To learn how to play drums, you really don't need a full drum set to begin with. I've found it's easier to start the beginning student on one surface (one drum or practice pad) first and then progress to two surfaces, three and then onto a full kit. Learning the basics can't be stressed enough and it's usually much easier to gauge a student's true interest by how well he does on one drum - and plus the investment is a little easier on the pocket book. So I would suggest you start with a Practice pad.
Here are few types:
- Real Drum Head
- Tunable (to some extent)
- You can mount it on a stand.
- It's a little loud. So if you're wanting to watch tv and practice, it's a little annoying.
- Features Gum Rubber surface that is super quiet and aids in bouncing.
- This is my favorite Practice Pad and I would recommend getting this unless of course you want to try something else (like the Roland pad I mention below.)
- Features a "head-like" response that is similar in feel to the Remo head, but is as quiet as the RealFeel pad.
- Comes with a built in metronome and a variety of sounds that you can change.
- Yes, this is an electronic drum and allows you plug in headphones so that you can hear yourself.
- Allows for one trigger input, which will come in handy once they start using their feet. For example, you could purchase a kick (bass drum) trigger and kick pedal and then be able to play bass drum along with your snare drum studies.
- Cost. However, I would imagine you'd be able to resell this pad via eBay and recoup some of your initial investment, should that be necessary.
Once you have procurred a practice pad, I would say the next investment would be drum sticks!
My favorite drum sticks are made by Vic Firth.
For the beginning drummer I would suggest getting a pair that feel the best to you. In my experience, usually those sticks will be one of the following pairs:
I would also suggest getting nylon tip sticks as they seem to last longer. However, wood tip sticks are just fine as well. I think it's important to feel the sticks before you purchase them, so I would suggest going to a local drum or music store and asking to see the sizes listed above. There are many fine companies making drum sticks, (such as Pro-Mark, Vater, Zildjian, and others) and so try the different brands to see what feels best to you. And though you can find cheaper sticks, I would suggest spending the few extra dollars to get a "name-brand" stick such as those listed above.