Welcome to the beginners guide to...

Playing drums

I have been a music student for  good few years now and have also done a bit of teaching. I have challenged myself to teach you to play a basic drum bet from having never played the drums before in your life. Please read and follow the instructions (if you don't have a drum kit use your hands and feet) and lets see if we can get you playing a basic rock beat. try to follow the instructions carefully but remember at the end of the day music is all about having fun, well that and making millions £$£$... But mainly for the fun!


The first thing we need to establish is the constant rhythm, this is the job of the hi-hat (or right hand if your lap drumming). You want to keep a constant beat with this hand so as to keep in time. rhythm is all about time, the most basic timing in music is 4/4 this means we have 4 beats split in to 4ths (quarters) in essence this means we are counting a bar (1, 2, 3, 4) and repeat. you have to try to keep the same gap between each count as to keep everything in time its like something split into 4 quarters they must be exactly the same.

Start off by counting from 1 - 4 (this makes a bar of music) then repeating ... (1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4...) all the time keeping the gap in between each note exactly the same. Now we start to play, as you are counting (out loud or in your head, your choice) tap your right hand so it corresponds with your counting, so every time you say a number you are tapping your right hand, count at a speed where you can do this comfortably. and remember keep the gap between each number consistent.

BEAT SO FAR (R=Right hand) Count along and read down to see what is played with each beat.

1      2     3    4     1     2     3    4

R     R    R    R    R    R    R    R



Now we are keeping time we need to start constructing the beat, the first thing we are going to add is a bass drum (or right foot for you lap drummers). For the type of beat we are looking to play we want to add a bass drum kick to the first beat of each bar also know as '1' bring back our 1-4 count play it around a couple of times and when you feel comfortable try to add a bass drum kick (or right foot stomp) to every '1' you play/sing. so now on beat 1 you should be playing a right hand tap and a right foot kick and then finishing the bar with 3 right hand taps on beats 2, 3 & 4. Play this around untill you are comfortable then move on to the final step.

BEAT SO FAR (R=Right hand, F=Right foot)

1      2     3    4     1     2     3    4

R     R    R    R    R    R    R    R

F                          F



Now we are ready to add the final ingredient to our beat concoction. the snare hit (or left hand tap for lap drummers). To complete our classic rock beat we want to be adding a snare hit to beat 3 of the bar. This means when you count the number '3' you will be playing your left hand AND right hand at the same time.

To conclude...

On beat '1' you want to play right hand and right foot.

On beat '2' you will play the right hand only.

On beat '3' you are playing the right hand AND left hand.

On beat '4' you are playing only the right hand again.

Then start from '1' again and repeat 1-4 accordingly.


FULL BEAT (R=Right hand, F=Right foot, L=Left hand)

1      2     3    4     1     2     3    4

R     R    R    R    R    R    R    R

F      -     -     -     F      -     -     -

-       -    L     -     -       -    L     -


Hopefully if i have done my job right you will now be playing a 4/4 rock drum beat on your drum kit, table or lap. Keep playing it over and over and you will get more and more comfortable with it. Following are  couple more drum beats for you to try if you are feeling adventurous, my job is done now though this is extra curricular ;-) ... I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, please feel free to ask me if you have any drum or general music related question as i am a well of knowledge on the subject. Have fun, enjoy music.


1      2     3    4     1     2     3    4

R     R    R    R    R    R    R    R

F      F     -     -     F      F     -     -

-       -    L     -     -       -      L     -



1      2     3    4     1     2     3    4

R     R    R    R    R    R    R    R

F      -     -     F     F      F     -     -

-       L    L     -     -       -      L     -