How to practice drumming without a drum set

If you are interested in drumming, you should take your time before investing in your first drum set. You can still develop the right skills, even without a drum set.

Since drum kits need money and space, you should first practice without them until you are confident that you are ready to get one. You can practice drumming without a drum set through air drumming, using cushions, practice pads, beatboxing, body percussion, or using cardboard boxes. Find out more!

Why do people practice drumming without a drum set?

Most professional drummers start learning this skill long before they buy their first sets. Practicing drumming without a drum set may seem weird, but it is not. Doing this can help you build up muscle memory, which is an important skill in drumming. It can give you better coordination of the limbs as you move them in various directions with differing speeds.

Practicing drumming without a drum set can also help you master proper timing. It teaches you to perform different limb movement at the appropriate time. You can master these two skills without necessarily relying on a drum set. Try the following.

Use a pillow or cushions.

When you start practicing drumming on a pillow, it can give you an edge compared to someone who is always relying on their drum set. You only need a pair of drumsticks for you to start practicing rudiments on an old pillow. Sticks are crucial since they can replicate hand and finger motions that drums perform when using actual drum sets.

Since a cushion is softer, it has minimal rebound and will therefore not throw the drumsticks back to you. The soft surface of a pillow forces your muscles to work harder. Though some beginners find practicing drumming on a pillow challenging, it can help you adapt better when you are finally ready to switch to a drum set.

Consider air drumming

Air drumming may seem stupid at first, but it is a good way to practice drumming without a drum set. It is not only free but also silent. Apart from that, air-drumming can help you learn how to coordinate your arms well and enhanced muscle memory even if you are not hitting on a surface. If you want to try out air drumming, you only need to visualize the specific locations of your individual drum parts and smash your imaginative kit. Use your invisible drum to practice your favorite songs until you are ready to buy a drum set.

Ground drumming

Some people also try out ground drumming. This is different from air drumming since it focuses more on the small muscles in the feet, such as the thigh. Ground drumming is more like pillow practice since there is less rebound. You will start feeling the muscles in your thigh and ankle while doing ground drumming. Using this technique can give you a significant edge when you start drumming on a kit.

Practice pad

Most beginners tend to confuse silencer pads with practice pads. If you want to practice drumming without a drum set, you should use a practice pad. A silencer pad is the one that is used to make acoustic drums less noisy. This is different from a practice pad that you can use even when you don’t have a drum set. It has the same response as a drum set and allows you to practice drumming easily.

You can easily get the right practice pad from different shops that provide them in different sizes and designs. Most of them also come in different materials and vary in price. Take your time to compare practice pads that feature things such as sand, gel, or rubber components. Feel free to use a practice pad on a cymbal when you want enhanced flexibility.

Utilize some kitchen utensils

You can still improvise using some of your kitchen utensils. For instance, an old pan or pot can be a good drum for practice. This, however, works when you don’t live near your neighbors since it can produce a lot of noise. If you stay in an apartment and still want to practice drumming using a pan or pot, ensure you tape a towel on it before you start practicing. You can also create amazing sounds and learn the basics of drumming using a cardboard box. This is less noisy compared to a pan.

Body percussion and beatboxing

Your own body can also help you practice drumming even when you don’t have a drumming set. Techniques such as clapping can help you master timing, which is a crucial aspect when it comes to drumming. You can start by clapping rudiments for some time before you think of buying a snare drum. Drumming different rhythms using your own body gives you the opportunity to not only practice but also feel the rhythm. Alternatively, you can create percussive sounds using your mouth. This is referred to as beatboxing, and it can help you internalize rhythm.

A summary on how to practice drumming without a drum set

Use a pillow or cushion
This has less rebound and forces you to work harder during drumming.
Air drumming
It can help you gain better coordination and boost muscle memory.
Ground drumming
It can help you boost your drumming skills.
Practice pad
Ideal for beginners practicing how to drum for the first time
Use kitchen utensils
A pan, pot, or cardboard box can help you drum
Body percussion and beatboxing
This can help you feel and internalize the rhythm.


A drum set is not the only thing that can help you drum. You can try out some of the techniques we have discussed. Most of them are cheaper alternatives that can help you build a good foundation as you start learning how to drum. Good luck!


What is the purpose of a drum studio?

This is a place where drummers who are still learning the basics of this activity go to rehearse.

Should I get an acoustic or electronic drum kit?

It depends on your budget and the features you need in a drum kit. An electronic drum kit is better since it is more versatile and silent.

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