Are drums the easiest "real" instrument?

Discussion in 'Music and Audio' started by Slissors, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Slissors

    Slissors Member

    I play the drums and really enjoy them, but I can't help but notice that compared to other instruments, they're quite easy. There really isn't any theory that's exclusive to them, and you don't have to worry about things like scales or what key the music is in. Drums only really get difficult when it comes to playing fast (16th notes are so hard to maintain). It seems like drums have a lot less that you need to learn to play them well.

    I'll admit that me finding them easy personally isn't reason enough to believe that they're universally easier than other instruments, but I can't see a reason for them to be harder.
  2. ForgetLilliet

    ForgetLilliet Major Dumbbutt

    I know quite a few people who play the drums. It seems like they are a good instrument for many 'types' of people but I would say that they do take a lot of practice. I have a friend who practices on his drum set every other day. He's also a percussionist in the school band, so some days he practices twice a day.
    The technique to playing the drums is usually counting in your head -- that's what my dad told me; he used to play the drums -- but I seem to be better at it when I just go by ear. I don't play the drums but sometimes I'll play my friend's drums with my hands... when he isn't there... Anyway, I think that it probably doesn't require as much learning of new techniques and information, but a lot of practice to make sure you can perform what you know.
  3. Captain Howdy

    Captain Howdy Active Member

    You described exactly why it's kinda comparing apples and oranges. Sure, you don't have to read sheet music or know scales, but you're using upwards of 4 limbs at the same time (5, if you're metal as fuck), and have to keep both track of timing and all those limbs. I've played multiple brass instruments as well as drums - Drums are easier to learn, but harder to be good at...though it depends on what genres you'd be playing in, and the size of your kit as well.
    Tetrachroma likes this.
  4. Demensa

    Demensa Characterless sack of potatoes

    Yeah, it's definitely an apples and oranges thing. Maybe it's easier to get to a moderate level of proficiency than some pitched instruments, but there's still an infinite skill ceiling.
    And seriously... playing drums for say, a progressive metal song shows the difficulty of playing 2-3 rhythms at once, whereas for other instruments there's not as much 'multitasking'.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  5. missprint

    missprint Transit

    Coming from a Orchestra and Guitar guy.... I can't play drums with anything more than my two hands. If they made a kick drum into a hand hit I'd be a better drummer :p.
  6. Slissors

    Slissors Member

    I suppose polyrhythm stuff can be a bit tricky (I can do it, but I'll admit that it took a bit of woodshedding at first) but even piano has polyryrhm sometimes. I can see what you guys are saying, though: drums are less about theory and more about "separating" your limbs, mentally. I also feel like drums rely more on "instinct" to determine what works and what doesn't, whereas I think piano is more applied theory (although I suppose its possible for other instruments to be instinct too, for a sufficiently experienced musician).

    Does kit size really make much of a difference? You'd get more options for fills, but would that make it harder?

    (And speaking of raising difficulty, does anybody know how to do solos? I've tried random rudiments, but that sounds like somebody who doesn't know how to play drums and just happens to have a slight sense of rhythm.)
  7. Half-Note

    Half-Note Member

    While drums look easy to play, they really aren't, as you're using your full body to play it. Coordination is key, and in the beginning you'll most likely find yourself not being able to beat the drums without moving other parts, like your feet/legs.

    To play drums, you need to learn to coordinate your body parts effectively without it impacting on your other body parts. For example, you need to learn to use your right leg on the bass drum in a certain bpm, while using your left arm on the splash cymbal at a much higher bpm, without the two affecting the other.

    To learn to coordinate your body, I suggest you take up not only drumming classes, but also, if you can afford it, dancing classes, as this will teach you to relax your body and control it more easily while playing percussion (drums).

    I hope I've helped, but bear in mind that I didn't play drums for long, so some of the things I've said might be a bit off. However, they should be pretty accurate. :)
  8. Slissors

    Slissors Member

    I just realized that the emphasis on coordination for drums makes it much easier to practice them anywhere: I can practice polyrhythms while in a boring lecture, but I can't practice scales. Maybe I've been underestimating the amount of practice that I really have, and that's why drums seem easier than they are.
  9. Maugryph

    Maugryph Active Member

    If pop music is to easy, you can always try jazz or prog rock. There are more tempo and signature changes then Family Guy's cutaway gags.
  10. Slissors

    Slissors Member

    I play more genres than just pop (including the aforementioned), but I don't like playing along to tracks, so I usually end up at the mercy of the guitarists that I play with.

    But having thought about it for a bit, I realized that I've entirely ignored that fact that practice makes most things easy. Just because anybody can crank out a rock beat doesn't mean that drums as a whole are easy, it just means that the first (and arguably most used) step in drumming is much easier than the first step in other instruments.
  11. MegaMew

    MegaMew Jäger

    You'd think that drums are until you get over to the rudiments. rudiments can get out of hand if you don't practices
  12. Kookyfox

    Kookyfox Bomb Rider

    drums are super hard! you need a perfect sense of rythm, and you're the one that makes the band play in sync. Also you need to know what kind of drum to hit to achieve certain effects, as you are the one that adds a lot of expression to the songs.

    An easy instrument would be the Kazoo or the harmonica (you can't screw up with a penta)
  13. Half-Note

    Half-Note Member

    Or make it super-easy. Go with a triangle!
  14. WideEyed

    WideEyed Member

    Probably, yeah. But I still think people underestimate the complexity that goes into drumming. There's a lot more to it than just pounding one consistent beat throughout the entire length of the song like Meg White.
  15. Slissors

    Slissors Member

    Oh Meg White... I don't think I would call her a drummer without putting it in quotation marks. That said, it does work with their sound.
  16. Alexxx-Returns

    Alexxx-Returns The Sergal that Didn't Vore

    No, sax is the easiest instrument.

    You don't have any chords, going up an octave is represented by the EXACT SAME KEYSTROKES except while holding down one other key, you just have to play soothing melodies and people think you're a god.
  17. Glider

    Glider Guest

    Easiest is the guitar, it's quite gay too, I play one
  18. Thundeere

    Thundeere And there was much rejoicing...

    There are few things harder to drum to than Sonny Rollin's, St. Thomas...
  19. I learned to play drums mostly by myself in my high school's jazz band. In my experience, learning to play them at first was incredibly frustrating, because not only do you have to maintain rhythm consistently, but you have to know on the fly how to mutate elements of your beat to match the outside context. It's very much an improviser's game. In Jazz band, Myself and my drum partner used sheet music when learning the basic transitions in songs, and in order to keep track of our solo times or really important composed sections of beats, but for the most part it was about starting with a base feel and adding and modifying it. That's a lot different from, say, a cello, where you are playing something from sheet music directly with a little bit of an orchestra-section specific accent. I always felt like I was having more fun in Jazz Band than in orchestra, but I also felt like I was learning a lot more about music from it. Drumming to me felt like dancing, where as cello felt like tracing a picture. I guess to give my answer to the original question, I feel like drums are easier to just pick up and make cohesive sound with, but a lot harder to make quality music with than most instruments.
  20. JosiahTiger

    JosiahTiger New Member

    I will have to say that drums are not the easiest instrument out there at all. I started taking drum lessons at 5 years old, but i never got serious about it until just about my jr year in highschool. I was asked to do jazz band, but with the little jazz i've only ever studied, i knew that it would be time consuming to participate. I was, however, a band nerd, and my sr year, i was the section leader and played snare, which was one of the most difficult challenges i had ever taken as a musician.

    People who think that drums are easy obviously don't play the drums, or aren't devoted drummers; in my opinion, the only instruments that out challenge the drum set are orchestral instruments and pipe organs, not much more can beat the difficulty of the drums.
    Nosta likes this.
  21. Otarine

    Otarine New Member

    I think every instrument has its own difficulties and easiness.

    I'd assume (not being a drummer, myself) that it takes a ton of hand-eye coordination. I'm pretty sure you'd need a great sense of rhythm and you'd have to be perfectly on the beat without mistake.

    I don't think it's fair to imply that there is an easier instrument to play, because every instrument has its own charm. A person can be bad at drumming, but great at playing the trumpet. A person can have a wicked improvised drum performance but fail at a guitar solo.

    Also, the notion of a "real" instrument is odd to me, as instruments are but mere tools upon which a person is able to express musicianship and creativity. I believe that even the launchpad is an instrument, and I believe that a Roland synth can be just as genuine as an acoustic guitar.
  22. Helios276

    Helios276 Guest

    I can probably learn how to play most instruments, but I can't play the drums at all!
  23. MaximusLupis

    MaximusLupis Hipster Snob

    multitasking is key.
    that bass pedal isnt gonna hit itself.

    its all about maintaining and having a good rhythm rather than a combination of that and notes with other instruments.
  24. HOFFY

    HOFFY New Member

    I'm incredibly creative in a musical sense, so writing good drum parts comes really easily to me. However, I find them very hard to play, so I would say no, they're not easy -- keeping the time is a hard enough job, and layering other rhythmic elements on top in real-time can be difficult as well. Good thing I don't have to worry about getting good at drums because I have one of the hardest working drummers in my home town collaborating with me on a prog metal project. /sighofrelief
  25. Kellan Meig'h

    Kellan Meig'h Kilted Coder

    I could never really master the drums. I could never get arms and legs going at the same time, doing four different things.

    I envy anyone that can play drums, with the exception of Steve Moore. I think he's not human.

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