Learning how to play the drums shoudln’t leave a hole in your wallet, nor does it always have to be loud.
With the beauty of the internet, you can get started playing the drums from the comfort of your living room or quiet space — without having to buy a loud set of drums or an expensive electronic kit.
A pair of sticks, a practice pad (or a pillow or tops of your knees) and curious ear is all you need to start rockin’ out.
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OK, yes, this entry is a bit of a cop out. Still, YouTube is a precious resource for learning how to play any instrument – or learn just about anything, really.
A quick search such as “how to play drums” will immediately result in some really good beginner content. Chances are that the top results will be by Drumeo.
Speaking of Drumeo…
2) FreeDrumLessons by Drumeo
If you’re brand new to drumming—even if you don’t even own a drum set or a pair of sticks—watch Drumeo’s beginner lesson.
Jared Falk does a fantastic job of teaching new drummers how to count, leading into eventually learning how to play a basic drum pattern.
Their channel, the “world’s largest collection of free drum lesson videos” as they claim, is full of premium-quality lessons, performances, and challenges featuring legendary drummers and popular social media drumming superstars.
(You have to check out The Godmother of Drumming laying it down to Disturbed’s “Down With The Sickness.”)
Drummers looking for personal instruction should look into the Drumeo Edge course. For $197, students will have access to hundreds of lessons and courses, as well as weekly live lessons and more.
Although registration for the current course is closed, the website is taking waitlist signups for the next one.
3) Drum Ambition
Drum Ambition has been designed specifically for beginner drummers, with a thoughtfully constructed curriculum based on over 20 years of teaching drum students. With an emphasis on fun, structure and attainable goals; this program of over 70 videos features on-screen music notation, downloadable sheet music, and full support.
The homepage has links to 45 minutes of totally free content so you can check it out risk free. Subscriptions start at just $19 per month (Solo Plan), for unlimited access to all 3 Modules.
Drummers looking for a more personalized experience can take advantage of the Pro Plan ($29 per month with a once monthly video check-in), or an annual subscription for $199 – again with a monthly video chat check-in with Drum Ambition Founder, Simon DasGupta. There are no contracts, and you can manage your account online, and cancel at any time.
4) Stephen Taylor
In 2013, Nashville-based Stephen Taylor was featured in a DRUM! Magazine article named “The Drum Stars of YouTube” and he’s only gotten brighter since then.
Taylor’s YouTube channel is a bit unique in that it offers fun instructional content, through-provoking educational content, and honest insights into a working drummer’s life and practice routine—such as full videos of some of his unglamorous practice sessions.
On his website, Taylor immediately offers drummers a free guide titled Creating Your Drum Fill Vocabulary. This guide includes over 20 minutes of video instruction and sheet music, so be sure to sign up for that.
Drummers can also learn from Taylor directly through his website. With a membership to “The Drum Better Daily Experience,” drum students can have access to hundreds of video lessons, weekly reviews, and even personalized lesson plans upon request. A monthly is $29.99 per month, and yearly access is $259.
5) Mike Johnston
A Sacramento-based drummer, teacher, and clinician, Mike Johnston’s YouTube channel offers free content ranging from demonstrating rudimental warmups to explaining how to play a popular drum groove that has been floating around Instagram.
If you don’t know where to start, why not take a stab at his drum lesson titled “A Killer Fill That Anyone Can Do!”
On his website, Mike also offers dozens of premium lessons across six courses covering rudiments and techniques, hand speed, foot speed, grooves, fills, and limb independence.
Subscriptions start at $29.99 per month, $149.95 for a six-month subscription, and $269.90 for a full year.
6) Austin Burcham
Austin Burcham is a drummer, educator, and content creator who analyzes wicked fills and licks in his fantastic “Study the Greats” video series.
In that series, Burcham breaks down the work of greats like Vinnie Colaiuta, Carter Beauford, Tony Williams, and Danny Carey. Outside of that series, he also offers recording and mixing tips, and additional lessons.
On his website, Burcham offers seven premium courses covering topics like drum tuning, advanced notation in Logic Pro X, and mixing. Courses start at $19.99 and include video lessons, notations, and community access.
7) Drum Channel
Founded by Don Lombardi, who also founded Drum Workshop (DW Drums) in 1972, Drum Channel’s YouTube home offers lessons, interviews, live performances, educational content, and more, featuring legendary drummers such as Sheila E, Mick Fleetwood, and Neil Peart (rest in peace).
On its website, Drum Channel offers a premium lesson library. Starting at $10 per month for a yearly subscription billed annually, members have access to 12 artist courses and hundreds of lessons.
This is probably the closest you will ever get to learning how to play drums from Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
OnlineDrummer.com’s free collection offers over 500 video and sheet music lessons, just about ensuring that there’s something for drummers of any level.
The website is a bit old-fashioned and difficult to browse, but you’ll be rewarded with PDFs of lessons. If you’re interested in only the videos, head on over to the YouTube channels where the videos reside.
9) Virtual Drumming
VirtualDrumming combines a “virtual” drumset with music notation and audio samples to produce an easy way to learn rudiments and beats.
As the audio sample plays, you can follow along with the music notation or watch a pair of sticks play the beat across a drumset.
The site offers dozens of lessons across several skill levels and genres, as well as lessons for three classic songs: “Hold the Line” by Toto (Jeff Porcaro), “Roxanne” by The Police (Stewart Copeland), and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple (Ian Paice).
If you’re not too familiar with music notation, don’t worry, this site has a few lessons that cover it.
10) 180 Drums
180 Drums offers dozens of free video lessons for drumset and percussion from prolific musicians like Rich Redmond, Mark Schulman, Daniel de los Reyes, and others. Lessons are accompanied by sheet music.
A premium option unlocks many more videos, but the website exhibits various technical errors that suggest you stick with the free stuff for now.
ArtistWorks hand selects each of their online music teachers, ensuring that students are exposed to world-class quality instruction and virtuosity.
For their jazz drumming courses, ArtistWorks employs Peter Erskine — a two-time Grammy® Award winner and an Honorary Doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.
He has also played with artists like Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, Weather Report, Steely Dan, and Joni Mitchell.
Members have access to a sliding scale of features, starting at $105 for a three-month plan with some limited features.
The 12-month plan at $279 offers to most access, including unlimited video submissions to the teacher for review.
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