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Drum Set for Beginners

Playing the drums is fun and easy!
4.9 (8 ratings)
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111 students enrolled
Created by Thomas Nelson
Last updated 9/2013
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  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
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  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Students can play three different drum beats.
Students can play a fill.
Students can play a repeated four bar phrase.
Students can demonstrate creativity by improvising a drum fill.
Students can play at a variety of speeds.
Students can play along with pre-recorded music.
Students understand important musical vocabulary.
Students can assemble and tune a Drum Set.
Students will develop critical listening skills.
Students will play the drums with proper technique.
Students can play the drums!
View Curriculum
  • A Standard 5 Piece Drum Set.
  • Drum Sticks
  • A Computer
  • Earbuds or Headphones

Drumming is fun and easy. This video course will teach you to play the Drum Set. You will learn three different drum beats that can easily be played along with some of your favorite music from the radio. You will learn everything you need to know to get started on the drums. Are you ready to have fun?

Who is the target audience?
  • Age 8-14 with parental guidance.
  • Age 15 and up as a self directed learner.
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 26 Lectures Collapse All 26 Lectures 03:38:26
7 Lectures 01:02:00

Welcome to Drum Set for Beginners. In this first video I welcome you to my course and give you a brief overview of what you can expect to learn from me in this course.


In this second video I will share three tips that will help you be successful as a Drum Set student. This is a very important video for you to watch. This video will guide you in deciding exactly how you will play the drums. Make sure you watch this video.

*If you are the parent of a student who is taking this course, please open PDF #6 in the supplemental material for teaching tips. The document is intended for instructors. The best thing you can do for your child is be a positive coach for them. Use the document for guidance on coaching your student.

3 Tips for Successful Learning

In video #3 I will show you the Drum Set, the names of the parts and how it looks when it is set up. You will also learn where to purchase a Drum Set and what to look for in a drum set.

Included is PDF #1 which shows a diagram of the Drum Set and also a Key for Drum Set Musical Notation.

The Drum Set: An Overview

Video #4.1 will teach you how to tune your drums for learning. You will learn a simple system for tuning your drums so that they sound good for learning. Although I highly recommend that you watch this video, if you all ready have a Drum Set that is tuned you may skip this video. If you choose to skip this video please remember that it is here for your future use in the event that you someday need to tune your Drum Set.

How to Tune Your Drums

Video #4.2 shows you how to set up your Drum Set for learning. Although I highly recommend that you watch this video, if you all ready have set up your drums then you may choose to skip this video. If you choose to skip this video please remember that it is here for your future reference in the event that you need to take apart your Drum Set and then set it up again.

If you find that you need more help setting up your drums, check out the video below from youtube that also shows how to set up a drum set.

Also included are three links to pictures of Drum Sets. The first is of a 5 piece Drum Set, the second is of a 4 piece Drum Set and the last is of a large Drum Set.

At the end of this video is an assignment. The assignment is to find at least three pictures of 5 piece Drum Sets on the internet. Go to google images and search for pictures of 5 piece, 4 piece and "fill in the blank" piece Drum Sets. Spend some time looking at Drum Sets. Try to identify the parts of the Drum Sets that you see.

How to Set Up Your Drum Set

In video #5 you will learn how to correctly hold your drum sticks and how to correctly sit on your drum seat. Both of these are necessary for you to learn so that you play the drums properly. This video will also discuss drum stick sizes. This is a "must watch" video in the course.

The link below will take you to the Vic Firth Drum Stick Selection guide. The Vic Firth company makes drum sticks and has provided this guide to better inform you of what to look for in a drum stick. This is optional viewing material.

Preparing to Play

In this final video of section 1 you will be given a preview of how the playing lessons are set up. It is very important for you to watch this video as it will prepare you for the upcoming videos.

Preview of The Playing Lessons

Are you ready to play?

Introduction Quiz
9 questions
Playing Lesson #1
5 Lectures 41:00

In this first playing lesson you will need your drum sticks and a chair. Place your computer in front of you with enough space for you to be able to outstretch your legs. This video will prepare you for playing on your Drum Set in the next lecture. Be sure to play along with this video so that your body is properly prepared for your first try on the drums.

Learning to play "The Walk" Part 1

For this video you will need:

1. To have your drums set up.

2.. Your computer on a desk or table located on the right side of your kit (by the floor tom).

3. Earbuds/headphones for listening to your computer. These will help you hear the video over the sound of your drums.

4. A clock or stopwatch. Some of the "pause the video" assignments in this video are to be done for prescribed amounts of time. Make sure you have a clock to time yourself with.

*If you are a left handed player and find the video confusing, go to the Left Handed videos at the end of this section to get "Left Handed" help.

The Walk Part 2

This is the last part of the lesson. When you have completed this video you will be playing your drums with confidence. Right handed drummers may proceed to section 3 when the last assignment is completed. Left handed drummers should watch the next two videos in this section.

Below I have included PDF #2 and #3 from my drum book. These pages will show you what the music looks like for what you have learned to play in this section of the course. I have also included a link to an online metronome.

Preview 19:09

This is a MUST SEE video for any students playing a left handed Drum Set. This video explains the supplemental "Lefty" videos in the course. Also, see the link below for a web picture of a Lefty Kit from behind.

Special Lesson for Left Handed Players

This is a short video that demonstrates all of the skills taught in this lesson on a left handed Drum Set. If you are a left handed drummer and find the learning videos to be confusing because they are on a right handed kit, watch this video to see the concepts on the left handed kit. Each section of the course will have a left handed demo video. Use the "Lefty" demo videos as needed.

The Walk: A Demo for Left Handed Players

This quiz will test you on the knowledge you learned in section 2 of the course.

Knowledge Quiz-Section 2
10 questions
Playing Lesson #2
6 Lectures 43:08

The first video in this section is a review of section 2. You have been practicing for approximately one week. Make sure you watch this video. As of right now your playing should sound like my playing in this video. As long as it does, you may proceed to the next video. If your playing needs more practice, then spend another week practicing "The Walk" before going on in this section.

"The Basic Beat" Part 1

This video introduces "The Basic Beat". You will see it written out, you will see it played and you will hear it played. I have included PDF #4 below so that you can see the music for this section. There are no assignments in this video.

The Basic Beat Part 2

In this video lesson you will begin to learn the Basic Beat. This video breaks the beat into small combinations of hands and feet to prepare you for the next video when we will put it all together trying to play the groove starting at a slow tempo. Take your time training your muscles with this video.

The Basic Beat Part 3

In this video you will play the Basic Beat at three different tempos. This lesson can be very challenging. Make sure you take your time, go slow and be persistent. If you have trouble getting the coordination to work and you are very frustrated, fast forward the video to exactly the 9 minute mark ( 9:00 ). At this point in the video I give a tip that might help you get past the challenge of making the coordination work.

The Basic Beat Part 4

In this last video lesson you will get your assignment for the next week. The assignment will teach you mastery of the content in this section. Right handed players should go to the next section next week. Left handed players should watch the "Lefty" video next (if you haven't all ready) before going on next week.

Preview 05:57

This is the "Lefty" demo video for this section. Please use it as needed.

The "Lefty" Basic Beat

Knowledge Quiz - Section 3
10 questions
Playing Lesson #3
4 Lectures 30:20

The first video in this section is a review of section 3. You have been practicing for approximately one week. Make sure you watch this video. As of right now your playing should sound like my playing in this video. As long as it does, you may proceed to the next video. If your playing needs more practice, then spend another week practicing "The Basic Beat" before going on in this section. This video also shows you the new groove that you will learn in this section.

"Four on the Floor" Part 1

In this video you will learn the new groove the same way that you learned the groove in section 3. I will break it down by body parts and then have you put it together starting with a slow tempo.

If you would like to see what the Four on the Floor beat looks like, go back to lecture #14 and open PDF #4. At the bottom of PDF #4 is the "Basic Beat Four on the Floor" written out.

Left handed players should feel free to use the left handed demo video below at any time during this lesson to help with learning.

Four on the Floor Part 2

This video will teach you to play the new groove at faster tempos. At the end of this video you will be given two week long assignments that will solidify all that you have learned in this section. Go to the next section next week after you have practiced the assignments for one week or more.

Four on the Floor Part 3

This is the "Lefty" demo video for this section. Please use it as needed.

The "Lefty" Four on the Floor

Knowledge Quiz - Section 4
10 questions
Extended Lesson and Wrap-Up
4 Lectures 41:58

This video reviews everything you have learned in this course. There are no assignments in this video. Use this video to review everything that you have learned.

In this video I reference a PDF quiz and answer key. I have not included them in this course. I choose instead to take the quiz questions and spread them out over the sections of this course as section quizzes. The last quiz which is at the end of this section will review key points of the entire course.

Drum Set Review

In this video you will be given two extended assignments. The first is a listening assignment that will ask you to listen to three of your favorite songs. The second assignment is a series of play-along assignments. The tracks for those assignments are added below as supplementary material. You will need earbuds/headphones for these assignments. There is a week long assignment at the end of this video. This assignment will be very challenging but also as close as you can get to playing in a real band. Have fun with the assignment!

PDF #5 is a Drum Set music chart for the song. It is actually set up for 8 bar phrases and is better suited for the youtube assignment in the next lecture.

Extended Lesson Part 1

This video presents three more long term playing assignments. The first is a play-along assignment. You may use the first internet link in the supplementary material for this assignment or look for your own version of the music presented.

The second assignment is an optional "start your own garageband" assignment.

The third assignment is suitable for school aged students. An internet link is provided for a sample of what the assignment might look like.

These are the final assignments for the course. The last video will wrap up the course.

Extended Lesson Part 2

In this final video I will wrap up the course and provide options for you to consider as "the next step".

If you are interested in purchasing my method book, go to my personal site at where you can order my book.

If you are interested in my second Drum Set video course, "Drum Set Basics", please contact me so that I can let you know when it is available. I can be reached at

If you are a school aged student I highly encourage you to join your school band if you haven't all ready.

Good Luck with your drumming!

Wrap Up

This quiz will review some of the key learning in the course.

Course Review
10 questions
About the Instructor
4.9 Average rating
21 Reviews
150 Students
7 Courses
Professional Educator and Drummer

Tom Nelson has been teaching drums and music for over 20 years. He holds both a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Education along with a letter of endorsement in Instructional Coaching. He has been teaching instrumental music in the public schools of Pennsylvania for the last 20 years and is an Adjunct Percussion Faculty member at Bucknell University. He maintains a private drum lesson studio and is sought after as a clinician and guest speaker. He is a member of the Vic Firth Private Instructor Team and the author of his own method book "Nelson's Great Big Drum Book".

In addition to his collegiate studies, Tom has studied drumming under the late world renown jazz drummer Joe Morello.

As a performer Tom has performed on numerous independent recordings including several that have been featured on The Weather Channel. He works with The Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and several local groups ranging in styles from rock to jazz to country. He is also the drummer for the National/Regional Fleetwood Mac Tribute "Tusk" performing all over the Northeast area of the country.

In his free time Tom enjoys volunteer coaching soccer for local teams that his kids play on. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.

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