I was self taught literally until I made a drum corps. No percussion staff at my HS at all. Here are the steps I took:
- Listen to music and drum along to it. You learn pattern recognition and musical phrasing without even knowing it.
- Watch videos. YouTube is the spot now to watch people do what you want to do. Then do your best to copy what they do. (Slow the videos down too)
- Find help. Private Lessons, Books/Literature, education brands like Gridbook, Drumline Blueprint, Left Hand Path, Corps Essentials, Percussion IQ, the list goes on. There is A LOT of free content out there, but you should also INVEST in the paid material too if you can. That usually provides much more concentrated info. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Bill Bachman’s Rudimental Logic books.
- Drum with other musicians. Doesn’t have to be just drummers. Get your pad and drum with a friend who plays violin. You will not only learn how to play with another performer, but musical details from the other instruments will influence and sharpen tour playing.
- DRUM ALL OF THE TIME. LIKE RELENTLESSLY. Seriously, the best way to get better at snare is to play snare. A lot.