Lesson Menu #1
Beginner & Intermediate.

Lesson Menu #2 Intermediate & Advanced.

Lesson Menu #3
Advanced & Ultra-Advanced.

Lesson Menu #4
Text lessons: All levels.


Intermediate & Advanced

Your future is waiting.




Discover the 'LOST KEY' for Unraveling ALL the mysteries of rhythm, and musical time.

This work is the crowning-achievement of my 50 year career, and it's my proudest accomplishment.

It contains the potential to help YOU change the face of modern music!

You'll love it! CLICK HERE to check it out completely!

You're in for a MAJOR surprise!



Can we teach rhythm
to pre-schoolers?


This is a very short course, designed to help adults plant the seeds of rhythm into children of nearly any age.







Downloads * Drummers Trivia * Drummers Chat Rooms * Rudiments *
Digital Music * Knowledge Assessments * TD Archives * Drum Set Buyers Guide *
Bass-Player Jokes * Assembling a Drum Set * Parts of a Drum Set * About HSID * Video Troubleshooter

Bill Powelson's School of Drums

LESSON MENU #1 (LEVEL #1): Beginners


BEGINNING DRUMMERS SHOULD START WITH THE LESSONS ON THIS PAGE AND FOLLOW THROUGH . . . ONE-LESSON-AT-A-TIME . . . to about the 11th or 12th lesson. After that, just study any lesson you may be interested in studying.

INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS should use their own judgement. If you know all the 5 basic beats by heart, if you are jamming routinely with all forms of music already, and if you are truly aware of their importance in all music styles, then study any lessons, on any menus, that do not seem too difficult. There's really no special order or lesson plan that needs to be followed, after the basics have been established. If you study the things that interest you most, you'll probably have more fun, and that alone will lead to increased success.

ENJOY THE LESSONS AND REMEMBER THIS ALWAYS: For every 15 minutes of lesson study, you should devote no less than 1 hour of fun jamming with recorded music. Jamming is the secret to success! There's no substitute! Without it, the lesson knowledge is useless! If your objective is to learn quickly . . . do not skimp on the jam-time.

ADVANCED STUDENTS: You probably already know what you need to study. Check out all the lesson menus and study everything that interests you.

If you are in doubt about where to begin . . . be sure to click on the 'Knowledge Assessment' tab (top menu) and read it, for additional guidence and help.

Skip this if you are in a hurry . . .
  • The Introductory Page My goal here is to convince everyone they should give drumming a try. On this page I'll explain HOW TO PRACTICE (WITHOUT DRUMS OR STICKS.) and you'll discover who I am. Skip this lesson if you are in a hurry. Come back to it later. Just start with DRUM LESSON #1, below.

Skip this too . . . if you are in a hurry to see definite results.
  • PRELIMINARIES: Holding the sticks, kicking the pedals and tips for lefties.
    Skip this lesson too, if you do not yet have a drumset. You may study most of this course without even owning a pair of drum sticks! I'll explain in the next lesson.


      DRUM LESSON #1
    • Drummers Aptitude Test: This page is a must for the curious. Prove that you can do it. Complete this page and discover that a career in drumming may be only five minutes away! You will come away from this one lesson with the potential ability to play 50,000,000 (or more) songs.


      DRUM LESSON #2
    • Reading Drum Notation Forget all your fears about reading music. You will be doing it comfortably in five minutes. This little bit of knowledge will get you through the more difficult lessons ahead.

      DRUM LESSON #3: Skip this for now . . .
    • Note Values, Rhythm Terminology and Symbols: This material is essential but somewhat boring and dry. You can move ahead without it! Do the best you can but don't let it kill your spirit. This material will begin to make more sense later, as you continue to study and play.

LEVEL #2: Intermediate



  • The Basic Dance Beats: If you can't name and play these five basic dance beat categories from memory, please take this lesson. This is foundation knowledge and it is extremely important! After memorizing these patterns you will find yourself playing along with nearly every song on the radio. Use the 'Song List' to help get the feel of each beat.


  • 3/4 Waltz: This BASIC DANCE BEAT is so special that it deserves a page of its own. The modern rock scene has very much ignored this potentially volatile rhythm structure, even though it contains over five-quintillion variation possibilities. If you want to innovate a few decades of new music styles, take a hard look at this dance beat category as we discover many ways to make it explode with imagination and creativity.

NOTE: Beginning drummers should follow most of the lessons below in the order they appear. Intermediate and advanced drummers, may begin jumping around through the lessons that interest them most. Be sure to check out ALL the lesson menus (See upper left margin.)


  • You were born with a free drumset! It's within your imagination! Learn to use it every day. Don't let negativity stop you from learning. Learn to practice the way ALL successful drummers practice (24/7/365) when they are not physically behind a drum set. You WILL NOT need a drumset to learn, once you are aware of this one tip.

  • The Worlds Cheapest Drumset: Do not buy a drumset until you are sure. Simulate a practice set instead, this inexpensive way.

  • How to buy a Drumset Tips on getting the most for your dollar when buying drums.

  • Tips on Tuning your Drumset: I contend that even the cheapest drums can be tuned to satisfaction. It is simply a matter of knowing what sound you want and how to get it.

    As working drummers onstage, with a band, we do two things. We play beats and we play rolls. That's it!

    "The drummer who dies with the most beats and rolls, WINS!" :)

    So now, we need to focus on rolls. We need to learn how to use them inside the songs we play. You'll discover just how easy it is, if you'll religiously study ALL the lessons in this section.
    There are classic rolls, and there are improvised (or ad-libbed) rolls we tend to create on the fly, in mid-song. You'll learn to do both types of rolls in the lessons below.

    Before we begin with the classic rolls and fills, I want to show you how to create improvised fills on the fly. This is the way we tend to do it most often, onstage. We tend to make-up or invent the rolls we need, as we need them in the music. All it requires is a little imagination and timing. The rest is made-up. You'll learn to play whatever seems to fit with the specific songs you will play. This is a text lesson, but what you'll learn here will eventually become a routine playing habit.

      DRUM LESSON #6:
      Playing Perfect Fills in mid-song, every time: ALL MYSTERIES SOLVED!

      DRUM LESSON #7: All about rudiments.

    • Rudiments, Rolls and Fills (Part 1A): Boring RUDIMENTS are not so boring when used as thundering fill patterns in mid-song. (Simplified for beginners!) This page contains links to the 26 N.A.R.D. rudiments, but I do NOT advise studying them directly from the charts. It's just too slow and boring. The trick is to easily learn to use them habitually, then use them every day as you play and jam for fun. They'll develop 100 times faster, my way . . . and you'll have ten times the fun. My way follows, in the lessons below . . .

      DRUM LESSON #8

    • 16th Single Stroke Roll

      DRUM LESSON #9

    • 16th Double Stroke and Paradiddle Rolls

      DRUM LESSON #10

    • 8th Triplets


    • Rudiments, Rolls and Fills (Part 1B): SPICE UP YOUR FILLS! Learn to use a FULL PALETTE of rhythmic color, at all times. This complete assortment of NOTE-VALUE fills, once memorized, will add variety to your 'imagination tool-box' as you jam. Here, you'll improve your reading/writing skills, and your improvisational (or jamming) creativity at the same time. This may be one of the most important lessons in this course. It's also one of the most difficult! Take your time. With my private students, I spread this lesson over a 4 to 6 week period. It'll be difficult to digest all of this in one sitting. Take it slow, but get it all, eventually. It's really about 6 lessons rolled into one. Watch the videos and memorize the fill names, and the way each one sounds. Be able to call these fills by name as you hear them in the music that plays around you every day. You'll be hearing these fills every where. They are the classics!

    MORE . . . Intermediate and advanced lessons . . .

      DRUM LESSON #12:
    • Popular Rock Variations: These are the foundation rhythms that have continued to dominate rock music styles for the past thirty-five years. You should do more than just learn them. Memorize and play these patterns until they are a part of your soul. If you are into pop and rock styles you will be using various forms of these patterns every day of your career. Master each, and commit each to memory. These beat structures tend to take on a myriad of names. Every musical 'click' will tend to call them by different labels. They are the basis of 'funk, fatback, boogaloo, and hundreds of other names. Whatever name is the flavor of the week, you will be needing all these patterns and various syncopated forms of them, a lot. Memorize them, then listen for them. They are out there . . . everywhere. You'll learn to recognize them in the music, AFTER you have studied them.

      DRUM LESSON #13:

    • Getting Your First Gig: Some of the most gifted drummers never graduate from the practice room. Maybe this lesson will offer insight enough to help guide you into the profession in the simplest, most practical way possible. It's easier to go pro than you might imagine if you'll only use a little logic and encourage nature to take it's course. (A little politics will always help too!)

      DRUM LESSONS #14 thru #92:

    • The complete Tempo Dispatch Archives, (78 drumset lessons): Take a break and just read for awhile, as you pound on the desk and repeat any of the patterns studied above. Pick-up on many of the tricks of the drumming trade as you repeat a pattern you need to memorize.
      These newsletter lessons were once sent out to a huge list of drumming enthusiasts each month. With the advent of e-mail filters and spam paranoia, I just stopped trying to beat a dead horse. It became a thankless, frustrating job, just writing then sending them. Now, you can simply read any of them at your leisure. At the current time there are 78 lessons here. Each will add in some way to your bank of pro-drumming experience and knowledge. Pick a topic and read as your interest dictates. There's really no specific order that must be followed here.

    LEVEL #3: Advanced

      DRUM LESSON #93:
    • Rock Syncopations: These patterns will put the 'fun' into 'funky'. You should have a solid feel for rock variations before attempting syncopations. Syncopations are really just more complex forms of the same patterns. Again, you'll use these patterns every day of your career!

      DRUM LESSON #94:

    • Rudiments, Rolls and Fills (Part 2): A little knowledge can take you a long way. Learn to extend and combine fills within a beat pattern or a song. This lesson, when mixed with a little imagination, will add polish to your style. Imagination is the key element!

      DRUM LESSON #95:

    • Beat the Monster Drummers to that Sought-After, Dream Gig: Precious tips and tricks that winners live by. This may be the lesson that will put you over the top.

    • MORE DRUM LESSONS! DRUM SET LESSONS #96 THRU #110. All with sound and video. Study drumset lessons E-M #1 thru E-M #14 now! These lessons are for the more advanced, but they're also crucial. This knowledge needs to be in every drummer's bag of tricks.

    Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.