Why does everyone think they can play drums?


Senior Member

Why is that? You have a group of people together, each with their own instruments, and GUARANTEED, at some point, everyone of those people will try and step into the drivers seat and attempt to play something until they give up and sheepishly hand you back your sticks.

I mean, you don't get people picking up other peoples stringed instruments or randomly butchering the keys on someone else´s keyboard or whatever.

Such a curious thing. That is all.


Platinum Member
Because everybody can tap their steering wheel or table top, and they think it's the same as doing that.

Also, because they think that since it isn't a melodic instrument, you can't hit a wrong note. Well, I'm here to tell the world that I, at least, most certainly can!


Senior Member
Drumming looks easy, but put most people behind the kit and they won't have a clue.

As well as the obvious challenge of the hands, the pedals always come as a shock to non-players.

Got a couple of friends who are good multi-instrumentalists - and they find the drums almost impossible.


Platinum Member
Well to be fair I "think I can play drums" too-which is debatable in reality-but don't burst my bubble. Perhaps everyone has the "primal urge" to beat the crap out of something every once in a while.

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Perhaps everyone has the "primal urge" to beat the crap out of something every once in a while.
There is absolutely a primal urge to play and hear drums.

I go to two or more open mic jams a week.
When the guitar, keyboard and brass players take a solo, once in a while the audience applauds.
EVERY time there is a drum solo the crowd applauds and cheers.
The first musical instruments used by humans around the world were some form of drums.
And I’m sure you all know about the emotional and therapeutic value of drum circles.

I'm biased obviously, but I think drums are just inherently fun and cooler to sit behind than most instruments.

As the drummer, I do pick up guitars/basses/keyboards and play, so it can go the other way...


Gold Member
I think you see this with piano too, but maybe not as much as drums... I think the fact that one can learn a simple rock beat with almost no formal training or knowledge, makes everyone think that all drumming is that easy.

Funny story: I got hired to play a gig at some island themed night at a club. The band was a singer and a piano player, with a bunch of freelancers like myself.

We got to the gig to setup, soundcheck, and look at some of the charts they had prepared for us. Well the charts were a disaster (not surprisingly). When we got to Agua de Beber, the piano player didn't like the clave the band was using. He offered to show us on the drums. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't play the beat he was trying to describe, and all of us were dying laughing. He eventually wrote out the clave, and we were able to play it, but it was hilarious watching him try to drum it out and fail.


Platinum Member
IMHO, the perpetuation of the drummer stereotype as an out-of-control knuckle-dragger doing circus tricks is mostly to blame. It's not unique to the drumming world - there some "best of" guitarist polls in which some truly mediocre players are voted high because of their showmanship alone - but it certainly is more pronounced.

The casual glance makes the instrument look far simpler than melodic instruments where you have to get fingerings just right. After all, you just hit the things, right?

It's like where you overhear someone at a museum looking at a Jackson Pollock and saying, "Well, I could paint that!" Well, you could maybe haphazardly throw some paint on a canvas, sure. But that's far from all that painting is. Sure, you can beat on drums with sticks. But there's so much more to it than that.

I just pay such people no nevermind. They are buying into foolishness, and I'm not going to ring up their purchase for them.
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Platinum Member
In my circles, I'm the odd one because for the most part I can only play drums and cannot pick up any instrument like most of the guys can. Technically, that's not true, I can play guitar or bass probably about as well as a non drummer can play drums... Which is to say, despite some guitar lessons, I don't "know" how to play them, but have a good ear and rhythm and can make something musical within a few minutes.


Junior Member
So true. Whenever I get up to take a piss or get a beer at rehearsal, someone always jumps on my kit. It is fun seeing people realize just how hard it is to train your limbs to move independent from one another. Makes me feel better about my own chops!


Gold Member
"Why does everyone think they can play drums?"

You know those little crib mounted toys that keep babies occupied? They can bang on them, rattle them, grab the bars and play everything simultaneously.

That's why.

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Last Saturday night I played a large, loud function.. Later into the night I could see a middle aged lady making fun of me to her friend on the dance floor.. She had this dumb look on her face and was mimicking my backbeat with her arm, I assumed it was a "dumb drummer" type comment. I was playing "lonely boy" which actually requires decent concentration for me to stay in time (it's hard for me to keep the tempo when you transition from the train beat to the rock beat).

I thought "screw you, what would you know?" and I probably said it with my eyes too, how rude.

I wouldn't walk into the operating theater while they're giving birth, play down the difficulty of the task or make them feel guilty for not smiling. My beat might be simple theoretically but I have practiced hard and have to give a lot of energy to deal with the pressure of playing live, play a nice beat for my band to play to and for them to dance to.

I teach drums a bit, I watch live bands and I see how many people just don't have the knack. If they think it's easy they're ignorant.


Silver Member
It's human nature, just like every drunk girl at a wedding thinks she can sing "I Will Survive". It looks easy.


"Uncle Larry"
If someone jumped on my set uninvited at a gig (never happened) I would have to shed any niceness in my personality and exercise my right to remove said person from my set.


Platinum Member
Hey how hard can it be-an "actor" was able to play drums in Whiplash and they didn't use special effects-except maybe some blood. LOL