The most important step for any drummer - from beginners to rock stars - is being able to hear where beat 1 is!
In this game, the teacher plays a random song, and the student listens with their eyes closed, quickly flashing an index finger at the teacher at the exact moment they think they hear ab beat "1".
You can learn to read drum notes, just like you read a book!
In this game, one student picks a random pattern of 8 beats - using either hi-hat, snare, or kick - while the teacher writes them on sheet music. Then another student tries to loop the pattern from the first student.
World's Slowest Drummer
Most people think that playing fast is harder. The truth is, keeping track of beats slowly is often much harder!
In this game, the teacher turns on the metronome for 10 clicks at a ridiculously slow speed, like 40 or 50 beats per minute (bpm), and students try to click their sticks together at the exact moment of each beat...so exactly matching the metronome that they can't even hear it because all they could hear was the click of their sticks.
Listening is the most important skill for any musician on any instrument!
In this game, one student uses their sticks to click a unique beat - something short and memorable, that they'll be able to replicate exactly if they need to. Then, another student tries to copy that exact beat on their own sticks. If they succeed, they get to make up their own beat for someone else to copy.
3 or 4
Almost all music has 4 beats that repeat. But every now and then, a song only has 3 beats!
In this game, the teacher plays a random song, and students listen for beat one while trying to count the beats between each beat 1, and guess whether the song is in 3 or in 4.
Guess The Speed
In this game, students learn a skill that even most experienced drummers don't have - the skill of listening to a song and being able to tell what speed it is.
Musicians use "bpm" or "beats per minute" to indicate how fast a song is. So 60 beats per minute is...? 1 beat per second! If you can count seconds, you can play at 60bpm!
Be careful though - almost no songs are actuallly that slow. Even songs like Make You Feel My Love or Hallelujah or Amazed are only down to 70bpm. So if you hear a slow song, guessing somewhere in the 65-85 range is probably a good guess.
If you double that speed, you get what I call the "dancing speed" - 120. If you hear a song at 120, it will be hard to resist dancing along. Just a couple examples are Dynamite or Call Me Maybe or Counting Stars or Love Story.
Once you can feel the speeds of 60bpm and 120bpm, it's much easier to guess the other speeds. Some song feeling medium-ish? It's probably in the 90-100 range. Something crazy fast? 150 or above might be a good guess.
While playing this game and guessing, the idea is to start to get familiar with the speeds, not guess exactly. The teacher will use a metronome to cheat and find the exact bpm.
It may help to use your body to tap along with the beats. Some songs feel "busy" when their actual beats are pretty slow. And some fast songs don't have much going on. So keep track of the beats with your body and guess the bpm based on that rather how busy the song sounds.
Make A Beat
This game is just like "Copy Cat" except students try to string together the various beats into one, long beat they play along with a random song.