What Are Drum Practice Pads?

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Music Educators

Most drummers own or at least have heard of the practice pad. If you’re new to the drums and are unsure if you should invest in drum practice pads,  we’re here to explain what they are, how to use them, and what to keep an eye out for when shopping for them. A practice pad, sometimes referred to as a drum pad, is used by drummers to quietly warm-up before a performance. Alternately, some drummers play and practice on drum pads exclusively, while others use them in situations where limiting volume is key. Over the years, practice pads have adapted to fit the needs of a variety of different percussion drums, ranging from snare drums to complete drum sets.

Benefits of Using Practice Pads

The first and probably most obvious pro to using a drum practice pad is the convenience. With practice pads, you can “take” your drum set anywhere without having to constantly reassemble and disassemble it. If you split your time between two households, you can keep your “real” drum set at your primary residence and a set of practice pads at your secondary residence. This way, you can always practice your drums, regardless of where you’re staying that night.

Vic Firth Slim Pad Standard
The Vic Firth Slim Pad is built with very thin rubber mounted on a sturdy wooden base that gives the percussion pad the feel of a contemporary marching snare drum. Learn More


In the same vein, another benefit of practice pads is that they’re much quieter than practicing on a full-size drum set. If you live in an apartment, have younger brothers or sisters who may sleep during the day, or otherwise need to limit the amount of noise produced by your drum set, practice pads are a great option. You can sit in front of the TV and practice in between commercial breaks, or move your practicing from room to room, depending on who is occupying it at the time. Not every household has the room for a full-size drum set, but virtually every home has room for practice pads.

Disadvantages of Practice Pads

Of course, practice pads come with their own set of unique disadvantages. First and foremost, a drum pad is not an instrument. You can spend all the time in the world practicing on a practice pad, but when you sit down in front of a real drum set the experience is quite different. Although practice pads are supposed to imitate a drum head, that’s precisely where its limitations lie–you’ll never be able to imitate a full drum set, no matter how many practice pads you use. At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like the real thing.

Evans RealFeel 2-Sided Speed and Workout Drum Pad
You can either get your sticks flying or build your chops with this compact practice drum pad. 6″ diameter pad has a gum rubber side for speed and a neoprene surface for workout practice. Learn More


Another disadvantage is the idea that having access to a full drum set can actually influence creativity. It’s tough to sit in front of a drum pad and let your creative juices flow–you can only bang on a drum pad in so many different ways. When you’re sitting behind a full-size drum set, you’ll be more inclined to mess around with different patterns and styles. All too often, drummers who solely play on practice pads feel more like technical drummers and less like the creative musicians they want to be.

Using Practice Pads to Start Out

Many parents prefer for their child to start out drumming on practice pads until they’ve had time to evaluate their dedication to the instrument. Considering that complete drum sets cost upwards of $1,000, this mindset is understandable–just don’t let your child play exclusively on practice pads for too long. Speak with your child’s drum teacher about their progress, and work with them to come up with a timeframe regarding when you’ll purchase the real thing. If you prefer for your child to learn the drums on a full-size drum set but aren’t sure if you can afford the investment, you can always rent a drum set or participate in a rent-to-own program in the meantime. Both are viable alternatives that will expose your child to a “real” instrument without interfering too much with your finances.

The Practice Pad is Essential

Even if your child has a full-size drum set, making sure they have access to practice pads is essential. Being able to work on their rudiments whenever they want is ideal, and with practice pads that can easily be achieved. Plus, when drummers practice using practice pads they can hear the metronome more clearly, making tracking their progress a bit easier, at least initially. As long as your child does not spend all their time using practice pads, they shouldn’t impede their progress. Getting equal time on both the drum set and drum pads will help them become a well-rounded drummer who is ready to play different styles of music with different types of musicians.

Buy Practice Pads at Music & Arts

With over 130 stores across 24 states and over 50,000 products on our website, you’ll find one of the largest selections of gear, accessories, and instruments at Music & Arts–practice pads included. If you have questions about a specific practice pad or are looking for some general info, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you find just what you’re looking for. With one of the largest product offerings in the world, we offer educator-approved instruments and accessories, including drum practice pads, at competitive prices. Plus, with our very own Lesson Studio, you can sign up for professional lessons, too! Find your local store today!

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