“Every artist was first an amateur.”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Frequently Asked Questions

Tips and Tricks

At JMC Drums, we specialize in Percussion Education. If you or your student are looking to get started with us remotely or in person, some of the questions below might be of use to you. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to help you.

We work with all ages and ability levels. Typically, most of our students tend to be in jr. high or high school. Some students, however, start earlier in elementary school to fulfill a 2 year requirement asked of their local jr. high programs. Others, join later in life to fulfill a lifelong dream. So, wherever you may be in your music journey, team up with JMC Drums to get started!

Rudimental Percussion. We have you covered on marching snare, tenor, or bass.  

Drumset. We will work with you on many styles of music: jazz, rock, funk, latin, etc.

Mallets. We teach from a 5 octave marimba but can help you with concepts used on Marimba, Xylophone, Vibraphone, and Bells. We will cover both 2 and 4 mallet techniques as well.

Concert Percussion. Emphasis will be placed on rhythms and musicality. Most students will work concepts from either a practice pad or a mallet instrument. We can provide pointers on other auxiliary percussion instruments, however, we are a growing studio and might not have those instruments on hand (Timpani, chimes, etc.).

When you sign up for one of our subscription plans, either in-person or remote lessons, our booking app will direct you to a few of our immediate openings. If one of these times doesn’t work, feel free to reach out to us to see if we know of any upcoming openings. We will do our best to find a day and time that works for both of us.

We connect remotely through Zoom, which is a video and audio conferencing app. Zoom’s free accounts provide unlimited meetings for up to 40 minutes. Create your account and download the app at zoom.us.

Zoom recommends the following for 1:1 video calling:

  • For high-quality video: 600kbps (up/down)
  • For 720p HD video: 1.2 Mbps (up/down)
  • For 1080p HD video: 3.8 Mbps/3.0Mbps (up/down)

You can check out Zoom’s support page to confirm that your system meets their recommended requirements.

You might also consider running a free speed test through speedtest.net to learn what your current download and upload speeds are.

Yes. The audio in Zoom is best set up for voice, which means the audio will tend to suppress background noise and enable echo cancellation. Unfortunately, these settings usually squash the sound of drums being played. They can, however, be turned off for our lessons and enable us to hear both your voice and drums. We will help walk you through all these settings when you get set up for remote lessons.

There is no need to spend a lot of money and you might already have something at home. Most cell phones, tablets, and laptops have more than adequate cameras. GoPros, DSLRs and other digital cameras may be used but will require a capture card. You may even consider an external USB webcam that might be easy to position closer to your drums. If you do end up using a tablet or a phone, you might consider investing in a cheap tripod to frame your video as best as possible.

No. We actually prefer that you don’t. It is possible to sign in to Zoom with multiple devices but if you do, it can slow down internet speeds and create other headaches. We suggest one camera positioned far enough back that we can see a nice wide angle of everything.

The built in microphone with whatever device you use will suffice. If you would like to upgrade your audio, a USB microphone can be found on Amazon for cheap. You should, however, try to find a quiet place in your house, free from distractions such as dogs and younger siblings. Also be sure to adjust your audio settings as mentioned earlier under “Do I need to change any settings in zoom.”

Proper lighting can help improve your picture quality. The clearer your image, the easier it will be for us to provide you with better feedback. Try to avoid setting up with a window behind you. It would be better to have the light from a window behind the camera shining on your face. You might also try using lamps from around the house to help brighten things up a bit. While not necessary, cheap dimmers and dimmable LED bulbs can be acquired at your local Home Depot.

Headphones are recommended. Sometimes your microphone can pick up the audio from your speakers and in turn create feedback. Headphones can help prevent this problem.

Stick and mallet choices often come down to personal preference. Like any tool, however, you will need the right implement to get the job done well. You don’t want a sledgehammer if all you need is a hammer. That being said, here are some of our recommendations:

  • Vic Firth, Innovative Percussion, and Marimba One all have a great selection of mallets. You might start with a Medium or Medium Hard mallet and eventually try adding a soft and hard mallet choice to your collection.

For snare drum, there are a ton of great options with different weights, lengths, shapes, and materials. You may want to try a couple of options at the store and see what you like. 

  • We typically recommend Vic Firth Corpsmaster Signature Ralph Hardimon Sticks for rudimental percussion.
  • Vic Firth SD1 General Wood Tip sticks are a good starting place for concert percussion.
  • For Drum set, Vic Firth American Classic 5A are a great option.


For snare drum, we recommend getting a full size practice pad. The small ones, though cheaper, tend to bounce around when you play them. Spend a little more and get a pad that can grow with you. Here are a few of our favorites in order of quality and price:

  • Offworld Percussion Invader V3
  • Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Stock Pad
  • Evans Realfeel 2 sided—12 inch

If you’re on a budget, a practice pad could easily be placed on a stool; however, a snare stand would be highly encouraged. Make sure you consider what height the stand will be able to accommodate. 

Cheaper bundles can be found online as well. These will often include sticks, pad, and a stand but aren’t always the best quality.


Like snare pads, there are a lot of options here. Some tenor pads come with rims. Some come with 5 drums, others with 6. Some try to achieve different pitches from each drum. These tend to be our top 2 favorites: 

  • Offworld Percussion Mothership 
  • Vic Firth Heavy Hitter Quadropad

Snare stands will often work with tenor pads but you might also consider an x-style stand.


Pads are available specifically for bass drum but most of the time we will typically work on a snare pad. It is relatively easy to transfer skills learned on a horizontal surface to a vertical surface. If you do end up purchasing a bass pad, these are oftentimes paired with a cymbal stand.


Even if all you have is a practice pad, we can accomplish quite a bit. You can even get creative with different buckets and objects from around the house if that’s all you have available. However, used drum sets can be found for cheap on KSL or eBay. A cheap drum set can sound amazing when tuned right. New heads can make a world of difference. You can always upgrade hardware, cymbals, etc. as your budget allows. Through remote lessons, we can even give you input on how to tune your drums and get them sounding the way you want. 

Electric kits can also offer a quieter option for practicing without bothering the family or neighbors. Electric kits, however, are harder to develop sensitivity and a dynamic range on.

Mutes and muffling are a cheap way of making your acoustic kit a little quieter for the family.


Fewer students tend to have access to a marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone at home. These instruments can be a significant investment. So here are a couple of suggestions.

Without an instrument, we can work a lot of techniques such as stroke quality and permutations on the ground or on a practice pad. Notes can often be learned on a piano, technique on the ground, and then combined quickly when you have access to an instrument.

Most beginning students will start with a cheap Bell Kit. While functional, students will often outgrow these quickly. 

Practice Banners are growing in popularity and can offer the ability to work intervals but do not offer any audio feedback.

A Pearl Malletstation is a step up in price but offers a great alternative to a mallet instrument at a fraction of the price. These usually require an iphone or a computer to run GarageBand or MainStage through. They are also limited in their octave range and as a result are probably a better substitute for bells, xylophone, and vibraphone—but not for marimba.

You might also try to talk with your band director and see if you can gain access to their instruments after school while you try to save your money. In the meantime, keep your eyes out for the occasional rental, or listing on KSL or eBay.

Tuition is charged up front at the beginning of each month to whatever card is on file.  A receipt will be emailed to you automatically when payments are processed. Subscriptions can be stopped or canceled anytime before the first of the month.

Your tuition reserves your regularly scheduled lesson time. Each month, you will receive the equivalent of 2 hours of instruction, usually broken down into weekly ½ hour lessons.  Music, sticks, and other such items will not be included in your tuition cost.

If you need to reschedule a lesson, you should let us know at least 24 hours in advance. This will give us the opportunity to offer the time to another student. With enough notice, we are more than willing to work with you.

However, we do understand that emergencies happen. The internet might go down or the power might go out. Let us know as soon as possible!

Refunds, however, will not be offered for missed lessons.

Currently, we operate on a month to month basis.  Subscriptions are processed automatically on the first of every month but can be stopped or canceled anytime before then.

We do teach through the summer months. We realize, however, that this can be a busy time of year for family vacations, campouts, and other activities. Please reach out to us in advance when you know of a conflict. With enough notice, we can typically work something out. 

We do not teach on the major U.S. holidays (Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, Independence Day). If your usual lesson time will fall on a holiday this month, we will typically reach out to you a couple weeks in advance to see if we can schedule a different time. 

Please keep in mind that we teach students from all over. As a result, not all schools or districts follow the same schedules. Your spring break and other days off might not align with ours. Make sure to communicate with us if you need to reschedule.

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