1. Purchase Decent Equipment
There is nothing wrong with buying a used set. It’s the way to go for your first go around, and more importantly are what kind of drum heads you use. I highly recommend: Aquarian Performance II drum heads for all of the tom drums and Aquarian Super Kick II for the kick drum. You can find them at http://www.aquariandrumheads.com/ These drum heads are extremely resilient and their lifespan is much longer than any other skins I have used in the over 23 years of playing drums which means you get to spend more time playing and less time replacing heads and spending more money. They have a wide range in regards to tuning them and they sound amazing across their entire spectrum. They are rich and full on the higher end but what is even more impressive is the fact that I can honestly loosen the lugs until they are almost rattling (and the drum heads still hold tight without ripples) for an impressive low end which will be perfect for your Metallica and Led Zeppelin covers you’ll be ripping. Remo drum heads (com) for the snare drum are always a solid go-to. Tuning your kit will take a lot of time to learn. It’s an art – not something that is taught, so just keep at it. Zildjian are the only cymbals that exist. They are expensive – but there is a reason. You can purchase lower tier cymbals without having to get a second on your mortgage. They’re worth it. Promark 7A’s are a nice beginner stick because they are light and you can work on stick control and consistency. You can work up to a larger stick once you build up some endurance and control. It is always best to shop at your local music store. If you are forced to shop online I recommend Chicago Drum Exchange www.chicagomusicexchange.com. They have great new and used gear, and they are an actual store, with a real location which means when you call them they pick up and provide great customer service and can answer any questions you may have.
2. Put In Time
If you want to get good and by good – I mean great, you’re going to need to put in time. You must dive in head first. That means dedicating at least one hour per day, every day of the week. On the weekends you should try for more if you can. As with anything, practice makes perfect. If you aren’t putting in the time, you won’t see results and with slow rolling results you will lose interest and motivation.
3. Learn Your Favorite Songs
Focus on one thing at a time. All of your limbs will not agree with what you want them to do. It will hurt your brain. Direct your focus on one limb at a time. Listen and try to match by ear. When I first started playing drums I pretended like the kick drum didn’t exist. I didn’t introduce the kick drum until I know longer had to focus on my hand coordination/control/playing. Once I mastered the hands I started working with the kick drum. It made the transition very natural and seamless and overall a lot less overwhelming than if I were trying to figure it all out at once.
4. Take Lessons
Read reviews, go to your local drum shop and ask around, and ask other drummers you know about good drum teachers in the area. There are also great opportunities available to receive drum lessons from famous, professional drummers over FaceTime or Skype. You can PayPal or Venmo them the money for the lesson beforehand. A lot of drummers give lessons while they are traveling on tour. Do your research and if you’re lucky you can catch one of these drummers while they are out on tour and visiting your city. It is always nice to get a head start before taking lessons. If you already know how to play some basic beats and keep time it will make the lessons a little more enjoyable and you’ll save some money. Don’t be afraid to try a few different teachers out before you choose one to stick with. Tell them you have multiple appointments set, and this will avoid hurting feelings or feeling awkward later when you tell them you’ve chosen a different teacher.
5. Join A Band
After you have a handle on the basics join a band with others around your same level of play. If you can play with people that are slightly better than you it will push you to get better yourself. It will also open you up to different ideas/styles. Finding players online from Craigslist or SoundVent is never a bad idea. Playing with people you don’t know forces you to get out of your comfort zone you may find yourself in with people that you know. It is freeing. Even as an adult (when making new friends isn’t at the top of your priority list) it’s amazing what kind of friendships can be built around music.