Music Notation

Learn Music Notation in 3 easy steps.

We explain music notation in a simple, easy-to-understand series of 10 videos. We teach you how to interpret each note, count music, and understand which hand plays which note - the three steps to building control and learning the language of music. All of our videos have the highlighted music notation on the screen, and every lesson has downloadable sheet music.


"I found Drum Ambition to be the most flexible financially, and was not overwhelming in terms of what is offered. All of the lessons are nicely laid out and really easy to navigate.  The system tracks whether you have already viewed a video which is a helpful feature. PDF music sheets can be printed off AND music notation is on the screen while watching a video lesson, which is perfect."

Jodi - Drum Ambition Subscriber in the USA.

Want to dive deeper? Here's a full rundown of our videos on Music Notation.

MODULE 1: Lesson 1. basic notation. an introduction.

In this introductory video, Simon talks about how to understand the value of the core notes, and gives an explanation of the 4/4 time signature. We talk in detail about how to count the different note subdivisions and provide guidance on how to practice with a metronome. This is very important fundamental information, and is a must-view video in this series. The notation journey truly starts here!


MODULE 1: Lesson 2. Introduction to whole notes, half notes and quarter notes - including rests.

In this first notation video, Simon explains these three important note categories. We’ll also talk about counting, rests, and take a look at which hand is responsible for playing which note, which is also known as “sticking”. Also; we will discuss a “training motion” that will help you along the way. Simon also highlights the benefits of practicing at slower tempos using a metronome.


MODULE 1: Lesson 3. An introduction to 8th notes.

Now that you are comfortable playing with whole, half and quarter notes with your right hand, we’ll work on some 8th notes and bring in the left hand. We’ll start off with some straight-forward 8th note groupings, and mix them with some of the notes you learned in lesson 2. Nice and relaxed, one step at a time - the Drum Ambition way.


MODULE 1: Lesson 4. An introduction the 8th note rest.

Moving on nicely from lesson 3, this lesson introduces the 8th note rest. In addition to talking a little more about the “training motion”, we’ll give you various examples of how these rests work, and throw in some notation from the previous 3 lessons to keep everything fresh! You’ll also see individual 8th notes for the first time in this lesson - look out for the single tail!


MODULE 1: Lesson 5. An introduction to 16th notes.

Congratulations on getting through the eighth note lessons - now get ready for some tongue-twisting counting! In lesson 5, you’ll get acquainted with the 16th note grouping. Simon talks you through the counting and sticking, as well as mixing in some old friends from lessons 1-4. We’ll start nice and easy - no splitting of 16th notes until Lesson 6!


MODULE 1: Lesson 6. More popular 16th note note groupings.

In this lesson, you’ll discover some interesting musical phrasing when you remove just one 16th note from the grouping. These can also form very popular and versatile drum fills, so this is a great point to get to! We’ll also mix the new notes with previous lessons, and walk you step by step through the counting and sticking.


MODULE 1: Lesson 7. An introduction to basic dotted notes.

OK - so a little bit of math is needed here, but we promise to make it as pain-free and straight forward as possible. A dot increases a note value (or rest value for that matter) by 50% - don’t worry, we’ll show you some practical examples. It’s just another form of rest, and another tool in the box for understanding music notation.


MODULE 1: Lesson 8. more complex 16th note groupings, and an introduction to the 16th note rest.

By now you should be happy counting basic 16th note groupings. That means you’re ready to dive deeper! In lesson 8, we introduce the 16th note rest and talk about some common phrases that occur when we split 16th note groupings. This will challenge both your sticking and counting, but if you have followed the tutorials so far, you will be ready for the challenge!


MODULE 1: Lesson 9. An introduction to basic note ties.

Now you are comfortable with note value rests, physical rests and dotted notes (which effectively create a rest) it’s time to look into the fourth and final rest scenario - the tied note. There are some challenges ahead, but nothing you can’t handle if you play slow, count out loud, and make use of your “training motion”. If you are jumping in at this point, you might find this a little difficult - but if you have been following the previous videos, this follows on nicely.  Have fun!


MODULE 1: Lesson 10. An introduction to 8th note triplets.

Congratulations! You have broken the back of a large chunk of music theory. We round off the notation section on module one with an introduction to 8th note triplets. These will supplement some of the triplet based grooves and fills from the drumset video instructional videos 18 and 19. Simon talks about the need for a different sticking approach when playing these triplets.

Your drumming adventure awaits.