not only the right hand stick.
- One or more 'tom-tom drums', played with the sticks.
- One or more cymbals, played with the sticks, particularly but not only the right hand stick.
The drum kit is one of the most popular instruments in the world. It can take months or years of practice and dedication to master - there is more to the drums than just hitting something with a stick!
Whilst the origins of the drum go back to the pre-historic people of China, the watershed for the drum kit/set came in the 1950s/60s with the rise of Rock 'n' Roll. Ringo Star from the Beatles made playing the drums cool!
The drums today are found mainly in the jazz and pop music scenes across the world, here are a few examples where you can hear the durms in action...
Jools Holland - Let There be Drums
Big Band Drums
FUN FACT: Drums were made initially from a hollow tree trunk, clay or metal and covered by skins of water animals
Do your research for a drum set if you are interested in drumming before you spend the money on a set...
Some practice pads do not accurately represent the feel of playing a drum kit and thus can damage you technique. We recommend the HQ Apprentice Practice Pad as it is designed specifically to feel like you are hitting the drums instead of a rubber mat without the price.
Even if you are not buying a drum kit/set initially, there are still a few things that you will need to get you started, to make the learning process easier...
Different sizes of sticks are available for different ages.'A' is a good stick weight for beginners. We recommend drum sticks made my Vic Firth:
Vic Firth Kids Drum Sticks are short and light weight sticks and are available in Blue and Black. These are most suitable for smaller children (under the age of 7)
Vic Firth 7A Drum Sticks are recommended for children aged 7-9 years old.
- Vic Firth 5A Drum Sticks are slightly longer and thinner and therefore most suitable for beginners aged above 9 years old.
Playing the drums is all about the development of rhythm and timing. It seems suitable therefore for a metronome to be an essential accessory to any beginner drum student.
This affordable Korg Metronome is a digital version meaning that it does not require winding up so will never lose time. It is very portable and the light on the top means that it is easy to see the beats if you can't hear them over the sound of your drumming. It also has a headphones port which is quite essential when playing the drums as it is hard to hear a metronome over the sound of the drum kit!
Here are the best selling drum tutor books for beginners:
Absolute Beginners Drums is packed with information and tips to get you on the road to becoming a competent drummer. It builds your ability in a step by step process that gradually leads to you being able to play the short pieces towards the end of the book. This edition of the book comes complete with a CD with which you can play along with other drummers as well as other instruments.
The Art of the Drummer
It covers a wide variety of techniques and styles, including, swing rock rhythms, hard rock rhythms, jazz rhythms, funk rhythms, Latin rhythms, accents, rim shots, time signatures, snare drum technique, brush technique, drum solos and a great deal more. If you work through this book with the demonstration CD, you will be able to vastly improve in the comfort of your own home.
Finding a Teacher
Music Centres - playing in orchestras & ensembles
This resource was written by:
Sarah Hayward Bmus (hons), MA
Sarah is a sprightly coloratura soprano and active violin and viola player who enjoys interacting with other musicians and teaching her students. Sarah is part of DS Music’s Education Outreach & Marketing Team and is passionate about the expansion and Educational Outreach of the company in order to help give everyone the opportunity to access music. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Music has the power to change people so help me use it to change the world!! :)