Re: Derek Roddy here!
My very first kit was a Sears and Roebuck set. All plastic...for the most part.
I tore that thing up in a matter of days and my dad took me to buy a real set of drums......ROYCE!!!!!!! Haha. I was 4 or 5 years old at the time.
I played those for a few years....got pretty good and my dad bought me a Rodgers 7 pc maple kit when I was about 9 or 10. Played that until I could buy my own kit.....which was a Ludwig double bass kit. I was maybe 15 at the time.
Just remember that good players can make Bad set sound really good.
Your gear doesn't matter so much if you have "the touch".
And, getting that touch requires listening to a lot of different music. So, you become familiar with different textures and dynamics.
Yes, air drumming helps... but also, playing drums in your head also helps a lot. I'd say that close to 40% of my practicing in my life has been away from a kit. Just figuring out drum parts and music....in my head.
Thinking about playing can make you better as well.....as long as you have the mechanical part going too.
Hope it helps.