You want to play the drums, you’ve learned the basics and now you want to do something fun and learn how to play actual songs – that all sounds perfect, but where do you start? In our recent post, we’ve revealed some tips on how to learn to play the drums. Lucky for you, we have made a shortlist of the best songs for beginner drum players that will help you build a little repertoire.
If you have decided to play the drums, that means that you are probably drawn to the great feeling it gives you. You feel glorious and hitting the drums and cymbals transforms you into the most powerful musician in a band. Most of the time, your role is crucial: you have to set the tempo for the rest of the players, except the case in which the song starts with another instrument.
At the beginning of your drum lessons, you have to start with simple beats and fills and practice that until you have mastered them. This takes a lot of practice but, unlike with other instruments, you don’t get bored that easily because it requires physical effort as well as good coordination.
Despite that great feeling, it gets even better when you practice with a band. And for that, you need to know how to play some simple songs in order to keep up with the others.
It might seem like a simple task picking up some songs, but you have to be careful when choosing what to learn first. But before you get started, having a decent set of drums is essential. As a beginner, it’s important to practice on good quality instruments so that the sounds you make are clean and accurate.
Your dream of becoming the next Tommy Lee has to be based on a good learning strategy and, first things are first: learn the basics, learn how to play a simple song and then practice it until you feel you can play it even when someone wakes you up in the middle of the night to do it. Then, practice it along with your band mates again and again before you move on to the next song.
You should start with a song you like, but pay attention for it to be neither too slow nor too fast. It’s great if you pick one that is between 60 and 130 beats per minute. This way it won’t be boring, but it won’t be hard for you to stay on beat. We’ve made a selection of the best songs to get started and be sure that if you master these, the harder ones won’t seem that hard to play anymore.
‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ by AC/DC
The rock gods of all times are AC/DC. They formed the band in 1973 and have become a rock legend, their songs being played in all of the countries around the world. ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ is an iconic song you have definitely heard before if you like drums.
The song has two grooves: the voice groove, and the chorus groove. Even if it is an easy song to play, the grooves are very important and you shouldn’t get caught with the flow and underestimate their value. Try not to play above it, but relax and have a more laid-back approach. Try to internalize the rhythm and feel it from the inside.
‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ by Bon Jovi
This song has been released on the album Slippery When Wet in 1986. You could say that it had its share of influencing people’s lives for over three decades and it’s still a great jam.
When you say ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, you say money beat, that you can usually encounter in classic rock, hip-hop, and pop. There are many songs based on this beat, that it makes it essential for you to know and to practice it. It’s true that it is a bit complex, but don’t get scared, you will master it in no time with some practice.
‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes
What is the most addictive beat when it comes to rock music? Well, I don’t know about you, but most people have the same answer: the ‘Seven Nation Army’ beat. It is a must to learn it and it’s not that hard either because it’s repetitive.
The song has only three main sections, it’s not much to learn, and it is considered one of the simplest songs for drummers. If you are familiar with the four on the floor kick pattern, it will seem like a piece of cake. If not, then you should consider reading more about it, because it is considered the bedrock of many music styles.
‘Billie Jean‘ by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson is an icon that will live forever. ‘Billie Jean‘ is one of his most well-known songs and a great song for beginner drum players. As you may know, through the years, Michael Jackson has had collaborations with a lot of awesome and talented musicians and ‘Billie Jean’ is no exception. The drums are played by Leon Chancler, also known as Ndugu Chancler.
Learning how to play it, you will recognize the money beat, which, as we talked about before in the ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ section, is really important to master. So get your sticks and practice, practice, practice!
‘We Will Rock You‘ by Queen
By far the most iconic song performed by the British band, Queen, ‘We Will Rock You‘ is one of the easiest songs for beginners to learn. When you play this song, you have to make it sound like three strong beats. It is the simplest tempo to learn, even though the original version was constructed with double time, a higher tempo than the latest version.
‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams‘ by Green Day
If you are a Green Day fan, this is the song for you. The instrumental sections and some of the fills are going to give you an amazing feeling after you play them. Even though it is a bit intricate, if you put some effort into it and practice it regularly you will be able to master this song and your band members will be amazed by your progress.
Even if these songs seem very simple and they make you feel like you don’t have to have a complex technique to be able to perform them, they come with great value. You have to remember that the hardest thing to do is to compose a simple song. They have a great impact on the audience and every one of them became an icon.
You will have a great time performing them, even if you feel like you are not putting much effort into them. Over time, you will be able to play more complex pieces of music that will engage more of your energy and dexterity but remember, all simple things are beautiful.
Most of the time, when it comes to performing a song and passing emotion onto the crowd, things have nothing to do with the complexity of the composition. There are many technical musicians that don’t transmit much feeling to the audience, that’s why your attitude and inside feeling are the most important. You have to feel the song from the inside to be able to project emotion.
If things don’t fall into place from the beginning, it is important to remember to practice as much as you can. Practice makes perfect even for the most well-trained drummers out there.
It’s a great idea to start using a metronome. All drummers have to be able to use one and, if you are a beginner, it will help you a lot, keeping you on the right track with the pace. It’s important not to go very fast or very slow. And remember what we’ve talked about at the beginning, your most important role in the band is to keep the band’s rhythm and to have fun with it.
Regardless of everything we’ve talked about so far, the most important thing when playing music is to have fun. While hitting the cymbal, you don’t want to be stressed out that it won’t sound as you like, but this feeling will come to you only after long hours of practicing. These songs will give you a sense of accomplishment very fast and make you enjoy playing music in no time.