The essential setup: drum sticks and drum pad
So much of what we practice on the drums is technique. The drum practice pad is perfect for this.
Drummers of all levels never outgrow the utility of the drum pad. And it is extremely low cost!
Drum pads are excellent for practicing:
- Rudiments (drum roll, flam, paradiddle)
- Snare drum solos
- Volume/Speed control exercises
These three books will each help you learn all three!
And when you are taking online drum lessons, focusing in on your technique is a great and simple way to go. That will give you and your drum teacher can real focus in on the fundamentals.
The benefits of this setup are that you won’t have to worry too much about your camera setup. You won’t have to worry about balancing the volume of your voice with an acoustic drum or drum set.
A better setup for your independence: Use an electronic drum set
After fundamental technique, the next most important thing we work on is interdependence. That is the timing of all four limbs on the drum set.
Your arms and legs will sometimes play both in time together, and sometimes against each other. It depends on the beat or rhythm you are playing.
This coordination is very hard to learn on a drum pad.
Either way, an electronic drum kit provides realistic triggers and pedals for you to practice your interdependence and timing.
Here are the benefits of using an electronic drum set for your online lessons:
- Low profile, compact, portable
- Low and adjustable volume
- Use headphones to easily hear during your online lesson
- Low cost
- Practice the full range of motions needed for true independence
When you buy your electronic drum set, be sure that is has an audio out via a USB drive so that you can connect it to your computer. Otherwise, your teacher might not hear you so well. See this article about connecting your electronic drums to a computer.
This is a better option for your learning. But it does take a few extra steps to get set up online. So be sure to test your setup before starting your online lessons. This way you’ll be sure not to waste any time when you are with your teacher.
Best option: Acoustic Drum Set
To get the most out of your online drum lessons, having a true acoustic instrument is the best possible option.
Real drums have a sensitivity that electronic drums can’t recreate, so your musicality will be best expressed on an acoustic set. Like the electronic drums, you get to work on your independence and timine. Plus you get to work on your musical expressiveness.
Acoustic drum sets are larger and louder than the other options, so this may not be practical for you. And you’ll need to find a good way to mic the drums for your online lesons.
Consider the Ludwig Breakbeats, designed by none other than Questlove, for an entry level drum kit that is compact and has a decent sound. Note that cymbals aren’t included in this package. I have played this kit personally, and it’s really a perfect beginner kit.
If you are looking for a better sound, you might try the Gretch Catalina Club. It’s a little more expensive, but its still compact and has a better sound.
The benefits of using an acoustic drum set for your online lessons:
- Play real drums. So satisfying!
- Practice your independence and full range of sound
- Develop your musical expression
When using an acoustic set, you’ll have to work a little bit more to get the right setup. You’ll need to be sure that
- Your camera captures your arms and legs in full view (You also need a big enough room to move the camera far enough away.)
- Your laptop or ipad isn’t so far away that you can’t see your teacher
- You can clearly hear your teacher and your teacher can clearly hear you
Video and audio equipment for online drum lessons
- A laptop (larger screens are best)
- An internet connection with at least a 5Mbs connection (We recommend 10mbps if you can.)
- Video chat software: Google Hangouts Meet, Google Duo, Skype, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, or another quality app
- Headset with earphones and microphone
- Notebook and writing utensil
A Helping Hand:
Throughout your online lessons, your drum teacher will be there to assist in all aspects of set up, practicing, and note-taking.
From the very beginning, they will help ensure that your set up is working, your hands are in view, and you are in a comfortable position to play the drums.
This is especially true if you are working with a Sage Music teacher. We take great pride in providing the best music lessons and customer service.