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Eighth Notes - Beginner Drum Lesson

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

Welcome back to Hackney Wick Drum Studio for another free beginner drum lesson in East London. Last week we covered the quarter note, so the next logical step in our series of beginner drum lessons is to look at the eighth note, or quaver if you want to give it its official title. This lesson will also cover the relationship between the quarter note and eighth note, so we can start to see how sub-divisions work

To properly understand this note, it's first important to know how to count it within the bar. In last weeks lesson we were counting quarter notes exactly on the beat (1-2-3-4). Now we're counting 1 & 2 & 3 & 4. The quarter note will still fall exactly on each beat of the metronome, but now, as there are twice as many notes in the bar, we're adding the '&' in-between.

Focus on playing these notes as evenly as possible.

See the example Snare Drum exercise below.

As always, I recommend starting this on your Snare Drum or practice pad at 60 BPM and gradually increase from there, once you get comfortable.

Also note the sticking written below the piece. In the first line, we're playing 'alternate' sticking, right hand followed by left. (Lead with your left hand if you're left handed).

The second line of sticking is a very early introduction to the double stroke roll. We will cover this in more detail in the coming weeks. This is simply two right hands, followed by two lefts.......

See the video below of me playing the above exercise at 60 BPM, followed by the same thing played at 90 BPM.

Next, we need to check out the eighth note rest. As in the last drum blog, rather than striking the drum or practice pad, when you see a rest, you simply don't.

Heres an example exercise below.

And here's a video of how it should sound at 60 BPM

Now that you've got that, let's finally have a quick look at an exercise containing both quarter notes and eighth notes. Here you'll start to get an understanding for the relationship between the two different note values, and begin to see how the two eighth notes add up to the same amount of time as a quarter note.

In a few lessons time, we'll start to look at how to apply these various exercises around the full kit, not just the snare drum. If you'd like to get a head start, why not check out my post about drum voices on the stave, which gives you a full insight into where each part of the drum kit is represented on the musical chart.

So that's it for another drum lesson here at Hackney Wick Drum Studio. As always, please leave any questions or comments below. I hope you're finding these beginner drum lessons helpful.

If you're local and looking for a drum teacher in London then why not check out the website. It's full of great tips and you can even book a drum lesson there.

As a bonus today, you can see below a whole page of sheet music containing everything we've learned in the first two lessons. Check it out and let me know how you get on.

In the next drumming blog, we'll be looking at a 32 bar practice exercise, covering everything we've learned in the previous two drum lessons. I look forward to welcoming you back for that.

Best of luck and happy drumming.


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