We’ve developed this learning guide so that you have a solid plan to start working your way through the material on OnlineDrummer.com. The guide includes the foundational drumming concepts that every drummer needs to master. We’ve linked to key lessons that will introduce you to the concepts and offer you valuable practice materials. All of the lessons and materials linked to in this guide are freely accessible on OnlineDrummer.com. Happy drumming!
NOTE: If you’re interested in a more in-depth study of reading music, visit our Learning To Read Series. Working through both the Learning To Read Series along with the drum set Learning Guide outline below will give you a more holistic understanding of playing the drums.
Before you begin, it’s important to understand the basics of setting up the drums, posture and best-practices for successful playing. The first part of this lesson guide covers these important topics to ensure you get started in the right direction.
2. Tuning (scroll down to the “tune like the pros” section)
3. Setting Up and Positioning Best Practices:
Reading & Playing 8th Note Drum Beats
The first beats you’ll learn to play use an 8th note ostinato (i.e. repeating pattern) on the cymbal, while all of the other strokes fall in-line with one or more of these cymbal strokes. Though these grooves are basic, many chart-topping songs have used (and continue to use) the 8th beat technique.
6. Drum Beats to Practice: Drum Set Time PDF
7. More Drum Beats to Practice: Drum Set Time 2 PDF
8. Eighth Note Drum Beats Examples From Songs:
10. Eighth Note Drum Beats with Snare Movement Examples From Songs:
Basic Drum Fills
Most songs include some type of drum fill. A drum fill is often used to transition between parts of a song (i.e. intro, verse, chorus, etc.). The following lessons introduce you to some drum fills and give you practice templates to work on creating your own drum fills.
Reading & Playing Rolls In Your Grooves
Drum rolls can bring a lot of interest to your drum beats and fills. Getting started early with drum rolls will give you the time to perfect them as you work through the rest of the lessons in this guide. Practice your rolls daily to gradually develop your technique.
Reading & Playing 16th Notes in Drum Beats
The next step is to learn to play sixteenth notes in your drum beats. This involves playing snare strokes or bass strokes that fall in-between the 8th note cymbal strokes. Adding sixteenth notes to your grooves greatly increases the potential of your grooves.
28. Sixteenth-Note Bass Phrasing Examples From Songs:
33. Sixteenth-Note Snare & Bass Phrasing Examples From Songs:
Embellishing Drum Beats
Changing the dynamics (how loudly or softly you play) and adding the open hi-hat technique are two great ways to bring your grooves to life. In fact, embellishing a groove can really bring a groove to life, often times giving your groove a completely different feel. Learning to control these embellishments will give you the ability to create the appropriate feel for every groove you play.
36. Ghost Strokes
41. Drum Beats with Embellishing Examples From Songs:
Congratulations for finishing this learning guide! You now have a solid understanding of the basics of playing drum set and will be able to play many of the songs that you encounter. Congratulations again, and keep drumming!
You can explore our song sheet music here.
There are also a number of video lessons teaching parts of songs.