Want to play the drums but don't know where to start?
Picking up any musical instrument can be overwhelming for anyone, and when it comes to the drums, there are a heap of drum parts, hardware and other essentials you need to learn about if you want to get good at the instrument. And we haven't even talked about what brand of drums you should buy!
This is a quick guide for anyone who wants a brief look at the types of drums that exist, as well as some popular drumming styles to get you started. Let's rock 'n' roll.
What are the main types of drums?
Generally, drums are classified into one of three types: acoustic, electric, and world (international) drums. This is quite a brief categorisation of drums, considering the fact that there are numerous types of drums in existence! Drum sets, marching drums, frame drums, goblet drums... the list goes on.
Playing the drums can give you a grand look into the amazing history of this percussion instrument. Let's inspect these three main types right away.
When drummers speak of acoustic drums, they are referring to a drum set that consists of drum heads and metal cymbals that are played as one instrument, producing vibrant and dynamic sounds. In this drum set you'll find:
- Bass drum
- Snare drum
- Tom toms
- Cymbals, which include the hi-hat, crash cymbal and ride cymbal
- Pedals and other drum hardware
Musicians often speak of acoustic drums when they are looking to produce the best sound depths. However, due to the large space an acoustic drum set will take up (and possible noise constraints), many drum enthusiasts would contemplate these next types of drums.
These are also called digital or electronic drums. While they may not have the depth of sound that acoustic drums have, you will get to play more versatile sounds while maintaining a compact practice space. In an electric drum set, you'll see:
- Drum pads
- Cymbal pads
- Drum module, for producing sounds
- Pedals and other hardware
Most electric drum sets also come with a built-in metronome, which is an added bonus if you are just starting out and haven't figured out which drumming styles you want to pursue. Other than electric drums, you will also come across special drums that are specific to certain parts of the world.
This is my favourite category of drums because it goes to show that there is no one way of learning how to play the percussion! Virtually every country has their own drum types and drumming styles, which you will likely only be able to learn authentically if you visit these places.
Unique drumming skills are required to be able to play the world drums, which may look like hand drums, steel tongue drums or even talking drums (which can sound like someone humming)! We'll get more into these interesting world drums later. First, let's look at some famous drumming styles for acoustic and electric drums.
How many drumming styles are there?
We've mentioned acoustic and electric drums for this section as these are the types of drums you would look to if you wanted to try out different styles of drumming. As there are distinctive, individual techniques used to play world drums, we're going to focus on some popular drumming styles that can offer you some variety if you are just learning drums for beginners.
These are just some of the greatest drumming styles and genres.
If you enjoy loud, intense drum grooves, this could be the style for you. While rock music is all about power, you must also master when to "pull back" for quieter parts of the song. Nonetheless, since rock is most often played in a 4/4 beat, you don't have to expect many complex rhythms. Think of Ringo Starr from The Beatles as someone you could learn rock from.
Pop music is fairly easy to learn on the drums as it is frequently structured, but it is also an all-around drumming style since pop trends are always changing. Just like playing rock, you'll find yourself focusing on dynamic control (a kind of volume control, crucial for producing the desired sound). The bass drum and snare drum are especially important in pop.
Turn to this genre if you're looking to grab attention or play catchy tunes. Steady, syncopated beats are characteristic of blues music, and the drummer usually relies on a 12/8 pattern. You need to remain flexible in this drumming style as the blues drums are often improvised upon by other musicians.
You can check out these lessons with drum professionals in Kuala Lumpur if you are interested in any of these musical genres for drums.
Learning drums around the world
So maybe the above popular drumming styles aren't for you, and you're thinking of learning drums from cultures outside of your own. Well, here are some drums you can learn if you want to try out musical genres from outside of Malaysia.
You may have seen this box drum around, but it actually has its origins in Peru. Primarily used in Afro-Peruvian music, the cajon is played by "slapping" the front or rear faces of the drum with one's hands, fingers, and sometimes even brushes or mallets. The cajon is also sat on by the musician.
Twin hand drums of Indian origin, each half of the tabla (known as the tabla and the bayan) are slightly different in size and shape. Fingers and palms are used to create different sounds, with the left hand used to play the bayan and the right one for the tabla. Up to 30 different tones can be produced by this instrument!
This instrument from Cuba is mostly associated with Latin music, including salsa, merengue, and Afro-Cuban jazz. You can play one on its own, or even play two or more as a set. Combinations of drumming techniques such as slaps, finger strokes and mutes are played on the conga while the drummer is standing.
You may need further drum equipment and resources to play these world drums. Apart from these hand drums, you may want to pick up the benefits of learning drums from other places...
Learning drums in Malaysia
You can't say world drums without thinking of the varieties that exist right here in our own country. The types of drums and their drumming styles as pointed out below started out in different regions of Malaysia. This is the moment I can say that I am proud to be anak Malaysia!
24 Festive Drums
You may have thought this drum came from China, but interestingly the 24 Festive Drums originated in Johor Bahru, during the year 1988. Essentially tied with traditional performance, percussionists of the 24 Festive Drums must also be ready to master cultural dance and some martial arts. Talk about taking drumming to the next level!
Also known as Gendang Melayu Sarawak, it is known that the tradition of "bergendang" exists only in this part of East Malaysia. Apart from being used in dance, ceremonies and cultural celebrations, the gendang is also sometimes used as an accompaniment to silat, a martial art style indigenous to Southeast Asia.
Now then, how about taking up world drums lessons with a drum tutor in Selangor?
How to master drumming styles
You can master the drumming style of your dreams.
Did you know you'll be able to enjoy the health benefits of playing drums even from your first drum lesson?
Perhaps you want to pick up the acoustic drums, or one of the famous world drums. With all these variations of drum types and styles, it could be a lot just to choose even one drum type to play. At this point, it would be smart to consult a drum professional, like a Superprof drum instructor.
Not only are Superprof drum instructors ready to help you find your drumming style, but they can also teach you about all the drum essentials and techniques you need to know. You can then pick up the drum basics quickly, especially if you are learning drums for beginners.
These aren't the only benefits of learning drums that you'll get with a Superprof tutor, though. At Superprof, we emphasise fitting the tutor to your needs. This means you can search for your ideal drum instructor by price range, certification, student reviews, and even if you're thinking of learning drums online or offline.
You can expect a reply from your Superprof drum instructor within the same day. After signing up with Superprof and making use of your Superprof Student Pass, you can message your tutor to schedule a date for your first lesson and share further contact details. This will allow you to swiftly organise your drum lessons with your tutor.
With over 900 drum instructors on Superprof, you are sure to find your sole drumming style!
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