Are you interested in online drum lessons? It can be difficult to know exactly where to start when trying to learn how to play the drums on the internet. Is it worth the money? Are there free alternatives available? How does it all work? This guide will break down the pros and cons of learning to play the drums online and help you decide whether it’s right for you.
*Note: Click the link to skip ahead to our detailed review of Drumeo Edge, our pick as the best online drumming resource available*
Where to Begin with Online Drum Lessons – Determine your Skill Level
The first step in deciding whether or not you want to begin learning drums on your computer is to determine what skill level you are at. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or an advanced player, there is something available for you, but it could change which program you are interested in.
I find that most online lessons lean towards the beginner and intermediate level students, however if you are an advanced player, you should have no problem learning new techniques and practice routines.
Some programs can be tailored to certain skill levels, so it’s important to know where you are, and what you want to learn. If you aren’t sure, don’t worry, I will detail the best program available that works well for all levels later in the article.
Determine your Budget
Learning to drum is not a cheap endeavor. Remember that not only will you need to pay for a drum course, but you will also need something to practice on.
Lessons of any sort are near useless without the ability to practice what you’ve learned. So before you go jumping into any online drum courses, it’s important to consider all of the expenses you’ll have.
Firstly, you will need a drum kit of some sort to practice on. This can either be an acoustic or an electric kit. These will range in price from roughly $300-5000 or even more depending on your “appetite”.
If you are just starting out, I always recommend purchasing the cheapest drum set you can find. Check craigslist, or find a used instrument dealer in your area when buying.
If you go the acoustic drums route, you will also need to supply the kit with hardware, cymbals, a bass drum pedal, throne, and some sticks. Sometimes these are all included with the purchase of the drums, sometimes not.
After you have all the equipment needed, if you still have money left over, it’s time to find some lessons. If you’re on a tight budget, but still really want to learn how to play the drums, you’re in luck. Online drum courses are relatively inexpensive and will range you from $20-50/month. Private lessons are a greater cost, and will usually run you around $120-250/month.
Consider Using Free Drum Lessons from YouTube
What would the internet be without free content? If you are just looking for some new ideas or are looking for a free way to test the waters, you can find a ton of drum videos on YouTube. You could spend years trying to get through all of the free content available and you’d still never see the end.
Additionally, most of the best free lessons on YouTube come from the paid services anyway. They perform very similarly to the programs they offer as well. These no-cost lessons also span all skill levels, and there are a lot of different varieties to choose from. Now, before you stop reading here and move onto the free lesson route, remember there are a few downsides as well.
Downsides of YouTube Courses
Firstly, the content on YouTube can be very disorganized. This causes difficulty in knowing where to start. A good paid program should be well organized and clear when it comes to progress.
Some of the videos can be of low quality and might contain poor or just downright incorrect information. Without having watched every video through, it can be hard to know whether or not they are even worth your time.
Always remember that it is dangerous to take advice from unproved sources when learning. Drumming requires a lot of different muscle movements and can lead to serious injuries if you don’t do things properly.
If you are simply looking to dip your toes into the process of learning how to drum on the internet for no cost at all, YouTube is a great place to start. However, as I will discuss later, there are free trials available from reputable sources that should be more attractive anyway.
Advantages of Online Instruction
The main advantage here is the ability to stay at home and progress at your own pace.
If you’ve ever taken private lessons in person before, you probably know the feeling of heading to your weekly lesson unprepared, nervous, and without having practiced all too well. You are afraid of disappointing your teacher and run the risk of having them yell at you or drop you as a student all together.
With online lessons, this feeling is completely eliminated. You gain the ability to learn as fast or as slow as you wish. Not only that, but you get the luxury of learning right from your home where you most likely will feel the most comfortable.
If you are a parent, these online drum courses for kids can be a great bonding experience if you take the time to learn along with your child, and you are guaranteed safety in a controlled environment.
Lastly, for you flakes, online courses (in general) require a significantly smaller expense and a lot less commitment/pressure.
What About Private Lessons in Person?
I believe that learning to play any instrument on your computer is an amazing thing, you should not forget the option of hiring a private lesson instructor in your area.
There is something about having one-on-one lessons with a private instructor that you simply cannot get from the internet. in fact, dealing with the internet can be a problem itself. The main one being if you do not have internet access, you can’t do anything. For most of us this isn’t a problem, but there are times when this could get annoying.
Sometimes one-on-one lessons can feel like a “stone-aged” activity, however there is a reason they are still big business today.
With in-person lessons, you are always challenged and get constant corrections on your technique. This is important because if bad habits develop, they can be difficult to get rid of without the aid of someone knowledgeable being able to watch you directly.
Additionally, there is something about having a consistent schedule that you can’t back out of that can create a drive to succeed. Private lessons create a sort of “accountability” that not only keeps you on track, but helps you progress as well.
Downsides of Private Lessons
While these are all great things to keep in mind, a huge problem with private teachers is that it is very rare to find quality instruction. It’s even harder to find instructors that are willing to tailor lessons to your unique learning style, let alone even know how to.
At times, teachers can give you incorrect information, force you to learn something you aren’t interested in, be rude, or anything in between. Lastly, lessons can get very expensive and can range from $25-60 for a half hour.
As a professional drummer myself, I had never once taken an online course until a couple of years ago, and I turned out just fine. However, the technology was not available back then, and I ended up spending a lot of money on private lessons, master-classes, and eventually college tuition.
Not everyone is like me though, and you are all trying to learn for different reasons. If you are looking to become one of the best drummers on the planet, I would consider finding a great private lesson instructor first, and then supplement with additional online lessons.
On the other hand, if you are only looking to have some fun and learn a thing or two, then the need for private instruction could be small, over expensive, and unimportant. The choice is entirely up to you.
What are the Best Options Available?
A simple search for drum courses online will probably make your head spin. Everyone offers something, and sorting through what’s available can be a major headache.
Even though both programs perform the same function, there are quite a few differences, so let me break them down as simply as possible.
Mike’s Lessons is a platform with the emphasis on the private instruction style of learning. All lessons are taught through one teacher: Mike Johnston. Mike is a talented drummer, but his skills lie mainly in his teaching ability.
The program costs $29.99/month, and covers a large breadth of styles and skill levels. The brunt of the learning comes from his live lessons, which he performs a few times daily. Lessons are available to re-watch anytime and include a live Q&A at the end of every lesson.
There is also a huge backlog of recorded lessons. All videos look really professional and feature excellent audio. If you don’t feel like paying the monthly fee, you can always purchase individual lessons for $1.99/video.
Mike’s Lessons comes highly recommended, and those that have learned from him have given him great reviews.
Personally, as good as a program as Mike’s Lessons is, I would not recommend it. The advantage to most drumset programs is that you generally get to learn from multiple teachers with specific knowledge in their areas of expertise.
Mike is an amazing drummer, but chances are he cannot teach you to play a samba as well as a Brazilian drummer who has been playing that style since they were a child.
Additionally, Mike is only one person and cannot tailor each lesson to your style. Other programs offer the ability to pick from a large list of teachers to find one that resonates with you. Mike’s Lessons only let you learn from Mike.
Again, Mike is great, but he might not be for everyone.
In my opinion, Drumeo Edge is by far the best drum program available on the internet. Their backlog of lessons is massive, the layout and videos are slick and very professional, and there are a lot of extra goodies that they provide.
All that is good, but the best part about Drumeo is their long list of teachers. A large portion of their instructors are of world-class calibre, and would probably charge you an arm and a leg for one private lesson, let alone a bunch of content.
Drumeo Edge is a slightly cheaper price at $24/month, and you can get some big savings if you sign up for their 6-month of yearly plan. They also offer a free 30-day trial so that you can check it out for yourself without putting up any money.
Drumeo offers similar instruction style to Mike’s Lessons including live videos with plenty of Q&A time. Because Drumeo has so many teachers and a top-notch layout, I always recommend them.
I have written a far more in-depth review of Drumeo Edge if you want to know more about the program and how it all works. You can also see my video below of what it’s like inside the program:
There are so many advantages to learning to drum online. If you don’t want to bother looking for private lessons in your area and want to learn on your own time schedule, this is definitely the option for you.
- Learn at your own pace
- Multiple instructors tailored to your own learning style
- progressive programs without pressure
- Low cost
- All playing levels allowed
- Learn from home on your own drum kit
- Pause lessons anytime and continue when you want
- Join and engage in supportive communities full of students just like you
- Free 30-day trial available
- Constant high-speed internet required
- No in-person teacher to correct bad habits
- Lessons not always 100% personalized for your learning styles
- Monthly subscription required
- Lessons can get overly long and can become “sales pitches” for other programs or products
Overall, I think the advantages outweigh the concerns. If you want to begin learning drums, doing it online is always a great place to start. Have you had a good experience using lessons online? Write it down below in the comments section.