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Getting experience as a learner drummer

When you are just learning and starting to build your confidence it might feel a bit daunting thinking about “putting yourself out there” but together with the countless hours of practice you are doing (

You ARE practicing countless hours right?!) getting experience playing alongside other musicians as a MUST!

Cochrane Drum Tutor Live Music

Okay okay, so you might not feel quite “ ready” but please do NOT let that hold you back. In fact I’d suggest grabbing at any and every opportunity you can to actually “make music” with others. SO much in music is about the relationships you build, as well as the sharing of knowledge, learning valuable tips and the pure joy of making music. Not to mention how it will sharpen up your playing, build you confidence and probably teach you a few painful but priceless lessons from time to time too!

(But first and perhaps most seriously always keep yourself (and your gear) safe!! Always do your homework before pitching up to jam along with total strangers for example! And if you are under 18 ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS run things by your parents first before venturing out in musicland! That said, let's look at a few ideas to help you start building that valuable playing experience…)

Ideas for gaining experience

School or college

Does your school have an orchestral / jazz ban d you can join? Having seen first hand the level of effort and support music teachers provide to students in educational bands, it's the perfect place to learn and grow.

Cochrane Drum Tutor School Orchestra

Working in an orchestra like this will also give you exposure to lots of other types of percussion typically (Xylophone, Marimba, Tubular bells anyone?!) and you will definitely sharpen your sight reading skills too.

Community Bands / Orchestras

Most communities have some sort of band, and they can be just wonderful places to learn, network and have fun. Here in Cochrane, Alberta, we have the Cochrane Music Society who put on regular concerts of Orchestral, Jazz and Choral music for example, and when I was a lad (Many many moons ago!) I was in our village Brass band!

Live venues

Are there any local “live music” venues?

where you can go along and get talking to other musicians about opportunities to “sit in” with them as their rehearsals for example? You never know, if the regular drummer is busy, or leaves the band or runs off to Alaska with

Cochrane Drum Tutor Drummer playing live

the proceeds from the last show (all things are possible in the music world!) they will be only too happy to get you to help them out at that upcoming gig.


Take a look at: Find Artists, Musicians & Performers for Hire in Calgary | Kijiji Classifieds There are lots of ads seeking drummers / musicians offering their services. You might find some interesting local contacts. You could even post your own advert offering your incredible percussive talents to other local musos.


There are SO many different ways to use Facebook to help you here. One place to start is searching in Groups at:, beyond that you’ll likely find all manner of local bands / community orchestras / drop-in activities etc with a little bit of sleuthing.

You could also set up your own page there to get exposure, perhaps including info on your skills / music interests / short videos of you playing etc, be creative (just watch out for the online crazies!) You can apply this to Instagram and other platforms too like Youtube etc. type sites

Another useful site for finding other like minded musicians in your area. Lots of search criteria you can try out to help you find people who share your interests / level of commitment etc. And if you sign up don't forget to “Friend” me on there at:

There are plenty of similar sites to Bandmix too; take a look:

Your local music store

Post a message on the notice boards at local music stores or music classes / studios. Talk to the staff, perhaps give them a card with your details on. Be prepared to “hussle” a little!

Ask your music teacher

They are often really well connected to the local music community, they get to know the local music gossip, who's doing what and they might just know someone who needs a handy talented hardworking flexible likeable drummer just like you!

Ask your friends / Neighbors

In any group of people you can practically guarantee that at least a few play guitar, bass, keyboards or sing, and would just love to get together and jam sometime. So ask around, It’s all a good experience, and that's what you're after!

Create a blog

These days there are SO many online platforms to showcase your talents in a really cool cost effective way. Having a simple interesting blog / web site that showcases you and your talents is a really great “calling card” for any musician. It tells the world you are serious about your playing!!

Your local church band

If you are part of a church community, have you considered asking to join the church band? There is often a strong supportive musical community only too willing to welcome newbie players.

And finally….


Over time everyone is only as good as their reputation, so perhaps the best way (if not always the quickest!) is to just be really really good at what you do! Trust me, if you build a reputation for excellent playing, keeping your promises and generally being a decent friendly sort, word will get out there, people will actually want to play with you! And the opportunities will come along….

When you read about the careers of many world famous drummers, you will see this time and again! Never underestimate the value of doing great work, building good contacts and creating good relations in the music community!

It ALL takes time and do expect to “kiss a lot of frogs” along the way but over time you should reap the rewards of putting yourself out there, namely gaining priceless experience, having fun, building network and who knows.. maybe , just maybe becoming the drummer for the next Beatles or Foo Fighters or Radiohead or Nickelback (no, wait, scratch that last one!)

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