Just curious....


I've been drumming now for about two years and damn near everything I know is self taught by way of listening, reading, watching video's, etc. I would love to take lessons but have given the extra money I have to my 7 year old son for his drum lessons.

Last night a buddy of mine came over to the house and the idea was for us to try and teach each other (he has about a year or so more experience). It was a great time but I really found out just how much I don't know! I have spent all of my time listening to songs and breaking them down by "feel", never understanding time signatures. When he played something or did an exercise, I could figure it out and was able to play it but then he'd ask me a question about timing and it was like he was speaking a whole 'nuther language!!!

I woke up this morning and went in my drum room and played for about 30 minutes but quickly lost interest as I realized that even though what I am playing sounds decent, deep down, I have no idea what the hell I am playing or why this hit is here and that hit is there...

I suddenly have this huge desire to have a much deeper understanding of drumming but without a teacher I am left to figure this stuff out on my own. Forget playing songs for now, how do I start to really understand drumming?


You actually took the first step by doing that with you friend. I would contine to share ideas with other drummers. People may say things about music theory but dont waste your time going down road. It wont translate into tangible playing. Keep plugging along, maybe look into what your son is doing with his beginner lessons.


Platinum Member
What I would do is get a beginning snare drum book and a basic rock drumming book and work through them. It's not difficult if you make the effort, so don't be intimidated. The basic concepts are easy and things follow each other logically; since you already play some, you'll know certain things intuitively. There are also ample free resources online, including this forum, if you need help getting started with reading notation, for getting answers about things you don't understand, and for checking your work. Lessons would of course be very helpful.

What stops most people from doing this are:
a) they get bored working on fundamentals
b) they are afraid of feeling stupid, so they bolt at the first sign of difficulty, or they talk the process to death to avoid doing the work
c) they see a page of obscure-looking symbols and freak out at the impossibility/enormity of the task
d) they don't enter it with a spirit of trying to figure things out

If you're aware of those usual pitfalls, hopefully you can work through them and learn the things you want to learn.

The books I recommend- as always- are Roy Burns' Elementary Drum Method and Rod Morgenstein's Drumset Musician (or Joel Rothman's Mini-Monster book- DM has more explanation). I think they're both available from Amazon or Steve Weiss Music.

Good luck!


Thanks for the reply's. I should have stated that this friend and I will be continuing but I have to admit, I feel like I am short handing him as all this time stuff is fairly new to me and I am confused as to what I have to offer him...

Those books are a great source and I will be buying them today! I am not afraid to be embarrassed by my lack of knowledge, I embrace it because I really want to be able to open new doors in my drumming. I dont have any wish to be on a stage, I'll encourage my son to do that if I see he feels inclined. I just want to know drumming for me because I genuinely enjoy it more than anything I have ever done.

I have been pretty successful in my young years but nothing I have has come without some sort of serious hard work, effort, planning, embarrassment or hardship of some sort. I used to think of all this time keeping stuff as something I could get around but now it's suddenly become this key to really understanding this drumming addiction I have. I can't get enough and am ready for the challenge. Thank you very much for the advice, I've got a few books to go buy!