Ok, now you know what the parts of the kit are called, you can learn a basic beat.

A beat, also known as a groove or rhythm is what a drummer plays to keep time in the song. Listen to the sound file below to hear an example of a basic beat:

The grid below shows you what is being played. The Hi Hat cymbal plays on every note and holds the beat together. It is played with the right hand. The bass drum, the lowest sound, is played on the 1 and the 5 with the right foot. The snare drum, in the middle of the grid, is played with the left hand on the 3 and the 7.

Basic Beat Grid

In this particular groove you will notice that numbers 1 to 4 are identical to numbers 5 to 8. Therefore if you can loop round numbers 1 to 4 then you will be playing the whole pattern.

Give it a try, just tap on a table or your legs; right hand is hi hat, left hand is snare and the right foot is bass drum.

Once you’re comfortable with the pattern, try to tap it along with the sound file at the top of the page.


Below is the same groove written in standard drum notation.

Basic Beat Notation

The hi hat is still the cross at the top, the snare is still the note in the middle and the bass drum is still the note at the bottom. The parts of the drum kit are arranged with the highest pitch at the top and lowest at the bottom.

The little squiggle under the snare drum notes is called a rest, and simply tells us that we don’t have to play the bass drum on notes 3 and 7.

Next Lesson > How To Hold The Drum Sticks Correctly