A lot of brand new drummers have the same question, "When will I play my first drum beat?" I'm here to give you the answer, which should come as good news. ANYONE can play their first drum beat (typically the mother of all rock beats) during their first lesson, regardless of if the lesson is an hour or thirty minutes long. All of my new students play the mother of all rock beats by the end of our first lesson together, and oftentimes play along to their first song too!
Many drum teachers will start new students off by playing strictly on a practice pad or a snare drum. These teachers will not let new students touch a full drum set for several months or even a year! This approach has its benefits, such as ensuring students develop strong hand technique before ever incorporating other limbs into their playing, but it also has one huge downside, which is why I take a different approach entirely. What is this massive downside that I intentionally avoid? Students get BORED when they play nothing but the fundamentals on a practice pad or snare drum. We all have a friend that took piano lessons as a child, but stopped due to losing interest. Why did they lose interest? Their teacher assigned them nothing but scales and fundamentals! The last thing I ever want to do is teach in a way that bores students, discouraging them from playing the drums, or worse, discouraging them from playing music altogether. I do teach the fundamentals and I highly encourage and nurture my students' ability to read music, but I do it in a way that is engaging and fun: on a full drum set!
In conclusion: I believe it is SO important for new drummers to play their first drum beat on a full drum set ASAP. This makes the challenge of learning the drums much more enjoyable and interesting, while familiarizing them with the multiple instruments that make up our single larger instrument, the drum set.