Mike G's Beginner Drum Course: Part 1
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Mike G's Beginner Drum Course: Part 1

A logical, step-by-step approach to learning how to play the drums.
5.0 (15 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
524 students enrolled
Last updated 12/2016
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Current price: $10 Original price: $35 Discount: 71% off
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Develop proper drumstick technique.
  • Read and understand rhythms and drum-set notation.
  • Develop essential drum-set coordination.
  • Perform basic drum beats and drum-fills.
View Curriculum
  • You will need a drum pad, drumsticks, drum-set and a metronome.

Chapter 1 of the Beginner Drum Course, will provide you with the tools necessary to successfully play the drums in no time at all. I will take you through a logical step-by-step process that focuses on understanding how rhythms are constructed and how to develop the essential coordination needed to comfortably apply that knowledge to the drum-set.

If you follow my course and complete each exercise you will be able to play basic rhythms, drum beats and drum fills that will get you through many songs. Whether your goal is to play Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Classic Rock, Country, Funk, etc..., the tools learned in this course will give you the foundation necessary to play most styles of drumming.

For the price of two private drum lessons, you get nineteen lessons that include HD quality instructional video with multiple camera angles so you can see what I'm doing with the foot pedals in addition to the hands. PDF files notating the exercises demonstrated. In addition to me demonstrating the exercises in the videos, I also include audio files of me playing through the exercises in certain lessons that I feel will make the learning experience much easier.

I have a degree in Music Performance from Towson University and have been teaching and performing for more than 15 years! Seven of those years were spent touring the world. Playing upwards of 200 shows a year.

I have taken my experiences as both a performer and educator and used it to create a curriculum that I believe is very user friendly, providing a logical step-by-step progression that is informative, engaging and most importantly, fun.

My passion for teaching is evident in my students experiences. Check out what my students are saying about Part 1 of the Beginner Drum Course:

What a GREAT course, this is awesome. A plus plus and more. Mike G did a tremendous job with curriculum, explaining things in detail, and production. This course is user friendly and a great value. Mike is an excellent educator & musician which is transparent throughout this course.

-Frank Russo

Great Curriculum Probably the best Introduction to drumming! This course has a very logical structure and is cleverly designed so that pseudo beginners like me or even complete beginners can profit and learn a lot from these lectures. Every lesson is build on the previous one or extends the previous to a further aspect of drumming. Almost every lesson has pdf file and some have audio clips with the material made even more accessible and to practice separately. Already in lesson 10 there are some improvisations possible with the fills and the variations and i enjoyed this very much. Lesson 13 gives an insight how to transfer the techniques and rudiments around the tom-toms. This freedom to play around almost enlightened me and motivated to practice even more. I do not want to rush through the lessons, so that i have enough pleasure still waiting for me... thank you very much, Mike - this is a great course!!! Almost through and i need to add, that this is the best course i have got from udemy - i am enthusiastic about this great course!!

-Rainer W

Hi Micheal, just want to give you thumbs up on your Drum-Set Crash Course. I never new how important it is to read drum notes than to just bash away at your drums. Your course have really improved my drumming experience and can't wait for part 2.


This drum course is excellent with comprehensive curriculum for drumming fundamentals. You immediately gain confidence during lesson one. Mike effortlessly breaks it down, explains it, demonstrates it, and teaches it with clarity. He keeps you at the perfect pace to grasp the techniques and continue advancing with skill. I highly recommend this course for any age student boy or girl.


This an interactive course, so don't hesitate to ask me any questions if you need help along the way. I will usually respond within 24 hours.

If you find that this course isn't living up to your expectations, there is a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee. Please let me know what it was that made you lose interest so I can further better my teaching experience for all.

Just so you get an idea of what the lessons look like, you can view three of the lessons for free to help you decide if my course is for you.

Get started working on fulfilling your dream of playing the drums and ENROLL TODAY!

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is designed for anyone who has an interest in learning what it takes to play the drums.
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Curriculum For This Course
20 Lectures
1 Lecture 01:51
Basement Rookie
19 Lectures 03:04:04

In the first part of this introduction lesson, we will focus on the six key components that are essential to understanding the fundamentals of music notation. You will want to become familiar with each of these components if you aren't already. This will give you the foundation needed to make sense of the musical exercises provided in each lesson.

In Part 2, we will talk about drumstick technique and play through the exercise discussed in Part 1.

Preview 10:22

In this lesson we are going to become more familiar with quarter notes, as well as begin incorporating a new note value, half notes. This will require us to begin developing a very important skill called, *“subdividing.” The goal is to be aware of your technique while executing the exercises correctly. You can use the “technique checklist” I provided to help you remember what to focus on. Don't worry about being able to keep everything in check right away. Just focus on at least one technique aspect at all times. Gradually it will all start to click.

Technique Checklist:

  • Hold stick about 2-inches from back end
  • Keep all fingers on sticks
  • Fulcrum in tact
  • Use only wrist, no arm
  • Straight up and down motion
  • Full wrist strokes
  • Even stick heights
  • Play in center
  • Allow sticks to rebound
*Subdividing: a term used in music to describe dividing a larger note value into smaller units.
Quarter Notes and Half Notes

Aside from the notes that are played, there are also the notes that are not played. These are referred to as, “rests.” Just like there are quarter notes and half notes, there are also corresponding rests for each. The note value of a quarter rest is the same as a quarter note. The only difference is the rest is not played. The same goes for half rests and half notes.

Make sure to count out loud, especially the rests. Although you do not play the rests, you still want to recognize the space they occupy and give them their proper value.

Quarter Rests and Half Rests

We are now going to begin exploring a few *“drum rudiments.” These first three rudiments are essentially the foundation for most other rudiments you will encounter. They are the Single Stroke Roll, Double Stroke Roll and Inverted Double Stroke Roll.

*Drum Rudiments: short, commonly used sticking patterns that are the foundation for developing the necessary control and coordination to play much longer patterns.


Playing each rudiment at 200BPM using proper technique and counting out loud.

Singles and Doubles

Now that we have developed a good feel for playing quarter notes, we are now going to begin dividing the quarter note. This brings us to eighth notes. Eighth notes are a subdivision of the quarter note that essentially divides it in half. Therefore there are two eighth notes for every quarter note.

We will also begin developing 3-way coordination by incorporating the bass drum.


Playing through each example comfortably at 100BPM using proper technique and counting eighth notes out loud while playing steady quarter notes with the bass drum.

Eighth Notes

This lesson will focus on single eighth notes and eighth rests.

Eighth Rests and Single Eighth Notes

We are now going to take everything we've learned so far and use that knowledge to play our first drum grooves!

Practice Tips:

  • Play just hi-hat and bass drum
  • Make sure bass drum part lines up with hi-hat
  • Add snare


To be able to play through each example four times, transitioning from one to the next without stopping at 120BPM.

Eighth Note Hi-Hat Grooves

You are now going to take everything you learned in the previous lesson but instead of playing eighth notes on the hi-hat we will play quarter notes. The big challenge will be to not follow the eighth note patterns you're playing with your right foot with your right hand. The goal is to further develop the coordination necessary to play varying eighth note patterns with the bass drum without disrupting the steady quarter note pulse on the hi-hat.


To be able to play through each example four times, transitioning from one to the next without stopping at 120BPM.

Preview 07:37

In this lesson, we will begin exploring *drum fills.

*Drum Fill: Typically a short deviation from playing a groove. They very often involve utilizing all different parts of the drum-set, i.e. tom-toms, crash cymbals, etc…

Practice Tips:

  • Play each fill slowly and continuously to get use to the motions.
  • Insert fill into four measure phrase.

To play four bar phrases playing a groove the first three measures and inserting one of the drum fills into the last measure. Repeat this process until you are comfortable transitioning from groove to drum fill and back to groove.

Preview 12:13

We will now learn how to play grooves while playing upbeats on the hi-hat. It is especially important to count eighth notes out loud throughout these examples.

Practice Tips:

  • Play upbeats on hi-hat while counting eighth notes out loud
  • Add bass drum (One note at a time)
  • Add snare


To be able to play through each example four times, transitioning from one to the next without stopping.

Grooves With Hi-Hat On Upbeats

In this lesson, we will introduce some important sounds on the drums that will really add a new dynamic to your playing. "Dynamics," refer to how loud or soft or even how intense or subtle you play something.

New sounds include:

  • Ride cymbal
  • Rim clicks
  • Rim shots
  • Playing hi-hat with tip of stick vs. playing hi-hat with shoulder of stick

Ride Cymbal, Rim Clicks And Rim Shots

We are now going to take the rhythms we learned in Lesson 6 and explore moving them around the drums to create new drum fill ideas.

  • To have fun exploring the many ways you can orchestrate the rhythms from Lesson 6 around the drums.
  • Use the ideas as drum fill patterns by inserting them into the four-measure format.

Drum Fills: Part 2

In this lesson, we are going to learn what "accents" are and how to play them. We will also explore ways of applying these patterns to the drum-set.


  • To play each accent pattern musically from 60BPM-80BPM, making sure there is a big contrast between the accented notes and unaccented notes.
  • Explore moving the accents to different drums.
Accented Eighth Notes

In this lesson, we will move beyond the typical backbeat placement we've used exclusively in our groove studies and explore the "double backbeat." We will also use this concept as a means to explore some ways in which you can incorporate tom-toms into your drum grooves.


  • To be able to play through each example four times, transitioning from one to the next without stopping.
  • Have fun exploring the different ways of moving the patterns to different drums.
Double Backbeat

So far, the two sticking patterns we've worked on other than the individual hand exercises are singles and doubles. We are now going to begin exploring new rudiments that combine singles and doubles into what are called, paradiddles. We will study the paradiddle and it's permutations.

Single Paradiddles






  • To develop the coordination to be able to play each sticking the accents at 120BPM.
  • Have fun exploring the different ways of applying these patterns to the drum-set.

Single Paradiddles

In this lesson, we will begin incorporating the hi-hat foot. We will start by developing fundamental coordination between the hi-hat foot and the bass drum. Just as we worked on developing our hand technique and coordination, we must do the same with our feet.


To keep quarter notes with the hi-hat foot while playing the various eighth note patterns on the bass drum.

Coordinating Hi-Hat Foot With Bass Drum

We will now take the coordination we developed in the previous lesson and use it to create drum grooves that incorporate the “open hi-hat” sound. This involves opening up the hi-hat cymbals by lifting your foot on the pedal while striking the cymbals simultaneously.


Playing through each example four times and comfortably transitioning without stopping between each.

Upbeat Open Hi-Hat Grooves

In this lesson, we will introduce a new drum rudiment: the "Flam.” There are two notes involved with playing a flam, the grace note and the primary note. The two notes are played almost simultaneously and create a “flam” sound.

Practice Tips

  • Make sure the grace note is played just before primary note and not the other way around
  • Keep grace note low to the drum prior to striking

In this last lesson, we will learn about the 3-3-2 rhythm that incorporates a few new pieces of notation and can open you up to some new and exciting possibilities. I will then demonstrate some of the ways in which you can adapt the 3-3-2 rhythm to the drum-set.


  • Play each one as written using the different sticking patterns.
  • Have fun exploring the many ways of orchestrating the different patterns around the drums.
  • Work ideas into groove context by incorporating each into four-measure phrase format.
3-3-2 Rhythm, Ties and Dotted Quarter Notes
About the Instructor
Michael Gambone
5.0 Average rating
15 Reviews
694 Students
2 Courses

Mike has been a dedicated student of the instrument for 25 years and has been teaching and performing professionally for 15 of them.

After receiving his Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance from Towson University in 2004, Mike balanced his time between teaching and freelancing as a first call drummer playing everything from Jazz to Rock to Latin music. From 2006-2011, Mike toured the world performing with the original rock band, "The Bridge." That's where Mike got some invaluable real world experience playing upwards of 200 shows a year and sharing the stage with the likes of, The Allman Brothers, Umphrey's Mcgee, Lettuce, Mike Gordon, Primus and many more established acts.

It is through his wide range of experiences as both a performer and a teacher that Mike has created a curriculum specifically designed to provide a clear and logical progression to understanding the fundamentals of rhythm and drum-set performance.

Michael Palmisano
4.6 Average rating
2,035 Reviews
34,018 Students
6 Courses
Award Winning GIT Grad, Guitargate CEO, 15yr Working Pro.

Award Winning GIT Grad, Founder of PRS Sponsored Guitargate, 70k+ students worldwide, and Lead Guitarist in What's Next - Voted 5x "Best Band" in Baltimore.

I have been playing guitar since I was 5, and gigging and teaching professionally for the last 15+ years.  I genuinely love to teach, and the goal of Guitargate is to help people learn the "why" behind the notes, and how to apply this to make music!  

So whether you are an aspiring gigging musician, or you just enjoy playing for yourself, let me help you bridge the gap between rhythm and lead guitar.... and get the stuff in your head out!  Seriously - you can do this!! 

On a side note, it's truly incredible that the internet has allowed us to connect from all over the world....  I believe in online education, and I strive to be as helpful as possible.  If you post a question or a video for feedback - I will respond and try and help any way I can.  

One step at a time -