It’s no secret that YouTube is one of the top platforms on the Internet. It’s one of my favorite platforms as anyone can post videos and either make a living for themselves or entertain a wide number of people. That’s easier said than done, though.
While someone who is simply speaking can record themselves and post it, it’s a bit more complicated for drummers. If you only use your phone to make a drum video, you’re going to get distorted sound that no one will appreciate listening to.
So, there’s a lot to understand when it comes to starting a YouTube drumming channel. In this guide, I’m going to take you through all of it.
Bottom Line Upfront: To start a drumming YouTube channel, you’re going to need decent gear to record yourself. This will include a camera, microphones, and some sort of continuous lighting.
You then need to choose what content types you want to make and focus on them. After that, it’s all about playing the YouTube game by making the best content possible and catering to the YouTube algorithm to get more views.
Guide to Starting Your Drumming Channel
Why are You Starting It?
Before you do anything, the first thing you should ask yourself is why you want to start a YouTube drumming channel. Knowing this will help you decide which path to take when it comes to choosing content to make.
It will also keep you on that path as you remember back to why you started the channel. When I first started my YouTube channel, I didn’t set out any path, plans, or goals. Because of this, the channel wasn’t successful, and I was lucky to get more than 20 views on a video.
Once I decided to stick to teaching drum topics on my channel, the views started to steadily increase. Now, when I post a video, I always ask myself if someone can learn from it. If they can’t, I know that the video isn’t sticking to the reason why I have the channel in the first place.
If you want to start a YouTube channel to make a bit of cash, that’s okay! It just means that you must plan your channel and videos accordingly to bring in revenue.
Now that you’ve thought of why you’re starting the channel, let’s move on to a few of the specifics to learn about.
Different Types of Drumming Content
One of the things that I love most about drumming content is that it can easily be divided up into different sections. Here are the different types of drum content with short explanations of what they involve:
- Reviews – Reviewing drum gear or drumming-related topics and giving your opinions.
- Drum covers – Playing drums to popular songs.
- Drum lessons – Teaching viewers how to play something on the drums.
- Performances – Playing something impressive on the drums such as a solo or your own songs.
- Informational videos – Explaining things related to drums or drummers such as history lessons or doing general drumming talk
- Reaction videos – Reacting to other drummers playing and giving your thoughts.
While there are plenty of content types to choose from, I found that it’s usually better to stick to two or three of them. If you try to tackle them all, you’ll be spreading yourself too thinly, and your viewers aren’t going to be watching you for the same thing.
When you stick to only a few, your viewers will know what they can expect, and that will build loyalty among them. My goal with my drumming YouTube channel is to make true fans from my pool of viewers. Those are the fans that will sign up for a course I make or pay for a drumming book I create.
Different Types of Posts
Posting videos constantly can lead to burnout. Constantly thinking of what to post and how to create it is exhausting. Trust me, I know this too well. The best way to avoid burning out is to follow post types and allocate your time according to their structure. Here are the three types to focus on:
- Hero Content
- Help Content
- Hub Content
Hero content refers to videos made on a large scale. These will be the top-quality videos on your YouTube drumming channel that bring in large numbers of viewers.
This is where you should hire high-quality gear to make the best drumming video you can think of. For me personally, it means bringing in my videographer wife to film better shots of the drums than I ever could. I’d suggest posting Hero videos only a few times a year.
Help content involves making videos that help people who watch them. Drum lesson videos are the perfect example of this. First-time viewers will be more attracted to a YouTube channel if they can get something out of it. That’s why drum lessons perform quite well on YouTube.
Hub content is for everyone that is already subscribed to your channel. These videos will be easier to make as you don’t need to put as much effort into them. Instead, you just need to focus on pleasing the viewers that already watch your drumming videos. Drum cover videos are a good example of Hub content.
Drumming on Camera
If you’ve never recorded yourself playing drums before, you’d be surprised at how nerve-wracking it can be. Any mistake you make will stand out like a sore thumb on the camera footage. So, playing drums in front of a camera is a skill that you need to work on.
When I first started making drum videos, I’d constantly make mistakes because the camera would psych me out. Fast forward a few years, and I’m typically able to nail my drumming videos in one or two takes. The improvement I’ve seen in myself has been great to see, and it’s all from playing in front of a camera constantly.
If you want to make YouTube drum videos, this is something I highly suggest focusing on. The better you are at drumming in front of a camera, the less time it will take to make good videos.
Talking on Camera
If you think playing drums in front of the camera is bad, just wait until you try to talk to a camera for the first time! Some people are gifted in this area. I certainly wasn’t, and it took me a few months and dozens of videos to feel comfortable with talking to only the lens.
If you only want to upload performance videos and drum covers to your YouTube channel, you don’t need to worry about this. However, talking to the camera and letting your viewers hear your voice and understand your personality is a great way of building trust with your subscribers.
Even though your channel will be centered around drumming, I suggest that you make videos where you speak and introduce yourself. You could do this in the form of a gear breakdown or an “ask me anything” video.
I chose to make educational drum videos on my YouTube channel, so I accepted the fact that I’d need to do a whole lot of talking.
The more you do it, the better you’ll get at it. Also, it’s good to accept that your first few talking videos won’t be great. If you look back on any famous YouTuber’s first videos, you’ll see the same thing.
Setting up a decent recording environment will take some time. As you get better at making videos, you’ll find yourself needing more pieces of gear. You may think that you need all of that initially. Truthfully, you don’t need much to get started.
The first camera to consider using can be found in your pocket. All smartphones nowadays have fairly decent cameras, and you can easily make drum videos with them. If you don’t have a dedicated camera and you’re not looking to spend money on one, your phone will work well, to begin with.
The problem with phone cameras is that you don’t have much control over how the video looks. That’s why I’d suggest getting either a DSLR or Mirrorless camera if you’re serious about making YouTube drumming videos.
I use the Canon M50 to record most of my videos. It’s one of the most affordable Mirrorless cameras on the market, and it shoots incredible video quality.
When you use a camera like this, you get to choose the frames, lighting, and overall appearance of the video. Having more control allows you to shoot the best-looking drum videos.
Whether you’re using your phone or a dedicated camera, you’re also going to need a tripod. Tripods are essential in any video recording space. Make sure to get one that can be raised high enough to capture the whole drum set.
One very big problem that you’re going to run into with making drum videos is your audio. Drums are incredibly loud, and audio often distorts when you’re shooting a video on a phone or camera. So, dedicated microphones are incredibly important for good sound quality.
Sound quality is arguably more important than video quality, so I’d suggest investing in a microphone or two before paying for a new camera.
Drums are a bit complicated to record, though. If you want to go all out, you’d need drum microphones and a recording interface. The mics won’t work without that interface, so it’s a pricey affair to set up.
If you’re just starting your channel and you want to make things easy as possible, I highly suggest getting the Yamaha EAD10. This device works as a microphone that picks up your whole drum set, and you don’t need a recording interface to use it. It just plugs into your computer via USB.
An added bonus of the EAD10 is that it can change the sound of your drums. There are a few presets on there that are loads of fun to mess around with. However, the biggest benefit I see in this device is the fact that you can get good sound quality with a very minimal setup.
If you’re using an electronic drum kit, you don’t need to worry about drum microphones as you simply need to plug the kit into a computer via a USB cable. The notes you play will then be recognized as MIDI notes when you’re recording into a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
Lighting makes a world of difference when recording videos. Cameras love light, so your video will look much better if there is plenty of it. If you have no lighting gear at the beginning, try your best to film drumming videos in well-lit areas. Setting up close to a window is always a great idea.
If you want to take your videos to the next level, then you should get a set of LED panel lights. Continuous lighting will make your drum videos pop and look highly professional.
These Neewer lights are a fantastic option to consider. They can switch between warm and cool colors and because they’re on tripod stands, can easily move them to cater to whatever drum video that you’re filming.
Getting good lighting gear is what you should consider after having a good microphone and camera. It’s not incredibly essential when you’re starting your channel, but good lighting will undoubtedly make your videos look better. In turn, more people will gravitate toward your content.
The last tool you need in your setup is something to edit your videos with. Editing is something that all video creators need to do. Thankfully, there are some great free software options out there.
If you’re using a Mac, you can use iMovie. It’s the free editing tool that comes with most Apple devices. If it’s not on your Mac, you’ll be able to find it on the App store. You can also use iMovie to edit videos on your iPhone.
PowerDirector is a good one to use that works on both Windows and Mac. The best free software that has professional features is DaVinci Resolve. DaVinci is a bit complicated for beginners, though.
If you want to buy good software that has all the features for in-depth video editing, you could get Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
I’ve been using iMovie to make my YouTube videos for years. I’ve found that I haven’t needed something that provides more as my videos are edited very simply.
YouTube Drum Channel Tips
Looking through other YouTube drumming channels is a great way of figuring out what you want to do with yours. The goal here is to find inspiration, not to copy. If you love how someone is teaching a concept, think about how you can do it with your own personal spin.
Also, I’ve found that it’s incredibly useful to find inspirations from communities other than the drumming community. You could see how a makeup artist does a particular and then apply that concept to drumming. Some interesting ideas will come from that.
I’ve found that being both a creator and consumer has been very helpful in the YouTube space. I’ll never make videos that I wouldn’t want to watch myself, and that aids me when I come up with ideas for new ones.
If you want a bit of inspiration, here are some channels that I recommend watching:
Those channels cover a wide variety of content types and structures. Some of them are serious while others are more comedic. Watching all of them will help you decide what you like the most, and you can take your drumming YouTube channel from there.
Fill a Gap in the Drumming Industry
The best and quickest way to popularize your drumming YouTube channel is to do something that no one has done before. Filling a gap in the market is easier said than done, but it’s not impossible! People have been doing it for decades in all industries.
If you want to make your YouTube channel focused on you playing drum covers, how can you make them in a way that is more interesting than what is already out there? If you figure that out, people will want to watch your videos over others.
Once you rope the viewers in, then you can keep them by establishing trust. The more value you provide, the more they’ll keep coming back. That value could come in the form of either education or entertainment when it comes to drumming.
The biggest tip I’m going to give you is that you need to serve your viewers. When you think about serving people, it makes them feel as though they’ve benefitted from watching your drumming videos, and that will bring them back.
Thankfully, the drumming industry is quite small compared to other industries on the YouTube platform. That means that there is so much potential there to capitalize on!
Creating a solid brand will typically lead viewers to trust you more. It helps them identify exactly who you are and what you stand for. While this seems quite far away from simply recording yourself playing drums and posting it on the Internet, establishing a brand identity on YouTube is a solid way of gaining more popularity.
The best way to develop a brand is to focus on how your channel looks. Choose a few colors and stick with them across all your videos. Try your best to keep the video angles of your drums the same. Also, stick to posting the content that your subscribers initially signed up to see.
Branding can take a while to develop. It took me about one year to establish that I’m the YouTube drummer who teaches advanced concepts in short and precise ways. I’m still working on the constant color part, though, as I’ve moved studios a few times.
Overall, just make sure that your channel has a recurring theme. Perhaps, you could say a similar phrase to start and end your videos. You could also make all your thumbnails in a certain way. Speaking of thumbnails, let’s move on to my final important tip.
Make Good Thumbnails
A thumbnail a the picture that people see when they’re about to click on your video. Unfortunately, everyone who watches YouTube videos undoubtedly judges books by their covers, so your thumbnails are incredibly important. They’re arguably more important than the titles of your videos as people tend to look at thumbnails first.
YouTube has a metric called CTR which stands for click-through rate. This tells you how many people saw the thumbnail of your video and clicked to watch. Having a high CTR means that your thumbnails are fantastic. Having a low CTR means they could be a lot better.
If you don’t make custom thumbnails, YouTube will allow you to put a screenshot of any point in your video there instead. I strongly suggest you don’t do that, as making thumbnails is surprisingly easy.
While you can teach yourself how to use Photoshop and make professional thumbnails, an easier route would be to use free software like Canva. Canva will allow you to use basic design tools to make excellent YouTube thumbnails.
When it comes to your drumming YouTube channel, your thumbnails should let people know that you’ll be playing drums in the video. I’ve found that a picture of you talking or playing with some bold text related to the title generally works quite well.
One of the best things about YouTube is that you can make money from it. There are thousands of creators on the platform that make YouTube videos as their full-time job.
Unfortunately, purely creating drum videos hasn’t proven to be the most sustainable way of making a living for all the drummers that I know. However, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances. Here is everything you need to know.
To get your videos monetized on YouTube, you need to have 1000 subscribers and a combined total of 4000 watch hours across all your videos. For some people, these requirements are met very quickly. For others, it can take years.
Once you’ve passed the threshold, YouTube will start putting ads on your videos, and you’ll make money through Google Adsense. The money you make there will be deposited into your bank account every month.
It’s incredibly important to know that if you’re making drum covers, this isn’t going to work. Drum covers use songs from other artists, and your Adsense money will go to them instead of you. This is why I decided not to do drum covers on my own YouTube channel.
The only way that you’re going to make money is if you make original drumming videos where you own all the footage and music. If you want to put background music on your videos during talking segments, you’ll need to use copyright-free music.
Creating Separate Sources of Income
If you really want to make a living from your drumming YouTube channel, you’ll need to capitalize on your audience. As I said earlier, you should strive to make some true fans. If you have these, they’ll be happy to pay you for your services.
Relying on Adsense money alone isn’t going to be a reliable way of getting income. Also, you can easily start making money from YouTube even before your channel gets monetized.
Here are a few ideas:
- Offer drum lessons through Zoom and advertise them on your channel
- Create a page on Patreon and offer extra drumming content to people who pay monthly to have access to it
- Review drumming products and gear and earn affiliate income by linking the products and signing up for affiliate programs
- Create a drumming business separate to YouTube, but use YouTube as the funnel to get new customers (this works the best)
Answer: No. There are new people starting YouTube channels every day, and some of them are blowing up within months. While YouTube may seem quite saturated, your channel will gain popularity if you make videos that stand out and are valuable.
The drum community on YouTube is quite small compared to other communities, and that is even more reason to start a YouTube drumming channel. If you make good content, upload regularly, and have good thumbnails and titles, your channel will steadily grow.
I asked myself the same question when I started my channel back in 2020. If I decided that it was too late, I wouldn’t be making income as I do now from YouTube.
Answer: The drummer on YouTube with the most subscribers is Casey Cooper. He became incredibly popular in the early years of the platform by posting countless drum covers of popular songs. While he doesn’t post as many drum covers anymore, he’s still an integral part of the drumming community.
Some other popular YouTube drum channels to check out are Drumeo, Matt McGuire, and Drum Beats Online.
Answer: This may come as a shock, but you can’t actually make any money from drum covers. When you upload a video of yourself drumming to a popular song, all the money earned through Adsense goes to the rightful owners of the song.
The drummers who are famous for doing drum covers make money in other ways by doing sponsored videos, running Patreon pages, and making videos separate from their covers.
Answer: There are a few ways to upgrade how your videos look and sound. These include getting a better camera, getting multiple cameras to have varying angles, getting better drum microphones, adding more light to your videos, and editing your videos in a way that is more captivating for whoever is watching.
The more videos you make, the better you will get at them. So, the best way to make better videos is to just keep pushing and making more of them.
Starting a YouTube drumming channel can be incredibly rewarding. While it can be a way for you to help and entertain others, it can also act as an archive of your drumming. I love looking back at my old YouTube drumming videos and realizing how much I’ve improved over the years.
It’s never too late to start a YouTube channel, so don’t let that thought stop you. Read through this guide, get the appropriate gear, and take it from there!
For more interesting reading on drums and drum gear, check out the following articles: