Have fun with the essentials!
At Drum Ambition, we believe that learning basic drum beats and drum fills is the first exciting step in your drumming journey! We have over 40 videos on this topic alone, but there's no need to be overwhelmed! We've been very careful to structure each video to give you a balanced, attainable, step by step approach, that is a lot of fun and very rewarding! Our lessons have on-screen scrolling music notation and downloadable sheet music. Watch Free Drum Beat Lesson Now.
"The structure, content and the video lessons themselves (including the Notation and Extras) made it feel like taking personal lessons, and it was not overwhelming. Perfectly arranged, packaged and paced. I'd recommend this site to anyone. A real music education."
Alexander - Drum Ambition Subscriber in the USA.
Want to dive deeper? Here's a full run down of our videos on Beats and Fills.
MODULE 1: Lesson 1. CREATING YOUR FIRST DRUM BEAT.
In this lesson, we talk you through how to play, and count a vital drum beat known as an 8th note beat. This forms the foundation of so many drum beats in many genres of music - so whatever you do, don’t skip this lesson! We’ll also talk about common mistakes that are made at this early point, and give you some guidance on practicing - including using a metronome. The fun starts here!
MODULE 1: Lesson 2. 8TH NOTE BEATS. FIVE MORE IDEAS.
Now that you have your basic 8th note drum beat in place, we are going to add five different bass drum patterns to give you some variations! This continues methodically from lesson 1, in small manageable steps. Simon also demonstrates a beat at different tempos, and talks about some practice goals and guidelines, including using the metronome.
MODULE 1: Lesson 3. 8th note beats. more bass drum variations.
After a quick “check-in” on your progress; Simon gives you another five bass drum patterns to further develop this absolutely crucial drum beat. These involve using the eighth note rest, and are a little more challenging from a co-ordination and reading standpoint. If you have followed the program, you will be ready for the challenge!
MODULE 1: Lesson 4. creating your first drum fills.
Now that you are playing a solid and comfortable basic drum beat, it’s time to add some drum fills. Simon explains exactly what a drum fill is, as well as offering insight in time keeping, sticking, and building control. You’ll feel the bigger picture coming together after working through this exercise. We’ll also talk you through how to safely and musically hit your crash cymbals, as well as giving you some tips on how to practice your own basic drum fills.
MODULE 1: Lesson 5. 8th note drum fills. more ideas.
Moving on nicely from the previous lesson, we show you how adding 8th note rests to your drum fills can give you a few more musical options to experiment with, as well as working on fine tuning your sticking and control. Simon talks about incorporating your drum fills with grooves, including how to exit a drum fill and continue playing while maintaining full control.
MODULE 1: Lesson 6. 16th note beats. an introduction.
Using a basic bass and snare drum backbeat, Simon talks you though playing your first 16th note drum beat. Not only are these beats extremely common in music, they are also a lot of fun to play. You will learn how to count this new beat, while learning two different sticking options, and why these two options exist. As always, we break it down into manageable segments starting with the hands first, then the feet, and then we put it all together.
MODULE 1: Lesson 7. 16th note beats. more ideas.
Now that you are comfortable with a basic 16th note beat, it’s time to add some variations on the bass drum! We’ll ease you into five new options that will expand your 16th note possibilities! Prepare for some fun, and some challenging co-ordination!
MODULE 1: Lesson 8. 16th note beats. more bass drum variatons.
Following on from the last video, these additional bass drum patterns will test your co-ordination further, and give you more options to play with. We add some eighth note rests to the bass line to keep things interesting and challenging! Make sure you are nice and comfortable with this - the 16th note fills are up next!
MODULE 1: Lesson 9. 16th note drum fills. an introduction.
Now that you have built up your confidence on 16th note drum beats, it’s time to throw in some drum fills! After a quick “check-in” on your progress, Simon walks you through the 16th note drum fill, and some of the popular variations of 16th note fills you will see regularly. We’ll also throw in some 8th notes too, just to keep things fresh!
MODULE 1: Lesson 10. 16th note drum fills. more ideas.
So far, we have shown you some basic “descending” 16th note drum fills, with some 8th notes mixed in for good measure. It’s time to get creative with our orchestrations, and think a little more outside the box. We’ll also talk a more about counting bars, including an explanation as to why we mostly count three bars of time before playing a drum fill in these exercises.
MODULE 1: Lesson 11. 1/4 note drum beats. an introduction.
You’ll find out in this lesson why we wait for you to develop your co-ordination and time keeping before showing you these important drum beats. These beats sound solid and clinical at slower speeds, and you’ll be surprised how fast you can take them, when the time is right! There are also some different ways we can play these for different musical situations, using the ride cymbal, crash cymbal, and loose hi hats. Also we’ll discuss using ¼ notes effectively as an alternative to when 8th note playing is just too fast - we call that “accommodation”.
MODULE 1: Lesson 12. 8th note beats. adding the left foot.
Now that your are comfortable with three limb co-ordination, it’s time to get that left foot working. We call this four way co-ordination, and it’s a great part of the challenge of drumming, as well as giving you some more musical options. We’ll play some ride cymbal patterns while bringing the left foot in to play, and we’ll also add a fun drumset percussion item to mix things up for some super cool grooves!
MODULE 1: Lesson 13. 8th note beats. opening and closing the hi hats.
Now the left foot is playing a more active role in your early drumming, Simon will show you how to add hi hat openings and closing motions to your 8th note hi hat beats, using the hi hat foot pedal. These are really musical, great fun, and challenging at the same time! We’ll discuss some of the challenges of hand/foot coordination, while demonstrating five different patterns, including a classic disco/club beat.
MODULE 1: Lesson 14. 8th note beats. adding "e" and "A" to the snare drum.
We start this lesson with a “check-in” to make sure you are where you need to be at this point in the curriculum. You will learn to add extra snare drum beats on 16th notes to really enhance your eighth note groove options! This is a must-do exercise for aspiring rock drummers, although these beats are used commonly in many genres of music. We’ll talk about some new coordination challenges and the importance of counting these beats.
MODULE 1: Lesson 15. 8th note beats. adding "e" and "A" to the snare drum. More ideas.
Now that you have become comfortable with adding these extra snare drum beats, we make the bass line a little more challenging, and a lot of fun! We’ll also introduce you to tap strokes (often referred to as “ghost notes”), and talk about how different dynamic strokes can make these beats even more musical. Dynamic strokes are covered in great detail in lesson 20, and this taster will give you an insight into why this is critical to musical drumming.
MODULE 1: Lesson 16. 16th note beats. adding "e" and "a" to the snare drum.
In a natural progression from the previous video, Simon shows you how to add extra 16th note snare beats to your 16th note grooves. A demonstration at different tempos shows you the full potential and possibilities of these catchy drum beats. They’ll take some practicing, but will be a lot of fun when you get them down!
MODULE 1: Lesson 17. 8th note beats. adding the "A" to the bass drum.
Get ready for some fun coordination! Now that you have worked through all of the exercises on eighth note and sixteenth note drum beats, it’s time to add a sixteenth note to the bass line to give you some super cool drum beats, and some more musical options. Simon walks you through the process of adding the “A” to the bass line. We also talk about practice options using the ride cymbal and hi hat with foot, to expand your sound options.
MODULE 1: Lesson 18. shuffles. an introduction.
The final piece of the groove jigsaw for Drum Ambition Module 1 is the shuffle beat! Such a cool groove, such a great feel - but surprisingly challenging to play well for the first time. As always, Simon walks you through the process, while highlighting some common challenges, and ways to overcome them. We’ll talk about the different ways of counting the shuffles, and the differences between regular and half time shuffles.
MODULE 1: Lesson 19. triplet drum fills. an introduction.
Now we add some drum fills to your shuffles, and introduce the concept of counting in triplets. These practical fills will be the perfect practice tool as you develop this new groove. There is also a new type of sticking used here, which you will find useful when playing triplets. We’ll also throw in some eighth notes and 16th notes, just to mix things up and give you some more flexibility on your drum fills.
MODULE 1: Lesson 20. the dynamic strokes. an introduction.
If there’s one lesson that we encourage you to spend a lot of time on, it’s this one! In fact, this will be a “work in progress” lesson for much of your drumming career - something you should always be looking to refine. In preparation for more intermediate level playing (and later, advanced), it’s time to start thinking about the dynamic strokes. This will take a lot of practice and repetition, and this is absolutely essential in becoming a controlled, musical drummer. Simon also talks about the importance of the 26 drum set rudiments.
Module 2: Lesson 1. The One Beat Drum Fill.
Now that you have worked through Module 1, you will be able to play along to some of your favorites songs. One thing you will soon notice when you listen closely, is that drum fills rarely last a full four beats, or one full bar. Introducing the one beat fill - short, sweet, classy, musical and your new percussive best friend. Great news!
Module 2: Lesson 2. The Two Beat Fill.
Once you have mastered the one beat fills from Lesson 1 (including the extra 5 audio files), the next step is the two beat fill. Makes sense right? Can you guess what comes after the two beat fill? Well, one step at a time. Two beat fills give you some beautiful phrasing opportunities, and we’re all about expanding our musical palette.
Module 2: Lesson 3. The Three Beat Fill.
At Drum Ambition, we love the power of three. Completing our summary of the main drum fill types, we look at three beat fills. Once you have worked through these examples, we are ready to start orchestrating, and creating our own unique drum fills.
Module 2: Lesson 4. Orchestrating and Combining Fills.
We have now covered the four main fill types: full bar (or “four beat”, featured in Module 1), 1 beat, 2 beat and 3 beat fills. In this video, Simon talks you through the art of orchestration. There are literally hundreds of variations of these fills, and we get you thinking about all of the different possibilities. Simon will also demonstrate how to “split” note groupings, and talk to you about dusting off those Module 1 Music Notation PDF’s - they are going to come in very handy!
Module 2: Lesson 5. Adding Flams to Drum Fills.
In our Special Feature Video Part 8, we introduced you to the Flam. The Flam is one of the 26 drum set rudiments, and one of the essential “core four” rudiments. If you’ve previously watched that video and fine tuned your technique, it’s time to see how these extra little notes can transform your quickly evolving drum fills. If you have not seen SFV Part 8, take a break, go back, and watch. This investment in time will benefit you hugely when trying out the exercises in this lesson, and accompanying audio file exercises. The tallest buildings have the deepest foundations.
Module 2: Lesson 6. Adding Drags to Drum Fills.
If you have watched Special Feature Video Part 9, you will be familiar with the Drag. Now it’s time to add these to our drum fills, and complete our implementation of the core four rudiments. Remember, a drag is essentially a double stroke followed by a single stroke. We’ve played flams already - so that’s our core four! Singles, doubles, flams and drags! If you are yet to watch SFV Part 9, do yourself a big favor and take a step back, watch it and practice, before attempting this lesson and the accompanying audio files. You can’t build a skyscraper by starting on the 10th floor.
Module 2: Lesson 7. Splitting Fills Between the Hands and Feet.
Time for some fun coordination! We’ve talked a lot about different snare drum and tom orchestrations, but did you know that the bass drum can add some interesting musical color? This exercise gives you some great ideas, and helps fine tune your three way coordination (Meaning both hands, and your bass drum foot). Make sure there’s a pillow in that bass drum - things are about to get real!
Module 2: Lesson 8. Incorporating Cymbals Into Drum Fills.
Why would we leave our metal round friends out? After all, they can provide some beautiful texture, or just outright punch to an otherwise basic drum fill. In this video, Simon talks you through how to add crash cymbals and hi hats in just the right spots.
Module 2: Lesson 9. Intro and Lead-In Drum Fills.
So far, we have typically seen examples of where drum fills are played during a groove. These are what we call transitional drum fills and are played to mark a certain point in a song - as Simon explains in this video. When a drum fill starts the song, that fill is referred to as an intro, or lead-in fill. Get ready to click those sticks and count in the band!
Module 2: Lesson 10. Unison Drum Fills.
In our final video in Module 2, Simon introduces the Unison drum fill. Unison sticking is when both hands are played in unison, split across two different drums for maximum effect! With these 10 lessons under your belt, you have greatly expanded your drum fill library - great job! Now try incorporating them with your favorite songs!
Module 3: Lesson 1. 8th Note Beats. Adding “E” to the bass drum.
In Module 1, Lesson 17, we showed you how to add the 16th note “A” to the bass drum, while playing your 8th note beats. Now it’s time to add the “E” and expand on this concept. Get ready for some challenging coordination and some fun counting! A little excursion back to Module 1 Lesson 17 would be a valuable investment in time if it’s been a while.
Module 3: Lesson 2. 8th Note Beats. Adding “E” and “A” to the bass drum.
Now that you are armed with the knowledge from Module 1, Lesson 17, and the exercises from the last video, it’s time to add them together and create some killer 8th note grooves. These beats are seriously funky - in a great way! Have fun, and don’t forget to count out loud - that’s half the battle.
module 3: Lesson 3. 8th Note Beats. Adding “& A” note groupings to the bass drum.
Why not jump into some more bass drum combinations? There’s plenty more possibilities. This lesson combines the “&A” together. This creates two bass drum notes in quick succession, so it’s critical to practice these slowly and count out loud. That way, you can work on developing your bass drum technique at the same time.
Module 3: Lesson 4. 8th Note Beats. Adding “1E” and “3E” note groupings to the bass drum.
Hopefully you feel your bass drum chops coming together at this point. If you are still struggling with two bass beats in quick succession, you might want to focus on the last exercise a little longer. However, if you are ready to press on, we now add the “1E” and “3E” groupings. Here’s five example on video to get you started. Are you up for the challenge?
Module 3: Lesson 5. 8th Note Beats. Adding “1EA” and “3EA” note groupings to the bass drum.
By now, you will be doing pretty well at playing bass drum notes independent to the hi hat strikes. It’s so groovy, but very challenging. This little peach of a note grouping completes our 8th note journey for the time being. If you are happy with what you have learned in the first five videos, why not try the exercises leading with the ride cymbal or floor tom. If you are playing on the ride cymbal, why not try adding hi hat foot splashes on the 2 and 4. There’s always an embellishment to be made, and a new challenge ahead.
Module 3: Lesson 6. 16th Note Beats. Adding “A” to the bass drum.
In Lessons 6-8 of Module 1, we introduced you to the 16th note beat. Only ¼ and 8th note bass drum was used in all of those examples, to keep things nice and relaxed, and walk you through the basic concept. Now it’s time to add the same bass drum note groupings you have just done in the last 5 videos, but with a twist. For the first time, certain bass drum notes will be played while playing your left hand on the hi hat. Simon explains this at the top of the video, with a cool little warm up exercise. Buckle up - it’s going to be a fun challenge, and a new coordination!
Module 3: Lesson 7. 16th Note Beats. Adding “E” to the bass drum.
Moving on nicely, the next logical step is adding the “E” to the bass drum. Remember the guidance Simon offered at the start of the last video. If the bass drum is on an “A” or an “E”, that will coincide with your left hand on the hi hats. Here’s five video examples, and in the 10 extra audio files, we mix the “E’s” and “A’s” together for some really effective, musical grooves.
Module 3: Lesson 8. 16th Note Beats. Adding “&A” note groupings to the bass drum.
Back in Lesson 3 of this Module, you experienced the quick succession of bass drum notes, but with an 8th note hand pattern. Now, we’ll add two 16th notes together on the bass drum, to create the “&A” note grouping. Remember, in an “alternating” or “open handed” 16th note hi hat situation, the bass drum E's and A’s coincide with a left hand on the hi hat, while numbers (1-4) and &'s coincide with the right hand. With practice you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Module 3: Lesson 9. 16th Note Beats. Adding “1E” and “3E” note groupings to the bass drum.
By now you should be getting quite comfortable with these concepts at slow tempos. If not, don’t worry, just take a pause here and concentrate on videos 6-8. This lesson adds the “1E” and “3E” note groupings to the bass drum. As usual, the extra audio files give you some more examples, while reacquainting you with other recently learned note groupings.
Module 3: Lesson 10. 16th Note Beats. Adding “1EA” and “3EA” note groupings to the bass drum.
Well here we are at the end of Module 3, and you have built up quite the impressive percussive armory. Your last challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to add the “1EA” and “3EA” note groupings, and work through all of the different multi-combinations in the 10 extra audio files. Well done you! I hope you have had fun so far on this adventure.
Module 4. (Available early August 2020)
MODULE 4: Lesson 1. 8th Note Beats. Adding the “E” to the Bass Drum, with Off Beat Snare.
After an introduction to the goals and objectives of Module 4, Simon explains how adding off beat snare drum to existing 8th note beats can give you some new musical options that sound great, are more challenging, and a lot of fun to play. These beats are used in so many genres, and are very important if you want to be able to play along with more complex songs. As a reminder, you’ll want to be proficient with the messages from Module 3, Lesson 1, before attempting this lesson. As always, there are 10 additional audio files to help you lock-in your new skills!
MODULE 4: Lesson 2. 8th Note Beats. Adding the “E” and “A” to the bass drum, with Off Beat Snare.
In Module 3, Lesson 2, Simon demonstrated how to add “E” and “A” notes to the bass drum, while playing an 8th note beat. Now, we’re taking that lesson, and continuing the theme of adding off beat snare drum. Also, Simon introduces the concept of adding “ghost notes” to some of the featured beats, which is a great way of being musical on the drum set. Remember: slow and smooth, and don’t forget to count out loud!
MODULE 4: Lesson 3. 8th Note Beats. Adding “&A” Note Groupings to the bass drum, with Off Beat Snare.
If you have worked through the first two lessons of Module 4 (and ideally the extra beats in the audio files), then you should now be feeling comfortable with adding our off beat “E” and “A” notes to the snare drum. Working different bass drum note groupings into the mix will help you solidify this concept, as well as throwing you a few challenging, but fun, curve balls! Simon expands on how introducing the ride cymbal in these scenarios can add some great musicality to specific sections of songs.
MODULE 4: Lesson 4. 8th Note Beats. Adding “1E” and 3E" Note Groupings to the bass drum, with Off Beat snare.
By now, you will no doubt be experiencing the fact that adding off beat snare drum to a drum beat can be quite challenging, depending on the complexity of the accompanying bass notes. This lesson builds upon the “1E” and “3E” note groupings that were first introduced in Module 3, Lesson 4 - definitely worth a recap before attempting this lesson. Simon also talks about adding left foot hi-hat when playing these patterns on the ride cymbal. That’s some cool four way coordination!
MODULE 4: Lesson 5. 8th Note Beats. Adding “1EA” and “3EA” Note Groupings the bass drum, with Off Beat snare.
In our final video featuring 8th note beats, we look at how adding our off beat snare can sound very musically effective with the “1EA” and “3EA” bass drum groupings. A quick recap of Module 3, Lesson 5 will benefit you as we dive into this concept. To close out our 8th note beats, Simon explains how playing the right hand lead on toms can produce a killer back beat! Don’t forget to check out the extra 10 audio files!
MODULE 4: Lesson 6. 16th Note Beats. Adding “A” to the bass drum, with off beat snare.
After a recap of the sticking used in playing “open 16th” beats, Simon shows you how to add snare drum off beats, in an efficient and musical way. Building upon the foundation learned in Module 3, Lesson 6, this new concept will be both challenging and very rewarding! Remember to start slow and steady - and counting out loud is key. Once you feel that you’ve got the five video examples down, take a look at the additional 10 audio file examples.
MODULE 4: Lesson 7. 16th Note Beats. Adding “E” to the bass drum, with off beat snare.
Now that you are comfortable playing the main back beat with your right hand, and the off beat snare drum on your left hand in an “open 16th” situation, it’s time to spend the next few lessons applying different bass drum note groupings. This lesson builds upon Module 3, Lesson 7, and it’s worth revisiting and refining that lesson first. The 10 audio files will provide some more challenging and musical scenarios.
MODULE 4: Lesson 8. 16th Note Beats. Adding “&A” note groupings TO the bass drum, with off beat snare.
Playing two bass drum notes in quick succession is always a challenging skill to learn, and adding off beat snare drum adds to the fun! It’s worth fine tuning your bass drum chops by rewatching Module 3, Lesson 8, before tackling this one! Simon also gives you an example of how to play these beats in a “closed 16th” situation, leading on the hi hat. Don’t forget the 10 audio files, and the accompanying sheet music.
MODULE 4: Lesson 9. 16th Note Beats. Adding “1E” and “3E” note groupings to the bass drum, with off beat snare.
Continuing our theme of building our bass drum options while introducing off beat snare drum, this lesson is one of our most challenging yet! It’s worth a recap of lessons 6-8 in this Module if you are still getting to grips with this concept, and also, reviewing Module 3, Lesson 9 will help set you up for success! Simon also demonstrates how to lead on the ride cymbal playing “closed 16th” note variants. As always, there are 10 further new challenges in audio file format.
MODULE 4: Lesson 10. 16th Note Beats. Adding “1EA” and “3EA” Note Groupings to the bass drum, with off beat snare.
Well done! You have reached the last video in this Module. It’s time to apply our off beat snare drum to two final bass drum groupings - “1EA” and “3EA” in our 16th note beats. Playing along to songs will seem a lot easier now that you have this solid background. Now could also be a good opportunity to seek out a local drum teacher, and work one to one with a Teaching Professional that can help take these foundational skills to a whole new level.