How To Play Drums

Easy Drumming That Sounds Hard

Thinking about learning how to play drums? Do you have a drum set but don’t know what to do with it besides using it to drive your parents nuts? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then this is the right place for you to be. In this video lesson Jared Falk, one of the DrumLessons.com drum instructors, shows you how to set yourself behind a drum set, while teaching you to play your first beat and fill.

The main focus of this lesson is to get you playing for the first time. You won’t need to know how to read sheet music to be able to learn to play the patterns taught in this lesson. Jared explains each of the patterns in a step-by-step approach, so you’ll learn how to play drums in no time. If you’d still like to learn how to read and write sheet music, check the free drum lesson “How To Count Quarter Notes” to get started.

In this video, Jared shows you a very basic approach to holding the drumsticks properly. Nonetheless, we encourage you to check the free drum lesson “How To Hold Your Drumsticks” to learn a lot more about this essential subject.

Basic Drum Patterns

The first pattern we’ll be looking at is the standard 8th note rock drum beat. The first layer of this pattern is taught on the exercise below. The numbers and “&’s” are counts, while the “x’s” are notes played on the closed hi-hat. For each measure you’ll have to play eight 8th notes on the closed hi-hat. Start by counting out loud – 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and – and then play the hi-hats along with your count. Strive for having notes played at a consistent pace and with the same dynamic level, as you loop this exercise over and over again.

In exercise 2 we add the snare drum on beats 2 and 4 of the count. The snare shots are represented by the solid note heads on the middle line of the measure. Play the hi-hat strokes as you count out loud and just add in the snare drum. The strokes on both instruments must line up perfectly when played at the same time. Remember to keep the hi-hat strokes consistent to create a smooth feel.

With the third exercise we add in the bass drum on beats 1 and 3 of the count. For now, we’ll not be worrying about the snare drum. The solid note heads on this exercise are the bass drum strokes. Just like we did in the previous exercise, add the bass drum hits as you play the hi-hat while counting out loud. The strokes on both instruments must line up perfectly when played at the same time. Keep the hi-hat strokes consistent to create a smooth feel.

The idea behind the previous exercises was to have you gain the needed independence and control to play the basic 8th note rock beat. Now that you’ve learned how to play its three layers it’s time to put them all together. The hi-hat is played on all 8th notes, just like we learned on the previous exercises. The snare drum is added on beats 2 and 4 while the bass drum is played on beats 1 and 3. Remember to keep the hi-hat consistent and the snare and bass drum strokes lined up with the ones played on the hi-hat.

If you’re having any issues with this beat, feel free to go back to the previous exercises and work on them for a while. Remember to practice with a metronome. Once you have the independence and timing happening come back to this beat and give it a whirl once again.

The last exercise in this lesson is your first drum fill. A drum fill is a pattern played around the drum set that among other things is used for setting a new section of a song. The beat you just learned is 8th note based while the pattern in this exercise is 16th note based – patterns with notes played on the “e’s” and the “ah’s” of a measure.

The hand with which you strike the hi-hat plays the notes of the fill on the beats (1, 2, 3, 4) and on the “&’s”, while the other hand fills in with the rest of the notes on the “e’s” and “ah’s”. As you transition from the beat to the fill you’ll notice that the hi-hat hand keeps playing the same notes it was playing on the beat. The only difference here is the instruments it hits. So a good way to start practicing this fill is to only play the 8th notes around the snare and toms by playing exactly what you were executing on the hi-hat. As you get comfortable with that transition you can start filling in the notes in between with your snare hand.

Take your time with these exercises, they may be hard to play at first but if you keep at it you’ll have no problems. Once you’ve learned how to play them, we encourage you to apply them to music by heading to the play-along section on DrumLessons.com. This should be your final goal with each pattern you learn how to play with this website. So whenever you learn new patterns, don’t forget to use them with the free play-alongs on DrumLessons.com.

After you’ve learned how to apply these basic pattern to real music with the free play-alongs on DrumLessons.com, its very important for you to learn how to plan your practice routines. Organizing the time you have available for practicing drums will have you working towards your goals in a consistent and balanced way. This will help you make your practice sessions a lot more fun, focused, efficient, and rewarding. Fortunately for you, we have a free practice routine generator for download on DrumLessons.com.

If you’re not interested in using the free practice routine generator, we advise you to at least add some warm-ups and drum rudiments to your practice routines. Warm-ups are a great way of avoiding injuries, and drum rudiments are killer for improving your hand technique and creativity around the drum set.

For warming up your hands properly check the free drum lesson “16th Note Warm-Up“. The free drum lesson “Double Bass Warm-Ups” has very cool exercises for the feet that can be used with either a hi-hat and a bass drum pedal, or two bass drum pedals.

As for drum rudiments, we encourage you to start by practicing and applying to the drum set the most basic and fundamental of drum rudiments. They are the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll, and the flam.

Now that we’ve introduced you to some important aspects of practicing drum set, you can keep learning new drum fills and drum beats by choosing free beginner drum lessons on drum beats or drum fills from any section on the free drum lessons guide. If you’re not sure about what video to watch next, we encourage you to move on to the free drum lesson “Seven Beats Every Drummer Should Know.”




  • Christopher says:

    I want to learn more in drums

  • oipztwvvfv says:


  • naddbfwgsq says:


  • cljrsaegod says:


  • Davies samon says:

    hi, I am interested

  • wwkkfejwaj says:


  • abidun balogun says:

    I want to be good about drum

  • Glory says:

    I want to know more about drums

  • Adebowale says:

    I want to learn more about drums

  • Gensmith says:

    I want to be exploit in drum

  • abdulkabir abdulkareem says:

    i want to know how to play drum like our national anttem and every other once

  • Wisdom john says:

    I want to learn how play off rolling on drum

  • Emmanuel praise says:

    If I subscribe to this site, will I gain access to download the drums tutorials?

  • Bo Tibbs says:

    Waiting 4 drum pads to come 2 c if quiet enough to play in apt,when they arrive.U had a special a couple of weeks ago with a free pad (spring special?).When will that be offered again.Thanks,Bo.

  • Victor says:

    Pls i want to learn more in drum

  • kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    Last posthttp://instanteweb.com.br/curso de bateria online

  • alisson says:

    Great post, I will train thank you very much.

  • Mahendra Gaikwad says:

    Hi i am 40 years old i want to learn drum set, will you guide me plz

  • oreva says:

    I want to learn has to play drum and roll

  • Prince says:

    I have no interest in aiugrng, John. The only points I wanted to make are these:a.) Most pros have made up their minds by now about analog vs ITB summing, and do good work by whatever their method is. Most aspiring engineers, i.e. most of the folks reading this, have a lot to learn before they will notice much benefit from analog summing. If it were a free or inexpensive option I would heartily recommend it for everyone. Same goes for mixing in a pro studio instead of at home. b.) I see writing/arranging/producing/tracking/mixing/mastering as a continuum with overlapping segments. You see each of these parts as more separated, with harder, more defined borders than I do. Let’s agree to disagree.c.) It’s been my experience that a well written, well arranged, well performed, well recorded song will practically mix itself. I strongly feel that most of the aspiring musicians/engineers reading this will benefit far more by focusing on these aspects of the process than by trying to fix it in the mix with some expensive gizmo, even if it’s a gizmo that I personally like, like an analog summing box, SSL 2-buss compressor, pro-studio monitoring, whatever.d.) Argue amongst yourself. I’m done.

  • Daniel says:

    After two hours I got this down, thank you for your free lessons.

  • DAVIES says:


    • Yuki says:

      I read your question three times & I’m still not sure what you’re asnkig. It’s not about how many times audio goes through a console. It’s just simply the difference between 1s & 0s & transformers & capacitors, etc. ITB is great for flexible recording & editing. When it comes to mixing actual music & printing a track down to a stereo mix ITB becomes a nightmare. It’s so much about having a console per say. You should read about the Neve board & how it’s built & why Rupert Nevr designed it the way he did. Analog summing provides true separation & headroom. Not to mention real transformers which are 90% of the sound. I use pro tools HD. I’m very picky about the plugins I use. I use mostly outboard gear when mixing . I use vintage gear mostly like Neumann eqs, pultecs, gates sta levels, etc. if u compare the same track mixed printed in the box & mixed using outboard gear & printed through the Neve 8816 the difference is absolutely ridiculous. If you’re doing electronic music there’s no point. But if you’re recording real instruments & vocals you need to get out of the box. I’ve worked with Grammy award winning mix guys & on the record they will say nothing against ITB mixing. Off the record I can’t repeat what they say on here.

  • samuel says:

    big like ….i learning your leasins….thanks ………

  • hitesh c prajapati says:

    Im a begginer too i have to play for my school i was wondering if you can teach me?

  • Carolyn says:

    I don’t know a thing about drums but am beginning to practice playing them at my church. Actually I think I really, really like it! Thank you for the time and effort you put into making these videos.

  • manyai says:

    I really want to learn drum but i don’t have time to learn so how can be possible for thise?

  • Sarathlal says:

    I like drum set but i can’t play

  • sara says:

    I have a much smaller drum and its a junior it sounds different then what you are playing what do i do

  • Amos says:

    You’re good with the drum and good teacher!!! God bless you always!!!!!

    • Areona Williams says:

      really love 2 watch drums lesson’s because i’m trying 2 get in at church thank u for the six min vid rock on

  • Wise says:

    please i want you help how to play drums, thanks

  • alfredo says:

    gracias aunque no entiendo ingles seria fabuloso subtitulos opcionales trato de aprender solo visualmente un millon de gracias 🙂

  • damien naidoo says:

    thanks alot u realy gud

  • Aneyah says:

    Which video should I view next?

    • Wise says:

      hi please i will like you to send me videos on how to play drum. thank you

    • Ramona says:

      Hi Graham,Great Tip. I never really notiecd before that you seem to add ZERO plug-ins during the recording phase, and start fresh, which is something I will definitely be trying on our next record. I did notice that you have something on the kick and snare, perhaps a compression or gate? Just wondering.Thank you!

  • Aneyah says:

    This lesson has helped a ton, but a suggestion would be to put the videos in order of how we should view them. I am a beginner and I have no idea where to start.

    • shahid farooq says:

      I need lessons for my son. He is 8 years old. I bought him an electronic drum set.
      A few suggestions to confusion. Please don’t get me wrong, you are a great drum player and hope the best to the instructors. I can do that on youtube without paying a penny. I have looked at a lot of drum sites and get turned off due to no structure of how a beginner should start with that site.
      My wife joined Guitartricks to learn how to play the guitar and is very satisfied cause as a beginner she has no idea what a guitar is or its parts. Begineer Lessons should not driven by a student. It should be structured by the instructor and once they clear the intermediate level, than they should be given a choice to choose to be a metal player, country player and so on.

      Suggestion from the eye of a begineer:
      1- For example: A beginner has no idea what a drum stick is or types of sticks
      2- introduction to the drum set and types of drum sets
      – what is a symbol, bass, snare, tom toms etc…
      3- What is a beat and do the speeds mean. Such as: what is a 1, 4, 8, 32 what the heck does that mean.
      4- first drum lesson, second, third and so with some play alongs until they reach the intermediate level.
      There is no structure to the drum lessons thus preventing me from investing into this site cause end of the day I will be left with no direction and will have to figure out where to start and wheat is the next lessons. Suggestion is to structure the site for beginners who have no idea what a drum set is and have never sat in front of one and start from there. Sorry I did not mean to offend anyone. I just want to help so many as me could feel comfortable to invest, join and learn from your site. Thank you Shahid

  • sawan says:

    hey. . .m quit confused of the note of drums.Will u please explain it to me
    in some normal way to understand these note for which i shall b ever thank full to you.. . .

  • alex mercer says:

    thank you jarred sir

  • hellen wanjiru says:

    Hi.Sooooo glad to have found a place where i can learn how to play drums and know FAST.Cant wait to begin with u till ibecame perfect in playing and also be creative. THANK YOU

  • Dhiraj says:

    thanks sir,
    u teach us lesson in a simple way. It’s help us to play well. Thanks again.

  • ARUN KUMAR says:


  • Sevinç Şimşek says:

    Thanks for this lesson.

  • george kamau says:

    hey brother i want to know how to play the drum set.i like doing it in my church an i play it anyhow can you help.am George from KENYA

  • Jack Ritter says:

    To the guys who put this site togeather: are you actually READING our posts to one another?

    Notice how FEW posts ever get responded to? (BY YOU, in particular.)

    AS I said Feb 28, this is the Kiss of Death for an interractive site.

    Can’t fool me any longer. So long (although I could SWEAR I already ‘unsubscribed’ from y’all!)

    Jack Ritter

    • Wesley says:

      havent been playing long. free drum lenssos/drumeo has helped me set my basics and have taught me more about the kit and sounds. i have developed quickly since i found drumeo/free drum lenssos.there is a problem i have been coming upon alot lately and need some help. My pedal keeps falling off my kick and i dont know what to do or what is even wrong. the pedal is as tight as it can grip onto the kick as it can be.

  • sivakumar says:

    I am fresh, but ia most intrest in drums
    I want to learn more
    Thank You

    • Manish says:

      I think you guys should do a leossn on understanding drums for beginners. For example when I started a year and a half ago, I didn’t know anything about what drums were good and what weren’t. Drums are just drums to beginners and ppl that don’t play drums and also I thought that as long as cymbals were straight they were good and I didn’t know what sticks were good or anything. I don’t personally need this leossn but I wish I had known a lot about drums like this when I started

    • Eka says:

      Drums are real fun too. I mean besides the fact that you can beat on them to get rid of your fturrsations (jk), you can learn to play really intricate and amazing stuff on them. Of course, if you like being able to play and create actual melodies and chords with the guitar, you may find the guitar a better instrument for you. However, if don’t you mind about not playing melodies etc. then the drums are great fun. Keep in mind it takes quite a bit of coordination.

    • tyler weedman says:

      Im a begginer too i have to play for my school i was wondering if you can teach me?

  • Mery says:

    I don’t know how it’s with you guys but I hope that 18 is not too late to start with drums… First thing to to now – find a drum kit… won’t be easy!

    • Maciek says:

      Hi Mery definitely it is not too late. I am 47 and just got my drum kit today. Good luck to you.

    • Ryan says:

      do the stick twirl!!! its really not hard, you just hold the stick beeetwn your pointer and middle fingers, then twirl it around. if you do it right, it looks like youre actually spinning it around your hand. or, just toss a stick up in the air and catch it during any part where you have a 2-4 beat rest. maybe throw a sweet, but simple solo in there. in general, people dont know how to play drums. so as long as it sounds decent, people will be mroe than happy. hehe good luck! and relax, and have fun!

    • Leo Hall says:

      Well, I’m 60, played Piano, Cello and Guitar for years. The nomenclature of time and notes are easy for me. But I’m still lacking in percussive technique. Thanks for the lessons. Starting with a basic basic course would be good. Like what each drum is used for, proper tuning and what different snares sound like. It would help in buy the right one for you. Thanks for the lessons. It would be helpful if you answered more of the questions or find someone who would monitor you site to do just that. thanks and be well…

  • mark says:

    hey im 16 and i have been playing drum for 3 years now and it all started with just seeing this one and only video up on youtube. it got me in a band and i dont think i would be if i never saw this short clip. so thanks alot man.

    • Yanal says:

      sometimes I just suppose that folks write and dont rellay have much to say. Not so here. You definitely have something to say and you say it with style, my man! You sure do have an interesting way of drawing people in, what with your videos and your words. Youve got quite a one-two punch for a website!

  • Jack says:

    Hi, Neil. I’m 63, but I seem to be getting there. I have Yamaha DD55 7-pad thing (not real drums.) The pads are small, and the active part of them is even SMALLER. Need to be precise. Real drums are easier to play, I find. Anyone have any thoughts on rubber-and-electronic ‘toys’, vs real? -Jack

    • Gurdeep says:

      I have been playing drums for about 4 years now and I steatrd watching freedrumlesson videos when you guys decided to review double pedals. As for my favorite instructors, I’d have to say that it is a tie between Dave and Calum. Keep up the good work guys right now Ian practicing finger control and I have already noticed results. Cheers

  • George says:

    I am having a tough time learning how to find where the lessons are located and who is giving the lesson. So far, I’v stumbled across “Jake” teaching beginners drum, then I came across another drummer teaching the same thing.


    Thank you so much…learning like this if fun….George

    • Jack Ritter says:


      George- I agree with you. It’s not clear what the sequence of learning is. I see a lot of drummers stacked up, each with a useful bit to show, but no overall organization to it all. The intro video- “Here’s all our toys and cameras, aren’t we great?” isn’t very useful.

      And no one is RESPONDING to anyone else in this blog (usually the kiss of death.)

      So, I’ve responded to something.
      – Jack

    • Auth says:

      Our old drummer had rlanod V-drums I think.He smashed all the controls in and spilt beer all over it and they still worked.Sounded ok too.

    • Nathanito says:

      4e4At the end of the day its all ones and zeros, the analog vs. digaitl debate is really pointless. Anything you may have gained to justify an expensive piece of outboard gear is lost essentially in the fact that its all digaitl info in the end, not to say that that piece of gear didn’t do a great job, but the principle of the argument. If you like something and it sounds good and moves people, then its good, period, regardless of the tools used. Now if you record analog, mix and master analog and press/print to analog and subsequently listen to that recorded material on tape or (LP)without the waveforms ever being converted then I would whole heartedly argue the sonics and virtues of analog as whole, those waveforms have never been severed and reassembled. If money were no object I would have a warehouse of analog gear because the romance of it is irresistible. But one cannot argue the brilliance of a DAW and plugin recall, being able to render a song and throw it on 10 different play back units and then go back to the DAW and adjust is a godsend. I cant help but say that a less than perfect recording of amazing music beats the pants of a technically perfect master of lifeless garbage. Talk less, play and listen more!!33

  • Tia says:

    Im 15, I love the drums since like ever and I got my first drum set for my birthday. But I don’t know how to play. And from just watching this one video, it looks like I’ll get to play my drums in a while (:

  • Neil says:

    You make it look so easy, I guess its only practice and at 61 this will take me a lot of practice.
    Thank you