Drum Lessons - Skill Levels
It’s impossible to know if a topic is going to be too challenging for you before you’ve learned anything about it. That’s why we have a skill levels rating attached to every lesson. This will help you select lessons that are appropriate for you. Just remember that this is only a reference for you. For example, you may qualify as level 3, that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t gain from level 1 or 2 lessons. There may be topics in easier skill levels that you’ve never studied before. It does NOT work the opposite way. If you qualify as level 1, don’t try level 3-5 lessons because they will be difficult to understand and frustrating for you. Here’s a breakdown of all our skill levels.
Level 1 is for all beginners and first timers. If you’ve never played the drums before, this is where you would start. If you have drumming experience but never learned to read rhythms and their notation then you are also at level 1, even if you find the playing material easy. Before advancing, you must have a good understanding of 1/8th notes and be able to play a variety of groove patterns and fills using this rhythm. Some basic skills with the Crash Cymbal are required and you should know at 3 basic rudiments. You should be able to listen to music and recognize some basic beats that you know already. You should feel comfortable playing along to at least three fun and simple songs.
Level 2 lessons introduce two new rhythms; 1/16th notes and triplets. You will learn how to play some basic grooves and fills with these rhythms. We will also continue exploring 1/8th notes on a deeper level. You will learn fills that include rests and are melodic sounding. There are new 1/8th note groove patterns that are more challenging to play. Advance your reading as well by learning how to follow repeats and symbols in musical notation. In addition to a few new rudiments, you will learn about playing accents at a basic level. You will also learn some new musical skills with all of your cymbals. There are a ton more categories and songs available to you in this skill level. You should learn at least 10 songs before you consider advancing. Let’s not forget what playing music is all about too…other people! Find some friends or family members who are musicians. Try playing music with them for fun, whether it’s a song or just jamming around some ideas.
Level 3 drummers are usually beyond the casual basis and more regular with their playing and practicing. These lessons are dedicated mostly to vocabulary and technique building. You should be able to play anything that is based on 1/8th notes at almost any tempo. In level 3, we’ll be focusing mostly on 1/6th notes and triplets. There are a ton of rhythms in the 1/6th note alphabet and you will be learning them all with grooves and fills. You will also learn some intermediate rudiments including rolls and lot more lessons on technique and accents. Before advancing, you should know at least 8 rudiments, understand all the rhythms that are derived from 1/16th notes, have good hand/foot co-ordination, a solid understanding of playing accents and be able to play in at least 3 different time signatures. Level 3 drummers should have some experience playing with a band or just a group of family or friends. There’s no better way to gain real-world experience than playing music with a group of people you trust.
Level 4 moves further away from intermediate and covers more advanced topics for those who continue to practice regularly and expand their drumming knowledge and skills. You need to already have a complete vocabulary of 1/8th, 1/16th and triplet rhythms because we’ll start to apply these rhythms in more advanced ways. You will learn a few complex rhythms like sextuplets and 32nd notes and how to use these rhythms musically. Groove patterns and fills will be much more complex and make use of accents and ghost notes. Many lessons involve 4-way co-ordination, so you have to feel reasonably comfortable using both feet in various ways. If you are studying jazz or latin drumming, this is where you’ll find lessons that go beyond the basics that can help you understand the music and prepare for an audition. At this level of experience you should feel pretty comfortable playing music with others.
Level 5 is the most advanced skill level on the site. Drummers who check out these lessons are generally well-rounded in terms of the styles they can play and have a more advanced knowledge of rudiments and technique. You need to have an understanding of all the common rhythms and their derivatives. At this level, you should feel comfortable enough to learn most songs on your own and have no problem reading any piece of music. These lessons will focus a whole lot more on improvisation, soloing, complex groove patterns, technically advanced fills, odd time signatures and more. You will learn some drills and exercises that will take your performance and technique to a higher level.