MO - 13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

MO - 13 Super Effective Ways to Motivate Your Child to Practice Music

So your son or daughter has just started music lessons. You’ve found a kind, knowledgeable teacher, set up a practice space, and bought an instrument.

There comes a point in time, however, when your son or daughter simply doesn’t feel like practicing.

To help you avoid endless fights and keep you from pulling your hair out, we’ve put together this collection of strategies from music teachers, bloggers, and child psychologists to help you motivate your child to practice.

Treat Music Like a Different Subject

Think back to when you were in school. You had your academic classes and your after-school activities. You knew your daily routine: Math, English, Science, etc. Then after school: piles of endless homework!

With so many different subjects, it’s no wonder adding time to practice music can seem like a burden to a kid. That’s where you come in — you can help shift your child’s mindset!

Rather than treating music like any other subject, create a distinction so your child sees music as something he or she wants to do. The best way to shift your child’s mindset is to let him or her play an instrument they’re actually interested in.

“If you want your child to be motivated to play an instrument, music needs to be different than other educational subjects,” says Bobby K. from Guitar Chalk. “Your child shouldn’t see music as a forced discipline, like Math or Geography. This ultimately comes down to choosing the right instrument, which is going to be the one the child is excited about and wants to play on his or her own.

“For me, that was the guitar, which had me practicing (voluntarily) three to four hours a day at 11 years old. That couldn’t have happened with piano because piano wasn’t “my” instrument. It was just another subject. But guitar was different in that it felt like play, not school work. Getting your child into a similar situation, where their instrument doesn’t feel like just another school subject, is absolutely critical. If it’s not happening, that might be a signal that it’s time to switch instruments.”

This also means you may need to be flexible. While it can be expensive to allow a child to start and stop several different activities, try to work with him or her to find one he or she enjoys and is intrinsically motivated to practice.

Put Your Child in Control

It’s no secret that when we’re told to do something, we don’t always want to do it. During the course of a day, there are several different people (parents, teachers, older siblings, coaches) telling kids what to do. Add music to that list and it’s no wonder motivation seems to dwindle!

Combat this problem by putting your child in control. Let him or her determine the practice schedule, that way they’re more likely to stick to it.

“Kids hear adults tell them what to do all the time; to catch their attention, let them plan their own practice schedule,”  says Nicole Weiss, LCSW Psychotherapist and Coach. “Start with the end in mind. Basically, you want to get your child to make the decision that he or she needs to practice so that he or she can play the way he or she wants to play. After the decision is made, the parent can help the child research and figure out how often a good musician practices. The child then sets a schedule based on the reality that, to be good, one must practice.”

Not only will this allow your child to feel a sense of control, it will also help him or her to learn the value of practice.

“The child makes the schedule, then the parent reinforces it,” Weiss says. “I’m sure many parents reading this would say…’yeah but will they do that day to day?’ That’s where you come in — but you have more weight in your reminder. It was the child’s desire to make the goal. Additionally, the reward should be for accomplishing little goals. For example: ‘practice every night this week and we can download that song you want.’ Reward the work.”

More: Motivate Your Child to Practice With a Reward System

Help Your Child Understand the Gift of Music

Show your child that playing a musical instrument is a special privilege and an opportunity that isn’t necessarily available to everyone. Teach your child to appreciate music and all it has to offer. Help them discover that music can enhance their life.

“I believe that we’re here in this world to do great things with the gift of our lives, and we’re here to serve others,” says Heather F. from Music for Young Violinists. “Learning to play [the violin] helps us in both of these areas — we’re drawn up into a level of greatness through the discipline required to study this art form, and in this process, we cultivate a gift that we can share with others.”

This also includes helping your child develop a love for music. Take them to concerts or shows, play music at home, and help them discover what they like.

Many adults wish they had stuck with a hobby or endeavor they started as a child, like playing a musical instrument. While this can be a difficult concept for young kids to grasp, teaching them to appreciate music can help them understand why practice is important.

According to this article from MusicTeachersHelper on motivating students to practice, “…I can’t count how many times I’ve heard adults say to me, ‘I quit taking piano when I was young and it was such a mistake. I wish I could go back and take lessons again.’ Parents can help children know the value that musical talent brings to society.”

Don’t Make Practice an Obligation

This one may seem a bit counterintuitive, right? After all, you’ve invested the money in an instrument and lessons, and you want your child to make the most of it. Plus, if your son or daughter wants to be good, he or she needs to practice!

The key here is to not make practice seem like an obligation, as compared to other fun activities. For example, if your son or daughter loves to play video games or play outside, don’t allow him or her to do this until after completing practice.

Using a fun activity as a reward will create the mindset that practice is the obligation that stands in the way of the fun activity, and this could create resentment or dread for practice.

As Why We Teach Piano suggests, “Don’t set an arbitrary amount of practice time, without specific goals, and then reward them with playtime or video games afterwards. This just reinforces the notion that playing piano is not fun and video games are fun.”

Plan Performances

When it comes to any sport, hobby, or endeavor, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize. The same thing applies when it comes to your child learning an instrument; your son or daughter has to have a goal in sight, otherwise, he or she may question the need to practice.

“If you want to keep students engaged and excited about their music education, make sure they’re performing consistently throughout the year,” says Anthony M. founder and author of The Music Parents’ Guide. “There are other profound effects on more scheduled performances for all school programs, as well. We, as parents and teachers, need to foster a growing curiosity and even an excitement about music in our children’s lives. Consistent performances are the best way to do this and continue to motivate our children.”

Not only do performances help to increase excitement, they also work to hold children accountable. Ask any music teacher — even the most unmotivated student will be more likely to practice if it means avoiding embarrassment at a recital!

Let Your Child Choose

Just because you loved playing piano as a kid doesn’t mean your child will love playing just as much. Your child may have other interests, and it’s important to allow him or her to explore different endeavors.

“First of all, I think it’s critical that the child choose the instrument they’re going to learn,” says Matt T. from Unlock the Guitar. “I’m a guitarist, and I’d love nothing more than my son to be interested in learning guitar, but he’s undeniably drawn to the piano. Plus, if an instrument is thrust upon them, practicing it will also be thrust upon them. Letting the child choose the instrument turns this on its head, and into your favor, even if they didn’t choose the instrument you would have liked them to play.”

Be Their Cheerleader

Let your child know you’re his or her biggest fan, especially early on when your child may feel frustrated or discouraged.

Eighty-eight notes school of music suggests listening to your child at home as often as you can and making encouraging remarks about their progress. Also, make sure to ask them how their lessons went.

Take a genuine interest in your child’s musical journey. Your son or daughter will be excited to play for you and show off new skills!

Help Them Engage With Music

Your child is more likely to practice music if he or she feels connected to the process. Help your son or daughter develop an interest and curiosity for music.

To help your child stay engaged, become a part of the process. Whatever you can do to get involved is likely to increase their interest and motivation.

“Motivating your child by reward or punishment will stop working very quickly; instead, help your child get curious about music and develop an inner desire to engage with music,” says Jonas G., the founder of flowkey.”Let your child play around with different instruments. Listen to music and sing together. Your child will naturally want to imitate you, so a big motivation for children to practice is seeing their parents engage with music themselves.”

Create Challenges

Rather than telling your child to practice, help him or her set specific goals and challenges. This will help them progress faster because they’ll work on accomplishing specific tasks or mastering particular skills. This idea can be applied to any instrument.

Practiceopedia author and practice expert, Philip J., has a completely different take: “Don’t ask your kids to ‘practice’ — they won’t know what to do. Instead, give them bite-sized, clear challenges to complete: (1) Work out a fingering for measures 24-35 (2) Gradually speed up section B to 85bpm. (3) Be able to play the left hand of the coda from memory.”

Having trouble coming up with the right challenge? Check out Phillip’s website,, for a huge collection.

Celebrate ALL Accomplishments

Learning to play an instrument is a long journey full of peaks, valleys, and plateaus. While you’ll definitely be proud when you watch your child perform, it’s important to celebrate the little victories along the way.

While verbal praise is important, you may also want to create another way to celebrate achievements; familyshare recommends keeping a journal of your child’s accomplishments. When you put it in writing, you’re less likely to forget. If journaling isn’t your thing, you can keep a white board on the fridge, or make a chart that you can display in the house!

Celebrating the little victories will help your child keep a positive attitude when they’re struggling or having difficulty tackling a new concept or song.

Let Them Play Music They Like

While there are always certain signature songs and classics for various instruments, your child will lose interest if he or she doesn’t like the music they’re playing.

Work with your child’s teacher to make sure your child is playing some music they truly enjoy.

According to the Academy of Music and Dance, “As children get to be around 10 years old, sometimes younger, they start to develop preferences for musical style, largely influenced by radio, TV, and whatever they’re most exposed to at home. They will also typically gravitate to whatever their friends are listening to, especially for boys at around age 13 and girls around age 11.”

Use this as a motivational strategy; allow your son or daughter to play at least one familiar song as part of their weekly routine.

Make Practice Fun

This should come as no surprise — no one wants to practice when it’s boring! Incorporate fun games, activities, and challenges, and your child will look forward to practice!

According to PianoDiscoveries, “appropriate goals and positive reinforcement will make practicing fun and rewarding. Very few children are self-motivated in their practice. Most need incentives and reminders to keep them focused and moving forward.”

Ask your child’s music teacher for some creative ways to make practice more fun!

Find the Right Teacher

This brings us to our last strategy and one of the most important: find the right teacher! Although practice is done outside of lessons, if your child connects with his or her teacher, they’re much more likely to practice on their own time.

According to Music Central,”…finding the right teacher will make or break the whole experience. Don’t be afraid to try a new teacher if your child isn’t connecting. The best teachers are usually the ones who not only teach, but know how to be a good friend and mentor to your child.”

Find a teacher who understands your child’s learning style, and a person who’s able to teach concepts in a way that keeps your child interested. When your son or daughter likes his or her teacher, they’ll be more willing to take direction and practice consistently.

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Which of these strategies have been successful for you? Do you have other methods that you use to motivate your child? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to Practice the Drums Quietly

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Although drums are usually not loud enough for someone who loves percussion, they can sometimes disturb your neighbors and household members whenever you practice at home. Thus, regardless of whether you play rock, funk or jazz, learning how to practice drums quietly is essential.

To help you with this aspect, the following tips explain how to complete your drumming rehearsals without testing the patience of the people around you:

  1. Get an Individual Practice Pad: Besides the fact that a good practice pad allows you to practice drums without annoying your neighbors, it can help you exercise different stick control techniques, boost muscle memory of your hands and learn the fundamentals of odd time signatures. You can find a variety of individual practice pads, which offer different feels, volumes and playing surfaces. One of the best products is the ironwood block covered with a rubber pad.
  2. Choose a Practice Pad Kit: You can also look for practice pad kits. Made from rubber-covered wooden blocks, these kits provide the same arrangement as a regular acoustic set. A great thing is that they are quiet enough to practice in an apartment. However, they can be quite loud for a roommate who is trying to watch TV or have a conversation in the same room.
  3. Look for Sound-Off Pads: Another thing you can do to practice drums quietly is to purchase a set of rubber pads or individual snare pads and place them on top of your drums and cymbals to reduce volume. You can find these pads at any music store.
  4. Use Brushes: You may also consider getting some brushes. These drumming tools permit you to play drums quietly without sacrificing your stick height to get soft sounds. Additionally, brushes make it possible for you to play with the same attack on drums as if you’re using sticks.
  5. Develop New Skills: Learning how to play the drums with a lighter touch and lower stick high is the best way to lower the volume of your practice sessions, but it’s the most difficult one. Focus on your technique, and work with a private drum teacher to master the skill.
  6. Get Thinner, Lighter and Smaller Sticks: You can practice drums quietly by simply getting thinner, lighter and smaller sticks. That way, you’re able to practice at low-velocity swings. However, this solution is appropriate only if you live in a home surrounded by landscape, which can stop the sound transmission from your living space to adjacent houses. If you’re living in an apartment, you may want to try another solution.
  7. Purchase an Electronic Kit: Electronic kits, also referred to as E-kits, are available in a wide range of designs. The nice thing about these kits is that, unlike regular acoustic kits, they have a volume knob and hundreds of sounds you can choose from. This means that you can tailor your E-kit to match any type of song you want to play, while keeping the volume down.
  8. Buy an Isolating Drum Booth: Another thing you can do to practice drums quietly is to purchase an isolating drum booth. This booth doesn’t only enclose the sound, but also absorbs it, while preventing sound transmission to neighboring areas. Since most drum booths are large enough to accommodate an acoustic kit, they are suitable for spacious apartments or houses.
  9. Tune Your Drums: Tuning your drums to a pitch lower than the natural resonance can also lower the overall volume of your acoustic kit. To lower the volume even more, you can get oil-filled drum heads and tune them to very low pitches.

By applying any of these tips, you can practice drums quietly and allow your neighbors and household members to fully enjoy the time they spend indoors.

Photo by The Hamster Factor


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10 Shocking Benefits of Listening to Classical Music [Infographic]


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Chances are you’ve heard that there are several benefits of listening to classical music. But is there any actual truth behind this statement? According to numerous studies, there absolutely is.

There are a ton of brainy benefits one derives from listening to classical music. From pain management to improved sleep quality, listening to classical music has both mental and physical benefits.

In fact, simply listening to classical music as background noise can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and creativity.

I guess those old guys were really onto something, huh.

Below are some surprising benefits of listening to classical music backed by actual science.

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10 Benefits of Listening to Classical Music

1. Decreases blood pressure

Want to keep your heart healthy? According to an Oxford University study, listening to classical music can help reduce one’s blood pressure.

In the study, researchers played participants different styles of music, including rap, pop, techno, and classical.

Classical music was effective at lowering participant’s blood pressure, while rap, pop, and techno actually raised blood pressure.

2. Boosts memory

Did you know that listening to Mozart can actually help improve your memory? According to a study, people who listened to Mozart’s music showed an increase in brain wave activity that’s linked directly to memory.

So next time you have to memorize a big speech or presentation, put on some Mozart while you practice.

3. Sparks creativity

To get your creative juices flowing, listen to some classical music. While listening to classical music won’t instantly make you creative, it will help put into a more creative mindset.

Next time you need to brainstorm, try listening to some Mozart or Bach to get your mind thinking outside the box.

4. Reduces stress levels

If you’re feeling particularly stressed, listen to some classical tunes. A study found that pregnant women who listened to classical music were less likely to feel stressed throughout their pregnancy.

Scientists claim that classical music’s tempo is similar to the human heart, which eases both anxiety and depression.

5. Supercharges brainpower

Do you have a big test or project coming up? Boost your brainpower by listening to some classical music.

In a study, French researchers found that students who listened to a lecture in which classical music was played in the background scored better on a test compared to other students.

6. Fights depression

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, ditch the donuts and opt for some classical music instead.

Several studies have proven that classical music helps relieve depression and melancholy.

In fact, a study from Mexico discovered that listening to classical music can help ease symptoms of depression.

7. Puts you to sleep

Do you toss and turn for hours before finally falling asleep? Rather than squeeze in another episode of Games of Thrones or New Girl, listen to classical music.

According to a study of people with sleep issues, listening to classical music for just 45 minutes prior to bed can help improve sleep quality.

8. Relieves pain

Instead of reaching for another Tylenol, you might want to consider playing a Bach or Beethoven playlist. Multiple studies have shown that listening to classical music can help relieve pain.

According to researchers in London, patients listening to classical music used significantly less pain medication.

9. Makes you happy

Want to get out of that bad mood you’re in? Listening to classical music can help increase dopamine secretion, which activates the brain’s reward and pleasure center.

In fact, a 2013 study found that music can help put people in a better mood.

10. Improves productivity

It’s a Monday morning and you can’t seem to get it together. To help boost productivity, listen to some classical music.

A series of studies have proven that music makes repetitive tasks more enjoyable.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Maryland found that Baroque classical music in the reading room can help improve radiologists’ efficiency and accuracy.

Give it a Try!

While classical music can’t raise your IQ 10 points, there are a ton of benefits of listening to classical music.

Whether you need to cram for an important presentation or you simply want a good night’s sleep, classical music can help.

Don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself and let us know what benefits of listening to classical music you experience! It’s worth a try.

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Drummers Stick Together: Have Fun While You Play – With Henri Benard

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Every drummer starts out as a beginner. The ones you read about and see on stage stick with drumming and practice relentlessly to improve.  In our Drummers Stick Together series, veteran drummers share their personal stories of learning drums, developing their craft, and following their dreams!

Henri B. is a TakeLessons drum instructor in Phoenix, AZ and plays drums in the indie band, Dry River Yacht Club. Here, Henri shares his personal drumming journey as a student, teacher, and performer…

You describe yourself as a self-taught drummer, can you explain your process to teach yourself drums?

It all kind of started for me the summer of 2002, when I was living in a house with a drum kit. I had been playing percussion with some friends in various bands, and I wanted to be a kit player. So I worked every day for six hours in a hot, sweaty garage that summer, giving myself a crash course on the instrument. I learned by ear and by watching videos. I taught myself to read drum notation, and I really fell in love with the drum kit. Eventually in 2004, I bought my first Ludwig set from Milano’s Music in Mesa, Arizona. I started playing kit in bands, and never looked back.

Almost 14 years later, I’m a professional, touring drummer and drum instructor, with a sound understanding of music theory. And I still work all the time to make sure I’m getting better, as a player and an educator. I do not, however, want to undermine the power of private lessons with an instructor you can connect with. I have had a few lessons in my life, and those have proven to be critical in helping me really learn proper technique, as there was just some stuff videos couldn’t teach me properly. Any time I get stuck in my “self-taught” world, lessons still help me bust through to the next level. And the journey continues…

What were some of the challenges you faced teaching yourself?

I played clarinet growing up, so I was always playing music, but I wasn’t playing drums, formally. I just always loved drums the most. My mom always reminds me I was a “pots and pans” baby, so it has been a passion all my life. However, because of that, I struggled early in my career. I didn’t have the years experience playing as some of my peers, and it would show in my technique.

It was honestly quite embarrassing when people thought I was better than I actually was. I was stuck in my own world, and I needed new ideas and techniques to work on. That’s when I decided to seek out lessons to improve my playing in specific areas where I wasn’t performing or improving. And this is what truly took me to the next level.

You talk about your “let’s have fun while we play attitude,” why is this important for both beginner and intermediate drummers? How can drummers balance having fun with working hard and constantly improving?

I truly believe if you’re not having fun, why play? Music is meant to be fun and challenging for the soul, mind, and body. In my opinion, it’s meant to take you away from your constant state, and move you into a different realm. It’s one of the deepest connections I have with myself and life in general. So I really think it’s important to have fun with the playing, not “goofing around.” It is exciting when you’re first learning, or even as a veteran player, to be able to play a beat that was tough, or play a song you love and make those breakthroughs. If you like to play, the music and learning will be fun.

The lessons will be fun because the people in the lesson want to be there to share an experience together. And if you work hard and keep a solid routine, all the tricks that seemed tough at first will become more focused and deliberate techniques that you will have in your toolbox as a player. And that is where is the fun begins, through improvement and self-confidence from hard work. But YOU have to want it :)

You have a lot of experience touring with different groups, how has this changed you as a drummer, did you have to learn to play different genres and styles, or adapt to different types of personalities, bandmates, etc.?

I have been touring with several groups across North America and Europe, and every tour is different, but oddly the same. The people change, the music changes, but the van, the jokes, and the road do not. Every drive, especially if you sit in the same seat of the van, almost starts to look the same. The side views change depending on the region, but the roads and the heads in front of you always look the same, no matter what band you’re traveling with. (I don’t know about Tour Busses…YET!) Balancing personalities can be a challenge unless you’re smart, and understand how to really read your tour mates energy. Being able to read people is a HUGE part of being successful in the music industry, especially as a touring drummer. You have to know when to be there, when to shine, when to pull back, and truly know how to be a team player while you’re working with any band.

I have a love for touring and the experiences that come along with being on the road. I have had some amazing experiences and some struggles. On the whole, I would definitely say touring has changed me not only as a drummer, but as a human being. It’s like in the studio, there’s just a mode drummers are expected to be in at a professional level. And that means delivering every note, every night, right on the money! I’m thankful for these experiences, they have shown me new grooves I wasn’t playing, and taught me how be comfortable with myself. For example, I couldn’t play a shuffle to save my life eight years ago. I went touring for a year with a band where I HAD to play the shuffle, and you better believe the first couple of shows didn’t go so well.

I forced myself to learn how to play it with confidence on every note and pushed through to become a more refined musician. I kept the gig for the duration of the record because I was able to adapt and wanted to be better. Overall, I wouldn’t trade the way the last 10 years of my life have been for anything, especially since I’m not bred from a family of musicians. I am proud to say I am self-made.

How has your experience as a musician affected your approach as a teacher? Do you think you have a different perspective since you were self-taught?

My experience as a musician has affected how I teach, but it’s even deeper than that, as I had a teacher who almost killed my vibe. She was always so mean and never seemed like she wanted to be there with us (the students). It made me want to quit playing, but my mom didn’t let me. And I’m so thankful she didn’t…I don’t think I would be where I am if my mom didn’t push me to keep playing and encourage me.

Because of this, I have decided to always be a fun and patient teacher who doesn’t ever want to kill someone’s vibe. This is also the reason I stress the “fun” aspect of our lessons. Pushy, rude teachers have no business teaching, in my opinion, at least not beginners. And I don’t think I have a super different perspective, being self-taught. I still demand the most out of my students, and I make sure they’re becoming well-rounded musicians and have very structured lesson plans; I just make sure we make it fun in the process. We all start somewhere.

What is your favorite thing about being a drummer? (if you can name just one)

My favorite thing about being a drummer is watching people dance to the music I play. Period. Even during sound check, just watching the heads nod and the feet tap when the bass drum comes through, it’s just amazing. Drums control so much of the vibe, and so much of a player’s personality goes into the instrument. You’re an energy creator at the drums; you’re pushing air into the room and creating an environment that goes deep into the soul.

Plus, you get the best view in the house. You get to see everyone and everything at all times. You can just unleash the beast and let it flow, and there’s no other instrument I have ever played that brings out the animal in me like the drums.

Do you still get nervous or excited for big shows, how do you keep yourself focused and grounded?

I do get nervous before big shows and I’m always excited to play. Big shows are the best, especially as a drummer, in my opinion. I stay focused by breathing and just having fun. It’s not that I don’t take my shows seriously, but music is meant to be a release. It’s a fun job, but I always remember it’s my job and I’m there to perform and deliver what people are expecting of me, and I am expecting of myself.

At the end of the day, the energy you put out is the energy you get back from an audience. Not every big crowd is always there for you, especially for newer bands, so you have to remember to play your best every time you step out on the stage, put out your vibe, and make the room yours. Whether it be in the practice room, for a crowd of 5 or 5,000, at a festival, or in a small club, I always just trust my abilities and play with the same level of intensity. Even though live the energy is

At the end of the day, the energy you put out is the energy you get back from an audience. Not every big crowd is always there for you, especially for newer bands, so you have to remember to play your best every time you step out on the stage. Put out your vibe and make the room yours. Whether it be in the practice room, for a crowd of five or 5,000, at a festival, or in a small club, I always just trust my abilities and play with the

Even though when you play live, the energy is insurmountably greater, I still find that space in my head in the practice room, even at the big shows. And anytime I get nervous, all I have to do is go right back there and trust that I am supposed to be here; I planned on this!

What advice do you have for a drummer who is discouraged or struggling?

Stick with it and work through your struggles. When I was 25, I joined a “big band” out of Joshua Tree, California called Gram Rabbit. At the time, I was super appreciative of the opportunity to play bigger shows with bigger bands at better venues, especially being just a little guy from Phoenix. My problem was, I was forced to play with a click live, and I had never done that before. With some encouragement, I was able to play to a click live, but I never felt comfortable with it during my time in that band.

Eventually, I got cut from the band because of my timing issues in the studio, and it really hurt my confidence. I almost gave up drums and questioned if I could even keep time. But I didn’t quit. I got back on my throne and hit the garage hard, like I did when I first started playing, making sure I was dialed into that click at any tempo.

Years later, I joined a band called Peachcake. This was a band that used tracks, so I was playing to a click there, but it never bothered me in my years in Peachcake. I loved it and it gave me more confidence. We even got to play a headlining slot at Slottsfjell Music Festival in Norway in 2012.

Instead of quitting, I worked on my weaknesses to improve my all-around playing, and that lead to many more amazing opportunities. It would have been so easy to quit, but I was never about that life. I just always remember there is someone better than me, and that keeps me motivated and focused to be the best drummer I can be.


 Looking for more inspiration? Check out the personal stories in our Drummers Stick Together series!


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Henri B. teaches drums, guitar, and songwriting in Phoenix, AZ. Henri has years of experience touring with Arizona-based groups like Dry River Yacht Club, Decker, and the Sun Punchers. Learn more about Henri here!

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11 Ways to Practice Drums Without a Drum Set

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If you just started taking drum lessons, you may not be ready to invest in a full drum set. Luckily, a lack of equipment doesn’t have to hinder your progress. You can still practice and improve, you just need to be creative! Here, drum instructor Andrea I. shares 11 ways to practice drums without a drum set…

A drum set isn’t the most portable instrument, and being without one can make you feel like you can’t practice your craft. Never fear, this list is designed to help you improve your musicianship, coordination, and muscle tone. These exercises will help you in a variety of ways, and will make you better the next time you get behind a drum kit.

The best thing about these activities is that you can do them anywhere! Happy practicing!

1. Pillow Practice

No drum set? No practice pad?  No problem! The very best practice pad might just be the one you sleep on each night.

A pillow offers no bounce, so your wrist has to work to lift the stick and bring it back down. Drumming on your pillow is an ideal way to practice those rudiments.

2. Air Drumming

Air drumming, or playing on an imaginary drum set is actually another helpful way to practice drums and build muscles.

Air drumming forces you to work more muscles than playing actual drums or a practice pad.

3. Sing Your Parts

You’re a drummer, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some vocal practice!

Sing to memorize and internalize your drum parts.

 4. Recorded Music

Put on headphones, immerse yourself in the song of your choice, and listen.

Active listening involves internalizing the rhythm of the song and learning it by heart.

 5. Body Percussion

Believe it or not, the human body is a walking, talking drum set.

Use handclaps, lap slaps, foot stomps, your belly – anything to practice those parts!

 6. Bucket Practice

Do you have a five-gallon bucket?  Turn it upside down and you can get a workout on this simple drum.

Try practicing some of these drum exercises on your bucket.

 7. Practice Pad

Practice pads come in all kinds of materials, weights, and sizes. Also, there are practice pads to fit every budget.

Others come filled with gel, sand, and pretty much any kind of rubber you can imagine. If you don’t have a rubberized traditional pad, head to the kitchen, grab some pot holders, and get to get to work.

8. Hit the Floor

Of course, the linoleum, tile, carpet, and pavement around you can all be wonderful practice surfaces.

9. Heavy Sticks

Drum sticks come in a wide range of weights, and it’s beneficial to you, dear musician – to try them out!

There are sticks made of heavy metals, like iron, that will make your usual pair feel lighter than feathers.

Try out marching sticks for outdoor drum corps; playing with heavier and lighter sticks can help your musicianship without needing to be behind a drum set.

10. Percussion Grab Bag

Use whatever you can find to practice drums: spoons, hangers, jingle bells, sacks of coins, etc. Use your imagination and have fun!

When you’re a percussionist, the world offers you a great deal of instruments to rattle, hit or shake. Change up your practice by laying out tambourines, jingle bells, or even using what’s in your kitchen drawer.

11.  Apps and Online Drums

Check out your Android or Apple Store for a variety of drumming apps and practice tools. Check out Rudiment Pro, and DRUM COACH 1, for starters.

Plus, there are several websites that allow you to play digital drums. Bookmark your favorites and practice at your computer!

Need more suggestions? Here are a few more ways to practice drums away from the drum set! With so many different options, you can practice drums anytime, anywhere! Choose the method that works best for you and have fun while you practice drums!

How do you practice drums away from your drum kit? Let us know in the comments below! 

Andrea IPost Author: Andrea I.
Andrea I. is a Philadelphia-based English teacher with a lifelong obsession with drums. She has taught drums with Girls Rock Philly, a rock ‘n’ roll camp for girls, and played in various bands. She currently teaches online and in-home lessons in Philadelphia, PA. Learn more about Andrea here!

Image courtesy Dakota

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drum practice routine

3 Simple Steps to Build the Perfect Drum Practice Routine

drum practice routine

You have to practice drums if you want to improve, but how can you make your practice time more productive? Here, Rosendale NY drum instructor Alan S. shares his strategy to help you create an effective drum practice routine…

Progress does not always happen in a straight line. During my years playing drums, I’ve been through periods of quick improvement, as well as darker times of actually getting worse. I’ve also been through phases of staying at the same level: In my case, instead of a straight line, my progress looked more like a zig zig.

After going in and out of these phases, I realized what I need to do to keep improving. I figured out a way to keep my practice time well balanced, simple but consistent, and most importantly, fun and fulfilling!

To illustrate this, let’s compare a drum practice routine with a well-balanced meal…

Building a Drum Practice Routine


You know vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients, and you should eat them because they are good for you. Even though they’re not as desirable to eat as say, a slice of chocolate cake, you should still eat them to get the nutrients you need.

With drumming, I like to think of the vegetables as the fundamentals. These are things like drum rudiments, site reading, and four-way coordination. Choose two to three of these vegetables to add to your plate, or drum practice routine.

Although these things may seem tedious, doing them every day will keep your technique in check, and these skills will come out (sometimes unexpectedly) in everything else you do on the drums.

  Pick two or three of these “vegetables” to add to your practice routine:


Next, you’ll need to add some protein. In an average meal, proteins include things like fish, steak, pork, eggs, or tofu.

When it comes to drum practice, your protein is the practice component with the most substance. What exactly do I mean by this? Well, unlike the vegetables, the protein is something that’s part of the big picture of what you want to accomplish on the drum set.

I consider working towards goals such as learning the beat to a song, transcribing, or learning a famous drum solo to be proteins. Choose two out of three to fulfill your protein portion.

  Not sure which “proteins” to add to your drum practice? Here are some great ideas:


Last but not least, everybody’s’ favorite: dessert. Translation for drummers: improvise!

Never heard of improvising? Well, here’s a quick definition: “To create or perform spontaneously or without preparation”. In other words, let go of any constraints and let your mind and body explore the drum set freely.

As you get better at improvising, you can start improvising over certain ostinato (repeated) patterns or exotic time signatures.

Remember, if you don’t behave during dinner, you won’t get any dessert!

 Save the best for last: work on these things once you have completed the protein and vegetable portions of  your drum  practice:


Beginner Drum Tips

For each food group, use the same set of exercises every day for a week, then switch to a different (slightly more advanced) set of exercises. If you get stuck, don’t fret. Try picking a slightly less challenging exercise, and master that.

drum practice routine


Learning drums takes time; patience and humility are key! Don’t expect to get better overnight. Increase your level gradually, step by step. It might not seem like you’re improving after a week or two, but that’s just because it’s a gradual process. After a few months, you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come!

Nikki DPost Author: Alan S.
Alan S. teaches drum lessons in Rosendale, NY. With a degree in jazz performance, he specializes in jazz, rock, Latin, fun, drum n’ bass, hip hop, Motown and pop drumming styles. Learn more about Alan here!

Image courtesy Darrell Miller

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bass drum technique

Boost Your Bass Drum Technique | A Guide for Beginners

bass drum technique


If you want to be a solid all-around drummer, you have to work on the individual drumming components. This means developing your snare and bass drum technique. Here, drum instructor Tracy D. offers her tips and exercises to help you improve your bass drum technique…

The bass drum is the heartbeat and backbone of your drum kit, and the bass guitar’s close friend. The bass drum also drives the marching band and adds the dramatic effect to the large concert ensemble.

Like the snare drum, there are different types of bass drums for different styles of music. Here, I will discuss bass drum technique and application.



Bass Drum Technique (on the Drum Kit)

bass drum technique

image courtesy Musician’s Friend

The bass drum is also known as the “kick” because you operate this drum with a pedal.

Different techniques can help you achieve your desired feel, volume, and rebound. While there’s usually some debate about whether heel-up or heel-down technique is preferable, each has its place.

Ideally, you should strive to be able to play with both techniques, as each method requires a shift in the balance of your body.

Bass Drum Technique Heel Up

The heel-up method is used for power, speed, and volume because you’re balanced more on your sit bones, and the weight of your leg rests on the ball of your foot.

The heel-down method is good for quieter passages, due to the weight of the leg resting on the heel.

With both of these positions, move your foot in a whipping motion, if you want instant rebound and resonance. This is different from “burying the beater,” which leaves it at rest against the bass drum head (which can muffle the sound) until the next stroke.

More advanced methods include the heel-toe (rebound arrested in the arch) and side-to-side (ball-of-foot) motions. Both are geared toward rapid-fire doubles with one foot. Both initiate a stroke and use a smooth motion to arrest the rebound and get another stroke from that move.



Double Bass Drum Technique

You may eventually decide that you want to try double bass drumming, which is a lot of fun, and allows you to play notes in rapid succession. It can also help you develop your weaker foot, which benefits your hi-hat work as well. If budget and practice space allow, you may want a configuration with two kicks, or you may prefer a double pedal. Each option presents a different feel.

You should strive for evenness and control in your strokes; you will find that your non-dominant foot will present the challenge. If you have already been playing for a while, your weaker foot will be less developed than your dominant foot.

Bass Drum Technique Video

For the following exercises, lead with your dominant foot in the bass. Once you’ve got that down, try leading with your weak foot.

Double Bass Drum Exercise 1: 95 bpm

 Double Bass Drum Exercise 2: 110 bpm

 Double Bass Drum Exercise 3: 125 bpm

Download the drum charts for these double bass drum exercises.

When playing the drum fills, think of the motion from the bass to the snare as a sort of tumbling together (rather than muscling through the notes), and your execution should become more relaxed and fluid. In the grooves, the hats are constant 8th notes, so you can use this as an anchor and play everything else in relation.

bass drum technique


You may want to try using a drop clutch (pictured). This is a clutch for your hats that uses a lever (that you can release with your stick) to drop the hats.

You can re-engage the hats by stepping firmly on the pedal. This allows you to play figures on the hats while your foot is on the bass pedal.







Concert Bass Drum Technique

bass drum technique

image courtesy Lone Star Percussion


The playing surface of this drum is so large (roughly 28″-38″ in diameter) that it requires dampening while playing, although you can let it open up completely for rolls and certain effects.

You may dampen the drum by applying constant pressure in varying degrees (depending on need/generally used for staccato notes) or pressing and releasing the head in time for a given note value. You want to be sure that you apply enough pressure to kill the sound at the end of the note.

For louder dynamics, apply less pressure for legato passages. For quieter dynamics, apply more pressure. You place your dampening hand between the beater contact point and the rim. If you’re playing at fortissimo, you will need to sweep your dampening hand across the head to suppress its motion.

For rolls, you need an extra beater, and you should have your hands diametrically placed somewhat close to either edge. Use faster, lower strokes for lower volume, and higher, slower strokes for higher volume.

Bass drum beaters vary in hardness for different effects (soft for legato/lower volume and harder for staccato/higher volume).


Marching Bass Drum Technique

The strokes on this drum, since it’s vertically aligned, are best executed with the forearms held parallel to the floor; thus allowing the mallets to be held at a 45-degree angle.

The fulcrum should be between your thumb and index finger, and your grip should be relaxed with the other fingers. This will allow the rebound to work for you and provide for much better tone, feel, and stamina.

You can learn more about how to hold drum sticks in this article and infographic.

Posture is important, so you should always keep your back straight. This will help eliminate fatigue and help you avoid potential problems with your spine.

You can improve your bass drum technique with practice and consistency. Try these exercises and find some more that you like. Grab your drum sticks and get to work. Happy drumming!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!

Image courtesy Darryl Kanouse 

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how to play snare drum

How to Play Snare Drum: A Guide for Beginners

how to play snare drum

Want to boost your snare drum technique? Whether you want to improve your sound on your kit or play snare in a marching band, this guide from drum instructor Tracy D. covers everything you need to know about how to play snare drum…  

The snare drum is the signature voice of your kit. It’s an expressive solo instrument and an integral part of a marching band. Snare drum technique varies based on the type of music you play, but some techniques apply across the board. In addition to the exercises below, I recommend delving into a bit of solo literature, both rudimental and orchestral, as this will  help you refine your technique.

Let’s explore different types of snare drums and the techniques you can use to get the best sound from your snare.

Note: snare drum notes are usually written on the second space from the top of the staff (or, less commonly on the middle line). Sometimes, a snare part may be written on a single line.

How to Play Snare Drum for Beginners

how to play snare drum

Image courtesy Emily Mills

As a beginner, you should focus on accuracy and evenness of notes, as well as tempo and dynamic control. Get used to playing with a metronome right away; you will use this tool for the life of your playing. (There are many free metronome apps, so there’s no excuse not to have one).

Here are some exercises to get you going in the right direction.

Note: play these exercises with a right-hand lead.

how to play snare drum

How to Play Marching Snare Drum

how to play snare drum

Image courtesy H. Michael Miley

To prepare to play marching snare drum, do your research on websites and forums, and find videos of marching band performances that will inspire you to get in the shed.

If you want to play snare in a marching band, you have to acquire precision and the ability to listen closely and sync with the drummers around you.

You will also likely be required to work on the visual components of a performance (in addition to matching stick heights with your section), so you need to have your timing down.

Know your rudiments inside and out; they’re your bread and butter when it comes to playing snare in a marching band.

Make sure to practice these exercises which will help you master snare drum basics.

How to Play Snare Drum With Traditional Grip

how to play snare drum

Traditional grip was initially used to allow a snare drummer’s left hand to comfortably clear the rim of a side-slung drum. This grip is still commonly used in marching drum lines and in jazz settings.

Turn your left hand to the side, as if you’re reaching out to shake someone’s hand. Place the stick in the opening between your thumb and index finger (which will be your fulcrum), and rest the front end on the cuticle of your ring finger.

Your fingers will provide support and control, and your wrist will turn in a rotary motion to initiate the stroke. Your right hand will use the matched grip position.

Check out this article and infographic for a more in-depth look at how to hold drum sticks.

How to Play Rudiments

The rudiments are kind of like a drummer’s vocabulary. They’re used extensively in marching literature and rudimental solos/etudes. They may be used in drum set playing as well, to create some compelling and challenging grooves and fills.

The Percussive Arts Society recognizes 40 rudiments, although there are many more, including hybrids.

No matter what type of music you want to play, it’s important that you learn drum rudiments, and practice them consistently.

 Make sure you review this beginner’s guide to drum rudiments


How to Play Snare Drum Rolls

Pretty much any snare drum roll can be applied to the whole kit, however, the buzz/press roll is most characteristic to the snare. This roll requires some patience to master, as you have to work to make it sound smooth and seamless.

This video demonstrates the multiple bounce/buzz roll as well as six other essential drum rudiments.

For these roll skeletons, strive for even stick heights, unless you’re using accents or flams. Here again, you will refer to the rudiments; they’re the foundation of all drum rolls.

roll skeleton

how to play snare drum

how to play snare drum

This roll skeleton chart will help you interpret multiple bounce rolls. The rolls termed, “written” represent the norm for notation that you will encounter in literature. Those termed, “played” demonstrate the number of strokes needed to execute the fills—and those numbers vary according to tempo.

Experiment with the surface of the drum. You will have more “deadness” toward the center of the drum, but you will get plenty of volume. You can play close to the rim for quieter passages (and play over the snares to best activate them).

How to Play Snare Drum Fast

how to play snare drum

Image courtesy Gerry Dincher

Most new drummers want to be able to play fast right away, but this requires a lot of work. Fast playing is the result of plenty of repetition. It’s important to strive for accuracy first, so make sure you practice with your metronome!

Try these drum exercises to improve your speed and control.

Remember, when it comes to drums: accuracy + repetition + gradual increase in tempo = precision and speed.

Enjoy the process and be consistent and diligent; you will reap the rewards of articulate, nuanced, and powerful technique.

Whether you want to learn how to play snare drum to join a marching band or you just want to improve your skills on your kit, we hope these tips and exercises will help.

Remember, if you’re feeling stuck, drum lessons with a private instructor can help. Search here for a drum instructor near you!

TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!

Featured image courtesy Brett Lessard

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drum fills

Beat the Boredom: 15 Fun Drum Fills

drum fills

It’s time for drum practice with Tracy D! Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, grab your sticks and get ready to learn these 15 drum fills…

As you continue your drum lessons  and refine your grooves, you will also want to work on your fills. Drum fills are are the glue and the flash that signal the transitions of sections in a tune (and they’re a departure from the groove). As their name implies, they fill the space in the music between transitions. They can also set a certain mood and create an excellent tension-release dynamic.

Drum fills can help you spice up your songs. They can be as simple or as complex as you please, but they should always be in the style of the tune. Sometimes, the simplest fills convey the most feeling. Here, I will explain a bit about drum fills in different categories.

Before we get into the fills, make sure you practice drum rudiments, and these drum exercises for independence and control.

For the following patterns, play three measures of time/groove before playing the fills. Make sure you can transition back into the groove. Some of the fills have doubles in the bass, so they’re good to get your foot in gear.


Drum Fills for Beginners

If you’re still new to drumming, these drum fills will help you get used to fills. Try to keep your strokes evenly spaced.  Play your kick on the quarter beat through the fills.

drum fills

Exercise 1: A full-bar fill that takes you around the kit with two 8th notes on each drum.

Exercise 2: Half-bar fill with one 8th note on each drum.

Exercise 3: This one is tricky because of the sparseness of the fill. Here, you have to be sure that you give beat four its full value; your tendency (as a beginner) may be to rush through that space.

Once you feel comfortable playing these drum fills, reverse the order of the notes, make the fills longer or shorter, and experiment with orchestration (voices).

After some practice, you will gain facility and confidence in your playing.  Be sure to use your metronome; this will keep you honest.

Looking for more easy drum fills? Try these 16th-note drum fills for beginners


Cool Drum Fills

Here are a few sweet little 16th-note fills that you may enjoy. Once you feel comfortable with these, change up your voices and stickings.

drum fills

Exercise 1: You will use some mixed stickings and play some doubles on your toms. This mix gives you plenty of time to get back to the snare. Playing the kick on the quarter beat gives a nice six over four phrasing.

Exercise 2: In this exercise you will learn to sweep laterally, and the doubles on the kick help throw you back to the snare. This fill is fun to play (when you get used to it).  Be sure that you hit with precision and that your bass notes are solid and evenly spaced.  This is also an example of a linear fill, which we will discuss below.

Exercise 3: Sweep in a vertical fashion before terminating in a run around the kit. Play the kick on the quarter beat.

These cool drum fills are fun, and they will strengthen your core if you use proper posture. The sweeping motions will provide a different way to get the rebound to work for you as you move from drum to drum. Start out slowly to establish accuracy.


Advanced Drum Fills

Once you have mastered the beginner drum fills, give these advanced drum fills a try. Depending on your level, it will take some work. Be patient with yourself and stick with it.

These add tuplets, 32nd notes, and mixed stickings. Play the kick on the quarters here, also.

drum fills

Exercise 1:  This fill has the first two beats in phrases of four within a tuplet feel, and allows a release by resolving back to six on the last two beats.  For an effect that I call “fill cleaner,” accent the last note of each beat as an exercise of its own – paying particular attention to the feel of your subordinate hand throwing that beat to your foot — then remove the accent.  You should find that your fills sound and feel more balanced.

Exercise 2: Play the 32nd notes as singles or doubles. The space between the end of beat three and the beginning of beat four is a bigger move for your core as you turn from the floor tom to the hats. Your speed on this move will dictate your tempo for the exercise.

Exercise 3: This fill uses paradiddles for beats one and two, and allows for either single or double stroke stickings in the last two beats.

Metal Drum Fills

These drum fills are two bars of fun, and they’re great for building tension.

drum fills

Exercise 1:  A fun run around the kit (play the kick on the quarters of the 2nd measure).  Start out slowly to build accuracy, and then challenge yourself to increase the tempo.

Exercise 2: Incorporates more of the bass.

 Exercise 3: this triplet-based fill  ends with a common rock feel.

Metal drum fills don’t necessarily have to be note-dense to be effective. Experiment with orchestration on these.


Linear Drum Fills

drum fills

Some more cool types of drum set fills are often called “gallops”, and they’re good examples of linear figures (no two notes played in unison). Aim for smooth, even triplets.

Use these exercises as ideas to experiment with voices and stickings. Try playing some of the notes on the rims, ride-bells, etc.

Play with your metronome! Set up subdivisions (8ths, 16ths, 32nds, tuplets) to ensure accurate note placement. Start out at a slow speed, and bump it up as you gain facility.

Once you’ve got these down, try creating your own drum fills.

Have fun! Repetition (done right) will build speed and precision that will only enhance your playing.


TracyDPost Author: Tracy D.
Tracy D. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Edmond, OK, as well as online. She has been playing the drums with various bands for more than 13 years. Tracy earned her Bachelor’s in Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and has played with the OKC Community Orchestra since 2009.  Learn more about Tracy here!

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best drum songs

The Best Drum Songs: 10 Songs You Need to Know

best drum songs

With so many music styles and genres, it can be hard to make a list of the absolute best drum songs. Plus, everyone has their own opinions on which songs are the best. Since it’s impossible to make a definitive list of the best drum songs, drum instructor Maegan W. put together this list of 10 must-know songs. Check out the list and let us know what you think…

For this article, when I talk about the best drum songs, I’m referring to the signature songs that every drummer should know how to play. These are the songs you can always go to when you need to play a song at a gig, party, or event. These must-know drum songs also have important grooves or fills that you will use over and over in thousands of other songs. Knowing these types of grooves and fills will make learning any other song that much easier.

So here it goes…. the 10 best drum songs, or the 10 must-know songs for drummers.

*Note: I decided to use newer songs for this list. There are so many must-know classics, but those lists of drum songs are everywhere. So here’s a new-age update for the next generation of drummers.


“Lost Without You” – Robin Thicke

This song is pure soul. The groove is tricky and it’s challenging to get the feel just right. If you can master this song, you’re ready to play an R&B gig. Even if you’re a rocker, this song will help you gain dynamic control and tap into some fun, unusual rhythms.


“Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding

This is a great song to learn to add to the music, meaning you don’t have to overplay. Just play to make the song better, not to be heard or standout. This song has several breaks where you can practice your coloring (as I call it) on the different cymbals and practice your timing by coming back in right on time.

Lastly, it has a section with a half-time feel so you can work on that, too.

“Clarity”  – Our Last Night Band (Cover)

The original is great too, but this cover is epic! This drummer is amazing and super clean on his fills and grooves. The band takes it to a whole new level, and you will want to be able to play this way, too.

This song will take you through different levels of intensity and different emotions. Playing with emotion is important to get the audience to vibe with you.

“Shut Up and Dance” – Walk the Moon

This song makes you want to dance, and it’s always good to have a couple of dance songs in your back pocket. It has a disco groove in the chorus, with a nice open hi-hat splash. It also has some nice tom builds. The fills are simple and perfect for this type of music and it also has some hits in unusual places.

“Guns for Hands” – Twenty One Pilots

All of 21 Pilots’ songs have a lot of cool drum parts. In “Guns for Hands”, you will find a simple bass drum “four-on-the-floor“, with perfectly placed hi-hat accents. You will find big half-time grooves, tom grooves, and if you watch the video, you can see a high-energy performance and great visual cues that help the audience hear you.

This song also has an awesome reggae-type breakdown in the bridge.

“Up All Night” – Blink 182

All of Blink 182’s songs have awesome drum parts, thanks to the one-and-only Travis Barker. This song is one of my favorites to play. In the beginning, you have some 32nd-note hi-hat action, with some bell accents in unique places to add to the feel. It gets super heavy and has hits that you can use in many songs to come.

It features 16th-note triplet fills around the kit and nice builds. Learn all the parts to this song and you will expand your drumming vocabulary.

“Save Me” – Gotye

This song has some really cool tom grooves, with a displaced back beat. Hitting the backbeat on the “+ of 4” can be tricky, but otherwise, this song is pretty simple. You can focus on really nailing it, and gaining limb independence and control, while getting into the groove and hypnotic rhythm.

OK, I can’t resist…..the last three are classic, must-know drum songs!

“Fool in the Rain” –  Led Zeppelin

Get your half-time shuffle on; this will teach you how to shuffle with the best and can be applied in any half-time shuffle situation. Also, look out for the Latin breakdown. If you can nail it, you’ve earned your throne!

“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath

Talk about epic drum fills! Also, there are many parts to learn so it will help learn about song structure. This song is popular at any event, well maybe not at a wedding, but at almost any party. You will learn a lot by playing this song, and you can apply these skills to many other songs as you advance as a drummer.

“Grey Street”  –  Dave Matthews Band

This groove is tough to get just right. It’s a little awkward, but when it’s played right, it’s amazing! Pay close attention: there’s more to this song than just a complicated groove. The feel here is essential, so add this song to your setlist.

I hope you enjoy this list. Some of these songs are challenging, but they will make you a better drummer!

Which drum songs are on your must-know list? Let us know in the comments below! 

Post Author:
 Maegan W.
Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004.  Learn more about Maegan here!

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