If you want to start learning how to play drums, a drum practice pad is a great way to start. A single practice pad might seem restrictive, but it’ll get you going in the right direction with hand techniques, timing and coordination which are invaluable as you progress as a drummer.
Start By Learning Rudiments and Hand Techniques
This is going to not seem very fun for most beginner drummers, but it’s so important. Most people, when they get into playing drums, simply want to play music they like or start playing a drum kit right away. While that can be fine to dive right into that, it can feel overwhelming if you’re lacking in some of the basic fundamentals.
Drum rudiments are a great place to start. They’ll help you learn how to hold the sticks, how to read some basic notation patterns, how to play dynamically and how to think more independently with your hands. Rudiments also help build solid timing and coordination, and can help you feel more free and in control once you start to translate your skills to a drum kit. A good book such as Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer can be a great guide for practicing rudiments and guiding you through a reasonable progression of skills.
You don’t need to sit and play rudiments for hours to experience the benefits. Spending even just 10-15 minutes a day with rudiments on a drum pad can really help progress your skills over a longer period of time.
Practice Pads Are Cheap
Drum practice pads are a great way to start since they are so cheap. You can get a pad and pair of sticks for less than $50 and start learning. If you don’t want to spend the money on books or lessons, you can find plenty of free resources online such as lessons and guides for beginner drummers on YouTube.
This can be a good way to find out if you will enjoy drumming without spending too much on gear. If you find that you are enjoying learning the sticking patterns and techniques on a practice pad, and getting a good start there, you can confidently move on to a drum kit and spending a little more money there won’t be as big of a risk for you.
Drum Pads are Portable
While you are getting started with drumming, you’ll be able to take your practice pad with you wherever you go. You’ll find this allows you to sneak in more practice and technique development since you don’t necessarily need worry about finding time and space to sit behind a drum kit.
This is a good thing for beginners, since you’ll want to be able to practice your chops consistently to build up muscle memory. Being able to sneak in practice wherever will be invaluable.
Another nice thing about starting out with drum pads is the noise factor. You don’t have to worry about bothering your neighbors and housemates as much while you learn. Beginner drummers will spend a lot of time working through things they can’t do very well, and forcing others to listen to that all the time can be less than ideal. So keeping the noise levels down will be beneficial. It will help encourage you to keep at it if you don’t need to worry about whether the noise is bothering other people or not.
Not to mention it will also be easier on your own ears. You won’t need to wear ear protection while practicing on a practice pad, so that is one less thing to complicate the situation which is good for beginners.
We’ve already touched on this a little bit, but getting in consistent, quality practice is essential if you want to progress. Using a practice pad will help you achieve that consistency since you can play practically anywhere. Even if you have access to a full drum kit as a beginner, you should spend a good chunk of your time on the practice pad and make sure to use it when you can’t get behind the kit. It can really help fill in the gaps in terms of getting in some constructive practice.