• BHMA

No Drum Kit? No Problem!

Many pupils who learn the drum kit make use of school drum kits and practice rooms to develop their skills between lessons. Not all pupils are fortunate to be able to have a drum kit, especially in the early stages of learning, but this need not be a barrier to continuing to learn. There are many technical and musical skills that can be developed and we have created this set of FAQs to explain how learning can continue without a drum kit at home.


The most important piece of equipment for any drummer is a pair of drumsticks – if you have sticks you can play! A practice pad, which has the response of a drum but sounds very quiet, is also very useful and can be purchased for approximately £10.


Many essential skills can be developed without a drum kit such as timekeeping, sticking technique, hand to foot co-ordination, understanding rhythmic notation, stylistic awareness, improvisation and composition. Should you wish to purchase a drum kit we are also very happy to advise on the most suitable kit for your child, please contact us on bhma@brightondome.org.


What is the minimum equipment needed to be able to continue learning and developing drumming skills?

The most important piece of equipment for any drummer to have is a pair of drumsticks. If you have sticks you can play! If for any reason you need to buy drumsticks these start at around £5 per pair.


What else may be useful in addition to drumsticks?

A practice pad or two could be very useful and many professional drummers use them, especially when they themselves may not have access to a drum kit. They are made to feel like the response of a drum but because the surface is made from rubber, they are very quiet – perfect for practising without disturbing other family members or neighbours! Practice pads come in different shapes and sizes and cost from £10 upwards. You could buy an adjustable stand to mount it on, or it could be placed on any surface of an appropriate height.


Is it possible to build a “drum kit” at home?

Of course! Whilst it may not sound like the real thing, a variety of household objects can be used to create a drum kit. Consider experimenting with different items such as pots, pans, buckets, hardback books or cushions and wearing some sturdy shoes to produce sounds with right and left feet on the floor! Co-ordination and timekeeping skills can easily be developed using a homemade kit.


What types of activities will be covered in lessons without a drum kit?

Almost all that would be covered in lessons at school. Developing a strong stick technique is a fundamental skill for any drummer and there are many rudiments that can be learnt and practised away from the kit. Playing in time, whether to a simple metronome beat or a full backing track, is another vital skill which can be developed without a drum kit. There are many exciting online programmes as well as phone apps to support the development of other skills such music reading, creating rhythms and grooves, composing fill-ins and improvising.


My child really enjoys the music they study in school drum lessons, will they still be able to continue learning that?

Yes of course. They will need to have the tutor books and/or backing tracks to work from at home and your child’s tutor will be able to advise what is needed and where to get this from. Other tutor developed resources e.g. pop style rhythms and grooves, can be emailed or used on screen during lessons.


My child is concerned that the other children they share a lesson with have drum kits and they don’t, how will this be managed?

We want to be able to provide the best support for all pupils’ learning and feel the best way of managing this is to teach pupils who don’t have access to a drum kit at home in separate groups to those that do. This will enable the activities to be more closely matched to the needs of the pupils. When they return to school lessons the intention will be for pupils to return to the groups they were previously learning in.


I would like to find out about options for purchasing a drum kit for my child, can you advise? Yes, we would be delighted to help. There are two options, either an acoustic kit or and electric kit and prices start from about £200. Please email bhma@brightondome.org and we would be very happy to contact you to discuss your requirements.


Where can I find out about purchasing any of the equipment and resources mentioned above? There are many local and national retailers who offer online purchase and many provide free delivery for a minimum purchase price. Whilst we do not recommend any particular retailer you may like to consider the following:


  • GAK: Brighton based supplier for drum sticks, practice pads, electric and acoustic drum kits .

  • Gear4Music: Nationwide supplier including own branded instruments and recognised international brands.

  • Chamberlain Music: Nationwide supplier of drums, sticks, practice pads and accessories.

  • Ackerman Music: Brighton based supplier of drum kit music, drum sticks, music stands and accessories.

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