Getting Started with Drums

Membranophone is what a drum is technically known. The musical instrument is classified under the percussion group. Here are few basic guidelines for getting started with drums. The size, pattern and shape of drums vary widely. But almost every drum has at least one membrane. This one membrane is known as drum head. A drummer can produce sounds from a drum by beating on the drumhead with drumstick or a part of his body, likely to be hands.

Drums are traditionally untuned instruments. But there are exceptions like timpani. Drums are generally cylinder in shape. These are the oldest musical instrument played by ancient tribes and race. Modern orchestral drums are held on a hoop, which is fixed on a counter hoop with tension rods. The number of the tension rods varies from six to ten. The sound quality of the drum depends on few basic factors like

Shell density
Shell material
Drumhead pattern
Drumhead tension
Position of the drum
Location of the drum
The velocity and angle with which the drumhead is bitten

Before getting started with drums, you should arrange few basic things

A good music collection on drums
A beginner’s guidance book for ready reference
A pair of good drumsticks
A practice pad
A metronome

As the first step for getting started with drums, you must learn how to hold drumsticks properly. As different types of grips on drumsticks produce different sounds, so it is very important to understand which type of grip produce what type of sound. There are various options like traditional grip, matched grip, French grip etc. Different holds will produce different vibrations, bounce and response. It is better to practice and see the difference yourself initially.

The second important thing is counting time. As you learn to count time, you will be able to understand various notes, beats and time signatures. Before getting started with drums, here are few important technical terms that you must know to understand the drum music

Note. It is a stroke, rather a symbol representing a stroke on the drum.
Bar. It is a measure. It is the space where a beat can be played.
Time signature. It is the representation in a fraction that reveals the number of notes in a measure. There are various signatures like 4/4, 3 /4, 5/4, 7/8 etc.

Here the top number denotes the number of notes per bar, and the bottom number, known as denominator, tells the value of the notes. For example, denominator 1 is a whole note, 2 is a half note, 4 a quarter note, 8 a eight note and 12 a sixteenth note. There are also other variations like triplets and odd times.

On getting started with drums, you should also know to tune your drum by yourself. Based on various purposes and musical genre, different tunings are required. As you are the player of your drum, so be the expert on drum. There are various processes for installing the drumhead, tuning the batter head and tuning the drum. Choose your genre and tune it as required.

As you get accustomed with these basic drumming requirements, the next thing you should do for getting started with drums is learn to read music sheets for drum compositions and teach yourself with some basic theories. This will not only help to raise your knowledge on how to play drums, but also make you prepared for future music compositions by yourself.