5 Basic Drum Beats for Beginners

Like most other instruments, learning to play the drums is no easy feat. It requires regular practice to build up muscle memory and stamina, as well as patience! But unlike other instruments, you won’t need to worry about melody and harmony, only about rhythm and timekeeping. As a beginner who has just recently picked up drumming, these 5 beats would be immensely helpful for you in your practice! And for those of you who do not have a drum kit at home, check out our other article on how you can practice the drums at home without a drum set.

Standard 8th note groove

You definitely would have heard this beat anywhere — it’s one of the most commonly played groove in pop, rock and funk music! In this drum beat, you will play the low-pitched bass drum on beats 1 and 3, while on beats 2 and 4, you will play the high-pitched snared drum. For every 4 beats, play the hi-hat cymbal. Once you’ve gotten into the rhythm of this beat, you can even modify it by adding variations and improvisation!


In this beat, instead of the usual 4-beat rhythm, you’ll be organizing the rhythm in groups of threes, just like the dance it was named after. The melody of the waltz beat requires that every first beat in a group be given a stronger emphasis, lending the whole groove a powerful flow. This is actually one of the simpler beats, but it has some more exciting permutations such as the quarter-note waltz, eighth-triplet waltz and 16th-note waltz that you could try out too.

16th note groove

This one’s a little bit more complex than the earlier two, but nothing you can’t handle, we’re sure! What makes this groove a tad bit more complicated is because it involves including notes that are not played in sync with the hi-hats. In this groove, four hi-hats are played for every bass and snare beat. If you’re playing it at a slower tempo, the 16th note hi-hat accents can be done with just your dominant hand. But if you’re thinking of amping up the beat, you’ll likely need to alternate hands.

Motown drum beat groove