Ready to learn a new instrument, or just trying to find more songs for your repertoire? You’re in the right place! Exciting songs that are also fairly easy to learn are ten a penny in the world of rock and roll - it’s not all a mile a minute.
That being said, as you start to develop your skills you do want to challenge yourself a little, so this isn’t exactly a one-note per song list. Some are easier than others, but they’re all aimed at beginners looking to branch out a bit!
Picking out songs to learn is easy - stick to those with a tempo you’re able to follow, with a decent number of simplistic beats and fills respectively. Once you’ve mastered those all-important basics, you’ll be ready to take on the tough stuff.
So without further ado, here are ten new tracks for a fledgling drummer to try out, that won’t have you wincing in pain but will definitely offer a challenge at times. In no particular order…
Top Ten Easy Songs For Beginners To Learn
1. Come As You Are - Nirvana
Dave Grohl might be famous for some seriously impressive drum-smashing, but his rhythmic beats in the background of one of Nirvana’s best-known songs are ideal for a beginner to take on.
It gets pretty fast, but once you’ve got the pattern down you shouldn’t have any problems - some advice would be to practice without the backing track alongside you, so you can figure out tempo before you attempt to match the other instruments.
Youtube Tutorial: The Drum Professor - How To Play Come As You Are by Nirvana
Sheet Music: Come As You Are - The Drum Ninja
2. Let It Be - The Beatles
As the final single they recorded before Paul McCartney left the band, Let It Be is a fan favorite, and it also happens to be one of the easiest songs to learn on drums. Ringo Starr is an exceptional player, but this is a slow and steady beat.
You’re following the same pattern for the majority of the song, switching things up a little bit here and there, but there’s plenty of places to show a little bit of flair. Switching between the snare, floor and high fast feels so good once you get it!
Youtube Tutorial: Drum’s The Word - Let It Be (The Beatles) Drum Lesson Preview
Sheet Music: Let It Be - Online Drummer
3. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Despite the controversies surrounding his life and death, MJ certainly knew how to write and perform a good song! The strong, steady drumbeat behind Billie Jean might not be extravagant, but it’s extremely important in the song’s overall rhythm.
This is certainly one of the slightly trickier songs for beginners on the list, but it’s nothing you can’t achieve with some good practice! There are several Michael Jackson songs worth checking out for drumming newbie.
Youtube Tutorial: Stephen Taylor - Bille Jean Drum Lesson
Sheet Music: Billie Jean - Online Drummer
4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
One of Billie, Mike and Tre’s most popular tracks, Boulevard of Broken Dreams also happens to be one of their slowest and simplest. This makes it a great introductory song for any aspiring drummer! A repetitive riff is nice and easy to follow.
If you find that this one is a little too kind to you, and you’d like more of a challenge, you might want to check out Wake Me Up When September Ends. It’s still aimed at beginners in terms of the tempo, but there’s a little more challenge in it.
Youtube Tutorial: DRUMMATE - Boulevard of Broken Dreams Drum Cover
Sheet Music: Boulevard of Broken Dreams - The Drum Ninja
5. Highway To Hell - AC/DC
A rock and roll classic! Everybody knows this song and it’ll certainly impress your friends if you can bust out the melody on your drum kit. The tricky bit with this one is the several different cymbal crashes, each of which is slightly changed.
Don’t be deceived - the sheet music for this will make it look way simpler than it is, but there’s nothing simple about Phill Rudd’s talents! Remember: take it slow and steady and you’ll get there in the end.
Youtube Tutorial: The Drum Professor - Learn How To Play Drums Highway to Hell
Sheet Music: Highway To Hell - The Drum Ninja
6. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
Being a female drummer, Meg White has taken a lot of flack from the world of rock over the years, in particular for her “overly simplistic” drumming style. But how else could that gorgeous and memorable introductory riff be so powerful?
The reason Seven Nation Army and other White Stripes tracks are so popular is because they understand that a good song requires several key components. The rhythmic pounding of the drum in the background only adds to the momentum!
Youtube Tutorial: Dynamic Drum School - How To Play Seven Nation Army
Sheet Music: Seven Nation Army - The Drum Ninja
7. Song 2 - Blur
Another rock and roll classic, Britpop legends Blur have certainly got many tracks under their belt that are worth learning, but Song 2 is definitely the best to try your luck with as a newbie drummer. It’s recognizable pretty much instantly!
You might struggle at first with the beat present in the verse, but once you’ve cracked that, the rest of the song is essentially the same straightforward pattern. It’s really fun to learn actually, and very satisfying once you’ve got it down pat.
Youtube Tutorial: LearnSomeDrums - Song 2 Drum Tutorial, Blur
Sheet Music: Song 2 - The Drum Ninja
8. Live Forever - Oasis
Speaking of Britpop legends, we couldn’t mention Blur without giving a shoutout to their archrivals and Manchester mad lads Oasis. Again, there are countless tracks with some cracking drums to master, but this one is not so complicated.
Drummed by the Oasis original drummer Tony McCarroll, the song actually opens with a nice little drumbeat that is then sustained for the rest of the track. Fantastic for those brand new to drumming who need to gain a bit of confidence!
Youtube Tutorial: DrumsTheWord Live Forever Drum Lesson Preview
Sheet Music: Live Forever - Ross Farley Drum Transcription
9. Feel Good Inc - Gorillaz
Sure, you’ve probably never listened to Gorillaz and thought, “Damn, that’s a kick-ass drum beat!” but that’s because there’s just so much more to their songs! It’s a whole movie of production, from the vocals to the computerized looping sounds.
However, a great deal of their music is carried by a backbone composed of a solid drum beat, and perhaps the best example of this for beginners to take on is Feel Good Inc. A little trickier than the others on the list, but super fun to learn!
Youtube Tutorial: EZ Song Lessons Feel Good Inc Drums Cover Lesson
Sheet Music: Feel Good Inc Remastered - Play Drums Online
10. Another One Bites The Dust - Queen
Last but not least, it’s impossible to do a list of top songs for drummers without giving a nod to the work of Queen legend Roger Meddows Taylor. Again, you’re probably more familiar with the face-melting bass line of Another One Bites The Dust.
However, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as catchy and enjoyable a song if Freddie’s cracking vocals and Brian’s incredible guitar were not matched by an epic drum beat. This is certainly a song that you will enjoy learning to play.
Youtube Tutorial: Robert Birmingham - Queen Another One Bites the Dust Drum Lesson
Sheet Music: Another One Bites The Dust - The Drum Ninja
Drums For Beginners - Top Tips To Get You Started
Practise, Practise, Practise!
As with any skill, the most important factor in success is regular rehearsal. You need to make time at least every week, if not every day, to play the drums for a little bit. It’s important not just to rehearse what you already know, but to learn new things too!
The more you play, the better you’ll get and the easier it will be - once you’ve mastered techniques, they’ll be absorbed by what’s known as your muscle memory. Essentially, your body can take over, because it already knows what to do.
Check Your Posture Is Correct
There is no “right” way to sit and play the drums, but there are definitely several wrong ways! You stand a much better chance of playing well if your stool AND your drum kit are set up at an appropriate height for your needs.
You should try and sit so that your legs are pointing downwards and sloping a little, with a straight spine and upper back; from there, you can position your bass drum pedal and the hi-hat to be on either side of wherever your feet naturally go.
Learn How To Hold Your Sticks Properly
You might be surprised to learn this, but there is actually a correct way to hold your drumsticks - several of them in fact! It’s all about figuring out which one works best for you. The most popular method is what’s known as a matched grip.
Essentially, you hold your sticks in both hands in exactly the same way - the ‘fulcrum’ or the balancing point of the stick should be in between the index finger and thumb, with the rest of your hand gripping the stick firmly, but not too tight!
Construct Your Kit In A Way That’s Comfortable
There is no one way to arrange your drums - many musicians have their own personal set-up that works for their preferred drumming methods. That being said, there are definitely better ways to set up your kit than others!
Your priority is ensuring that everything, from the bass drum pedal to your cymbals, is within easy reach, so you’re not having to stretch and strain to reach them. For example, the snare should be sat nicely between your legs, just above the knee.
Get A Metronome And Practise Playing With It
A metronome works fantastically for learning to follow the beats of a song - this is a great way to not only improve your overall accuracy but rhythm, speed, and consistency in general. It’s like a little nudge in the right direction!
Start off slowly, around 50 or so beats per minute, and teach yourself simple motions like the paradiddle or stroke roll/double stroke roll set to the beat. Then work on getting faster, and try playing with your metronome in the background of songs.
Start Off Slow And Steady
We all want to be able to achieve incredibly fast and impressive drum solos right off the bat, but that’s just not practical. Quick does not necessarily mean good, so you should start by practicing everything as slowly as possible the first few times.
If you don’t start at a slower pace and build things up, you’re just going to sound amateurish - you need to let your ear pick up the way the beats must be performed before you can start playing them quicker! Accuracy is more important than speed.
The Drummer’s Kit - Tools You Need To Be The Best
Learning an instrument is by no means an easy feat - it can take months and years of practice just to master the basics, never mind actually learning how to write your own music after just playing everybody else’s songs.
However, there are certain tools you can equip into your arsenal in order to improve your chances of success. A drummer is nothing without their kit, but they also need several other items, such as…
Much like any other instrument, your drums actually need tuning, which is performed by the use of a small metal object known as a tuning key. It looks more like an Allen Key than anything else, but they’re small and very easy to lose.
It’s highly recommended that you stock up on as many of these as is affordable for you because you never know when you might need one. Put a tuning key in all of your jacket pockets and hey presto - you always have one to hand.
Sick of unnecessary ringing whilst you play? You need damper pads! Also known as Moongel, it’s essentially a sticky blue patch of goo that you stick to your drum heads (way less gross than it sounds) to reduce those unpleasant extra noises.
If you’re contemplating replacing your entire drum kit because it doesn’t sound the best, try getting yourself some of these first! It’s way cheaper than replacing the entire setup, and could just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Okay, so you can balance your sheet music on just about anything, but do you know how much easier your life will be when you have a sheet music stand to hold it for you? Plus, they aren’t even that expensive!
However, rather than aiming for the fragile and easily broken fold-down style, you should probably spend a couple of extra bucks and get the more robust model, or you’ll end up replacing it after a couple of shows anyway.
Sure, they’re long and difficult to lose, but they’re also notorious for sliding down the side of sofas and slipping into cracks they shouldn’t! Having a good bag or stick holder to be the designated place for storing them is a good idea.
Not only that, but they can be pretty pricey, and you want them to last for as long as possible! Keeping them safely tucked away in their holder will ensure they don’t get damaged in transit, ensuring they are fresh and ready for your next gig!
Also known as memory locks, these marvelous inventions can revolutionize how long it takes you to set up your drum kit for rehearsal, or a gig. Quite simply designed to work as clamps, they are attached to your cymbals or other hardware.
Arriving in a variety of shapes and sizes, you use a drum key to loosen or tighten them to your desired fit. All you do is set your kit up as normal, then attach the lock - once set up, you can use it in the future as a guide for where things need to be!
Even if your drum set was a gift, it was an expensive one - if you bought it for yourself, then you know exactly how pricey that is! Though they’re designed to take a beating, you should still take care of your drums and make sure they’re safe.
The best way to do this is by storing them in their own individual drum bag - there are ones available for all of the drums you can imagine, so be sure you get the right ones you need! It’s probably cheaper to buy them in bulk as a set, too.
Good Quality Headphones These are not only for the sake of everybody around you, so you can practise your drumming without fear of disturbing anybody, but also to protect your own ears from just how loud drumming can be! They serve as ear defenders at the same time.
You don’t need to splash out and spend hundreds of dollars on an extravagant pair - you could even just get a pair of basic builder’s ear defenders if making too much noise isn’t going to be an issue. Just be sure to protect your fragile eardrums!
This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it will certainly stop you and your equipment from slipping and sliding all over the place.
Mark out your territory on stage or in the studio and make sure everything stays where it’s supposed to be with this handy rug!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is learning the drums hard?
Learning to play any instrument is hard! The drums in particular are no easier or more difficult than, say, the guitar or the piano. The more effort you put into learning and practicing your instrument, the simpler it becomes and the better you get.
Picking up the drums is very easy, especially right at the beginning. This can be very motivational for people who give up on things if they feel like they aren’t good at them - as an instrument, they are a very satisfying one to play successfully!
Did you know that practicing for just fifteen minutes to half an hour per day can make a giant impact on your abilities? It doesn’t even have to be a real drumkit: nowadays you can get yourself an electric one, so there’s noise to disturb neighbors with!
How long does it take to learn the drums?
Again, that really depends on how much time you commit to practicing! Given that the drums aren’t “pitched” instruments, in so far as you can’t hit notes, they can be much less complicated to get started with, so picking up the basics happens fast.
However, there is still plenty of information to absorb about reading sheet music, how to do certain rhythms and when to hit which drum, among other things. It’s not an easy ride by any means!
It’s difficult to give a full estimate for an individual, but on average it might take around a year to get to grips with drumming and become somewhat proficient at playing, and maybe two or three years, or even longer, to actually be good at it.
However, those estimates are based on somebody who practices at least a couple of times a week if not more: if you’re not playing on a regular basis and making a point of learning new songs and techniques, you’ll always stay stuck in the amateur stage!