Drums Notes For Beginners

drums notes for beginners

Reading drum sheet music requires understanding all of its symbols on each page, such as the number of beats per measure (4/4 time in this instance) as well as notes and rests.

Notes played with hands are indicated by stems that point downward, while those for feet have upward-pointing stems. You may also come across a symbol showing both sticks being put together for an extended note duration (this indicates you should “crush”)


Learning to count in drum music is an essential skill for any drummer. Counting helps maintain a steady rhythm when performing with other musicians, makes learning new songs easier, and is especially useful when practicing with metronome or drum machines.

Beginners should start out learning basic drum notation. When starting out, beginners should look out for two numbers stacked one upon another on the left side of the staff indicating your time signature – this indicates how many beats per measure occur – on your staff’s left side. Once familiar with it, more complex note values can be learned such as quarter notes which have one beat value each. To play one quarter note with both hands at once using your right hand over successive beats and repeat the pattern using both left hands. At first do it slowly before gradually increasing your tempo until eventually developing an excellent sense of timing! Practicing with a metronome is by far your best way of developing strong timing skills!

Keep in mind when reading drum notation that each measure contains symbols to denote different types of notes, the most popular being dotted and solid lines for quarter and eighth notes respectively, dotted-solid lines indicating simple notes, triangles indicating triplets (similar to quavers but with three beats per bar instead), or dotted and solid lines representing quarter notes and eighth notes respectively.

There are multiple rests used in drum notation; for instance, a whole rest indicates no beats should be played while two beats of silence indicate two-beat rest. Learning these concepts will make learning full-length songs much simpler in time.

Once you’ve mastered counting, you can advance to more complex forms of drum notation. For instance, it will become easy for you to identify accented one-handed rolls, closed rolls and buzzes by their distinctive slashes. In addition, tied notes will become easily identifiable via zigzag lines through their stems.

Time signatures

As part of learning drum music, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the time signature – the two numbers stacked one upon another on the left side of the staff – which indicates how many beats there are in a measure and also contains your tempo (beats per minute) at the top of your chart. Once familiar, counting beats is simple once you become comfortable doing it aloud; until that point arrives counting aloud can help!

Each time signature has two numbers that indicate its structure: one numbers indicates how many counts per measure and two indicate the total notes allowed per measure. A common time signature is 4/4 which has four counts per measure and each counts has one quarter note – for this count-and-hold rhythm follow along and repeat “1, 2, 3 4′ by tapping your foot to music. To count in 4/4 just follow along and count aloud while following along to music.

Odd times may be more challenging to grasp at first, but once you learn how to count them they become easier than ever! The main difference is that their beat or pattern doesn’t repeat at the end of every bar but early, for instance after 6 counts. Listen carefully when listening to songs with odd timing and begin counting out loud; soon you will be dancing along in odd time without even realizing it!

Just like dynamic markings (which indicate how loud or soft to play), drummers also use symbols that show how to strike different parts of their drum set. For instance, an ‘x’ indicates striking the snare drum while an ‘o’ indicates hitting the hi-hat; long legato notes may have lines through them to visually indicate duration. Other indicators to watch out for include crescendo markings ‘c’ for crescendo (meaning gradually increase volume rather than suddenly blast out beat) and decrescendo (‘d’), which signifies gradually decrease in volume while decrescendo (indicating gradual decrease).

Finally, there are special symbols used for different kinds of cymbals and instruments. Cowbells, for instance, are marked with triangle shapes written on them while wood blocks and triangles have diamond-shaped note heads on them on staff. Cross sticks on snare drum lines are indicated by an “x”, while other rim shots such as cross shots may be marked by round not heads with an slash through them.


Drummers employ an unconventional system of musical notation called drum tab, which features special symbols that explain how to perform each piece of music. Beginners may find drum tab symbols confusing, yet their importance for understanding a song’s rhythm cannot be understated. Some of the most significant drum tab symbols include note heads, stems and slashes – three fundamental components that play an essential part in understanding its dynamics. Note heads can either be hollow or solid and serve to indicate which drum to hit and how many beats your note lasts for. A note stem is the part that extends from its note head and allows you to count beats accurately. Slashes are used to indicate bounced notes or double strokes in drum tabs, as well as being used for double strokes themselves. Other symbols commonly seen include plus signs, o signs, crescendo rolls (which start out quietly but gradually accelerate over time) and crescendo rolls.

Beginners learning drums may find the squiggly line above certain drums helpful for creating unique sounds; this indicates how the drummer should hit it to produce specific tones; for example, hitting hi-hats with both hands, one hand or opening and closing them to achieve specific effects.

Additionally, drum sheets often include a legend with key information regarding the music such as number of bars and dynamics required, drum fills and hits to use when learning a song, etc. This legend typically appears at the top of each sheet for easy reference when learning new tunes.

As soon as you begin reading a drum chart, remember that its notes and rests should add up to equal the total number of beats in a measure. This will ensure you stay in time with each measure and also enable you to practice a pattern until it comes naturally without thinking too much about counting.


Rests are used in drum music to indicate when no notes are being played; unlike other musical notations, rests are written as small empty spaces instead of standard round notes. There are different kinds of rests, each used for specific purposes; for instance a whole rest indicates four beats of silence in a bar while half rests indicate two. There are also symbols to indicate bounces, double strokes and longer rolls or buzzes; these could include slashes through note stems for bounces while longer rolls may include numbers written beside their ties in order to indicate their length containing.

Anyone seeking to advance their drumming abilities should learn how to read drum sheet music. Doing this will bring uncoordinated limbs under control and become a more consistent drummer with better rhythm and timing. In addition to learning the basic staff, time signatures, tempo and drum symbols – these will prove useful when reading charts for rehearsals or gigs.

One of the first symbols you will recognize when reading drum charts is the snare drum symbol, located on standard C space and showing when and how you should hit your snare drum for this measure. Quarter rest indicates when no quarter notes should be played for that measure – an invaluable concept when working with other musicians.

Fermatas are another staple symbol in drum music, representing full pauses within songs. They’re typically indicated with a downward-facing semicircle with an “f” at its center, and used to emphasize particular parts of songs or to signal breaks in rhythm or quieten performance.

Other symbols used in drum music may include slashes, dots and lines. Slashes represent forward slashes in mathematics while dots indicate one beat of silence. A line should be played using both hands while circles indicate long notes to be played solely with one hand. Drum charts may also include notations such as rehearsal letters that correspond with different sections of songs.