BC002

Beginner's Course


What you’ll learn in this lesson:

  • A structured practice method to help develop your coordination
  • How to play one of the most useful and commonly heard grooves of all
 
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Once you’re comfortable counting, it’s time to get on with some drumming and we are going to start by learning one of the most useful and commonly heard grooves there is.

But rather than jump straight in and try to play the finished pattern, the exercise guides you through three simple steps, in order to build up the finished pattern. Starting with just the count, each instrument is introduced one at a time, in a specific order: first the hi-hat; then the bass drum; finally the snare drum. Over the years I have experimented with a number of methods for helping begins develop these types of grooves and this one has proven to be by far the most successful. Just remember to work very slowly and very deliberately, being careful to play each step accurately and you’ll be playing in no time. Here we go:

Step 1
Start by counting aloud. When you’re comfortable with this, play a single hi-hat note with the right-hand on each count:

 
 
 
 

 

Step 2
Once you’re comfortable with Step 1, add a single bass drum note (played with the right-foot) on counts ‘1’ and ‘3’. Notice that both bass drum notes are played in unison with the hi-hat:

 
 

Step 3
Once you’re comfortable with Step 2, complete the pattern by adding the snare drum (played with the left hand) on counts ‘2’ and ‘4’. Notice that both snare drum notes are played in unison with the hi-hat:

 
 

Congratulations!
You’re now playing one of the most popular drum grooves there is. And as well as being really useful, this drumbeat can teach us a great deal about how the drums work in styles of music such as rock, pop, R ‘n’ B, and funk:

  • The bass drum is played on or around beats ‘1’ and ‘3
  • The snare drum is played on or around beats ‘2’ and ‘4’. In music this is called the backbeat.
  • Everything is tied together by a constant repetitive pattern on the hi-hat although sometimes another high frequency sound such as the ride cymbal, a tambourine or a shaker might be used.

Listen out for these characteristics the next time that you’re listening to the radio or your favourite CD. Also, here are two well-known tracks that feature this groove. Interestingly, these tracks appear on the two biggest selling albums of all time!

Be sure to check them out:
1. Billy Jean – Michael Jackson, from the album Thriller with Ndugu Chancler on drums
2. Back In Black – AC/DC, from the album Back In Black with Phil Rudd on drums