Course 12: Drums

Drums can emphasize a precise moment in a piece of music, they can drum a song forward to the next bar, provide a sense of space or an element of interest, and perhaps most importantly stir up the listener and rouse their emotions. Drums have probably been a staple of music since our earliest days as a species. Drums have been at the center of hip hop since before the term “hip hop” came to be. The now-ubiquitous American musical art form now known as “hip hop” started with looping break beats as music beds for MCs to rap over, and dancers to break and pop over. The drum’s role in the evolution of hip hop gave birth to multitude of ways for drums to be used across many different genres and subgenres.

This drum course will explain what makes an instrument “percussive,” the characteristics of sounds generated by snares, toms, cymbals, how they’re situated in a conventional drum kit, and how they’ve been used in hip hop production. We’ll then get into syncopation, kick drum patterns, breakbeats, ornamentals, swinging beats, laying, stacking, and more!


  • 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 will be able to use the techniques in their own production.