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How to play the Drums for beginners - Free Drum Lesson

Hi everyone, welcome back to Hackney Wick Drum Studio for another free beginner Drum Lesson. Todays lesson is where the fun starts. We're going to be using the skills we've learned during the previous lessons to start build up a drum beat or groove. If you looking for where to learn to play the drums, you've come to the right place.

There are 2 videos accompanying this lesson, one at 60 BPM and one at 90BPM. If you get stuck at any point, have a look and see how it should sound in relation to the click.

Let's take a quick look first at the correct way to hold the drumsticks. If you take a look at the picture below, you'll see that the right hand is crossed over on top of the left. You'll use the right hand to play the Hi-Hat, and the left hand for the snare drum.

If you're playing the kit left handed, you'll do the opposite and have the Hi-Hat on the right hand side, playing it with your left hand and the right hand will be striking the Snare Drum.

First, we're going to be starting with the quarter notes. Whereas before in the quarter note lesson, each beat is going to fall exactly on the click of the metronome. The major difference now however, is that we're incorporating another 2 parts of the drum kit; the hi hat and bass drum.


Take a look at the 4 bar piece above. You should be familiar with the quarter note by now, but you'll notice that some of the notes are placed on different parts of the stave. The Kick Drum is the note placed on the bottom line, and the Hi-Hat is the cross which sits on the top line, with the Snare Drum sitting in its usual place on the second line down.

If you need a recap of these at any point, you can check out my post about Drum Voices on the Stave.

So now we know what each note stands for, let's get down to playing this 4 bar piece.

Starting with beat 1, we'll be playing a Kick Drum and a Hi-Hat. Beat 2 you'll be playing a Snare Drum and Hi-Hat, and this repeats alternately for the rest of the piece.

Practice this slowly, the coordination here is the hardest part. Keep these 2 different movements going for as long as you can, and before you know it, the muscle memory will start to take over. Once you've got this, start to introduce the metronome and practice getting each beat exactly on top of the click.

Now that you've mastered the Quarter note, let's give the Eighth note a try. If you need a refresh, you can check out the Eighth note blog post.


Now we're introducing a some extra Hi-Hats. The Kick and Snare are still playing on the

1-2-3-4, but now you've got a Hi-Hat falling on the '&'s' in-between. The best way to make sure all the notes are falling in the right place is to count it out loud, 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.

The video below is of me playing the whole exercise at 60 BPM

Next, let's look at the most tricky of the 4 values, the Eighth note Triplet.


As with all four of these exercises, the Kick will fall on beat 1, Snare on best 2, Kick on 3 and Snare again on beat 4, each one being a Quarter note and landing with the click.

The only thing changing is what your Right hand is doing (or Left hand if you're a lefty).

Now we're playing those Triplets with the right hand, counting 1&a 2&a 3&a 4&a, making sure as always that the first note of each Triplet is landing with the click.

Again, reference the video if you're a little unsure, or have a look at the blog post for the Eighth Note Triplet


Finally, we move onto the the sixteenth note. As with all the previous 3 beats we've played, the Kick is on the 1 and 3, the Snare on 2 and 4.

Now the right hand is playing 1e&a 2e&a 3e&a 4e&a. This is one you'll definitely want to start slowly, making sure all those sixteenth notes are falling nice and evenly. If you need a recap, check out the Sixteenth note blog post.

Once you're comfortable with all these, try playing one bar of each exercise, followed by the next one, giving you a four bar piece. This is a great way of practicing all of the different beats together, and this way you'll really get an understanding of how they all work together.

This is it below.

For the next drum lesson, we'll be looking at incorporating the toms into this exercise, so be sure to check back next Monday for this.

That's it for todays lesson on how to play the drums for beginners. I hope you've found the lesson helpful, and as always, any questions you have please feel free to ask.

Don't forget, I also offer 1-2-1 drum lessons here at my drum studio in Hackney Wick. If you're looking for drum lessons in London, why not get in touch to book your free trial?

Best of luck and happy drumming!


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