A Percussive Introduction

 

Whether it’s the booming bass drum, the teeny triangle or even just clapping your hands together percussion provides incredible versatility and some of the most challenging opportunities for a fledgling musician. The category of percussion is vast and great percussionists can often play a whole host of instruments. Literally meaning to strike one object against another, to give you an idea of the how far percussion can be taken we would advise you to give this a watch (disclaimer: it is CGI but that doesn’t detract from the breathtaking vision an creativity behind it):

 

Here at Rookie Rhythm, we appreciate how pivotal a role the drums play in all of this, which is why this section will mainly focus on the range of drums available – from kids to adult, from jazz to Afro Cuban, we will be reviewing them all. We will look at the best bongos for beginners, how to start playing the steel drums and even the what to look for in a good dhol. So if you already know what drum you are looking for then go right ahead and check out our reviews for an in-depth comparison, or else read on.

The drums are the heartbeat of the band, relied upon to keep the rhythm and pace, as well as the other band members in check! Some musicians have joked that at times the conductor of the orchestra may be conducting but it’s the drummer that is leading. If you’re here than you or your child may be about to start their drumming journey and that is a great decision. Sure you could pull out a funky sax solo or shred the guitar but nothing compares to the incomprehensible force of nature that is the drummer unleashed:

 

 

Out of any instrument, percussion at its heart is the purest and oldest form of music. Anything you strike is instantly a percussion instrument. So much so that all you need a is a few pans and some spoons or chopsticks and you can start practicing. Although we would advise buying actual drums if you plan to take it further than your kitchen.

There are so many styles of drumming and endless nuances, so it doesn’t matter if you know where you want to end up or are still searching, there is great value in exploring various styles, as this will really help develop a drummer’s skills and repertoire. Just because you are a rocker at heart, who knows when you may be called upon to switch to funk or reggae. You may be looking to train classically but that doesn’t mean you don’t want the valuable insight into jazz jamming, blues beats or a fiery Latin Bembé played at a 6/8 time signature. So be open to all the styles out there.

Just as importantly you need to be willing to experiment with other percussion instruments. Try your hand at the marimba, xylophone or a percussion shaker. If you’re using a traditional drum set, try the cajon, the congas or the tambourine. Many great drummers will play a multitude of percussion instruments as it allows them to take a step back and experience the music in a way that they aren’t permitted when playing the drums as they are tasked with holding the rhythmic responsibility of the song. It also will expose you to a host of styles that you may not have otherwise explored.

We will delve into the pros and cons of various instruments, tips and pitfalls when starting out, as well as providing a comprehensive comparison of the instruments out there; all of which should help you find your perfect match. Before reading the reviews you may want to check out some of the write-ups we have done which will arm you with the information to help you understand what you may be looking for. For example, it may not be clear to you whether it is better to start off on an acoustic or electronic drum kit, in which case we would strongly advise reading Acoustic vs electronic – Which is best for beginners?

Remember percussion – whether drums or otherwise, allows you to inspire and create. Take this next video for example:

 

 

The beauty and power of something like this resulted in hundreds if not thousands of people providing their own interpretations. I would highly recommend you watch this whole video to see how diverse an impression one piece can have:

 

Music is powerful, it transcends language and culture, it is a language in and of itself. The truest form of expression. It can move people to action and bring them to tears and none more so than the raw power of percussion. For thousands of years the beat of the drums has been driving us forward and it will do for thousands more. It is the heartbeat and the pulse that lies at the core of all music.