The ability to tap your hand and be able to make your own music is very empowering and connects with us all on a deeper level. Because everyone claps their hands or taps their fingers on the table to the beat. The beginner's desire to learn drums is quite high The drum seems like the physical representation of our own natural tendencies.
This certainly translates since the drum does seem to attract more and more followers. This is perhaps because it can be used with all musical styles and sound amazing, from pop, rock to metal, through jazz and hip-hop, the drums are never far away. But unlike some other instruments, the entry level to playing the drum is costly to buy and maintain (change of skins, purchase drumsticks, drumming lessons). Learning to save money with this instrument is very useful, so how can a beginner drummer save while learning how to play the drum rudiments, rhythms and drum beats? Here are some tips for you to learn how to play the drums for free.
Discover The Drums While Attending A Festival
Disclaimer! You do actually have to pay entrance fees to get into most festivals. But with more and more events popping up around the UK and Europe they are a great value way to gain access to other drummers and have a meaningful learning experience. Sometimes even watching professional drummers and their different techniques can be inspirational and motivating. Observation in many cases is worth more than a Drumming lesson, especially when you have already reached a certain level and have an understanding of what it is that you are seeing.
The Top Regular Festivals
- The UK drum show - Is a Manchester-based festival where everything is dedicated to the mighty Many percussionists attend this event, and it is an excellent introduction to the drum if you are a beginner to the instrument. This is a great place to get information and meet like-minded people.
- Bag'Show Drum Festival in Paris - Is a Paris based festival which is like a trade show and workshop in one. This one is also dedicated to the drums, and they have everything that you need to get started from drum sheet music to drumming lessons. This is a fantastic place to take a free drum class and learn some new drum patterns.
- The London Drum Show - As the name says this show is in London, UK and is a whole weekend dedicated to the drums. It has masterclasses where you can learn about the hi-hat, eighth notes, sixteenth note and drum beats. Performance is also plentiful and hosted by industry professionals and other artists. They even have other percussion instruments displayed in an exhibition of the drum through history.
- The Drums Summit Festival - The purpose of this festival is the sharing passion for music and especially the drum. It has run every year for the last 18 years, and it’s a fantastic family event. It has free drumming classes, free lessons where any beginner can learn to play.
- Drummers Festival - This is a Belgian festival which has already run more than 25 times. If you visit this festival, you will get to attend concerts and masterclasses. The last festival was this year (2018) and honoured drummers and musicians T. Lang and V. Donati,
- Drum Fest - this festival has run every year since 2012, This festival has a fun twist, which is that the attendees get to enter into a competition to showcase their skills
Festivals are a great way to explore and expand your drumming knowledge. Although you have to pay a cover charge to enter, the entry does allow you to discover drumming novelties regarding the bass drum, the electric drum, the snare drum, conga and other drums which all produce very different styles of music. The free classes with the drumming teachers and drumming instructor will be invaluable to your practice. The great thing is that you can feel free to explore the show and ask questions to improve yourself based on your perspective.
Studying To Be A Drummer
Studying music at school is an excellent opportunity to deepen your musical and instrumental knowledge. If the school isn't free for you, then you may be able to get a free grant to help with the costs. When you are studying music, it will follow a program which will prepare you for being a professional drummer.
The benefits of studying the drums at school are numerous. Taking up drums at school will be a great idea for a few reasons.
- You will save money on buying the instruments, and the entire drum kit as all facilities will be provided at school
- You can use the school recording studio to practice and not disturb others but also to record yourself and track your progress, and you continue to learn.
- The teacher at music school are often professional musicians, and so they can pass on their knowledge and advice to help you shape yourself as an artist.
- You will have access to playing live events with your school
- If you are young, the biggest benefit is that it is totally free to study at school. Make the most of it as when you have graduated it might cost from £25 per hour to follow your interest.
While in school you need to take every opportunity to learn new things about the drum and develop your personal drumming style. If you don’t do your best to gain as many skills as you can while you are studying, then you will have to pay for it later. This is up to you to decide, the faster you learn, and the better you become, the more opportunities that you are going to have in the future. If you dream of being the drummer for a large band one day, now is the time to prepare yourself to step into those shoes. Being a musician is definitely about raw talent, but it is also hugely based on training and understanding music as a whole. Not just your drum or your drum beats, to make it as a professional you need to be able to see the big picture.
While studying you may not get to learn the music that you are interested in, one year you may be learning about a popular piece of jazz such as Birdland. The next year you might be learning about classical music with a revival of Vivaldi's Four Seasons by Max Richter. If you are a professional artist, you should be able to play and practice every style of music so be patient. Once you have learnt what it is that you need to learn about how to compose, play and create music you will graduate and be free to create the music that you love.
In any case, trying and practising different musical styles can only be beneficial for a drummer. Truly being Interested in different things is what allows you to develop your creativity. This is why music schools ask students to study historical and culturally relevant artists.
Now coming to the part that could be free for you, because if you are a drummer that is not in attendance in a music school, you could advertise to join or support a group that attends the school, and you would then be able to get free training with the other members of your band.
Learn To Play The Drums With Free Sheet Music
When you first start to learn drums, it is advisable to practice with the rhythmic solfeggio learning style. It is much easier than traditional music theory, and it would be a shame to deprive yourself of a tool that facilitates the fundamental task of improving when you have to learn music.
On the Sheet music, the notes represent the elements of the drum. If you can learn how to read the notes and placements on the sheet music, you will have developed the fundamental skills to needed to improve upon you drumming notation. Remember learning to read music is important and it has many benefits such as:
- Sheet music is the same no matter which instrument you play.
- You have options, you can read tab music or sheet music.
- Tab music is specialised to the drum and is a simple form of line notation. It's great because it shows you which drum to play and when to play it.
- Sheet music is specialised to music, not just to the drum. It's great because once you learn to read sheet music, you can use the same skill for all instruments.
To read notes on your sheet music is to learn the language of the musicians. This will make it easier for you to communicate with other members of your band. Also the musical community as a whole.
There are several free sheet music websites which are dedicated to supporting the community and musicians:
- Muse Score - This website has been created by 3 musicians from different countries in Europe, who decided to set up a musical community to support fellow musicians to have access to free sheet music. It is a great community where contributors upload their sheet music to share with the artists on the site. This website is very organised and easy to get around, it also has hundreds if not thousands of pieces of sheet music.
- 8 Notes - makes it easy to find many free sheet music. You can search for music by musical genre or instrument. This site has other free resources too.
- Musopen - is a well-organised website which gives you access to thousands of pieces of sheet music and it is all free for the music community as a whole.
Take Free Drum Lessons
Beyond learning through educational institutions, festivals and the free options listed above, here are some tips for taking free drum lessons.
- Music Association and music school test classes: From June to September, Music and Drumming schools open their doors to attract new students, often will give sample classes for free. You will be able to benefit from a free class with other students to gain knowledge and tips here and there.
- Have a mentor on drums: If you have a big family or wide circle of friends there has to be 1 musician who might like to take some time to help you. You can take an informal lesson with your drummer uncle or your father's best friend. Sometimes you do not have to look too far. The world of music is above all synonymous with sharing, and many musicians will feel flattered to be asked.
- Service Exchange Platforms: Offering something that you have in exchange for something that you want. This is the exchange system at its best. Cleaning, Admin, DIY, gardening, there are lots of tasks that you can offer to do to help someone. If you can find a musician that needs that help, you will be able to exchange your services for free and make a new friend in the process. A great service for this is called Helpx
- YouTube tutorials: It takes a bit of motivation, but in reality, you can learn the drums completely Video creators offer detailed and full-length videos for free online. Take a look at the Cifraclub Now their channel is in Portuguese, but it is an amazing channel. They have created a visual system to play any instrument. If you search for drums, all of the drum videos will come up, and you can follow them.
The key to decipher Cifra Club tablature, it is a little different as they are using a Portuguese system, but you have the key below and should be able to follow along.
- Cr = crash cymbal,
- Ri = ride cymbal,
- Ch = Charleston (HH in English),
- Cx = snare drum (SD in English)
- T1 = tom alto (also seen as TA or HT),
- T2 = tom medium (also seen as TM or MT),
- Su = low tom (also noted as TB or FT or even F),
- Bu = bass drum (BD in English).
Multiple methods exist to learn an instrument for free. But having free resources doesn’t mean anything unless you are will to actually use them. Thus your motivation and focus is the key to getting the most from these tools. What was your favourite method for learning the drums?