It’s been a while since I wrote a drum lesson aimed purely at the beginner drummer. I’ve also received a few emails from beginner drummers and drummers just starting out, requesting some help and advice as to what to play and practice. This, then, is a great opportunity for me to address both of these issues at once with this simple and easy free beginner drum lesson. But first, if you don’t mind, a brief and blatant plug for one of my products…
This drum lesson will be teaching you five drum beats that have each been taken from the EIGHT Video Beginner Drum Lessons Starter Set. This video drum lesson package deal, designed for the beginner or basic drummer, is perfect for learning the most important and common drum beats and fills found in modern drumming using the aid of simple, clear and easy to follow video drum lessons.
Right, on with the free beginner drum lesson then…
Right Hand Quarter Note Patterns
A drum beat or drum groove generally consists of just three basic patterns; the bass drum pattern, the snare drum pattern and the right hand pattern (usually played on the Hi-Hat or Ride Cymbal).
Of these three basic patterns, the right hand part is considered to be the most flexible. For example, a drummer might play a snare and bass drum pattern that fits the “groove” but then vary what the right hand plays over the top. Not only moving the right hand to the Ride cymbal or floor tom as desired but also varying the actual rhythm played.
There are three very common and popular right hand patterns (or ostinatos) played by drummers. They are known as Quarter notes, Eighth notes and Sixteenth note right hand ostinatos (don’t worry about the complicated and technical sounding names, they’re not as complicated as they sound!).
The EIGHT Video Beginner Drum Lessons Starter Set teaches all three of these popular right hand patterns using actual examples, but this free blog drum lesson will focus on just the Quarter Note right hand ostinato for now.
Playing Quarter notes with the right hand gives drum beats room to breath because the right hand is playing a minimal number of notes whilst still “keeping time“. Lets look at the first example now…
Quarter Note Beginner Drum Beat 1
This is the very first drum beat I teach every beginner drummer starting private drum lessons with me. It’s the daddy of all drum beats and doesn’t get any more common or simplistic than this.
The drum beat consists of the bass drum played on beats 1 and 3 of the bar, snare drum played on beats 2 and 4 of the bar and the Hi-Hat (notes marked with an ‘x’) played on all four beats of the bar, at the same time as the corresponding snare and bass drum notes.
This drum beat shows very clearly why the right hand pattern is playing Quarter notes. There are four Hi-Hat notes each taking up a quarter of the bar, hence they’re name.
Quarter Note Beginner Drum Beat 2
This continues to build upon the previous example by adding an extra bass drum note. This is also where some of the confusion can occur because this second bass drum is played in between the steady quarter note pattern the right hand is playing.
You can see that the two bass drum notes next to each other are played on beat 3 (at the same time as the Hi-Hat note written above) and the ‘+’ of beat 3 (in between the Hi-Hat notes on beat 3 and beat 4).
The idea is to keep the right hand pattern playing a steady and evenly spaced quarter note rhythm and to simply drop the bass drum notes on and in between the right hand where indicated. This creates a really cool sound as the drummer sounds like they’re playing multiple rhythms at the same time; a right hand quarter note pattern and a varying bass drum pattern. This is because they are! Very cool indeed.
Quarter Note Beginner Drum Beat 3
Here we see the two bass drum notes, from the example above, moved backwards so that they now start on the ‘+’ of beat 2 and then on beat 3. Notice how the snare drum for all the examples so far have remained on just beats 2 and 4 maintaining a steady and unchanging ‘backbeat’.
So, with this drum beat the first of the two adjacent bass drum notes is played in between the steady quarter notes on beat 2 and beat 3 while the second bass drum note is played at the same time as the hi-hat note on beat 3.
Quarter Note Beginner Drum Beat 4
This is a fun idea with the bass drums, after beat 1, falling on the ‘+’ of beat 2 and the ‘+’ of the beat 3. Both bass drum notes falling in between the right hand pattern. This can be a little tricky to play at first so take your time and try to count the rhythm (as indicated above the notation).
Remember that these drum beats (as well as many more) are explained and demonstrated carefully and slowly in the Beginner Video Drum Lesson Starter Set.
Quarter Note Beginner Drum Beat 5
Finally, here we have a quirky and fun drum beat that involves playing just a single bass drum on the ‘+’ of beat 3 in between the Hi-Hat notes on beat 3 and beat 4 of the bar. This has a cool effect where the drum beat is given lots of forward momentum by ‘pushing‘ the bass drum into the snare drum on beat 4. This drum beat sounds great when played at a medium or fast tempo but remember to always start slow and careful and the speed will come in time naturally.
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