#1 AC/DC “Back In Black”

Whether you’re committed to being a Rock drummer or not, in order to function on the drum set you must be able to play this beat.  You might think it’s easy, and on paper it is, it’s an 8th note rock beat which is usually the first beat everyone learns. If that is the case and you can play it like Phill Rudd then you’ve already spent ample amount of time on the drums figuring lots of things out. If you can’t play it like Phill, then you’ve got work to do and that work will pay off in your endeavors to hit drums with a purpose. It’s all on the record, you might not need a teacher to figure it out but if you’re having trouble, we’re here to help.  

#2 James Brown “Cold Sweat”

This beat represents the inception of funk music.  It’s got purposefully placed ghost notes and low rim shots that if mastered will take you far in your career.  It’s a two bar groove that doesn’t really change throughout the song so it’s a great track to practice along with.  If you already know, then you know what is to follow.  It’s a doorway to a world of funky music that people can’t help but dance to.  If playing music to make people move is important to you then this beat is a must.  More importantly, what comes after learning it is a lifetime of joy for you and others, plus, you might be able to consider yourself funky.  Take a few listens, there’s a lot to digest. 

#3  The Shuffle

There are many shuffle beats and ways to shuffle, you can’t call yourself a drummer if you don’t know at least a few of them and know how to do one really well.  You don’t have to know them all, but you should know the difference between them and why or how they are different.  Again, we’re here to help. 

#4  “One Drop”    

Inevitably you’re going to be asked to play a Reggae beat and most likely the “One Drop” will work in that situation.  In itself it is simple enough but to make it sound “Reggae” you’re going to need to know a few tricks.  It’s fun and it feels good, so just come on already and get good at it. 

#5 The 12/8 Feel

As with The Shuffle there are many ways to play this beat and that is what is great about getting into it, you’ll have variety.  You’re going to need that because music needs it, better yet the listener needs it.  The 12/8 feel is a bit different than a typical feel yet it still has an identifiable pulse that people inherently know.  A large reason for that is its African origin, the birthplace of the drum.


Faculty member Dave Previ is available for online private lessons at The Collective, click here to book a lesson or buy a package.