Almost anybody you talk to would say that they or at least somebody they know has some form of musical talent. If you’re looking to learn an instrument quickly, the guitar or the drums are two options that might be fun. However, before you dive in, you might want to first examine the difficulty level of both instruments.
Generally, drums are harder to learn than guitar. With a guitar, a person can learn to play a few simple chords within just a week of taking lessons and practice. With drums, a person has to learn how to coordinate both hands and even their feet before they can play anything recognizable.
Just because drums are slightly more difficult to learn does not mean you should avoid them, it just means you need to prepare to work longer and harder at them. Both instruments require plenty of time and effort, so give it your all, and you’ll become a pro in no time. Here are a few things that might help you get started.
Learning the Drums
Drumming is a pretty different instrument that can make for a fun experience for just about anybody. You’ll just need to carefully gauge how much time you’ll be willing to dedicate as well as the difficulty level you think you’ll be able to handle. Because, as said before, the drums are slightly more difficult to learn than the guitar.
With drums, you have to be prepared to hit different beats at the same time with both your hands and even both of your feet. This can be extremely difficult for a lot of people because the coordination required is much more complicated. However, it’s not impossible and if you apply yourself, you’ll be able to get it down.
To learn the drums, you’ll need to plan and prepare accordingly. First, you should buy the necessary materials (your drum set and mufflers) and prepare your practice space. You should not only put your drumset in a place that is comfortable for you to practice but also a place that isn’t going to drive your neighbors and family crazy.
When you practice, you also ought to practice good form and use a metronome. Your teacher should be able to help you with this. Using a metronome will help you keep your beats steady and regular and even more importantly, you’ll be able to learn how to count much more quickly.
Once you have learned a few basic things, repetition becomes key to your success. Take the time to knock out a regular practicing schedule so you can start to see progress on your drumming journey. Practice regularly and you will quickly start to see a marked improvement in your drumming skill. It might seem like a long road at first, but you’ll be able to improve fast.
Learning the Guitar
Yes, playing the drums is a fun undertaking. However, it’s also possible that the guitar is a little more up your alley. The guitar is just about as different from the drums as it can get, but it’s a pretty great instrument. Plus, it’s slightly easier to learn quickly than the drums are.
With a guitar, all you have to do is learn a few simple chords before you can play a song. If you can learn three chords and get them memorized, you’ll be set to play an easy song. In fact, you’ll probably be able to play multiple songs with those same chords. This can take as little time as a week or two, whereas with the drums, you’ll probably have to spend a little more time on them before you can play anything that sounds like a real beat.
If you are a complete beginner, here is a great place to start!
Just as with the drums, you’ll need to set yourself up with the right guitar, a good teacher, and good practice space. When you learn something new, it’s important that you immediately put it into practice. Repetition is the key if you are determined to become a good guitar player so practice as often as you can.
Teddy Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” You ought not to compare yourself to other people you may know who have a bit more experience. It’s okay for you to start easy, no matter what your age. If you begin at a place where you’re comfortable and slowly work your way up, you’ll be able to learn a tad faster.
Another helpful tip would be to get used to having your fingernails longish and callouses on your fingers. The strings might feel a little painful on your fingers at first but if you keep practicing, you’ll get used to it much more quickly. Keeping your fingernails long will make plucking the strings much easier.
What to Look for in a Guitar or Drum Teacher
At this point, it’s probably a good idea to discuss where you can go to take the appropriate music lessons for yourself. Doing a Google search for “drum teachers in my area” or “guitar teachers in my area” will bring up a list of where you can take lessons.
You may even choose virtual lessons rather than in person, But how do you know you have found the right person for you? Here are some things to look for when considering a teacher.
I know it might seem obvious but your teacher needs to have experience and skill. How long have they been playing? More importantly, how long have they been teaching? Do they have experience with teens, or adults, or children your child’s age. Teaching adults is very different to teaching a 6 year old.
2. Personality and Connection
It is a well known fact that people learn more effectively when they are emotionally engaged in what they are doing. If you have a teacher who is friendly and works well with your child’s personality, then there is a higher chance of success.
People have to enjoy the experience in order to have the greatest opportunity of learning. Some personalities mesh better than others, so ask for a trial lesson just to make sure they are the right teacher for you.
3. Teaching Style
Not all teachers teach in the same way. Some think outside the box and come up with creative ways to help their students learn. Is your potential old school where they teach every student the same way? Or are they creative, tailoring each lesson to that student’s needs?
Every person learns differently so teachers need to be flexible in their approach to ensure a positive learning outcome. If one approach isn’t working effectively, a teacher needs to be able to think on his feet and change strategies to find something that makes sense to the student.
Ask around about the music school or specific teacher you are looking at. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself?
- Do they have online reviews?
- Do you know someone who has been to them and can give you their opinion of them?
- Are they well regarded in the community?
- Do they prepare students for examinations? (if that is what you are looking for)
- Are students who have learned from them able to play the instrument?
- What method do they use? (is there a specific set of books they follow and use or do they just tailor each experience to the individual student?
- What type of music do they teach? (is it the sort that you want to learn?)
Group Lessons or Private Lessons?
Whil there are options or in person or online lessons for private lessons, there are also options of group lessons for both guitar and drums. But which one is right for you?
Advantages of Group Lessons
- Lower cost per lesson
- Group lessons are usually at the beginner level
- Group making music – this can be more fun than doing it one on one
- These types of groups often perform together in recitals and in the community which not only gives you more experience but can be lots of fun
- These are usually given in music schools so if a teacher is away, there is usually another one to take their place rather than cancelling the lesson
- If it is drums, the school will have drumkits available for you to use. If it is guitar, you will still need to bring your own guitar
- Additional skills are learned in a group environment such as heightened auditory skills and ensemble playing
- More diverse playing is possible because there is a group – harmony, ensemble playing, rounds etc
- If you miss a lesson you are behind on what the others have learned
Disadvantages of Group Lessons
- You need to learn the music the rest of the group is learning (less flexibility)
- You may fall behind the others and there is no individual instruction to help you keep with the group
- Because the group needs to stay together, it may be limiting you in your learning (if you were capable of learning more quickly)
- The fact that group lessons are usually at a beginner level can also be a disadvantage if you are more advanced
Advantages of Private Lessons
- You are on the same instrument each week so you get used to it and how it sounds/works
- You get one on one instruction so you will learn more quickly
- Each lesson can be tailored specifically to your needs
- You can learn the type of music you want to learn
- If you miss a lesson you are not going to be behind on your learning as you will just pick up from where you left as the last lesson attended
Disadvantages of Private Lessons
- They cost more
- Teachers often operate on their own so if they are sick, the lesson is cancelled and you miss it for that week
- No group music making
Regardless of which instrument or what type of lesson you choose, there is enjoyment waiting for you! It takes diligence, consistency and motivation, but with weekly practice, you will be playing your new instrument in no time.