Whether you prefer the pulse of electronic dance music or some loud and raucous rock and roll, there's one instrument that drives the beat forward and helps keep the other instruments on track. What are we talking about? The drum, of course!

The drum dates back thousands of years, way before guitars, pianos, and other common instruments were invented. Historians have found ancient drums more than 6,000 years old in Egypt. Even older versions made from alligator skins have been found in China.

Since it's such a simple and intuitive instrument, it's no surprise that the drum was the first instrument to be crafted by prehistoric man. The human body itself can be tapped and slapped to make percussion sounds.

Although no one knows who made the first drum, it probably did not take ancient humans long to figure out how to stretch an animal skin over a hollow container to make a basic instrument that would produce similar sounds. Although there are many types of drums today, the basic design of the instrument has remained unchanged for thousands of years.

Today, when you think of playing the drums, you might think of the large drum kits that drummers in rock bands use. These kits are comprised of several different types of drums and other percussion instruments, including snare drums, bass drums, tom-tom drums, and cymbals.

While a drummer in a rock band usually plays the drums with sticks, many other types of drums can be played with only the hands. For example, the djembe, a goblet drum that originates from West Africa, is almost always played with just the hands.

Since drums have been around for thousands of years, many different cultures have developed their own unique types of drums. In addition to the drums you're probably already familiar with, you might find musicians playing a timpani drum, bongos, congas, tablas, hang drums, taikos, or doumbeks. Each of these drums has its own unique construction and sound.

The earliest drums were made with natural materials, such as animal skins and gourds. Today, however, most modern drums are made with synthetic materials, such as plastics and composite materials.

Most parents dread the day when their children take an interest in the drums. Drums don't always have to be loud, though. Drums play an important role in all sorts of different types of music, including classical and jazz.

To play drums professionally, you need the right training and equipment, just like any other instrument you might pursue. Unlike many other instruments, though, drums can be played by a wide variety of amateurs with little or no training. Because it's relatively easy to turn a common household item, such as a bucket, into a makeshift drum, just about anyone can use their hands to tap out a beat and begin playing the drums!

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