Last time we worked on the very first drum beat you should learn if you want to play rock drums. Today, it’s beat #2… If you are a drum teacher who wants an easy way to teach a newbie to play a great drum beat, or if you are a newbie yourself, this article is for you. You’ll be playing a great beat in short order.
To review, we don’t need to read music to learn these (although I strongly suggest you learn to read rhythmic notation), and we are only using three voices on our drum set:
1) Hi Hat (with your right hand)
2) Snare Drum (with your left hand)
3) Bass Drum (with your right foot)
Ready? Here are the four easy steps:
1) Strike the hi hat with your right hand and the bass drum with your right foot simultaneously
2) Same as #1
3) Strike the hi hat with your right hand and the snare drum with you left hand simultaneously.
4) Strike the hi hat with your right hand.
Repeat these steps over and over, maintaining equal space between each note (step).
Start very slowly and gradually work up speed.
Before you know it, you’ll be playing another cool rock beat.
This article is for beginners, or for drum instructors who want a quick way to teach an absolute beginner to play a drum beat right away. Follow the four steps listed below, and you will be playing your very first drum beat in short order.
Allow me to explain a couple of things first. We are dealing with three limbs of your body, and each limb is striking a specific part of the drum set with each of the four steps.
Your right hand will strike the closed hi-hat with a stick.
Your left hand will strike the snare drum with a stick.
Your right foot will push down on the bass drum pedal which will cause a note to be played on the bass drum.
OK. Here are the steps:
1) Strike the hi hat with your right hand and the bass drum with your right foot simultaneously.
2) Strike the hi hat with your right hand.
3) Strike the hi hat with your right hand and the snare drum with your left hand simultaneously.
4) Strike the hi hat with your right hand.
Now, repeat steps 1 through 4 over and over again—create a continuous loop—and be sure that the space between each step is the same.
Start very slowly (this won’t sound like music at first) and speed up only gradually, as you get control over the four steps.
Spend time playing the steps repeatedly at different consistent tempos.
Before you know it, you’ll be playing a great rock beat.
A while back I posted a sheet of eighth note rock beats. The original sheet, simply called “Eighth Note Rock Beats,” was just a baker’s dozen of beats….many of which I still use to this day in my rock playing. It doesn’t have to be complex to be good! Eighth note rock beats are the backbone of rock drumming and pop drumming. Just listen to AC/DC’s “Back In Black,” and you’ll know what I’m talking about. That original sheet can be downloaded by clicking on the following link: Eighth Note Rock Beats
For more fun with eighth note rock, here’s yet another dozen beats to work on to further your independence and deepen your vocabulary. To download “Part Two,” the “Son of Eighth Note Rock Beats,” just click on the link to the right and the pdf will be yours for the taking: Son of Eighth Note Rock Beats
Make sure to plan your escape route from your drum room so you don’t get eaten by zombies during your practice session.
Here’s a worksheet we’ve been using with students to get them started on the path of becoming a rock drummer. The sheet is available as a pdf file for download by clicking on this link:
It is easy to argue that the most important skill a rock drummer must have is to play grooves. It is also easy to argue that the most common grooves in rock are eighth note based. Therefore, if you want to be a rock drummer, and you’re just getting started, learn this sheet.
Here’s what the notation means. The top line, with the “X” noteheads represents the hi hat or ride cymbal, played with your right hand (we’re assuming you are right handed). The second space from the top represents the snare drum, played with your left hand. Finally, the bottom space on the staff represents the bass drum, played with your right foot on the bass drum pedal.
Any of the examples on the sheet can be counted correctly by saying “one and two and three and four and” sequentially while you play each of the eight notes in each example. In other words, when you play the first note in example #1, say “one,” and then say “and” when you play the second note and then say “two” when you play the third note and so on and so forth.
“Muscle through” these patterns very slowly at first by just literally doing what the notation says to do. For example, with beat #1, which is the beat in the upper most left hand corner of the sheet as pictured, if you simply do the following, you will be playing the beat:
1) play the hi hat with your right hand and the bass drum with your right foot simultaneously. (say “one” out loud while you do this)
2) play the hi hat with your right hand. (say “and”)
3) play the hi hat with your right hand and the snare drum with your left hand simultaneously. (say “two”)
4) play the hi hat with your right hand. (say “and”)
5) repeat the previous steps but substitute the words “three” “and” “four” “and” for each step in sequence. (“one” becomes “three”; “and” remains “and”; “two” becomes “four”; and “and” remains “and”)
6) repeat the above over and over, and space the notes evenly, and you’ll be playing the beat. start very slowly and practice the pattern until it becomes easy to play. then you can gradually speed up.
7) use this same process for all the beats on the page.
You will need to go deeper than this, but for a complete beginner, this is a really good way to get started. Have a go at this and if you have any questions about how to work through it, feel free to to ask.
Have fun with it.