If you want to produce music, you have to learn how to create beats on drum pads. For many styles of music beats are everything. However, this is not an easy science. You not only require superb gear, like a metal drum machine or a drum beat pad, but lots of free time you can dedicate to learning and practicing.
General Information on Drum Pads
A drum pad is a compact device similar to a keyboard. It provides the sounds of drums and percussion. Some drum pads can be played with drumsticks, others with fingers. When you press the buttons it triggers the enveloper generator that produces the sound you need. Some drum pads sense velocity. Many high-quality instruments already come with the MIDI interface.
Those drum pads that are played with sticks come in the shape and size of drums. They have a sensitive surface that reflects on every move you make. The surface is divided into zones. You have to tap a specific zone to receive the sound you want. It is better to learn their location in advance. Drum pads that are played with fingers remind of a simple keyboard. They are rectangular and lightweight.
Popular Ways to Learn Drum Pads
There are different methods to learn how to play drum pads you can choose from. Many players prefer to avoid classes, trying to do it by themselves. Here are the most popular of them:
- Individual lessons with the teacher;
- Online classes;
- YouTube lessons;
- Apps on your mobile;
- Games that teach you the basics.
There are lots of small details that make learning a drum pad harder than it looks. Some amateurs drop this idea after a few lessons. Others don’t even start thinking that they need to have a perfect pitch. While there is lots of improvisation involved in creating the beat via drum pad, the most important thing is still practice. You have to learn the basics and practice day after day. The beat making process normally looks like this:
- You open the drum pad;
- Start with one musical element or groove;
- After you find this perfect tone, add more sounds that match the first one;
- Step by step you are moving further creating the song, mixing sounds, adding more elements;
- You can add all the effects you want at this stage. Experiment with percussion, for example. Make sure that these sounds are compatible with the rest of the song;
- Now it is time to edit the sound. You can divide the song into several parts. Listen to each of them carefully and polish. The song must be tuned. It has to sound smooth and evenly, like one piece. If you still have the combination of sounds, you have to do more editing. It is ok to change the melody or sounds on this last step.
Best Instruments for the Beat
Here is the big secret of all successful tunes you may already know: change and repetitions. You have to make your song special and unique or you will lose the audience. People get bored really quickly to appreciate a two hours song without anything new in it. Yet, if you pick these options without repetition you may also lose. The audience has to catch the tune, find the structure in the composition.
And as the person who creates the music, it is your duty to find the compromise between these two sides of one song. Your main goal is to impress both professional musicians and non-musical random people. This compromise is crucial for beatmakers. Basically, you need to learn classical variations and experiment with them to provide something unique.
Musicians prefer to use only a few standard approaches. They add a kick, percussion sound of a high frequency, snare, bass, and a melody. You can place the elements in the order you want. Experiment with them, changing the places. If you want, drop some elements or repeat them in your song. The main condition is that these sounds must fit rhythmically. If you are still learning, try the drums first and add the melody and bass after. Sync the drum groove and rhythmic phrases.
Getting Better in Beats
It takes some time to become a musician. You may learn and practice without any time limit. The first thing you have to do is to learn the anatomy of the beats. And if you want to become a musician, you have to follow the next tips.
If you are looking for a shortcut here, you probably picked the wrong activity to get involved. There is only one way to learn how to make beats properly on a drum pad. And this way is to make lots of them. It does not have to be perfect at first. Usually, it sounds ugly the first couple of times. That’s ok. You have to keep practicing. Start with copying rhythms that already exist. After some time you will be able to improvise and find your style. Take the standard grooves and make them unique.
You will easily learn beats mirroring the popular tracks. They don’t have to be similar. They must be “soundalikes”. Take the beat you like, listen to it, and recreate it. Don’t copy the notes. Try to copy the sounds of instruments and the general atmosphere of the composition.
It teaches you to listen to rhythms and understand them. You will be more attentive to everything you are listening to. Practice it as much as possible. Listen to your favorite artists again and again. By repeating popular songs, you will reveal the secrets of success.
The best way to improve your skills is to constantly challenge yourself. Once you reach success in something, step to the next level and begin the whole training procedure. The most popular way to challenge oneself is to set the timer. This is a widespread learning practice. The simple beat does not have lots of elements. You will find up to ten in total. So, once you learn the basics, set the timer and create one beat before it stops.
It will teach you not only to think fast but act intuitively. This technique significantly speeds up the learning process. The number of standard elements is limited so it does not take you too long to learn them or to recreate them. This is why it is important to set the right time. Don’t give me too much time. However, it must be considered for a normal human being and not Flash.
This technique is similar to blind training. You don’t have time to look around. You deal muscle memory. Once you train it, you will be able to easily improvise in a blink of an eye. You will not need hours to learn something new as well, because the basics are already under your fingers.
Create your samples
It is unlikely that your first samples will be perfect unless you are some kind of musical genius. However, this is the best way to practice your skills. Compose and after that record the samples you want to add to the compositions. You will understand which style is the most suitable for you and what do you want to hear in the end. You don’t need databases of samples to make your own music. Try to build a track from the very beginning.
You may experiment with sounds. Record the doors shutting, cat scratching, slapping the chair, as long as it fits perfectly into the melody. Use everything you see around you and try to make the sound out of it. Once you find the tune, record it. Be creative. There is no limit to imagination. With already made samples you will not get the whole idea of music creation since you use already-made tunes.
Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. This road is not easy, but you chose it. No matter how hard it will be, keep in mind the original thought that brought you into the world of music. If you are not sure about the melody, don’t show it to anyone. Polish everything at first. And even if your audience doesn’t support you, don’t give up until you see the positive results.
No matter which drum pad machine you pick, you still have to learn to play it. Get used to it, don’t rush with anything. Make sure you did everything you could. And if you lose the inspiration, go outside or check out the concerts of other musicians to refresh your love to the beat.
The Secret Recipe of Success
You are probably here to look for a simple way to become a successful musician. Well, bad news for you, since there is no secret recipe. On the contrary, there are numerous recipes that may or may not work for you. Read the tips above, be persistent in your dream, don’t give up, practice, and challenge yourself. It does not matter whether you want to play professionally or just as a hobby. Beats help you to see the world in the new colors and understand music better.