It is a truism to say that learning to play drums is one of the most important elements in being and becoming a drummer. Drummers play music that, for the most part, falls under the broad umbrella of ‘popular music’. Popular music in education has become the subject of much recent research1 and is increasingly featured as the focus of conferences in music education. At the International Society for Music Education (ISME) World Conference in August 2010 there was a panel discussion focusing on practices in popular music education around the world along with several individual papers on the subject, and in February 2011 the theme of the Eighth Suncoast Music Education Symposium (SMERS VIII) was ‘Popular Music Pedagogy’. In July 2012 the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance held the second of its conferences on popular music in education, entitled ‘Rock and Roles: Philosophy and sociology of popular music education’. It is important and timely, therefore, that the field of music education addresses how drummers learn to do what they do. This may help educators to learn not only about drummers’ practices, but also suggest ways in which other musicians learn and could learn.