rock drum beats

Rock On: 3 Rock Drum Beats for Beginners

rock drum beats

Hey drummers, want to learn how to play rock beats that will make the crowd move and shout? Here, San Diego, CA drum instructor Maegan W. breaks down the strategy behind rock drumming, and gives you three rock drum beats to practice at home…

Rock ‘n’ roll: what is it, and what makes it rock? A solid, authoritative drum beat, that’s what. It’s up to you as the drummer to make sure the band and the audience have something to make them move, shout, and throw their hands in the air.

Here are some tips to help you improve your rock drumming, and some rock drum beats that will leave your fans begging for more.

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Different Styles Have Different Sounds

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to note that different music styles have different sounds. Rock music has a completely different sound than jazz.

If you look at the snare, bass drum, and hi-hat as three sections of a triangle, you will be able to make a sound pyramid. The sound at the top has the least room, so you will play this quietly, by comparison.

When you play jazz, place these three elements in order from top to bottom (softest to loudest) as follows: Bass drum (quiet unless accenting), snare (medium to soft unless accenting), and cymbals (loudest, main focus).

When you play rock, do the opposite. The cymbals will be loud, but not louder than the snare and bass. The snare should be loud and cracking. When I play rock and I hit my snare, it makes peoples’ eyes twitch, and this is a good thing!

The bass drum is your driving force. Play the bass drum like you’re trying to break through the head. Make people feel it; make them move to your beat!

Less is More

Once you understand how to adjust your sound for different styles, you have to decide on a beat to play. In rock music, less is always more. Keep it simple.

Big, open fills are best. Remember, we’re talking about rock, not metal or punk. Simple, direct beats work best, and these beats make the audience move.

Attitude is Everything

The last, most important factor in rock drumming is attitude. You have to own it. As a rock drummer, you can’t be timid or shy. The stage is yours. You drive the bus and control the speed and feel. The band needs to know they can count on you; play with confidence.

Have Fun

Rock music is all about freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom of choice, and the freedom to be as loud as you want. Let it all out, and have fun. The drums are the driving force in rock music, never underestimate the power of what you create and share with the world. Your drum sound is unique and important.

Now that you understand the principles behind rock drumming, it’s time to practice!

Try these three beats:

rock drum beats

With proper adjustments, you can use the first beat in practically any song in any style of music. The other two beats are just slight variations, but they also adapt well to almost any rock song.


Want to learn more rock drum beats? Find a private drum teacher to help you improve your drumming skills!  


AndyWPost 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 Florian Stangl

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