Lesson 10: Drums

You can use drums to drive an arrangement forward, to emphasize a specific moment in a piece of music, to provide a sense of space or bubbling energy and, most importantly, to evoke emotions from the listener. Long a staple of western popular music, and of most music worldwide, drums have been at the center of hip hop from day one. Starting with looping break beats as music beds for MCs to rap over as they would hype the crowd, the drum’s prominent role in the evolution of hip hop gave birth to many new ways for drums to be used throughout an array of popular music.

This course will cover what makes an instrument “percussive,” the various sounds generated by snares, toms, cymbals, how they’re situated in a conventional drum kit, and the characteristics of their sounds and how they’re often used in modern arrangements. We will also get into what makes a beat strong versus weak, syncopation, and then we’re off to sequencing various drum elements in your DAW!


Be able to identify the parts of a drum set and basic rhythms used in modern music.
Be able to interpret commonly used drum rhythms in modern music.
Be able to program drums in their DAW.
Be able to identify each part of a drum kit and be able to identify how they are used in modern production.
Be able to explain the use of drums in modern production and be able to use the techniques in their own production.