How to Read Drum Music

Learning to read drum music will open up a whole world of opportunities for you:

  • You’ll be able to download and learn drum music for your favourite tunes
  • You’ll be able to join a band or orchestra and play along with other musicians
  • You’ll be able to transcribe (write down) your own beats, rhythms and drum charts
  • You’ll be able to study drum grades and potentially even teach the drums

What does drum music look like?

Here’s some typical drum music for a simple straight 8’s drum beat:

How to Read Drum Music

How to Read Drum Music

Whereas with conventional music each line of music refers to a different pitch. On a drum kit each line refers to a different drum. To start with we’re only going to look at 3 different notes – the hi-hat, the snare drum and the bass drum. Have a look at the video below for a full explanation of how to read music. If you’re serious about learning drums you can study the beginner level course here where you’ll also learn about how to hold the sticks, posture and many other important topics.

How to Read Drum Music
Watch this video on YouTube.
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Want to learn the drums properly?

That’s just a taster of how to read drum music. Head over to Drum 101 for a full self-study training course and online drum lessons to get you started on the drum kit.

Learn Drums Online

Last updated: 5th October 2020

Originally published: 10th December 2014