Music Producing & Engineering
Course 10: Drums

You can use drums to drive an arrangement forward, emphasize a specific moment in a piece of music, provide a sense of energy and, most importantly, evoke emotions from the listener. Long a staple of Western music and the centerpiece of hip-hop from day one, the role of the drums has continued to evolve along with music in general.

Course 10 will investigate what makes a percussive instrument, how snares, toms, cymbals, and the rest of the drum kit work together in modern arrangements, and the differences between a strong and weak beat, syncopation, and sequencing drum elements in your music in a digital audio workstation.

You’ll also learn about layering and accents, two options you can use to get more out of your drums without actually having to add more drums. You’ll learn about stacking, swing, accent volumes, fills, and other elements to give your drum tracks more oomph.

Exercises and activities include creating 8-bar drum loops using patterns, layering, and accents you’ve learned about during the course. You will use one MIDI channel with a drum instrument, layering two MIDI drum tracks and bounce them out to a new waveform, using different accents and styles, and finally, drum fills.

By the end of course 10, you should be able to identify the parts of a drum kit, interpret basic drum rhythms used in modern music, program drums in your digital audio workstation, and use drums and techniques in your own production.


  • 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.