How long does it take to learn drums?
As a drum teacher, I’ve heard this question a lot.
Are you wondering as well?
Then it’s time to find your answer:
How long will it take you to learn drums?
You might be able to establish basic drumming skills in a few months time.
It’s often said, 3 to 6 months are a good time frame.
Of course, there’s WAY more to learning this lovely bunch of instruments.
The 10,000 Hours Rule
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Maybe you’ve already heard about the 10,000 hours rule.
I’ve read Malcolm Gladwells famous book Outliers* some time ago, thinking a lot about his approach.
Basically, the 10,000 hours rules states that
it takes people around 10,000 hours of practice to become good or even great at something.
However, it won’t surprise you:
If you want to play the drums like a pro, you can expect to practice the right things a lot.
Maybe 10,000 hours.
Or maybe less.
The 10,000 hours rule after all also has its fair share of critics, too.
However, it’s true that you have to practice deliberately if you want to master the drums.
Smart work is the key!
And having fun, of course. 🙂
Can it be that simple?
Talent might be a thing too, but nothing beats a smart & hard worker.
But what if you simply don’t want to be an 10,000 hours + expert at drumming?
What if you just want to play the drums as a hobby?
How long does it take to learn drumming, then?
An Estimation Of How Long It Takes To Learn Drums
In short, there is no overall answer of how long it will take you to learn drums.
Each human being is different.
According to this, each drummer is unique as well.
However, I do want to give you a little overview of how the timeframe for learning to play the drums COULD look like for you.
Please keep in mind:
The following estimation is based on my experience as a 15 years drummer and 9 years + drum teacher.
There are many, many factors to consider such as
- the amount and quality of your drum practice time,
- whether you take drum lessons or not,
- if you’ve already learned an instrument before
- and other individual factors such as your personal goals.
With that said, let’s have a look at possible time frames for learning the drums.
1 Year Of Drumming
After one year of drumming, you will be able to rock some basic beats and easy drum fills.
Also, you probably have learned to read and understand basic note values and rest such as
- quarter notes,
- eighth notes and
- maybe even sixteenth notes.
Perhaps you’ve made your first experiences making music with others, too.
And yes, you can join a band in your first year of drumming!
I did so as well, and this was a neat decision.
So after 1 year of drumming, you have learned a lot of new drum stuff, mostly the basics.
3 Years Of Drumming
Time flies, right?
Already, you’ve been learning the drums for 3 years.
Quite a deal, congratulations. 🙂
Now, you will be able to play a ton more beats and fills, maybe even suitable for different musical genres.
By now, it’s also likely that you’ve mastered several important drumming techniques.
You might also even start to develop your own style of playing the drums.
Also, you will experience way more independence between your hands and feet.
You always wanted to learn how to play double bass drum?
After 3 years of drumming, it’s definitely your time to shine.
Of course, you can start integrating double bass drumming from day 1.
However, I feel a lot of drummers feel ready for doing so after some years of experience.
5 Years Of Drumming
After playing the drums for 5 years, you definitely mastered the basics.
You will play on a solid intermediate level now.
Actually, it’s not too easy to guess you what you’ve learned over the past 5 years of drumming.
There simply will be A LOT, including various
- rhythm structures,
- feelings and drumming techniques
- as well as different music genres.
However, also with half a decade of experience at your back, keep in mind:
There is always something new to learn.
5 + Years Of Drumming
When playing the drums for 5 years and beyond, you’re everything but a newbie.
You nailed your drumming ABC.
Still, there will still be some challenges ahead of you.
Spoiler: There will always be, drumming is a lifelong passion.
So, with an experience of over 5 years, it’s likely that you
- mastered intermediate or even advanced skills,
- are able to have fun with more complex drum styles and techniques
- and you will have built a strong sense of time.
Your internal clock has had a lot of chances to develop. 🙂
Also, more advanced drumming techniques like the finger technique or certain bass drum styles won’t make you nervous anymore.
Maybe you might ask yourself:
Are you already a pro after 5 years?
Could be, but I wouldn’t bet on that after 5 years.
So, How Long Does It Take To Learn Drums, Then ?
We’ve talked about the 10,000 hours in terms of drumming.
We’ve looked into some fancy topics you might have learned after a certain amount of time.
But how long does it take to learn drums, really?
May I keep being honest?
There is no end to this journey.
Basically, you can play the drums from day 1.
You CAN play this instrument literally now.
But you will not have mastered it yet.
This will take you years, more likely decades.
Is this bad news?
If you love drumming, not at all.
We’re in for the long run.
Still something new to learn today.
With this said, I’m off to my rehearsal room.
We have a saying in Germany:
‘Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.‘ literally meaning ‘No expert has fallen out of the sky so far.’
So just keep practicing the drums the smart way.
And, as always, keep up the fun as well.
Take care and cheers,
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