23rd May, 2018

2018's Ultimate Beginner Drummer Essentials To Help You Boss The Beats

By Rachael S

If you're a beginner drummer looking to become a beat prodigy, or looking to explore all the ways you can learn the drums like a pro, you're in the right place. 

In the US alone,  250,000 new drum kits are sold every year. There’s a whole lot of unrealised musicians worldwide looking to give Bonham, Grohl or Carpenter a run for their money. We've put together our ultimate list of top-rated beginner drummer essentials to help you get there.

The drum is mankind's oldest instrument, and rhythms best friend. In fact, the modern drum kit has evolved since its first appearance back in 6000 BC. However, there are still millions of people around the world learning to be their own kind of drummer, some self-taught, many learning in school,  and thousands benefitting from awesome drum tutors.

Our top-rated drumming YouTube channels are perfect if you're the kind of learner who picks up skills best by watching video tutorials. If awesome drumming apps are your thing, and you happen to be on the lookout for help, we've got your back with our list of apps a beginner drummer needs. 

Alternatively, these drumming blogs and magazines will inspire you to persevere on your drum learning journey.  You'll find wonderful advice, like this gem of inspiration from Adam Osmianski over at That Drum Blog;

When you're playing, gigging, practicing whatever, don't waste your mental energy thinking about what you could have done better before, wish you could do better now, or what someone else can do better than you.

Rather, put that focus into the music you're playing right now, and make the best music you can make with the skills you have today"

We’ve even done our research and found that speaking to others mastering the beats can be incredibly productive, and one of the best ways to learn the drums. 

Drumming forums are invaluable platforms for drummers of all abilities. The websites give you the opportunity to read and contribute to informative threads on key aspects of drum mastery, from technique to news on up-and-coming musicians. 

As well as all these essential tools, we’ve found some top-rated electronic drum kits for beginners (all too aware that you might not want to bother your neighbours with your beginner beats just yet.)

Know what you’re looking for already? Check out our handy quick links:

Top YouTube Videos to Learn to Play the Drums

Drumming Apps Every Beginner Needs

Inspiring Drumming Blogs and Magazines

Useful Drumming Books for Beginners

Best Value Electronic Drum Kits for Beginners 

Top YouTube Videos to Learn to Play the Drums

Learn Some Drums

LearnSomeDrums offers fast-paced breakdowns of the drum parts to heaps of different songs. Beginner drummers can quickly identify specific techniques, beats and drum fills that they need to work on in order to jam along to their favourite tunes. 

With drum notation in each video and each part played slowly first and then at speed, these videos are a great way to learn a whole bunch of new drumming ideas.

Favourite YouTube comment 
That was so helpful. You explained every single part so well. Great work, great drummer !!! Thank you so much" - Jena

The Drum Professor

Jeremy Donson AKA The Drum Professor provides a detailed breakdown of drum parts to popular songs on his popular YouTube channel. He focuses on instilling proper fundamental technique to build solid foundations, instead of breaking bad habits later down the road.

Jeremy is a Carnegie Hall certified drum instructor with over 20 years experience. The Drum Professor's innate ability not only to play great music but to teach it in a simple easy to learn way shines through in his videos. 

The channel is an awesome learning resource for drummers across the globe, accommodating students from all skill levels whilst keeping them engaged in the learning process.

Favourite YouTube comment
 Just discovered your channel and spent the whole afternoon watching your lessons, Excellent stuff!" - LEE ZO

Drum Beats Online

Drum Beats Online takes a straightforward approach with drum lessons where they treat beginners like... beginners. 

Anyone learning to play the drums will really appreciate that time is taken to fully explain every beat, concept, and term in a visually captivating and entertaining way, making sure that no drummer gets left confused or discouraged.

The team takes this one step further by being the only drum lesson YouTube channel to respond to almost every single question or comment, written by students in the comment section. The goal of the channel is to help beginner drummers succeed - and it’s pretty clear to see that it’s working! 

Favourite YouTube comment
I just started playing like 3 days ago and you’re really helpful! I’m so happy you understand what “beginner” means! Keep making these cause they’re great!" - Charlotte

DW Drums 

Aligned with the wonderfully confident mission statement: “solving problems for drummers”, the DW Drums YouTube channel offers a continuously updated database of; exclusive performances, gear spotlights, educational content, interviews and more featuring some of the world’s foremost performers and educators.

Founded in 1972, DW Drums is a family-owned and operated musical instrument company based in Oxnard, California which is best known for designing and manufacturing award-winning drums, pedals, hardware, and accessories.

Favourite YouTube comment
This is the greatest story I've ever heard. Even morgan freeman couldn't narrate this story better" - Correy Walvatne

Beginner Drums

Beginner drums is a channel dedicated to drum learners getting to grips with the sticks. The videos are invaluable for everyone starting out and inspired to create some banging beats. From setting up your drum kit to nailing your first drumming exercises, there’s no stone left unturned on the channel for every inquisitive learner!

Favourite YouTube comment 
Help! I followed your instructions, became a drumming boss and now my neighbors are filing a law suit. Do you have an instructional video on how to defend myself in court?" - Andrew 


Drumming Apps Every Beginner Needs

DrumJam from Pete Lockett

“One of the most important aspects of our vision for the app was the instant hands-on experience for the user.”

Even if you’re a beginner lacking in detailed technical knowledge, this intuitive app will help you start exploring the sounds of drums and percussion and see how all the tones and elements work together. An easily flick to information pages enables you to find all about the instruments, where they are from, and how they are played.

The cornerstone of all drumming apps is how each individual component fits together. This app ties every feature together clearly and simply, whilst still having the more complicated elements available for the advanced user.

Favourite app store review 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

There is so much to work with like pitch, tempo, placement, eq, effects, loops it give you more flexibility to create your own hybrid sounds and rhythms.

Different Drummer from Techne Media

Different Drummer is a powerful rhythmic music generator. The app taps into the primal source of all rhythm - using the natural cyclical rhythms found in waves to control all aspects of music. Separate waves, control dynamics, rests, ties, and pitch.

The result is an infinite exploration of drum possibilities that can range from tribal to purely electronic. It’s simple to get started with the app. The rich feature choices can be quite challenging to master, sort of like surfing, but using the app is a lot of fun and you’ll learn so much about music along the way.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

The musical possibilities you can whip up with this baby are vast, to say the least."

Check out the app

Simple Drums Rock from TPVapps

Making a drum app for small smartphone screen is not an easy task. Luckily, Simple Drum’s developers are musicians and drummers, which has allowed them to create a realistic drum app which is easy and comfortable to use.

The app features multi-touch support, 4 different drum sets, 25 realistic percussion sounds, superb animated effects and much more!

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This is amazing, it's my dream come true without having to pay a lot of money for a real drum set and for the sake of your ears."

Polynome by Joe Crabtree

PolyNome is the brainchild of expert drummer Joe Crabtree. The app is the ultimate practice tool and drum metronome, with plenty of awesome features to guide you through practice, rhythm composition and live performance. You can program any rhythm, assign sounds to create full grooves and access hundreds of presets in the free public library. We can’t get enough of it!

Favourite app store review 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This app has changed my drumming life. Great balance of intuitive solutions and user tailoring. Love it love it love it!

Check out the app

Elastic Drum from MoMinstruments

Oliver Greschke’s Elastic Drums app has no intention to simulate a real drum kit, but old and new drum machines, with a rather electronic sound. This makes it just ideal for experiential beginner drummers setting out to produce their own unique beats and rhythms.

In the app, you’ll find 6 channels of high-quality drum sounds, a step sequencer, and 4 effect channels. The interface may be daunting for an absolute novice, so we love that the manual is easily accessible and lists what each parameter does for each synth engine.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

No matter the genre your into, this app kills it.

Download Now: Apple

Virtual Drumming

VirtualDrumming is more than a game. The app has been created to simulate a real drumming experience, tested and loved by professionals across the globe.

You can play a complete drum set on the intuitively designed graphics interface. Drumsticks follow every finger movement, so you can easily improvise awesome drum solos.



Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

I’ve been a drummer off and on all my life, and I can say from my personal experience that this app is pretty great.

Patterning: Drum Machine from Olympia Noise Co.

An award-winning app as glorious as it is powerful. Patterning is an elegantly designed beat-making tool that’s seriously inspiring for beginners and pros alike. Explore your rhythmic creativity whilst composing grooves across a variety of genres.

Use deep built-in effects - reverb, delay, distortion to create intricate beats and arrange patterns on a timeline to compose your own tunes.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Great update with the user emporium of drum kits. All around this is, hands down, my favorite and most used drum machine app on the ipad."

Drums by Asrodot

I think we can all agree on one thing, the drum kit isn't the most portable of an instrument on the planet. In an ideal world, we’d just press a button and our beat machine would shrink to keyring size for us to whip out and jam at every available moment. But whilst our favourite instrument does not have the convenience power of a harmonica, there are apps that can simulate the real thing pretty well.

Drums by Asrodot uses every available millimetre on your phone to allow you to make drumming on your phone come to life, with every pixel sounding just a little different. The app has been designed for both right-handed and left-handed drummers, whilst the loop recorder allows you to record drum loops to send to iTunes, Soundcloud or AudioCopy.

Favourite app review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

The app for anyone who has drummed their fingers on a table - and who hasn't! A good selection of sounds and effects, uncluttered and easy to learn. Encourages experimentation which results in sometimes surprising rhythms."

Download now: Apple

Drum Solo HD from Batalsoft

You can play this intuitive multi-touch acoustic drum kit with your fingers on your phone or tablet. A free game with fast responses, a vast sound bank, and recording functions. The ideal beat companion to liven-up that road trip to your very first solo drum gig at Wembley (confidence is key.)

Favourite app store review  

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 

Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood job"

BeatHawk from UVI

Okay so BeatHawk is not strictly a drum machine, but a Beat making app (superbly useful for rhythm lovers!).

An app for every music lover. BeatHawk will be your very own portable music production studio, packed with high-quality UVI sounds, effects and numerous exporting functions that make sharing compositions with friends super easy. With high-quality pitch and time stretching and a 16 track sequencer with up to 6 patterns per part, you’ll be a beat prodigy in no time.

BeatHawk rivals desktop products in pure sonic power, and gives you the opportunity to transfer your composition via iCloud, Google Drive, DropBox or OneDrive.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

I consider Beathawk an essential app in the pantheon of iOS music making brilliance. Elite."

Spotlight Drums from Pocket Glow

If you haven't quite made the big-time, there’s no reason why you can’t feel like you’ve made it to the top of the drumming game on your very own phone.

Rock out on the app on a fully animated drum kit on a real stage. With a clear development focus on style and substance, the app features your choice of 10 drum kits, awesome 3D graphics, and moving color-changing stage lighting.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Amazing man, I'm glad I downloaded this app!"

iDrumTune

iDrumTune is a lifesaver for beginner drummers, who find it very difficult to understand and practically attempt drum tuning, which requires an experienced ear and some knowledge about the way drums create sound too.

Drum tuning is sometimes referred to as a ‘dark art’ because it is actually a lot more difficult than tuning a guitar, for example, owing to the fact there are two drumheads each with between 6-10 tuning lugs around the perimeter. iDrumTune makes it very simple for beginner drummers to learn how to install new drumheads and tighten each tuning lug so that the head is evenly tensioned around the drum - this gives it a sound smooth and rich tone when hit. 

The app allows students to experiment with tuning setups and in doing so learn about the acoustics of drums, for example, it is possible to tune to specific musical notes with iDrumTune and hence tune each drum to a unique pitch that makes fills sound exciting and musical. The app never grows old and continues to be a valuable tool as drummers become more proficient - many professional drummers use iDrumTune to ensure their kit sounds exactly the same at different gigs, or in the studio or to move quickly between different tunings for perhaps a Jazz gig one night and a Rock gig the next night.

The app is therefore intended to accelerate the learning of drum tuning but acts as a go-to precision tool that is beneficial to the most experienced of drummers too.

Favourite app store review 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 

Great app for on-the-go drum tuning, both in the studio and on the road."

Download Now: Apple, Android

Funkbox Drum Machine from Synthetic Bits

This quirky, old-school app contains awesome vintage drum machine sounds for you to compose, record and play your own music. We love every one of the fourteen classic boxes you can choose on Funkbox, including favorites like the 808, MRK-2, DX and TOM.

It’s resounding simplicity and advanced features have made it popular with many musicians worldwide who use it to make a variety of music styles, including Gorillaz, Reggie Pace and has even been used on stage by Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) live in concert.

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Over all this is a nice drum machine app. User-friendly. Nice authenticity."

Real Drum from Kolb Apps

This app is ideal if you’re a beginner thinking of taking up the drums, but maybe lack the room for an entire drum kit in your home. You can even customize the pads of the application with your own sounds and images.

Made for drummers, professional musicians, amateurs or beginners. Play it anytime, anywhere to test your beat skills!

Favourite app store review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

I love using this app to see how ideas I have for a drum track in a song would sound."

Inspiring Drumming Blogs and Magazines

Tom Tom Mag

Tom Tom is the world’s favourite go-to guide for the latest information about girl drummers and beat makers around the globe. In fact, it is the only magazine dedicated to fabulous female drummers and percussionists. The 74-page full-color quarterly print magazine, website and community serves millions of aspiring drummers, and inspires women and girls to drum.

The team say it best;

We are strengthening and building the community of otherwise fragmented female musicians.”

And we are forever grateful. Check them out!

Madame Gandhi: Drummer and Activist

Whilst we’re on the topic of inspirational female percussionists, you need to check out the fabulous work of drummer, producer and activist Madame (Kiran) Gandhi.

Born in 1989, former M.I.A drummer Gandhi has certainly made waves in the imperative feminist movement through her music and activism.

Madame Gandhi is proof personified that drumming can propel your voice to the world’s stage and really make a difference to causes close to your heart. Make sure you check out her blog to follow her journey.

I am a drummer whose mission is to elevate and celebrate the female voice." - Madame Gadhi

Sick Drummer Magazine

2018 marks the 10th anniversary of Sick Drummer Magazine - an inspiring online content hub for drummers at every proficiency level.

The magazine is the first interactive drum magazine to focus on covering extreme drumming. With a community spanning over 100 countries, the team continues to push boundaries every day to produce insightful features, interviews, videos and drumming news coverage.

Pro Drum Blog

ProDrumBlog is a great place to see up-and-coming drummers, new book and DVD releases, and find a hand-selected library of favorite albums. Beginners can dive in and learn more about the drum world in general, while seasoned pros can find some hidden gems.

DRUM!

DRUM! was first distributed as a free magazine in 1991, providing essential industry news and content to inspired Californians.

Today, the magazine is available both online and through subscription, with plenty of awesome content to rouse your inner Ringo. You’ll find insightful editorials on how to build your own soundproof home studio, and regular “Groove Analysis” posts providing exciting readings of music and composition, to ensure that no drummer finds themselves stuck in a music rut again.

That Drum Blog

Adam Osmianski is a freelance drummer and percussionist originally from Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Adam currently resides in London and updates his blog on a regular basis with fascinating insights for beginner drummers.

His topics range from cross-cultural drum techniques to beginner centric “how-to” drumming posts and editorial commentary on his projects as a session musician. We particularly love his Weekly Wisdom blog posts: excerpts of motivation wisdom from notable figures in history, that are interspersed throughout the blog to motivate every beginner musician.

One of our favourite “Weekly Wisdoms” is his personal commentary of an interview with jazz pianist Bill Evans

Check out the blog

Francesco's Drumming Blog

Francesco provides free and accurate drum transcriptions from rock to funk, latin and jazz, useful to study an exact style or drummer.

All materials are displayed within a user-friendly interface, including a section dedicated to exercises, featuring drumset application, hands workout, and reading exercise. Francesco even offers a fabulous drum transcription requests service.

Check out the blog

Modern Drummer

A schedule of content produced across over 35 educational departments, written by leaders in the drumming industry, offers practical playing tips and advice on topics that encompass every juncture of drumming - from learning to professional musicianship.

Every month, the magazine features eye-opening interviews with talented drummers from many genres of popular music. Conversations delve deep into technique, music theory, and revolutionary products to help you become the best drummer you can be.

Useful Drumming Books for Beginners 

That Drum Thing


The drummer is usually the least well-known member of any band. Yet behind every frontman is the person keeping the beat, and often acting as the music’s driving force. In these incredible portraits, Deirdre O’Callaghan places drummers squarely in the spotlight.

Photographing her subjects in their private rehearsal spaces and residences — from studios, bedrooms and basements to garages and gardens allows her to capture the true essence of their personalities and lifestyles.

 She has photographed almost 100 celebrated musicians for the book, drummers who have been the driving force behind the best music of the last 60 years, including Dave Grohl, Mark Guiliana, Steve Jordan, Jim Keltner, Airto Moreira, Larry Mullen Jr, Neil Peart, Questlove, Jim Sclavunos, Ringo Starr, Lars Ulrich, Joey Waronker and Jack White. Each image is accompanied by excerpts from O’Callaghan’s personal conversations with the drummers." 

- Prestel Publishing

Check out the book

Slammin' Simon Books

Both Slammin' Simon books (his "Guide to Mastering Your First Rock & Roll Drum Beats" and his "20 Essential Drum Rudiments") are designed with young students in mind.

There are many fantastic drum instructional books on the market, but a lack of resources that are truly kid-focused. The cool illustrated character, Slammin' Simon, has a turtle sidekick named Rudi (short for "rudiments," the building blocks of drumming), who hangs around to regularly remind students to practice slowly.

The language and tone of these books are relaxed, fun, age-appropriate and engaging to young drummers. Teamed up with a quality private instructor, Simon and Rudi can get children performing percussion in no time!

Check out the books

Beginner Drumming Forums and Communities

Online Drummer

An incredibly useful platform to discuss all things drum with like-minded musicians. This thread, in particular, has 7 pages full of advice to help new drummers. Here are some of our favourites:

1. Set goals for yourself. Start out with easy goals and then work on the harder things later. But don't get frustrated if you don't accomplish thing right away.
2. Try listening or watching something new as often as you can.
3. Learn to read sheet music and tab. Reading music is like knowing another language, and you have a better chance of being asked to play with other musicians.
4. Reach for the earplugs or ear defenders, before you do anything else. Drumming will damage your hearing if you don't protect your ears.
5. Don't feel you have to spend a lot of money on your equipment. Get a decent kit that you can afford - there’s plenty.

DW Official Discussion Forum

This is the official forum of Drummerworld. Here you’ll find general drum discussion from around the world, drum technique advice written by seasoned pros and news and updates from the industry. The forum provides a solid resource and advice foundation for beginner drummers with tonnes of burning drum-related questions!

Drummer Cafe

Drummer Cafe features articles and commentary from the music industry, as well as special reports from drum and percussion related shows, festivals, conventions, events and more.

Best Value Electronic Drum Kits For Beginners

ION Audio Redline Drums



ION Audio Redline Drums is our number 1 pick for beginner drummers. In addition to 200 sounds, the drums have a built-in drum coach with play-along patterns and exercises to improve your beat skills.

Stereo 1/4 inch outputs on the kit allow you to easily connect to an amplifier or sound system. If you prefer to make a little less noise during practice, with the 1/8 inch headphone output, you can play anytime, day or night. Using the same output, it’s super easy to connect your phone to create your own rhythms to complement all your favourite songs.

Unsurprisingly, ION Redline Drums is an Amazon bestseller and top pick for beginner drummers across the world.

Price: £174.07
Favourite drums review

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Nervous to buy something so expensive online but needed a kit to practise on at home where the noise wouldn't drive the family mad - fantastic kit!"

Alesis CompactKit 4 Portable Electronic Drum Kit

A top pick for the younger generation of drummers, this tabletop kit is great if you’re interested in seeing whether you have a flair for the rhythm!

The Alesis CompactKit 4 is just ideal if you're looking to sharpen your skills. Just like the Redline drums, the kit features an inbuilt music coach that shows you how to tap along to songs and rhythms. What’s more, the built-in game function brings an added measure of fun to the experience of learning how to play.

Price: £59.00
Favourite drums review 

Rating:☆☆☆☆☆

My son is a drummer but his flat isn't big enough to set out his drums. I bought these as little extra Christmas gift. He was impressed (which is huge.) Very pleased all round!

Customer Favourite Drumming Shops

Graham Russell Drums

An independent music store with a loyal UK following, Graham Russell Drums is a drum-lovers haven. The customer experience offered on the website is second to none. For the benefit of drum novices, we particularly love that there is a dedicated team on-hand to help you set up your new (or used) drum in your own home.

As well as a great value product offering, the store is known to host drumming masterclasses with professional musicians from across the UK.

Favourite store testimonial
Not only my fave second-hand drum store, but my fave drum store of any kind!” - Jon Simpson

Drum Shop UK

The Drum Shop first opened its doors in 1991 in Pelaw, Gateshead. In nearly 20 years, they’ve expanded their 2nd hand product repertoire to include a plethora of new and pre-loved high-quality instruments, accessories and hardware.

Superb range of drums, cymbals, hardware & accessories... all at the very best prices.... staff are always keen & friendly & will assist you in any way they can.... its a drummers paradise!"

Check out the Drum Shop UK

Drum Shack

With 20 years in business and rated 5 shiny stars on Trustpilot, Drum Shack is a specialist vintage drum shop with an impressive range of instruments and accessories for beginners to pros. All products on their site regularly price matched, and even better value once you consider that free delivery is available for all orders over £99.

In their own words: We are the one stop shop for the modern working musician.

Favourite store testimonial
Everyone I spoke to did exactly as they said, in a timely manner, with the best advice."


Drumming has helped carve out new waves of music and genres that have become the undercurrent to our society and culture. 

You are more than just a rhythm maker. Your skills are rewarded with the transcendent ability to punctuate and lead nuances in a song. So remember to have faith in your talent - you're awesome!

If you think we've missed any other essential apps, videos, websites for beginner drummers, feel free to drop an email to rachael@tutorful.co.uk.

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