For a fortunate few, recognizing the pulse of a song is as straightforward as tapping a hand or foot in time. But if you’re struggling, don’t fret. This guide is here to help you find the beat, a crucial step in your drumming journey.

Why Recognizing the Pulse Matters

The pulse of a song is foundational for anyone learning an instrument, especially drums. No matter how fast or coordinated your drumming, if it’s out of time, it’s useless. So, as you progress in your drum lessons, identifying the pulse becomes paramount.

Key Definitions

Starting with the Snare Drum

In many popular songs, the snare drum is played on counts 2 and 4. Take “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, for instance. The song starts with a drum beat usimng the kick, snare, and hi-hat. The kick produces a deep ‘thud’ on beat 1, followed by the snare’s sharp ‘crack’ on beat 2. This pattern repeats for beats 3 and 4. The hi-hat, a lighter ‘chick’ sound, plays at double the speed, counted as 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +.

Identify the snare, count 2 and 4, and then slot in 1 and 3 for the kick drum. If you can maintain this count and align it with the kick and snare, you’ve nailed the pulse.

Songs to Practice With

The first three songs share similar beats with “Billie Jean.” “Seven Nation Army,” however, starts with kick drums on all four counts, making its pulse perhaps the easiest to hear.

What’s Next?

Once you’re comfortable with songs where the drum beat mirrors the pulse, it’s time to dive into your music collection and challenge yourself with tracks where the drums add extra notes or deviate from the pulse. As you practice with your favorite songs and continue with your drum lessons, recognizing the pulse will become second nature.

Drum Lessons in Bristol

If you’re local and eager to delve deeper into drumming with expert guidance, click here to book a complimentary drum lesson. Or, if you prefer self-study, explore our shop for the drum sheet music of your songs.

Enjoy your practice!

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