Can Adults Learn to Play the Drums?

Adults always wonder if they can learn a musical instrument if they have no musical background or are too old. More often, their self-doubt has kept them from crossing playing drums off their bucket list. 

J Music Students: Peng Hong and Kam

Adults can learn to play the drums, contrary to popular belief. Not only can they learn to play the drums with the right attitude, an experienced instructor, and a proven curriculum; they can also excel and play better than children.

This is most likely because adults are naturally more committed and serious in doing the things they have set their minds on hence, making the learning process easier. Playing the drums eventually becomes a reality.

What Qualities Do I Need to Play the Drums?

1. Patience

Even the simplest exercise can appear to be the most difficult at first. Most, if not all, drum exercises require 100 to 1000 repetitions before proficiency is achieved.

This is a tough, mundane, and discouraging process. It’s the point where students give up before they see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, patience is the key to delayed gratification. Only students who persevere through this phase will reap the benefits of their efforts.

2. Commitment

To learn to play the drums, one must attend weekly lessons and develop the habit of practising every day.

This can be difficult if the student succumbs to his work commitment and constantly uses it as an excuse to miss the lesson or put off practising.

As marketing guru Seth Godin points out, “committing to a fixed routine improves your thinking, attitude, and trajectory”, all of which, in our opinion, contribute to drumming success.

3. Willingness to Work

Drumming requires a significant amount of muscle memory. Every exercise requires a lot of repetition to ingrain the movement into the body before it becomes second nature to execute the required techniques.

The exercises in Grade 1 may be simple, but they become increasingly difficult as you progress through the grades. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to educate adults from all walks of life. While some were happy to repeat an exercise, a handful became bored after repeating twice.

If you are not willing to repeat an exercise, it will be extremely difficult to play not just the drums, but any musical instrument.

4. Passion

Everything begins with passion. Passion is what drives us to complete seemingly impossible tasks. It becomes a personal commitment to achieve long-term results.

When the going gets tough, it is passion that will fuel your desire to overcome the occasional setbacks in your drum journey and help you emerge as a better and stronger drummer.

Benefits of Playing the Drums

J Music Student: Jessie

J Music Student: Jessie

1. Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

While it has not yet been proven medically, drumming has been shown to reduce agitation in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Murali Doraiswamy, a psychiatry professor at Duke University, claims to have had patients who were still able to enjoy music fairly late in the disease when they couldn’t even remember the names of their grandchildren or friends.

Our students in their 50-60s (including those who are medical practitioners themselves) expressed how the coordination and intense concentration required for drumming stimulated their brains and somewhat aided in slowing the ageing process.

J Music Student: Khee Meng

J Music Student: Khee Meng

2. Therapeutic

When it comes to learning a new groove, fill, or technique, repetition is extremely common. When a student repeats an exercise 20 to 30 times during a lesson, he or she experiences a therapeutic effect similar to meditation.

Additionally, some students find it stress-relieving and relaxing to repeat an exercise with their eyes closed.

3. Exposure to a Wide Range of Musical Styles

We believe that by exposing students to a wide range of musical styles and genres, it will broaden their musical horizons and gain a more diverse perspective.

For example, one of our students from India not only learnt to play Tamil songs, but he also played Mandopop, J-pop, K-pop, and Cantonese songs.

This exposure enables them to develop into a versatile drummer with a vast repertoire of songs in their pocket.

4. Relevant Skills to Other Instruments

We’ve had students who are piano teachers and Music Elective Programme (MEP) teachers join us to learn more about rhythm and meter.

They revealed that the knowledge gained from their drum lessons has greatly assisted them in developing more effective lesson plans for their students’ rhythmic studies.

What’s Next?

Thank you for making it to the end of this article. We understand that you may still have reservations. Bookmark this page and return to it whenever you want to know if adults can play the drums. Each time you read it, it should make more sense.

If this article has piqued your interest, book a trial lesson right away. We look forward to sharing our passion for drumming with you.

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