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What is a Quarter Note? Free drum lesson

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

With this beginner drum lesson, we're starting with the very basics by looking at the first of four different note values, the quarter note.

This gets us off to the perfect start before we move on to learning the other sub-divisions; eighth note, eighth note triplet and sixteenth note.

With Quarter notes, or 'Crotchets' to give them their proper name, each note we play will land exactly on the 'click' of our metronome.

Playing at 60BPM (beats per minute) in a 4/4 time signature, we would get 4 beats to the bar, and 60 strikes on the drum per minute.

Below is a simple exercise. Set your metronome to 60 BPM and with each click, strike the snare drum or practice pad. Each time you play the note, you'll be playing a quarter note. Be sure to practice this very slowly at first, and make sure that each strike lands exactly in time with the sound from the metronome.

If you're a right handed drummer, play beats 1 & 3 with your right hand, 2 & 4 with the left. If you're left handed, do the the opposite. You'll notice that each note on the exercise below is on the second line down on the stave. This is where the snare drum will always be written.

More can be found out about drum set voices by following the link to the drum notation chart.

Once you're comfortable with this, try adjusting the tempo upwards, I recommend around

5 - 10 BPM at a time until you're really comfortable with it.

(I highly recommend a free app called Soundbrenner for all your drum kit and practice pad work.)

Now that you've mastered the concept of quarter notes, let's have a look at the quarter note rest. It is equal in time value to the quarter note. Now however, rather than playing or striking the drum, we're holding off from playing on that particular beat. You can see that the rest in the first bar falls on beat 2, in the second bar it falls on beats 2 & 4 etc.

Give this exercise a try, again at 60BPM. This is a great for helping with your musical counting. It's highly beneficial to count out loud whilst practicing this exercise. You won't always need to do this, but at this early stage, it's a great way to develop your internal metronome.

So there it is. A very brief introduction to quarter notes, and counting four beats in a bar. As I said above, it pays to practice this drum lesson very slowly to begin with.

As always, any comments or questions are always very welcome. Let me know how you got on.

I offer lessons from my drum studio here in Hackney Wick, East London, so if you're local and you want some help with this, or are looking for a drum teacher in Hackney, you can always book a drum lesson with me here at the studio.

The next blog post, we'll be looking at the eighth notes or 'quavers', so I look forward to welcoming you back for that.


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