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How To Drum Without Risking Eviction

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How To Drum Without Risking Eviction

Roland's TD-11KVS electronic drumkit – great for jamming and
practice, with compact, real-feel mesh pads.

 

It is 10 pm. You are bored and there is nothing on TV. You eye your drum kit that is set up in the corner... your heart rate goes up, palms get sweaty. You grab a pair of sticks and proceed to play the groove from the song Sober, by Tool. You are flying on the skins and screaming the lyrics at the same time and you are getting to the point in the song where it builds the tension up with this huge fill and --

Back to reality ... you are still sitting on the couch, dreaming about drumming. Because you can't. You are in an apartment building, with people below you, above you and on both sides. In fact, you can actually hear what your neighbour is watching on TV right now.

It is frustrating not to be able to practice your instrument, your passion, anytime and anywhere you want, unlike say, a guitar player, who can pick up his or her axe and play whenever, wherever...maybe quietly, maybe through headphones, but still PLAY.

That's where electronic drums come in.  They are quiet, have a much smaller footprint (which helps considering the size of many condos and apartments), they have a wide variety of sounds that can keep both beginners and advanced players interested, and feature options like being able to play along with pre-recorded tracks or having a rhythm coach – features that are invaluable for players of all levels. And if silent practice means you can practice longer and more often, you’ll just progress that much quicker!

Alesis DM Lite electronic drums
Alesis DM LITE KIT – Folds up for easy storage and transport.

An electronic drum set is NOT a drum machine. It will not play for you. You still have to do the same exercises on them as you would do on an acoustic kit. These days, they are becoming as popular as the real thing among parents who want their children to learn drumming but are hesitant because of the noise issues. Companies like Roland and Yamaha have become so good at building these drum sets that a lot of professional acts are using them live.  Drummers like Rex Hardy Jr, who rocks the American Idol band, uses a Roland TD-30 for the show. As the quality has improved, in the past few years prices have come down as well. These days you can get a basic electronic kit from Roland or Yamaha for between $500-$1000, no more than what you’d pay for a decent starter acoustic kit.

While it’s great for a beginning student to start learning on an acoustic drumkit, there is absolutely nothing wrong with going with an electronic kit. Having a metronome, a rhythm coach, quick and easy recording functions, music to play along with and having the option to go back and forth between different drum kits WHILE avoiding eviction are all great advantages of having an electronic drum kit.

Now, a word for the traditionalists (I’m guessing I would qualify), and more experienced players:  Remember the classic line the stepfather tells the child when they meet for the first time in Hollywood movies: “Son, I am not here to replace your father...”? That's the approach here. Electronic drums don’t have to replace an acoustic kit. But it doesn’t mean you can’t practice and improve on them, come up with new ideas, record yourself and observe your strengths and weaknesses... in a nutshell, have fun.

Yamaha DTX950K electronic drums
Yamaha DTX950K – 6-piece kit with the pro-level DTX900M sampling trigger module.

 

I have seen a lot of drummers who warm up on an electronic kit backstage, before a gig.

Basically, it does not have to be one or the other. It can be both. Just look at all the hybrid kits out there. A lot of pros have been using electronic drum pads or digital percussion pads like Roland’s Octapad along with their acoustic sets for years.  Um, Neil Peart anyone?

At the end of the day, if your circumstances allow for an acoustic kit, go for it. If not, electronic drums are the way to go.  And if you need any further validation of electronic drums, ladies and gentlemen, may I present, Tony Royster Jr:
 

 


Keywords: drums, electronic drums, Alesis, Roland, Yamaha

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