- Have you wanted to play drums for a while, but you weren’t sure how to get started? Let me guide you to playing your first drum beat. It’s OK if you’ve never played before and it doesn’t matter if you can’t read music. This is a pretty-much full proof way to get started.
So, here we go…(by the way, this drum beat can be found on many recordings including “Billie Jean” and “Back in Black.”)
It’s very simple. First, sit behind the drums. We’re assuming you are right-handed, in which case the drum kit is set up like the diagram on the left. Now, sit behind the kit (sit on the drum throne/stool), pick up a pair of drumsticks…one in each hand (don’t worry too much about the details of how to hold the sticks right now) and situate yourself as follows:
- put your right foot on the bass drum pedal,
- your left foot on the hi-hat pedal (press down with your foot in order to hold the hi-hat cymbals together–you won’t be using your left foot in this beat except to keep the hi-hat closed),
- cross your right arm over your left so the right hand can strike the hi-hat with the stick
- situate your left arm so that your left hand can strike the snare drum with the stick.
Now, follow these four steps in order:
- Strike the Hi-Hat with your right hand and the Bass Drum with your right foot (by pushing down on the bass drum pedal with your right foot), SIMULTANEOUSLY
- Hit the Hi-Hat with your right hand
- Hit the Hi-Hat with your right hand and the snare drum with your left hand SIMULTANEOUSLY
- Hit the Hi-Hat with your right hand.
If you play these steps in their numbered order, and repeat them very slowly over and over, while spacing the steps evenly, you’ll begin to play your first beat.
- repeat these steps in order, 1 through 4
- space them evenly
- play slowly at first
- repeat the steps over and over again, and loop them, so you’re playing 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc..
- repeat this a LOT — until you can do it with ease.
If you don’t have a drum set, or even sticks, you can still practice this. Just make the correct motions with your body in the proper order and you’ll still be practicing the coordination needed to play this beat. You can bring it to the drum set later.
Here’s a PDF with the 4 steps in case you need it to print something out to take with you to a practice room: Your First Drum Beat
Feel free to ask questions!