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Reading Drum Notation

This lesson is intended to give you a quick-overview of all the drum notation symbols used on this website. You can think of this page as a drum-key or legend for all the different drum set voices that you play within beats, fills, and solo patterns. You can refer back to this page if you are ever uncertain about what is to be played within certain sheet music exercises.

Note: Each measure includes four quarter notes that repeat the symbol used to notate various drum set voices. Keep an eye on the vertical position and note-shapes. They are the main differences between symbols.

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Use this lesson in conjunction with the lessons on counting quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets, thirty-second notes, and rests if you want to master the ability to sight-read drum notation. It's an extremely valuable skill to have as a drummer!

More Online Resources

If you are interested in becoming a better drummer check out these free resources by the same group of people who provide all of the content here at freedrumlessons.com:

Getting Started on the drums isn’t easy. This 10-part video series will give you the detailed video training you need to not only get set up for drumming, but also learn your first beats and fills and how to apply them to your very first song! Get the course here »

The Fastest Way To Get Faster is a 10-Day routine that will help you rapidly improve your speed around the kit. You will need to practice hard, you will need to stick with it, and you might need to push yourself harder than usual - but it's been created to deliver results. Get the course here »

Destupefy Your Weak Hand is a course to make your weak hand less stupid. If you are struggling to play quicker fills or grooves without sounding a little clunky – it sometimes means that one hand is lagging behind the other, preventing you from performing the pattern evenly and consistently. The exercises in this course were designed to close the hand skill gap as much as possible. Get the course here »

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