Difficulty LevelIn this free drum lesson I want to share with you some more page extracts taken directly from the book, in particular, how to play the first four bars from the song 6:00 by Dream Theater.

It’s such a cool four bar drum groove pattern that really has to be heard to be appreciated. This particular groove is a bit tricky to play but great fun to have a go at! Drummer Mike Portnoy plays around with his hi-hat and impresses with speed and dexterity in this great groove. Enjoy!


Why The “6:00” Drum Beat Is So Great

These modern progressive rock giants just keep producing the goods. Great rock anthems with twists, turns and head scratching galore.

6:00 Dream Theater Free Drum Lesson Mike Portnoy


How To Play It

This is the first four bars of the song, starting at 0:02 after the large intro drum fill. Mike plays this groove as a double handed hi-hat pattern. Both his hands are up on the hi-hat and only move down to strike drums as required.

Bars 1 and 3 are played exactly the same as each other with single stroke sixteenth notes played on the hi-hat (RLRL). The right hand comes down to play the snare drum on beat 2 of the bar and then the left hand on the ‘a’ and ‘e’ of beat 3 and 4 respectively. A bass drum is played on the ‘a’ of beat 2, which falls with the left hand, at the same time as the hi-hat is opened for a single sixteenth note.

Bar 3 has the crash on beat 1 followed by an open hi-hat, with the right hand, on the ‘+’ of beat 1. The hi-hat stays open until beat 2 where the hands play snare drum, high tom, medium tom and crash/bass drum, in that order (RLRL).

The left hand re-enters on the hi-hat for the ‘e’ of beat 3, played at the same time as the bass drum, where the hi-hat opens again for a single sixteenth note. The hi-hat closes on the ‘+’ of beat 3, at the same time as the snare drum is struck. Another hi-hat is opened with the bass drum on beat 4 of the bar and then closes again with the snare drum on the ‘e’.

Bar 4 plays beat 1 in exactly the same way as bar 2 but then moves into a line of thirty second notes on the hi-hat. These are still played as a single stroke roll (RLRL).

Mike cleverly plays groups of six notes through the thirty second notes. The snare drum, bass drum, snare drum and bass drum (in that order) are all six thirty second notes apart form each other. This creates a rhythm that moves across the beats of the bar. The snare drums are played with the right hand and the bass drums are played at the same time as the hi-hat openings. The hi-hats close on the next hi-hat stroke.


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