What a good question! Thank you for asking.
The answer is this: in my class, during the first lesson, the brand new beginner gets to learn her/his first rock beat. We shall also, while we’re at it, try to play together. I might be on the piano or the guitar. I might sing a song or not. It doesn’t matter. I will throw you in the swimming pool as soon as possible. And the goal is for you to become the accompanying drummer of our band.
Now, the question can get a longer tail: how long does it take to play the drums the way YOU want to play them?
Ha! Now we are in the thick of it!
I’ll try not to throw an “It depends”.
Ok. So you want to be able to play along a few rock songs you enjoy, blaze through some easy fills, maybe even branch out and cajole some blues songs, or, if you are truly brave and informed, cruise through a shuffle?
Well, is that what you want?
I’ll say, about two months. Two months and you can do all that. With regular practice, steady dedication and a good teacher (I know one!), you could be fulfilling your goal. Now, the songs you’ll be accompanying might not be very fast, and your library of fills might not be massive. But you will be able to play something along with a song.
I answered a very complicated, very thorny question the best I could.
But, and it needs to be said, whatever you do on the drum, whether you study hard sweating bullets or you tap a little tit bit on the corner of a table with a huge smile on your face, the attitude should be the same: don’t forget to have fun!