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13 Easy Drum Beats For Beginners

Rob Mitzner  /  Articles / Oct 21

Calling all beginners! Here are 13 easy beats in different styles to get you started on the path to drumming greatness

Each groove has sheet music and an audio track so you can hear how it’s supposed to sound.

(If you don’t know how to read drum music, click here)

But first, a few rules of the road:

  • Isolate your limbs when you first begin to practice. You can play the hands by themselves, and when you’ve got that, add the feet. You can also work on the bass drum and snare alone.
  • Start slowly and gradually build speed, repeating as many times as necessary. You don’t need to play these at full tempo right away. The BPM (beats-per-minute) markings are just helpful suggestions. These grooves will work at faster or slower tempos too. However…
  • It’s important to practice with a metronome. It will improve your natural timekeeping and help you stay on track.
  • Play with dynamics. Everything should not be the same volume, so practice these loud, medium, quiet and everywhere in-between. If you see an accented note, try to create a big difference between it and the non-accented notes.

Have a good time with these! Play them exactly as written at first, then try moving them around the kit or adding some fills. Once you’re feeling good, grab your headphones, crank up your favorite jams and play along.

1. Bread ‘n Butter (92 BPM)

Start with the bass drum and snare, then add the closed hi-hat part. Focus on playing a solid backbeat and keeping the tempo steady. Every note counts!

2. Big Bell Bounce (98 BPM)

This one has the ride cymbal bell on the “and” of each beat (also called the “upbeats”). Try to hit the same spot on the bell every single time so you get a consistent sound.

3. Hi-Hat Hotness (100 BPM)

Follow the written sticking by playing both hands on the hi-hat and bringing your right hand down to the snare for beats 2 and 4. It’s a challenge to keep this one from getting too messy, so start slowly and build the tempo. Keep the bass drum solid on every quarter note (which is called “four-on-the-floor”).

4. Terrific 2-Beat (105 BPM)

This might look easy as pie, but it’s harder to get “in the pocket” than you think! This one should feel laid back and relaxed. Keep your hi-hat loose and really focus on the metronome.

5. Tom-Tom Time (88 BPM)

Play this groove with your right hand on the floor tom and your left on the snare. Using the toms instead of the hi-hat or ride gives the pattern a different tone color.

6. Useful Upbeats (95 BPM)

This one is a workout for your hi-hat foot. Open the hi-hats slightly on the upbeats, and close them on the downbeats.

7. Beatle Bits (100 BPM)

This is the groove Ringo played on the Beatles’ hit “In My Life.” Your right hand hits only the one note on the closed hi-hat. Once you get it, try playing along with the song!

8. Stir the Sauce (80 BPM)

The 16th note interaction between the ride and snare on the second and third beats makes this groove a little bit funky. Try to keep it clean and smooth.

9. Quirky Quarters (85 BPM)

This one has a simple quarter note pulse on the snare while the bass drum is a little more active. Accent the downbeats on your hi-hat to give the pattern shape and definition.

10. Jazz Jam (95 BPM)

Try to make the ride cymbal swing pattern feel laid-back and relaxed. While most of this pattern is based around the cymbals, drop in a snare hit on the third triplet of beat 3.

11. Twirl ‘n Twist (100 BPM)

This is a 2-measure phrase with a lot going on in the bass drum and snare part. Work on those alone at first, then add the ride cymbal and crash. Play one measure at a time, then combine them.

12. Spacey Stuff (105 BPM)

The key to this one is keeping a steady pulse with your bass drum on every quarter note (four-on-the-floor). Really crack those flams on the toms.

13. Waltzy World (105 BPM)

This pattern is in a 3/4 time signature, which means there are 3 beats per measure and each is worth one quarter note. Begin practicing this pattern with your hands alone, then add the bass drum.

That’s it! Enjoy these 13 patterns, play them along with music and make them your own.


Rob Mitzner is a New York-based session drummer who has recorded for Billboard Top-10 charting albums, films and Broadway shows, performing live at Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, Caesar’s Palace, The Blue Note, Boston Symphony Hall and for President Obama in his hometown of Washington D.C. He is currently working on a drum book with Hudson Music and has also been featured in Downbeat Magazine and Modern Drummer, and on the national TV show “Trending Today” on Vice. Rob holds a B.A. in Music and Political Science from Brown University, and is a proud endorser of Paiste Cymbals, Remo drum heads, Hendrix Drums, and Drumdots.

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