If you are new to the world of drumming and you are looking for a way to expand your skills, then learning to play songs is a great way to do this.
But there are millions of songs to choose from.
How can you be sure that the song you want to learn to play matches your skill level?
Therefore, there is a balance between playing songs that are easy and playing songs that sound good.
The balance helps you become a better drummer because by picking a song to learn that you enjoy playing means that you maintain your motivation.
To start with, make sure all the songs you pick have a slow tempo, with simple beats and fills.
They allow you to master the basics of drumming first.
This gives you a good foundation upon which to tackle more advanced beats later.
And don’t think that just because a song is easy to play it makes it a terrible song.
Less is more when it comes to drumming.
And, as everyone good drummer knows, you must always work with other band members to get the most out of your songs anyway.
This means letting other band members show their skills.
You should sit back.
It means that you don’t need to show all your drumming skills to have a solid performance.
Here’s my list of the best songs for every beginner drummer to learn that will keep you motivated, and they are songs that you will enjoy learning to play.
Once you have mastered these you should be able to tackle more advanced songs based on the songs that you like.
I’ve also included some additional helpful drumming tips for beginners at the end of the article.
They may sound like common sense when you read them, but you’d be amazed at how many beginner drummers don’t follow them.
Muse – Starlight
I am not that big a fan of Muse.
But when it comes to songs that are great for learning to drum, I had to add this.
After all, they have many songs that are complex to play on the drums.
If you have seen any of their live shows, then you’ll have noticed that Dominic Howard does play impressively.
But the song ‘Starlight’ is not that hard to play.
It appears on the ‘Black Holes & Revelations’ album.
Fans of Muse will know that this album signaled a shift in styles.
Learning to play this song consists of learning a few simple beats and fills.
That’s all there is to it.
A simple song to learn that’s great if you are a Muse fan.
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
If you are a fan of metal music, then you will know Metallica.
But usually drumming in metal songs is fast, furious, and aggressive.
Not stuff that a beginner drummer would usually be able to handle.
But this song changes that.
Many of Metallica’s songs are quite easy to play on drums once they started to slow down their music!
This includes songs from The Black Album, Load and Reload albums.
Lars Ulrich inspired an entire generation of metal drummers with his skills.
And now many of them have even managed to surpass him.
So, as a beginner drummer, make sure you follow the album track version of Metallica’s songs.
This is because the Metallica drummer often improvises on live tracks.
‘Nothing Else Matters’ is a great ballad to start with.
It has a pretty steady tempo, and even the beat is simple enough.
It has simple fills which makes the song great for a beginner and they sound amazing.
Once you learn these you can use them in other songs too.
Another epic Metallica song that is surprisingly easy to play on the drums is ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’.
Apart from these two, the remaining Metallica songs are too advanced for beginners.
This is due to the tempo or their use of two bass drums (double kick).
U2 – Bullet the Blue Sky
The drummer of U2, Larry Mullen, is well known for putting a lot of energy into his drumming.
This means that the drumming on U2 songs often sound more complicated than it is.
And a perfect example of this is ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ which is why I added it to my list.
It has very simple beats and even though it may sound too fast and too complex it’s easy to get to grips with.
This is a great song to learn if you are a fan of U2.
And with 14 studio albums, you have a ton of other songs to learn.
Queen – Another One Bites the Dust
Again, I included this song because it’s a great song, but it’s also fantastic to learn drumming.
It’s one of the most popular rock songs of all time and everything in the song is so simple.
Everyone knows the fantastic bass riff, it’s simple, and backed up with simple drumming that you’ll enjoy playing.
This is one song where, if you listen, you’ll notice that the same beat is in the entire song, with just a few easy fills in places.
It’s a great song to listen to and if you are learning to play the drums then you need this song in your collection.
Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
I’m upping the tempo by adding this to my list.
But it is a great song!
Back in 1986, this was the most famous song released by Bon Jovi.
It has a powerful, if uncomplicated drum line, making it a great song to drum to.
In this song, Tico Torres was the drummer.
He adds some pop-rock flair to what is otherwise a superb song.
This song is also rockier than other songs on my list.
The intro and verses are easy to handle, just drum bass, hi-hat, and snare to play it.
With a couple of fills on top.
In the chorus and middle section, you may think that some of the beats sound complicated.
But you must listen to the bass rhythm.
It remains the same and has a couple of nice cymbal kicks.
That’s all you will have to add.
The Beatles – Let It Be
Ringo Starr is a drummer who has had a massive influence on the world of drumming.
So, I have included one of The Beatles' most iconic songs on my list.
There are many other songs by The Beatles that are easy to play.
After all, Ringo Starr’s drumming skills were always solid, just not spectacular.
‘Let It Be’ has a steady tempo and an easy beat.
It also has easy fills which make it perfect for a beginner to learn.
The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army
Many people think that the drum track on this song is too simplistic.
Maybe that’s why Meg White, the drummer, received a lot of criticism.
But can you imagine this track sounding the same if the drumming was more complex and intricate?
Most songs from The White Stripes have very simple drumming.
So, adding this song to the list was my idea of a no-brainer.
And this is the band’s most famous song.
The beat is super simple, combined with that famous underlying riff makes it a great song to learn for beginners.
AC/DC – Highway to Hell
I have added another classic rock song to my list that everyone loves.
It’s one of the band's most famous songs and like all other songs from AC/DC, it’s simple to play on the drums.
This applies to a variety of instruments, not just the drums.
So, if you are learning guitar, or bass, or drum, you can use this single song to learn to play all the instruments.
Phil Rudd, the drummer of AC/DC, delivered an iconic yet simple drum pattern for this song.
It has strong beats and clear fills.
When you watch him play this song it looks quite basic.
His playing is characterized by beats that are mostly bass drum and snare combinations.
Even so, it sounds amazing and is a song that you will want to play for a long time.
Nirvana – Come as You Are
The ‘Nevermind’ album introduced grunge to the masses.
And ‘Come as You Are’ has become a staple song for learning guitar, thanks to its catchy guitar riff.
It’s that riff that will keep you interested in learning this song, along with the basic drumming.
In fact, like in most Nirvana songs, Dave Grohl didn’t complicate anything at all.
That’s why this is a great song for learning to drum.
Everything in the song is clear enough, so much so that beginners should be able to handle it.
There are two main sections to this song.
Verses rely on a combination of a bass drum, snare, and ride cymbal.
For the chorus, things get a little more complicated.
It includes tom-toms.
But their transition is easy enough to spot even for beginners.
Coldplay – Yellow
This is a classic Coldplay song that everyone knows.
It’s also a great song to learn to drum to.
It’s played at a slow tempo and has a steady beat.
Beginners will enjoy playing this because it won’t take long for you to pick it up and play it properly.
The songs above are all great if you are learning to play the drums.
They are also songs that everybody has heard, and everyone knows.
Because you are no doubt familiar with them it makes them easier for you to learn to play.
Every beginner drummer should pick songs that match their music preferences.
But sometimes it is good to mix up styles a bit and challenge yourself.
By starting to learn to play the drums by combing the songs in my list you will get a solid foundation in how to play the drums.
But let me give you all a few extra tips to help you on your journey.
Make sure that when you start to play the first few songs, don’t rush.
Take your time and don’t go too fast.
After all, it is easier to drum to slower songs than to pick your favorite song that sounds great but may be too complicated to learn to begin with.
Make sure also that any song you choose to learn is not too complicated.
There is nothing worse than becoming demotivated because your song is too complicated to learn.
Don’t lose hope.
Pick songs to learn that have easy straight rhythms and simple fills and you’ll be fine.
Make sure you only use one kick drum pedal.
Complicated tracks often feature double kick drum pedals.
This is not suitable for beginners.
Learn the basics of handling a single kick drum pedal and hi-hat before increasing your workload and adding another.
Lastly, if you are learning drums and you don’t want to disturb the neighbors, get an electronic drum kit.
They are easy to use, quiet, and are a great way for you to learn drumming without getting any noise complaints.
Hopefully, this list will help you improve your drumming and help you on your way to being a better drummer.
Showing you that learning how to play the drums can be fun and challenging and these songs should serve as a source of motivation for helping you continue your learning through the more complicated songs, without taking away any of your enjoyment.