Who doesn’t love a skilled drummer? Beats are the heart of music and a great beat by a great drummer can absolutely transform the spirit of a song into something transcendent. I’ve tried learning how to play the drums on a few occasions in the past but always ran into an obstacle: drums are expensive.
Luckily for any of you readers in that same boat, there are now a handful of fantastic resources on the Internet that you can use to learn how to play the drums without spending a dime. Of course it’ll always be better to use real drums for practice, but until you can purchase your own drum kit, these free resources will help you hone your skills in the meantime.
If by the end of this article you realize that drums aren’t your forte, then perhaps you’d fare better at creating other forms of music. But I think you’ll enjoy the upcoming FREE resources.
As someone who has no formal drum training, this website is a veritable gold mine of free drumming resources. Their drum lessons index lists close to 200 different lesson plans and some of those lessons are broken down into sub-lessons… which means that you won’t be running out of drum training any time soon if you use this website.
Free Drum Lessons covers a multitude topics, but those topics aren’t only for newbies! Sure, there are dozens of lessons that detail how to hold the sticks, how to set up your drum kit, warm up exercises, and tuning instructions. However, you’ll also find drum music theory, intermediate and advanced techniques, play-along exercises, and tangential articles like how to start a band.
The best part is that none of it seems very overwhelming at all. The site’s organization is phenomenal. It presents chunks of information to you in digestible bits, allowing you to concentrate on one topic at a time and progress at your own rate. If I had to choose an all-in-one drumming lessons resource, this would be it.
DrumLessons.Net is a database of free drumming lessons that mixes text lessons with Youtube clips for reinforcement. The lessons are split into Fundamental, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced sections. The quantity of lessons does not even approach the mass of lessons on Free Drum Lessons, but it’s still something. It’s a great auxiliary resource if nothing else.
The quality of the lessons isn’t as sharp as the quality from Free Drum Lessons, but DrumLessons.Net does offer a different approach to certain aspects of drumming. If you had trouble grasping a particular concept, for example, then you could come here and see if they teach the idea from a different angle. In that way, this site can prove useful.
One downside to the website is that it’s plastered in marketing ploys that try to hook you into buying their DVDs or signing up for their newsletters and whatnot. It really detracts from the credibility of the website, but if you can ignore them then all will be fine.
There’s a guy on Youtube called onlinedrummer who has been putting out drum lessons on his channel for over 7 years. His videos are concise (never more than 15 minutes long) and each one is topical, aiming to teach you some new aspect of drumming, whether it’s a technique, a beat, or a full song.
His earlier videos focused more on techniques while his latest videos (which he’s still pumping out today) focus more on how to drum along to specific songs. Even with his earlier videos, though, he never really taught fundamentals or basics. If you’re going to learn much from Online Drummer, you’d do best with a preliminary understanding of drumming techniques and theory.
On the other hand, if you want to learn intermediate and advanced techniques and you’re more of a visual learner, then Online Drummer can help you there. You’ll need to purchase some of his more advanced lessons, but there’s still a lot of free material for you to consume
This is one of the coolest web apps I’ve discovered in many months. As the name suggests, it allows you to play a full drum kit (many different kinds) using just your keyboard. Each key is mapped to a specific hit, such as the hi-hat, bass, snare, etc. Of course it’ll take a bit of time to learn and commit to memory, but once you’ve done that, it’s a great deal of fun.
But it doesn’t end there. Virtual Drumming provides a few drumming exercises and lessons that you can practice on their virtual drum kit. Once you’ve done that, you can try out the advanced lessons. If you just want to freestyle, then you can do that too. Basically, Virtual Drumming provides you with the environment; how you use it and what you get out of it is entirely up to you.
The last feature I want to point out is the drum machine. With it, you can create simple drum loops based on different time signatures, sound types, and drum sets. I couldn’t find a way to export the loops so it’s not meant for creation; instead, you can use it to experiment and discover new types of drum beats on your own.
With the tools outlined above, you should be able to train your rhythm skills and drumming mindset even if you don’t have access to a true drum kit yet. Start off with Free Drum Lessons and use DrumLessons.Net as a backup resource. Online Drummer will help you to visualize the sound of drum beats and Virtual Drumming is where you can actually give drumming a go.
If you know of any other sites that can help users learn how to play drums, please share them. It’d be awesome to know which sites you consider to be your favorites.
Image Credit: Drum Kit Via Shutterstock