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Blog overview

Learning drums: A How to guide for beginners

Team Soundbrenner, in Uncategorized
Dec 04, 2022 | 5 min read
Written by: Drummer & full-time mom, Camillia Akhamie Kies

Interested in learning drums? Looking for a place to start?

Our “How to play drums: a guide for beginners (by professional drummers)” is a new series filled with essential tips and advice from musicians who are learning drums.

Our goal is for this to be a series that will inspire you to pick up those drumsticks and start drumming. Drummer and full-time mom, Camillia Akhamie Kies is a passionate drummer, composer, and charismatic influencer. It’s our honor to have her present part due of our series. Let’s get started!

Anyone can learn to play drum

We all have a heartbeat, which means we all have rhythm. I hear rhythms all around me, and  I have been known to help people find their own unique rhythmic voice on drums and percussion. 

Camellia Akhamie Kies

Is rhythm innate?

I believe rhythm is something you can be born with. However, mastering rhythm is something anyone can learn with practice.

Never too early to start playing drums.

I played drums my entire pregnancy and after my son was born, I put drumsticks in his hands as soon as he could hold them. He was about 5 months old when he could actually hold the sticks on his own, prior to that I was helping him hold the sticks and showing him how to move his wrist to play the drums.

Camellia's son

Avoid drumming with bad technique

It is important to spend time learning how to properly hold the sticks. It helps prevent injuries and bad habits that may take a long time to relearn. When I first started to learn, I started with traditional griping. However, I learned it incorrectly and It took me lots of practice and a long time to relearn it.

I wanted to play snare in the drum line and having the incorrect technique did not work because everything is supposed to be uniform.

How often should I practice?

Today I practice about 2 hours every day, however, during high school, I practiced about 4-6 hours every day. During my summer breaks from school, I would practice about 8 hours a day. Meal breaks were not included at that time. 

Practicing could mean listening to music, working on sight reading notation, and of course, drumming.

Good songs to start playing drums with

If you are brand new to drums, I recommend learning the below.

  • “We will Rock You” by Queen
  • Beat It, by Michael Jackson.

Both are great songs that utilize quarter notes and eight notes. 

If you are a little more advanced, I would recommend Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”. It’s a great pick to work on syncopated rhythms.

Should drummers learn melodic instruments?

Yes!!! Drummers should definitely learn melodic instruments. Learning the xylophone/marimba will help you understand the piano. Whilst, learning about the bass guitar will help you interact and communicate better musically when playing with other musicians.

Mobile apps for drummers

There are a few different recommendations on this and getting the Score Creator App is definitely one of them. It’s perfect for writing easy drum charts and listening back to the notation you created.

Can also recommend getting a Piano or a Xylophone app to work on writing melodies and thinking more melodically.

Lastly, of course, the Soundbrenner app. It has to be at the top of my list because it has the best breakdown of rhythms. Many of my students also have selected Soundbrenner as their metronome app of choice.

My last recommendation is to get an app called “Acapella”. Its perfect for making quick side-by-side videos with other musicians and creators on social media.

How do I protect my hearing?

I protect my hearing by wearing in-ear monitors. The in-ears help me block out some of the sounds of my drums. It also allows me to create a nice mix without having anything too loud. I also check out how loud my music is by using the decibel meter on the Soundbrenner Core Steel! It’s a great tool to utilize to prevent severe hearing damage.

Camellia Akhamie Kies is a professional drummer, Percussionist, songwriter, music producer, designer, teacher, and Full-time-mom. 

Over the last decade, Camellia has traveled to over 20 countries sharing her love and passion for music. She began her music career at age 19 after joining the United States Navy Music Program. 

She spent the majority of her military service in Japan traveling South East Asia, teaching at schools, and performing at concerts, festivals, and military events.

After being honorably discharged from the military in 2014, she attended University to work on her own unique sound. 

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