At the Initial exam, you can learn about coordinating the bass and snare drums and how to play a groove. You’ll perform three songs and choose your Session skill – Improvising or Playback.
Choose your songs from our song list, including one of the Technical focus songs that develop particular skills. There’s an option for you to play your own cover version of a song or, if you’re a songwriter, one of your own songs.
You’ll find more information about how the exam works in the syllabus.
The Initial Drums songbook includes everything you need for the exam – sheet music for six songs, performance tips, technical support and guidance on Session skills, together with a CD of demo and backing tracks. If you want to buy individual songs, choose them from the list below.
An alternative song for Initial Drums is available now - Supersonic by Oasis
Accenting the crotchets on the beats 2 and 4 of the bar
Co-ordinating the bass and snare drums
Playing a driving 8th note pattern with accuracy
How to play a cross-stick in the right hand on beats 2 and 4
Players choose Playback or Improvising.
You’ll perform some music you haven’t seen or heard – you can sight-read from a song chart or play by ear from an audio track, or both.
You’ll be given a song chart with chord symbols and song style and will improvise over a backing track.
Songs: And The Cradle Will Rock, Black Betty, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Days, I Am The Music Man, I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Real songs. Real skills. Real progress.
'Imagine you’ve just walked on stage [with] 20,000 people screaming your name.'
Improvisation is a key skill for contemporary musicians. Many of the best tracks you hear came from studio improvisation sessions.