learning drums

Drummers Stick Together: Pursuing Your Passion With George Beck

learning drums

Every drummer has to start somewhere, and every experienced drummer remembers what it was like to be a beginner! In our Drummers Stick Together series, veteran drummers share their personal stories of learning drums, developing their craft, and following their dreams!

George Beck is a touring drummer and drum teacher. He started playing in his first band when he was 14, and he is now the drummer for Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Katie Barbato and Dirty Holiday. George, a.k.a Beckbeat, recently published his first book “Play As You Are: A Collection of Essays – Picking a Drummer’s Mind”.

We caught up with Becks to discuss music, drumming, and his new book.

You started playing with your first band at 14, what was it like to be part of a band at such a young age — not only developing your skills as a drummer, but learning to mesh with a band? How did this experience affect your future as a musician?

I consider myself lucky to have started playing in a band at a fairly young age. First and foremost, it was all about friendship and having fun. The great thing about being young is that there’s no tendency to overthink or overanalyze. We just played together and kind of figured it out along the way.

I remember that the focus was really on making music together and listening to each other. We would jam on parts and play around with them. This is how I first experienced what it means to lock in with a bass player, and to craft a simple groove as a rhythm section, not just playing along next to each other.

I’ve always enjoyed singing and ended up doing lead vocals on some of our songs. Again, it kind of happened organically — it was just a fun thing to do. Today, I’m grateful for that experience because I usually don’t struggle with singing background while drumming. I don’t know if I would feel as comfortable singing if it weren’t for my first band.

It taught me the importance of listening and the power of working and creating something together, the collective creative process.

You came from a musical family, how did this influence your personal musical journey? Were you able to share your passion and early experience with your family?

There was always music in the house. My grandparents would listen to Austrian folk music all day on the radio. My dad was an avid singer and a fixture in the church choir. We had an old, often out-of tune piano in the living room, and my two older brothers and I were encouraged to take piano lessons.

My parents were supportive of my drumming. They were generally supportive of my drum lessons and music making with my friends, but never showed much interest in my musical endeavors per se. They were busy people at that time, and the music was way too “rock ‘n’ roll” for them, I guess.

I think the first time they realized that I was serious about playing music was when I sent my dad to pick up my high school diploma because I was busy sound checking for a gig.

What have you learned from touring and playing with other musicians? How has this helped you become a better drummer and band member?

Working with artists from different genres in itself just expands your musical horizons, you learn so much, if you’re willing and open to learning.

I once worked live with musicians from Turkey (the band Coup De Bam). We mixed Turkish folklore themes with down tempo electro beats. It was very interesting and challenging to take a piece in 5/4 or 9/8 and make it “dancey” (in the modern sense of the word), and figure out parts that would pay tribute to the folklore tradition as well as to the modern-beat style.

Trying to adjust to a new musical situation and listening to the artists’ needs can be challenging, but this is how I grow. I bring all I’ve got to the table and learn to work with what I have.

A lot of the people I’ve been lucky to work for inspired me, not only with their music, but even more so with their attitude. For example, I once worked with a singer who would always give his best and perform every gig as if he were playing Yankee Stadium, even if there were only five people in the audience. I remember thinking: “this is how you do it.”

How have your own experiences as a drummer influenced or changed the way you teach your students?

When I started to teach many years ago, I thought every student had to follow the same path–MY path/MY framework of learning. Needless to say, I had many frustrated students, and I ended up frustrated, too!

I totally abandoned that approach and now, only focus on the students’ needs and goals. It’s not about what I can do, it’s about what I can give.

As a drummer in a band, you work for the band. As a teacher, you work for the student.  It’s about the drum students, not me. Everybody’s different. All my students have different personalities, preferences, learning abilities, skill sets, and goals for playing the drums. Therefore, as a teacher, it’s my responsibility to put the student first and adjust my teaching style to him/her.

You just finished writing your first  book “Play as You Are, ” was this something you’ve always aspired to do, or did the opportunity just present itself?

I never seriously thought about writing a book. I enjoy teaching a lot, and some of the stuff in the book was inspired by my reflections on certain lessons, or remembering my own struggle in becoming a drummer.

I just started writing short essays, most of them on my phone when I had time to kill, and later, decided to compile them into a book; that’s really it.

I love how you say that making music doesn’t start with your drum sticks, but with your desire or compulsion to make music. Can you talk about how it’s not just about what you play or what you practice, but about really going after your passion?

In the book, I talk about how you can do whatever you want but, you can’t choose your wants. I never decided to play the drums. Sure, I can make up all kinds of stories and theories about why I ended up playing drums and not the violin, but the truth is, I don’t know.

There’s an unexplainable desire to play the drums, and starting out, I sensed an urge to follow that lead! It’s very tempting to take the “I’m a drummer concept” and turn it into a competitive mind game, a competition with other drummers, other musicians, and with yourself.

For me, the passion to play is my true desire. It often gets buried or covered up in aforementioned concepts. I’m all about putting the passion to play, first. Music (and drumming) is an art form and it’s about expressing yourself. In my opinion, you have to start there, or more accurately, go back there.

You say your book is an invitation to explore a different approach to playing music. How is it different and why is it successful?

The approach is different because it directs the attention back to yourself. It’s not a book of answers, it’s a book of questions. I’m convinced that in order to become the best player you can be, you have to ask those questions of yourself. And only you can answer them.

This approach can shine a light on your assumptions and beliefs, when it comes to playing the drums or being a creative person in general.

Here’s a quote from the book I’d like to share with you:

“…before I sit down to practice, I ask myself two simple questions: ‘What am I going to practice?’ and ‘Why am I going to practice it?’ It doesn’t matter if you are a professional drummer, a weekend warrior, or are happy drumming along to your favorite songs in the basement. The clearer your answers to these two questions, the easier and more enjoyable your practice sessions will become…”

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Special thanks to Becks for taking time to chat with us, and sharing his insight and wisdom. Check out his website to learn more about his book and listen to his music!



Follow your dreams and start learning drums today. Search here for a drum instructor near you! 


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The Top 10 Benefits of Learning Drums [Infographic]

learning drums

There are several great reasons for both adults and children to learn drums. So if you’re on the fence about signing up for drum lessons, take a look at what the research says. Here, Philadelphia, PA teacher Andrea I. shares the top 10 benefits of learning drums…

1. Reduce Stress

Playing drums can relieve frustration, disappointment, and stress. Whether you’re behind a drum kit, hitting a djembe in a drum circle, or beating a marching band bass drum, drumming is a stress reliever. Playing drums, even for just a few minutes, can boost your mood.

Similar to a “runner’s high,” drummers’ brains release feel-good endorphins immediately after playing music. In the online journal Evolutionary Pychology, researchers concluded, “it is the active performance of music that generates the endorphin high, not the music itself.”

So if you’re feeling a little down or a little frazzled, grab your drum sticks and start playing!

2. Increase Academic Performance

The correlation between musical training and academic performance has been documented a number of times, particularly when it comes to math. Learning to drum, however, can also help you in subjects like English, by helping you identify emotional cues, a skill you can use to identify characters’ thought processes and motives.

According to one study, “Music enables students to learn multiplication tables and math formulas more easily (T. Mickela as cited in Kelstrom, 1998); rhythm students learn the concept of fractions more easily; students who were taught using rhythm notation scored 100 percent higher on tests of fractions; and a child may use the ability for logical thinking that was developed in music class to solve problems quite unrelated to music (Kelstrom, 1998).”

So parents, if you’re hesitant about your child learning drums because you’re afraid it will take away from his or her studies, rest assured, learning to drum may actually help your son or daughter perform better in school.

3. Boost Brain Power

When you play drums, you have to coordinate all four limbs to work together at the same time. If you’re right handed, chances are you don’t do much with your left hand. Your brain has to work your non-dominant side to strengthen and coordinate your non-dominant limbs.

In a recent study, researchers found that playing drums can boost brain power in a measurable way, specifically when it comes to IQ. “Playing the drums makes the brain think in a way that very few activities can,” said Pat Brown, International Drum Month chairman and Percussion Marketing Council co-executive director. “Being able to understand musical notes and dissect how rhythms work and go together is a very complicated thought process. The most recent study shows that being constantly exposed to this type of brain activity can actually improve one’s IQ level.”

4. Develop Confidence

Drumming is powerful. To be successful, drummers must learn to play dynamically: loud and soft. The act of playing a loud beat takes guts and confidence. In addition, drummers must possess a growth mindset. That is, you must believe that you can learn challenging parts by starting slow and breaking them down.

Learning drums challenges you to break complex tasks into manageable parts. Then, after persistent practice, you’re able to play something quite challenging. This is a skill that carries over in many areas of life. Believing you’re able to learn difficult material is crucial to overcome obstacles, both in music and in life.

5. Improve Communication Skills

Students with musical training communicate better with peers, are more empathetic, and get lots of practice expressing ideas without using words. Drumming also teaches you to read non-verbal cues, which can help you learn to read between the lines.

6. Be a Global Citizen

Drumming can open your world! Whether you’re learning Latin bossa nova, Afro-Cuban clave, or Jamaican reggae, you can benefit as a musician and a person from learning about musical traditions from all over the world.

It’s fascinating to see how new styles of music develop over time as cultures merged their traditional styles together.

7. Make New Friends

Wherever you go, you will be able to talk with people who speak drums. With lots of opportunities to form your own band or join an orchestra, marching band, drum circle, or percussion ensemble, you will have lots of options to meet new and interesting people.

8. Play Cool Instruments

Learning drums gives you the foundation to play a wide range of instruments: djembe drums, congas, clave, marching bass drums, triangle – even typewriters, spoons, and buckets.

A percussionist’s bag of toys is endless, and part of the fun is discovering new sounds to play.

9. Get Fit

A hardy session of drumming is a great way to get your sweat on while having fun. According to one study, “Just by using hand drums and moving to the beat, people burned an average of 270.4 calories in a half hour.”

In addition to the calorie burn, rhythmic performance can significantly impact stress reduction and wellness.

10. Lifelong Learning

You can be a drummer at any age. Once you start, you can keep drumming as long as you want. Learning drums will enhance your life well beyond your first few lessons, and as long as you never stop learning, you will have endless opportunities to improve, perform, and be the best musician you can be.


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Ready to get started? Search here for a drum instructor near you!


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!

Photo by laurentmorand

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Drummers Stick Together: Lindsay Bird Shares her Drumming Journey


Hey drummers, looking for some motivation? In our “Drummers Stick Together” series, veteran drummers share their personal stories to inspire you to stick with it and pursue your passion….

Lindsay Bird  is the drummer for the Canadian rock ‘n’ roll band Dirty Jeans. She has been playing drums for over 14 years. Here, Lindsay shares her story to encourage beginner and intermediate drummers to keep on rocking!

What inspired you to start playing drums?

I have been playing drums for about 14 years. I started out playing trombone in my middle school jazz band. I was seated very close to the drummer, and I was always watching and listening to the drums, I was just drawn to it I guess.

I really wanted to play drums in the jazz band but, I had to wait until the drummer graduated. As soon as he did, I jumped right in there and I haven’t stopped since.

As a beginner, what kept you motivated to continue to practice and work hard?

Honestly, what kept me motivated was proving people wrong. Early on, I heard a lot of comments like “well, you’re pretty good I guess, for a girl.” I even got comments from teachers when I said I wanted to play drums. I remember one teacher saying “well, the boys get first pick on drums, so don’t be surprised if you can’t play this year.”

I wanted to show everyone that I could do it, and be just as good as the boys, if not better. I feel like that made me push harder and want it more, I had something to prove.

So girls… if someone tells you that you can’t play drums like the boys, just don’t listen to them, its as simple as that! There’s absolutely no difference if you’re male or female, it’s just less common for people to see a female drummer, but we can change that!

Just be confident in your ability, there’s no competition between sexes. Be the best drummer YOU can be, and as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing, that’s all that matters.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew as a beginner?

I wish I knew how to make the most of my practice time. I would spend most of my time doing the things I was already good at because it sounded good and made me feel good.

Instead, I should have been working on my weaknesses and only spending a bit of time on my strengths.

What do you love most about playing drums?

Playing drums is just an amazing outlet for me! It truly makes me happy, all aspects of it. Spending time at home alone practicing is very calming and it makes me focus, which is important in life; to be able to just shut everything out for a while during your day and just drum.

Of course, full band rehearsals are amazing and so much fun. It’s a great feeling when you really click with the people you’re playing with, it really gets the creative juices flowing.

Playing live is like no other feeling. Just feeding off the crowd and the rest of your band; its hard to describe, I absolutely love it!

Which famous drummer would you want to play with, and why?

If I could jam with one famous drummer, I would choose Travis Barker. I’ve bee drawn to his drumming for a long time now, I love his style and his creativity.

Not only is he an amazing drummer, but he’s truly an entertainer. The way he performs is just amazing to watch. Also, the way he writes drum parts is crazy to me, and I think I could learn a ton from him.

Plus, of course, he seems like a really cool guy.

When it comes to drumming, what does success look like to you?

My ultimate goal is for drumming to be my full time job, and to possibly teach or have some part time music-related job. Rather than working full time and drumming part time, ideally, I’d like the opposite.

Success to me is to be able to play for a living, to be financially stable doing what I truly love to do.

What advice do you have for anyone who is just getting started?

It’s important to push through and be patient in the beginning stages, because in the end, it’s really worth it.

You become a much more versatile player in the long run, and that makes it that much easier  to get gigs, whether it’s studio gigs, or with your band.

The tighter you become, the harder you work, and the more dedicated you are to your craft, the farther it will take you in the future!



Want to see Lindsay in action? Check her out with her band Dirty Jeans on their YouTube channel.



Ready to turn your drumming dreams into reality? Sign up for lessons with a private drum instructor today! 

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Techology and online Music lessons

How Has Technology Changed Music Lessons? [Infographic]

Over the past several years, online music lessons have substantially grown in popularity. And it’s no wonder — it’s an option that is convenient and often priced lower than in-person lessons. Plus, you can choose an instructor from practically anywhere!

Advances in technology have made the success of online music lessons possible, but that’s not the only way that technology has changed the way we learn music. New innovations provide fun and creative ways to enhance the learning experience for today’s student. You can find the best online piano lessons, for instance, and then supplement those with apps, games, and YouTube tutorials.

Here are some fascinating facts about how we learn, teach, and promote music online.

Technology and Music Lessons Infographic - Online music lessons

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Teaching Music Online – Additional Resources

Interested in teaching online? These days, you’ve got several options for video platforms to use, allowing you to instantly connect with your student, send files, and record lessons. Learn more about teaching online with TakeLessons here.

Learning Music Online – Additional Resources

Whether you’re looking for the best online piano lessons via Skype, pre-recorded YouTube drum tutorials, or chord charts for guitar and bass, there are so many resources available for students!

Learn Guitar 

Learn Piano

Learn Violin

Learn Drums

Whether or not you take (or teach) lessons online, there are many ways you can use current technology to enhance and supplement the learning experience. If you’re a teacher and need a place to start, online forums are great for sharing ideas with other instructors. The possibilities are endless! And once you start looking, it’s amazing what you can find out there!

Special thanks to online piano teacher Crystal B. for her help with this article! 

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VIDEO The 7 Essential Drum Rudiments

Video: The 7 Essential Drum Rudiments

drum rudiments

When you’re learning drums, it’s important to practice rudiments. Drum rudiments are essential and mastering them will help you take your drumming to the next level. In this video, Tulsa, OK drum teacher Tracy D. shows you how to play seven essential drum rudiments… 

Why Practice Rudiments

Drum rudiments are like words in a drummer’s vocabulary. In essence, rudiments are drum patterns that you can use for drills or warm-ups, or develop into more complex drum patterns.

These drum patterns have been fleshed out from the “standard” 26 to the 40 Percussive Arts Society (PAS) Official International Drum Rudiments, to an ever-increasing number of stick-twisting (and oddly-named) hybrid rudiments.

Drum rudiments are your foundation as a drummer, and all of these rudiments will help you develop finesse. In this video, we’re going to focus on the seven “essential” rudiments, from which the others are derived.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn the single-stroke roll, multiple-bounce (buzz/press) roll, double-stroke open roll, five stroke-roll, single paradiddle, flam, and drag. You should practice these open (slow), to close (fast), back to open.

*NOTE: There is a tipping point in double strokes that shifts from muscular-control dominant to rebound dominant (and so approaches a buzz roll) as the tempo increases, so practice these as prescribed to build control.

This video will help you practice the essential rudiments. So grab your drum sticks and let’s get to work!


drum rudiments

*Courtesy of: P.A.S. Official International Drum Rudiments, Jay Wanamaker and Rob Carson.

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!

Photo by Travis Isaacs

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6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

6 Easy Steps to Create Your Own Drum Cover

Have you ever watched a cool drum cover video on YouTube and thought to yourself, “I wish I could do that?” Well, guess what…you can! Here, drum instructor Maegan W. shares six simple steps to help you create your own drum covers…

It seems like drummers are taking center stage these days with the help of one major tool, the drum cover. Drum covers can be considered the ultimate outlet for artistic expression. Not only can you share your unique drumming style, but you can also create a visual masterpiece to match.

So how does one make a drum cover? In this crash course, you’ll learn drum cover basics, along with the essential steps to build your fan base, get discovered, and be the star of your own show.

1. Equipment

The first thing you need to create a drum cover is a recording device. This can be a smartphone, a GoPro, a camera, or your computer, if it has recording capabilities. Of course, if you have access to high-quality video equipment, feel free to use that. If you don’t, no problem, just focus on putting 100 percent into your drum cover.

Next comes sound. If you have an external microphone, make sure you know how to use it. Read the manual – every little tip and trick makes a huge difference in sound quality.

2. Song Choice

Song selection is crucial. Depending on your goals for your drum cover, you may want to do some research. If you want to get noticed, then it’s important to pick the songs that people want to hear.

This may seem obvious, but so many drummers want to stay underground, or think they’re too cool to cover popular songs. There’s nothing wrong with this mentality, but if you want to bring people to your channel, you need to play popular songs. This doesn’t mean you should cover songs you don’t like, but covering pop songs can help you gain exposure online.

3. Know the Song

Before you record, make sure you know the song inside and out. I like to get to a point where I can play the entire song without listening to the song. You can avoid a lot of editing and post-production work if you know the song really well.

Post production is the most time-consuming part of the process, and it usually causes people to give up on a project. I like to chart a song before I come up with creative parts to play. Once I know the format, I move on and learn the beats and fills, then I add my own twist. Not knowing the song is also a waste of time and energy because you have to keep stopping and starting over.

4. Test

Once you have the song down, it’s time for a sound and video check – don’t skip this step! There’s nothing worse than playing your drum cover perfectly with all the fills exactly how you want them, only to realize the lighting was bad, your head was out of the frame, or the sound is off.

Trust me, take the time to test.

5. Stand Out

Once you’re ready to go, try to think of something that will make you and your video stand out. It doesn’t have to be crazy, but little signature moves, sounds, styles, and filters can help you create a memorable, crowd-pleasing drum cover.

You get to decide what you want to be known for. Do you want to be the drummer with great hair and crazy gospel chops (Luke Holland), the drummer who does a backflip off his chair (Dylan Taylor), or the guy with the awesome accents and mash-ups (Cobus)?

Decide what makes you stand out. But don’t just imitate other drummers – highlight your unique gifts and come up with your own thing.

6. YouTube Channel

If you don’t have a YouTube channel, don’t worry – it’s super simple to create one. Just get yourself a Google e-mail address, go to YouTube, and create an account.

Once you’ve recorded and edited your drum cover, you’re ready to upload it to YouTube. Use careful, strategic keywords in your description. These will help you get fans, views, and likes. Include the song title, artist name, “no copyright infringement” statement (very important; you can research what other drummers list in their descriptions), and your social media pages and website links in the video description.

A lot of people like to list their drum gear or song lyrics in the description. This way, if people search for specific brands or lyrics, your video may pop up in the search results.

Once your video is uploaded, send it to everyone you know and post it to your social media sites. With so many digital tools, everyone has the opportunity to become a star, but remember, it takes hard work and patience.

Now that you know the steps, it’s time to get started. Remember this very important fact: done is better than perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect (it will never be), just do your best during practice and give it your all! With that being said, make sure you’re proud of the videos you post.

I hope this helps. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Maegan-WPost 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!

Photo by Bold Content

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5 More Easy Drum Beats for Beginners

5 More Easy Drum Beats for Beginners

5 More Easy Drum Beats for Beginners

Just started drum lessons? Looking for some easy drum beats to get you started? We’ve got you covered! Here, San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W. breaks down five easy drum beats for beginners…


Believe it or not, the easiest drum beats are often the most effective. Easy drum beats don’t distract the listener from the music, so they’re not only crowd favorites, but band favorites as well!

Playing the right easy drum beats will add to a song and allow the crowd to dance and sway with little thought or effort. In fact, it’ll be nearly impossible for the crowd to not dance along to the music.

Here is your drum key:

Top line x = hi-hat or ride cymbal
Middle line x = snare
Bottom line o = bass drum

You’ll use this drum key for all five of these easy beats.

Ready? Let’s get to it!

1. The “Two and Four” Drum Beat

1 2 3 4
x x x x
x x
o o

This is the first beat most drummers learn, and it actually comes fairly naturally. The snare falls on the two and four (this is also called the backbeat). The bass drum fills in on the one and three. The hi-hat or ride cymbal falls on all four beats.

This beat can be played to almost any song on the radio, as well as many more complex songs. The trick is to stay in the pocket and play with precision and enthusiasm. Listen to the music and try to add to the feel and power.

The most classic example of this beat is in “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. Many AC/DC songs have this beat, too. You’ll notice that even the same simple beat can sound very different depending on the song.

2. “Four on the Floor”

1 2 3 4
x x x x
x x
o o o o

This beat is like the two and four, except you play the bass drum on all four beats. Your hi-hat or ride cymbal lines up directly with the bass drum on all four beats. The snare or backbeat still falls on the two and four.

To make this beat sound clean and powerful, make sure there’s no flaming; flaming is where one strike falls just before or after another. We want the beats to line up perfectly for a nice, fat sound.

Practice this with a metronome first. Start really slow so you can train your muscles and your ears. I do this at speeds as slow as 45 beats per minute (bpm). This sounds crazy, I know, but my sound is solid and clean. As you progress, increase your speed by five bpm at a time. When you work your way up to 120 bpm, you’re ready to play this with music.

3. “One Drop”

1eta 2 ta 3eta 4
x *** x ** x*** x
o o o o

Notice how all of these easy drum beats have numbers in their titles? That’s because drumming always comes back to counting, especially when you’re learning a new beat or song; count, count, count! Yes….count out loud.

This drum beat is very common in reggae music. It’s also the most common way to play a half-time feel. Simply move the snare hit to the three. Don’t play the two and four on the snare in this beat, just the three. This will create an illusion of a slow tempo, but it fits into the music at the same speed.

You can play this drum fill with various bass drum and cymbal or hi-hat patterns. Most common is a “four on the floor” bass drum pattern, with a skipping-type hat pattern. You can stay consistent, or accent the other instruments. For example, play a skip/swing hi-hat pattern of 1eta 2 ta 3eta 4 (playing only what is written etc).

When you play this beat, play your crashes on the “a” of four with a snare hit instead of a bass hit. Most crashes/accents fall on the one and the cymbal lands with the bass drum.

4. “Boom Boom Clap”

1 + 2 3 + 4
x x x x
x x
o o o o

This is an easy one to recognize, it’s in thousands of songs, but it’s probably most recognizable in Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Again, this can sound different depending on which music you play it with. This fill is the same as the “two and four” beat, except we add a bass drum hit on the “+” of one and the “+” of three.

The snare stays on the two and four, and the hi-hat can be played on the quarter notes (1 2 3 4), or on the 8th notes (1+2+3+4+). This drum beat comes in handy when you want to play a simple, powerful beat that will get the crowd pumped up.

Remember, however, you can still use this beat if you’re playing something mellow and smooth. All you have to do is lighten up your dynamics; play it soft and slow and it becomes an entirely different groove.

This beat sounds just like it’s name, “boom boom clap.” Make sure to let this beat breath by giving each note and each rest full space. This beat may be simple, but in order for it to work well, it must be played in time.

Last but not least….

5. “Boom Clap Boom Boom”

1 2 + 3 4
x x x x
x x
o o o

For this beat, play the snare on the two and four, the hi-hat or ride on the 8th notes (1+ 2+ 3+ 4+), and the bass drum on the one, the “+” of two, and the three.

Remember, in order for this beat to sound impressive and professional, play it without flaming, play it with authority, and play it with pride. I f you play these easy drum beats like they’re boring, people will pick up on that vibe. If you have a blast while you play, then everyone else will, too! As drummers, it’s our responsibility to set the tone. It’s not what you play….it’s how you play it.

See if you can find some songs with this beat and try to jam along. It’s fun to play because it has a lot of momentum.

Once you’ve practiced these, go ahead and try these easy drum songs for beginners.

Let us know what you think of these drum beats. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.

Need some help getting started? Search here for a drum teacher near you! 

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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All About Drum Thrones

Gear Guide for Drummers: All About Drum Thrones

All About Drum Thrones

Now that we’ve looked at drum sticks and drum sets, let’s shift our focus to drum thrones. Whether you’ve been playing for a while, or you just started drum lessons, a high-quality drum throne is important to maximize your comfort. Here, Edmond, OK drum instructor Tracy D. weighs in on the most popular drum throne brands…

As a drummer, you will sit at your instrument for hours at a time. If you have a drum set that came with a drum throne, chances are you will want to upgrade to something a bit more comfortable. In this gear guide for drummers, we’ll explore the top brands on the market and break down their models and features.


drum thrones

Roc-n-Soc has carved out a nice niche in the drum throne department, as they have been making cool seats since the ’80s.


• The cloth seat covers come in a variety of colors and help to reduce your sweat. You can also purchase vinyl seat covers for a few extra dollars.
• The seats come in different shapes (original, hugger, square, and round) and they’ll retrofit to most of today’s stands.
• Gas shocks (in all but the manual spindle base) add comfort and allow extra bounce.
• Matching backrests (for an additional cost) add comfort and stability.
• Roc-n-Soc offers additional accessories and replacement parts.


The Motion Throne ($195.75) has a spring box in the base that allows for forward movement.
The Nitro ($166.75) has a folding tripod base for easy portability.
The Lunar ($159.50) has a five-leg base for extra stability.

Pork Pie Percussion

drum thrones

Pork Pie drum thrones are known for comfort and they have some pretty snazzy designs.


• Choose from cloth or vinyl tops in a variety of colors.
• Backrests are available for an additional cost.
• All thrones have a sturdy, double-braced tripod base.


The “Deuce” ($349.99) has a thick, round, vinyl seat. The design is a nod to hot rods and there are 21 options so you can mix and match.
The “Big Boy” ($189.99) has a bike-style seat and can support heavier drummers.
The “Round” ($159.99) has an exceptionally thick seat for comfort.


drum thrones

Gibraltar is known for great hardware, and their drum thrones are no exception.


• More throne options than any other drum company.
• Hydraulic and manual models.
• Moto-style, oversized, and round seats available.
• Attractive designs.
• Some models have “super” feet for extra stability.
• They offer accessories and backrests (as well as some that are made specifically for them by Roc-n-Soc).

Split-Style Drum Thrones

drum thrones

Split-style (ergokinetic) drum thrones allow maximum freedom of movement, which can alleviate fatigue and tailbone and pelvic discomfort.


Carmichael ($269)
Motion-Pro ($299.99)
Ahead (shown – $179.95)


With all the options at your fingertips, you can find a throne that’s both comfortable and suits your aesthetic sense. Feel free to customize and accessorize. Your bum (and back) will thank you.

Note: I have used a Gibraltar Moto throne and I own a Roc-n-Soc Nitro (with backrest) and I can personally vouch for their comfort and quality.

Remember, although reviews are helpful, the best way to pick a drum throne is to try out different models and see what works for you. For more insights and gear reviews, check out our ultimate gear guide for drummers.


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!

Photo by Chris Borden

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3 Awesome Drum Beats to Spice Up Your Songs

3 Killer Drum Beats to Spice Up Your Songs

3 Awesome Drum Beats to Spice Up Your Songs

As a rock drummer, you may feel like you’re always being called on to play the same beat. And let’s face it, playing the old bass-snare-bass-snare groove can get pretty boring. But don’t worry – here, drum instructor Michael P. has three drum beats you can use to give your songs some extra kick…


1. The Jungle Beat

3 Beats_First

In the Erlang Kovata song “Death of the Sun,” I use this drum fill in the middle section for a groovy breakdown that contrasts nicely with the heavy, driving verse. Using the jungle beat changes the feel, adds a bit of color, and keeps the song moving. Also, it’s just kind of cool!

A tom beat such as this one can be used anywhere in a song. I like to use them for intros, bridges, and transitions, but it can also be fun to use them for the verse or chorus (think “Voodoo” by the Godsmack or “Everybody Wants Some” by Van Halen). Using a jungle beat in this way can help give a song unique character so that it doesn’t sound like all of the other songs in your set.

To play this beat well, focus on getting a good contrast between the accents and the ghost notes; proper dynamics is what makes this beat really pop. Before you begin to practice the beat, think about your sticking. I actually start by doubling the right hand so that I end up playing the accents with my left, but this may not be comfortable for you. Try different things and figure out what works for you.


2. Get Funky

3 Beats_Second

I use this beat in the song “Shattered” to make the laid-back feel more interesting to play and listen to. The interesting part is the group of linear 32nd notes in the second half of the phrase. At first, I keep this rhythm between the snare, bass, and hi-hat. Later, I open it up by switching to the ride cymbal and moving the rhythm around to the toms (as written in the notation above).

This beat works both slow and fast. You can come up with endless variations by moving the 32nd notes around the drum kit. It also works well if you add linear articulations into the first half of the phrase (maybe with some snare buzzes).

To play this beat well, focus on getting the 32nd notes to be tight. The beat is supposed to be laid back, not sloppy. It can work if you play it a touch behind the beat. The best way to make sure that the 32nd notes don’t end up feeling mechanical is to work on subtle dynamics. If you’re playing the beat slowly, I recommend using a light touch on the toms.


3. Triplet Feel

Variation 1

3 Beats_Third

Variation 2

3 Beats_Fourth

I use this beat in a song called “Swimming Through Glass” to give the piece a progressive and driving feel. The second variation is neat because it takes advantage of the ride bell. Both beats are accenting the rhythm in the guitar, which can work really well if both musicians are locked in. I’ve written it down in 12/8, but it could just as easily be written in 4/4 using triplets.

The triplet feel of this beat is a cool way to change up the monotony of straight 4/4 time. In addition to working in a verse or chorus, this beat is great as part of a bridge or instrumental transition, or as the underpinning for a guitar solo.

To play this beat well, focus on getting the rhythms really tight. Focus especially on making sure that the bass drum and hi-hat hits occur precisely together, otherwise it will sound wacky.

For any beat that you play, you should practice with a metronome. Start slowly, and then build up speed as you get more and more comfortable.

Try to incorporate these drum beats when you play and see if you like them! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Need some help with your drum beats and grooves? Sign up for lessons with a private drum instructor today! 

Michael P.Post Author: Michael P.
Michael P. teaches percussion and drum lessons in Chicago, IL. He has been playing drums for over 15 years and recently played with the heavy metal band Erlang Kovata.  Learn more about Michael here!

Photo by Lee Summers

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time keeping

Drum Practice: 3 Ways to Improve Your Time Keeping

time keeping

When you’re taking drum lessons it’s important to develop your time-keeping skills in addition to your technique. Here, Saint Paul, MN drum instructor John S. shares his practice techniques to help you improve your time keeping…

Time keeping is an essential element of modern music, for both live and recorded songs. It’s very important to develop a strong sense of time. The drummer is often looked to, more than any other musician, to provide a solid, consistent pulse in a musical performance.

For the beginners, let’s talk about what time keeping really means. Time keeping refers to a drummer’s ability to play in time with the pulse of the music. In contrast, timing (which is often confused with time keeping) refers to the drummer’s coordination of his own limbs, as well as his playing relative to the rest of the band.

It’s possible to be good at one and struggle at the other. For example, a drummer may be able to play extremely complex rhythms using all four limbs (good timing), yet he may be unable to play those rhythms at a consistent tempo over a period of time (poor time keeping). Timing and time keeping are both critical skills to develop as a drummer.

Here are three ways to improve your time keeping.

1) Practice With a Metronome / Click Track

In this day and age, all drummers are expected to be able to play along to a steady click track. The vast majority of studio recording is done to a click track, and more and more musical groups are using click tracks in the realm of live performance.

Even if you don’t find yourself required to play along to a click track, practicing with a click/metronome will drastically improve your time keeping which, in turn, will attract fellow musicians to your steady sense of pulse, and, down the road, will help you get more gigs.

All musicians should have a metronome, and luckily, metronomes are extremely easy to find. Almost all electronic drum sets come with a built-in metronome, and if you have an acoustic drum set, there are countless metronome apps and websites.

Acquiring a metronome is the easy part, but using the metronome effectively is a bit more challenging. There are many different ways to use a metronome, but here are a few healthy practice habits to keep in mind when practicing with a click:

Practice at Different Tempos

I encourage my students to alternate between faster and slower tempos. For example, repeat an exercise 15 to 20 times at a tempo of 70 BPM (beats per minute). Then, increase the tempo by 5 to 75 BPM and repeat the exercise another 15 to 20 times.

Next, lower the tempo to 65 BPM and repeat the exercise another 15 to 20 times. Then switch to 80 BPM and repeat the exercise, adding and subtracting 5 BPM from each tempo as you work on an exercise.

Whether you use this technique or make up your own, I always recommend alternating between faster and slower tempos because simply increasing the metronome by a few BPMs with each exercise may subconsciously train the drummer to speed up when playing without the click.

TIP: Remember to start with a slow, comfortable tempo before trying faster and slower variations.

Alternate Playing and Stopping

This tip is especially important when learning a new, challenging concept that’s too difficult to play in time for 10+ measures in a row. Play a rhythm for one measure and then rest for one measure, letting the click continue while you take that measure to analyze your performance.

Inserting a measure or more of rest quickly reveals if you’re rushing or dragging. This technique forces you to lock into a steady tempo. I find it often takes a few measures to get into a solid groove with the click, but this practice technique will strengthen your ability to feel the pulse from your very first note.

Practice Fills

Drummers are notorious for speeding up or slowing down while performing fills. It’s common to rush fills at slower tempos and speed up during faster tempos. Challenging fills are also very difficult to keep in time.

When you practice fills with a metronome, make sure you’re playing them in the context of a groove, just like you would if you were playing with a live band. I always encourage my students to practice in groups of four measures (alternating three bars time with one bar fill, or two bars of time with two bars of fill).

2. Play Along to Recordings

Most of my students find it easier and more exciting to play along to a recording because it’s much more interactive when there are other instruments involved. Playing along with the rhythms of other musicians presents a whole different set of challenges than playing to a metronome, yet both techniques strengthen your time keeping.

Playing along to a recording allows you to lock into the groove of another drummer, or it can free you up to play in response to the music, whereas playing to a simple click is much more challenging from a creative standpoint.

Practice playing along with recordings that simply have the drums removed. There are a number of websites, CDs, and YouTube videos that allow you to play along to songs from any genre or tempo. Here are a few free options that I use with my students:

TIP: Don’t rely solely on practicing along with recordings. It’s easy to use the recordings as a crutch, but that often makes playing alone or with a live band much more challenging. Make sure you’re comfortable both playing to a simple click, and playing with no metronome at all!

3. Record Yourself

Playing along to a click track is great, but sometimes it’s hard to determine which areas need improvement unless you listen to your own performance. There are countless ways to record yourself, but I recommend choosing a method that allows you to monitor both the click track and your own playing, so you can accurately analyze your playing relative to a steady tempo. Most of my students use GarageBand or other free recording applications that allow you to record yourself and then play the click track with the recordings.

There are several different ways to work on your time keeping, and you’ll discover which method works best for you. Remember to practice a variety of techniques with varying tempos and rhythms to develop the most well-rounded sense of time.

Need help with your time keeping? Search for a private drum instructor near you! 

Post Author:
 John S.
John S. is a drum and percussion instructor in Saint Paul, MN. A full-time musician and teacher, he performs with two different bands and teaches in-home and in-studio lessons.   Learn more about John here!

Photo by Jamie Bernstein

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