What’s great about drumming is that you can hone your skills without having access to an actual drum kit – something that doesn’t fly if you’re a violinist, trumpeter or guitarist. In this blog, I’ll provide an overview of all of the drumming-without-a-drum-kit options out there, ranging from air drums, tabletop kits and practice pads to fruit crates, travel cajons and your own body.
Drumming On Objects Around You
A bit of resourcefulness is all it takes to turn your surroundings into a make-shift drum kit. Here, you can turn to good-old pillows, pots, pans, buckets and empty cardboard boxes, or you can think outside the box and use a drawer or a fruit crate (which by the way once inspired the first-ever cajon). There’s music in literally everything, including your own body where your thighs can serve as a great tool for practising rhythms. Keep challenging yourself to come up with creative ways to pound out beats and you’re bound to reap the benefits when you get behind an actual drum kit.
‘Real’ Instruments As Alternatives to a Drum Kit
If you prefer to drill beats playing something that’s actually designed as a musical instrument, here are a few interesting suggestions:
- A tabletop-style electronic drum kit. While it doesn’t compare to a complete drum kit, a mini-kit like this does offer a lot of fun and various exercise-options for not all-that-much money.
- A more compact version of the tabletop kit would be the electronic percussion pad. These pads are usually a little more expensive since, unlike tabletop kits, they’re often actually designed as fully-fledged add-ons for acoustic or electronic drum kits.
- If all you want to work on is your technique, a straight-up practice pad is the best and most-affordable option. The sound quality is obviously negligible, but the playing feel is certainly a lot more realistic compared to something like your desk. Added benefit: you can’t break anything beating on a practice pad.
- Smaller bits of handheld percussion kit like shakers (including key-chain-shakers), tiny tambourines, compact headless tambourines, woodblocks and cowbells are always fun and worth keeping within reach.
- Just in case you’ve never heard of these, I want to finish off the list with a few cajon-based options: the cajon drum kit, the travel cajon and the folding cajon.
Air Drum Kit
A Tabletop Drum Kit
An Electronic Percussion Pad
A Set of Buckets
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» Drum Kit Configurations: Try These Variations!
» Drumsticks for an Electronic Kit: Which Ones Do You Need?
» Acoustic vs. Electronic Drum Kits
» How to Hold Your Drumsticks
» What are the Four Most Important Drum Rudiments?
» The Four Most Important Drum Rhythms