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If you always feel like tapping your toe along to a beat, you've already got the itch for drumming. Music is a big part of all of our lives, and it makes sense if you want to dedicate a little time to learning a new skill for something you love. If you feel the rhythm, you've got to play.
Traditionally music lessons have always been at a private home, music shop, or music school - definitely not the best options for someone with an already busy lifestyle. However, with the boom of online learning you no longer have to worry about drive time, adding in lessons to your weekly requirements, and $100+ a session for a private teacher. With online drum lessons you only need the internet, a passion for drums, and a desire to learn at your own pace.
Tuesday, March 28th
Having launched in 2012, Drumeo has quickly become one of the largest online drum education platforms. Drumeo knows what they're doing. With a mix of serious methodology and a gamified XP-earning system, Drumeo is a music education program made by professional musicians for everyone.
Drumeo's approach is segmented into three areas of learning: Method, Songs, and Coaches.
One of the primary concerns that new drummers have is how an online service can replace in person teaching. However, Drumeo understands the busy nature of their students and has designed their program around the modern learner. Content can be shifted from phone to tablet to laptop, helping the lessons move with you. On top of that, the modern and sleek user interface makes it easy to find what you need when you need it.
Bang for your buck
What do you get with your annual subscription to Drumeo? Well, as it happens, you gain access to a lot.
One-stop shop for drumming
Drumeo is working to create a one-stop-shop for everything you might need now and in the future. At only $20 a month (if you pay annually), Drumeo easily undercuts the average private lesson by more than $100 without losing out on that personal touch
Variety of teaching perspectives
With names like Steve Smith, Simon Philips, Dennis Chambers and many more, Drumeo offers a variety of teaching perspectives from people who are already successful in their field. And, while they mostly advertise their primary lessons at an annual or monthly cost, Drumeo offers a variety of drum education opportunities ranging from master classes to a 30-day drummer boot camp.
Best online drum lessons
Overall, Drumeo seems to have the full package. Not only do they offer as-you-can lessons, but access to industry professionals and masterclasses to keep improving. Their impressive songlist, professional roaches, and 90-day guarantee puts Drumeo at the top of our list.
Founded by Don Lombardi (creator of DW Drums), Drum Channel focuses on one goal: to help its students become skilled drummers at a distance. They use a mixed model for lesson delivery, offering a balance of asynchronous video content and live lessons with professional drummers.
Drum Channel offers over 100 individual instructors with over 1,000 lessons. However, Drum Channel doesn't just offer a high volume of lessons, they also split it out into different learning models. They offer 5 separate ways to engage with drum lessons:
While much of their blended live lessons and video lessons may be for higher-level learners, Drum Channel also offers a place for beginners to start at the DC Academy.
Filter it to fit you
One of the best things we've found on the Drum Channel site is the way they offer filters to easily find the courses that you're looking for. While the DC Academy is step-by-step, the courses are open access. So, if you're looking for a particular topic, Drum Channel allows students to use a filter feature to find exactly what they need. Differentiating the filters by "teacher" "level" , and "topic" , the courses are easy to navigate or search to find a particular lesson or concept you want to learn or review again.
Drum Channel's standout feature is its impressive collection of play-along songs. Boasting 19 different musical styles to choose from, a student with Drum Channel has access to over 100 different play-alongs. One of the standout features of this section is that they tell you who is drumming on the original track, so if you like a particular instructor or performer, you can learn to play along in their style.
Low cost option with amazing variety
Overall, Drum Channel's courses are comprehensive and offer a variety of musical and teaching styles to the students. While some aspects of the user interface and lesson materials may be geared toward more advanced students, they use the DC Academy to assist absolute beginners. While there isn't much face-to-face interaction here, they do offer live Q&A sessions for students to learn more from top players in the industry, and their play-along catalog offers many opportunities to pick up styles and explore your drumming skills to your favorite music.
Run by teacher Mike Johnson, Mikes Lessons mixes the modes of video modules, Livestream lessons, and Virtual Shed Sessions. These drum lessons create an online synchronous learning environment where students and their instructor can connect in real time. One of the standout features of Mikes Lessons is the focus on culture. Mikes Lessons provides background on the musical styles you'll learn, focusing on origins and culture in drumming.
One of the standout features of Mikes Lessons is the focus on face time. Instead of being completely asynchronous, like many competitors, Mikes Lessons highlight the importance of being in a space together, live, where you can learn from the instructor, other students, and ask questions as you go. Mike also facilitates Virtual Shed Sessions where he will offer play sessions in a live virtual setting. This allows students to "trade fills, trade 4's," and complete call and response exercises to develop improv skills.
Outside of the website, Mikes Lessons organizes "drum camps" where Intermediate and Advanced level students can sign up for a 5-day crash course in person. These cost almost $1,400 before travel and lodging, but offer a unique space to get that real-life drumming experience that most online courses leave out.
Tracking your costs
While still cheaper than many private drum lesson options, Mikes Lessons is a little more expensive than the other drum education options on our list. There are three payment options, annually, bi-annually, and monthly, to help you offset the cost. However, Mikes Lessons offers fewer downloadable options and no play-along tracks as part of the package, making the value for the increased price a question when compared to some of the other lessons. And, if you want to get involved in the extras, you're looking at yearly commitments in the thousands. However, Mikes Lessons does offer a week-long free trial, so if you want to get your feet wet and see if this education program is worth it, you have the option to give it a no-cost try.
Tools for success
On top of Livestream and asynchronous video modules, Mikes Lessons utilizes GrooveScribe, a free transcription tool to help you build your own drumlines, transcribe your practice sessions, and put together songs you'd like to play in the future. It's a unique interactive feature that ties in with the homework methodology of Mikes Lessons. On top of GrooveScribe, Mikes Lessons also helps you by providing downloadable progress tracking sheets and homework to upload for feedback. It makes you feel like you're taking a traditional class with a guided path and clear goals.
Great option - but not ideal for every schedule
For students looking for that teacher-student connection in music lessons, Mikes Lessons is a great option. The 1 week free trial will allow you time to get to know Mike's style and the lesson format before you commit to a monthly or annual payment. However, for many learners who rely on asynchronous content to fit drumming into their busy schedule, they may find that Mikes' live lessons and pricey camps don't fit in with their distance-learning needs.
Coming highly recommended by musicians and drummers like Ringo Starr, Robbie Williams, and Kelly Clarkson, and working in partnership with major drum brands like Yamaha and Vic Firth, Drum Ambition takes the fuss out of online learning, providing a clean, well-organized distance learning option for just $200 a year.
Standing out among competitors, Drum Ambition offers a unique lesson method that closely resembles the traditional one-on-one music lesson just offered on pre-recorded videos instead. Led by Simon DasGupta and his 25 years of experience teaching drums from the ground up, the courses are designed to walk you through your learning step-by-step with the instructor.
Short and sweet
The Drum Ambition courses aren't about fluff - they focus on delivering substance, and making sure the students know exactly what they're getting into. Specifically designed for beginners, Drum Ambition has a user interface that divides up the courses, allowing the student to see how many videos each step will take, and how long that learning sequence will be. Drum Ambition puts the focus on the student, noting that they don't ascribe to "celebrity show offs" and intend to deliver easy-to-understand lessons above all else.
Here to help
Even though this is run by one instructor and through pre-recorded video lessons, Simon wants to make sure you're taken care of. Drum Ambition offers live chat options for getting to the bottom of your technical questions. Drum Ambition promises: "You are not alone when learning to play the drums with Drum Ambition."
Good low-cost option
With a membership cost that's markedly lower than competitors and a clean, beginner friendly interface, Drum Ambition looks like a good first dip into the world of online music. However, with only one teacher, this course might miss out on the nuance of alternative perspectives, and with a small(er) lesson offering and no in-house songlist, it makes even the lower price something to consider.
Spearheaded by Dann Sherrill, a percussionist and drumset player from Nashville, Tennessee, the Learn & Master multimodal learning experience is a solid way to learn the drums on your own time. With CD lessons that focus on rhythm, technique, and music theory, Learn & Master focuses on a holistic approach that highlights the musicality of drum lessons.
All in one program
Learn & Master Drums is intended to be a complete package lesson program. The single purchase price, $250, covers 13 CDs with audio-video lessons. The step-by-step instruction is designed to guide complete beginners into becoming confident and skilled drummers. Each lesson is taught by Dann Sherrill along with guest Grammy-award-winning artists, who have expertise in their field. The lessons are cumulative, building on one another. Learn & Master ensures that everything you need is in one place, so you don't waste valuable time searching for supplemental lessons; however, it is important to make sure you have a system that runs CDs (or buy an external CD drive) if you want access to the materials.
On your own time
Learn & Master understands the value of time. With lessons geared toward adult students with busy lives, the program takes the key concepts you'd learn in formal schooling and makes them accessible to everyone. Learn & Master takes away obstacles of time commitments and high-priced private lessons by providing a CD lesson series.
You don't have to do it alone
Despite this being an at-home program, you're not learning alone. Learn & Master provides an online support community free to all their students. Not only do you have access to other learners and the ability to build a community with other drum enthusiasts, but you'll also be able to ask Dann Sherrill questions on the Discussion Boards. You can post questions, recordings, and reach out for support with a community that understands your learning needs. Learn & Master prides itself on a continuous learning environment stating that "It is done when you have reached your dream of learning the drums."
Low stress, professional guidance
With real musicians teaching lessons, students can feel confident in the quality of instruction. Beyond the teachers, however, the lessons are structured with the at-home student in mind. Lessons include ways for students to benchmark their progress by offering "you're ready to move on when" notes, complete instructions for the setup of instruments, and the ability to pause and continue the video at will. Student testimonials highlight the ease of learning while still feeling challenged by the content. Some even noted marked improvements in drumming in a matter of weeks. Dann Sherrill's focus on taking his students from beginner to full proficiency is reflected in his teaching style.
Outdated delivery yet worth considering
Learn & Master stands out as one of the few distance-learning services that is a single-purchase option for drum lessons that still allows students to use a real-time communication board and ask questions of industry professionals. However, as this program is much older than some of the others we reviewed, there are some drawbacks. All of the Learn & Master lessons are delivered by CD. As most computers don't come with CD drives, students will need to find an external CD drive or DVD player that will play the lesson content. While the content is professional and comprehensive, and an excellent option if you don't want to commit to monthly or annual payments for drum lessons, Learn & Master could use a technology update.
Despite its punchy introduction page, Stephens Drum Shed is one of the more difficult drum lesson programs to figure out. While their tagline expresses the ability to learn the drums with "just 15 minutes a day" - sounds amazing - the site is so poorly designed that prospective students will struggle to find even basic information about the courses and the pricing. All of the course information is hidden in walls of text on the FAQ page. But don't worry, we read through it so you don't have to.
Mix of lessons
When you get into the meat of what Stephen is doing, you'll find a mix of synchronous lessons which are released on a schedule (which isn't available on the main page). These live sessions are run by Stephen himself and he interacts with students closely, helping them work through any problems they might be experiencing. He also spends extra time after classes to make sure he completes the Q&A.
His approach is very student-oriented, and if you're looking for a one-on-one vibe, his courses will help you find that. Stephen himself notes that this is one of the standout features of his lessons compared to other drum instructors online: he's organized, he's personable, and he answers all emails and questions himself, and because this is a one-man business, he's constantly working toward improving the learning experience.
Low commitment, high reward
"Learning the drums doesn't have to be painful," Stephen says. He reflects that in how he models the lessons. Working with individuals to build a practice plan, lesson schedule, and specific goals, Stephen ensures that your drumming journey is personalized for you and your needs. Calling it a "Drumming Roadmap" , Stephen encourages small amounts of daily practice and habit building to get you to your goal, and he's with you every step of the way.
The complete package
So what do you get with a subscription to Stephens Drum Shed?
There's a lot here, and the price, at $259 a year (with monthly payment options) is comparable to other education programs. However, it's hard to find the price on the website (at the very bottom of the "signup" page).
Good choice if you want live instruction
Overall, Stephens Drum Shed offers a uniquely personal approach. While some of the UI is a little outdated and difficult to slog through, his direct involvement means that if you have questions about where to find content, you can contact him and get a real, personal reply.
Learn to Play the Drums is a Udemy-hosted drum education series that offers a lot in a small package. Although it only offers six hours of video content, the downloadable resources and access to professional lectures help give the program more substance. At a very reasonable price of $59.99 (one-time purchase), Malik's Learn to Play the Drums is a great way to kick off drum lessons without committing to a monthly or yearly payment plan.
While this course is smaller than others on our list, these drum lessons still offer some quality instruction. With three separate drum educators who also teach at Music Mountain, Learn to Play the Drums offers a more cost-effective way to engage with professional educators in music. Each teacher has his own specialty:
Learn to Play the Drums promises to consistently update lessons, and they look at the course as "ever-expanding." With a one-time purchase and continuous access to course materials, this continuous learning model is exciting. Although this continuous course model doesn't come with any interactive elements, Learn to Play the Drums offers step-by-step learning meant to build good drumming habits. It also offers a range of downloadable content for the students to use again and again.
Single purchase package
So what do you get for your $60 purchase? Beyond three professional drum educators, almost six hours of video lessons and the promise of expanded content, you will find 130 pages of DLC and over 360 individual exercises to practice your drumwork. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren't satisfied with your course or your progress. And, because this is a one-time purchase, if you decide to stick with it you get lifetime access to all the course materials.
Best price, but smallest course
For the price, the program isn't too bad. While these lessons don't have a lot of extras like some of the other programs we've reviewed, Learn to Play the Drums seems like a good stop for the complete beginner who doesn't have a lot of cash on hand for expensive monthly payments. The layout is beginner friendly, and the program is hosted by an education website, meaning it was designed specifically for students. For only $60 one time, it might be worth it to check it out.
Coming in as one of our most expensive drum programs, Dave Weckl promises an immersive and interactive learning experience that is as useful to beginner students as it is for teachers and professionals looking for new techniques.
To the point
His website is straightforward and to the point, easily showing what lessons students can expect from their purchase. Lessons with a celebrity drummer who films while he travels, giving you industry insider tips, might be worth a little extra to some passionate students. However, for the absolute beginner, this might be too much celeb and not enough coursework.
One of the things that Dave Weckl highlights in his course is the importance of community. The membership cost ($300 a year) covers an exclusive Facebook group where Dave, his staff, and other professionals will be there to chat, exchange feedback, and do some Q&A. Dave Weckl also runs live webinars where students can ask him questions in real time. The goal, he says, is to immerse students "in the foundations of great drumming," and interactive learning is the best way to pass on his experience.
On top of the video and live lessons, Dave Weckl gives students exclusive access to play-along packages that he usually sells on his professional website. These include charts, tracks without drums in them to lay down your own beat or create new recordings. This DLC, usually protected by a paywall, becomes instantly available to members of the Dave Weckl drumming education program. With cross-technology downloads, you can study with Dave Weckl materials anywhere.
One of the most unique features of the Dave Weckl drum program is the affiliate program he offers fellow teachers. The program pays teachers back for each student they bring to the Online School. Once you've signed up for the Dave Weckl school, you can write to them to get your referral program ready for new students.
Flashy and fun but not for beginners
Overall, the Dave Weckl program is pared down next to some of the other drumming education programs we've reviewed. With one of the highest price points, this program stands out for its celebrity teacher and affiliate program. However, it may not be an ideal program for absolute beginner drummers or those who are looking for more regular interaction with their teachers.
While some drum lessons offer older CD and DVD learning models, many new education opportunities have updated their methods to online streaming, online video access, and downloadable materials. The new distance-learning model opens up the opportunity to multiple learning styles. Different programs offer reading-based lessons, play-alongs, and even live master classes. In the digital age, learning has never been easier.
So, how do you choose the best drum lessons for you? There are a lot of factors to consider, so keep in mind what you're looking for above all else. If you're not sure where to start, consider some key areas that might affect your comfort, learning style, and wallet:
To help you find the instruction that's right for you, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular online drum lessons. We hope these reviews make it easy to decide on the best drum lessons to jumpstart or continue your passion for drums!
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