Starting Off

Getting Started
There are several things the beginning drummer should have. The drive to learn to play is powerful.  It takes patience and should not be overlooked.  It will take time to learn to do this.  You will learn step by step concepts and ideas that will aid in your development.  However it is up to the individual to put in the time necessary to develop these skills.  It will not come overnight.  You will see your resulting improvement based on the time you have spent practicing. 

Stick selection
The beginning drummer should start with a medium sized stick.  Perhaps a 5a or 5b sized stick.  These are in the middle of the wide variety of sizes available these days.  Sizes range from Corps/ 2a to 7a.  The smaller the number the thicker the stick.  A thicker stick will provide more power and volume due to it’s size.  It may however lack the finesse of a smaller stick.  To contrast, a thinner stick will be easier to manipulate, but may not have the power of a heavier stick.  Generally rock drummers prefer a thicker and heavier stick for power and volume.  A jazz combo drummer would prefer a thinner stick that’s easier to play faster and busier patterns with more finesse.

Practice Equipment
A practice pad and metronome are some other essentials.  These are the three most important things that the beginner should possess.  There are many brands and types of each for all price ranges.  Some valuable features available in the higher end metronomes include beat subdivisions and odd time meters.  I recommend checking out some at your local shop and see what works for you. 

There is a multitude of drums and drumming media available including books, magazines, dvds, videos.  It’s amazing how inspiring it can be to read a drumming magazine and see the pros describe their experiences or describe a particular exercise.  There are interviews with today’s hottest players as well as product reviews and clinics.  Often within the interview, there is diagram of the drumkit played.  This can give the beginner set-up ideas.  Watching a video of a great player giving a lesson is something that can be watched over and over and analyzed.  The advantage of this is the ability to go back and rewind sections you wish to learn, or fast forward through long dialog.  Do your research.  Be it listening, observing, reading, or otherwise, it will help you to improve yourself as a drummer.