A Free Online Virtual Drum Set with Interactive Lessons for Beginners
The DrumQuick Emulator is a browser-based software that will teach you your first basic drum beat. Once you are comfortable playing this first beat, you can then begin to craft it into new and more advanced beats.
What You Will Need
- A Keyboard
- A Bass Drum (Kick) Floor Device (details in the next section)
- Use your mouse
- Use a spare mouse
- Use a spare keyboard
- Speakers or Headphones
- A Browser with Low Web Audio Latency
Bass Drum (Kick) Floor Device
This was the tricky part for creating this program. It is essential that you use your right foot to control the bass drum kick. This is how you will build your muscle memory for playing the basic beat on a real drum set. I wanted to make it as painless as possible, and so there are a few options:
1.) Use a Spare Keyboard
From my testing, this is the best option. Just a cheap keyboard to plug in and set on the floor. The latency is great and there's really no additional work to set it up since the space bar is large and easy to hit.
2.) Use a Spare Mouse
Using a mouse requires some rigging (details in the next section), but it works. Using a spare mouse instead of your main mouse is slightly better because you can still use your main mouse for the emulator controls.
3.) Use Your Mouse
Again, using a mouse requires some rigging (details in the next section). If you have none of the above options but want to get started right away, no problem. Follow the tips below to rig up your mouse. The emulator has hotkeys available for interacting with the controls. The list of hotkeys is available in the Help Menu in the emulator.
4.) Use a USB Floor Pedal
Oddly enough, this was the worst option (I assumed it would be the best). I've tried three different floor pedals and they all shared the same issues. First, and most importantly, the latency was too high. It's very, very important that the drums play as instantly as possible. Second, they each sent a different random key, and it was not easily configurable (you'd need to download extra software).
You could try just setting the mouse on the floor and try clicking the left mouse click with your foot, but during testing I experienced a couple issues with this approach. First, it's a little frustrating to click the mouse button with your foot or toe. Second, the mouse moves around, eventually moving out of the emulator area (which stops it from activating the bass drum kick). My hacky rigging tips:
You can improve the ease of clicking the mouse button with your foot by taping a stiff, long object to it. It also helps if the object is a bit wide. Some ideas:
- A pen
- Two pens
- A popsicle stick
- Two popsicle sticks
- A small comb
- A small ruler
... You get the idea.
If the mouse is moving around too much, you can solve that by simply putting a piece of tape on the bottom of the mouse so the sensor stops working.
The Basic Beat
The heart of this program is the "Basic Beat". It is the default beat selected in the emulator and it is where you should spend the majority of your time. You should practice this beat until you can:
- Perform it smoothly
- Perform it with good measure (timing)
- Perform it without having to think about it
- Perform it without getting tripped up
After some time, once you've built your muscle memory for this basic beat, you will notice that it is easy to build new beats from it.
I've had much success in helping people get started playing the drums by describing it like this:
High hat and bass drum at the same time, high hat by itself, high hat and snare drum at the same time, high hat by itself. Repeat.
Using The Emulator
The emulator has only three drum kit components. This is optimal for getting started, and it is all you will need to work with starting out.
1.) The High Hat
The high hat is the yellow component on the left. Control this with the "H" key using your right hand.
2.) The Snare Drum
The snare drum is the blue component in the middle. Control this with the "S" key using your left hand.
3.) The Bass Drum (Kick)
The bass drum (also referred to as a kick drum) is the large pink component on the right. Control this using your right foot (instructions in previous sections above).
1.) Demo Mode
Click "Play/Stop" to toggle listening to the selected beat (at the selected BPM (beats per minute)). This is helpful for listening to the beat to hear how it should sound.
2.) Lesson Mode
Click "Lesson" to toggle an interactive lesson mode for the selected beat. Green dots will indicate which drum components you should hit. There is also an indicator in the Drum Tab view at the top of the screen (details in the next section).
3.) Free Play Mode
With both Demo Mode and Lesson Mode off, the emulator simply acts as a free play drum machine.
The emulator provides drum tab for the selected beat at the top of the screen. Drum tab is a simple method to read and write drum beats. Examine the drum tab area during Demo Mode and Lesson Mode.
The emulator is pre-loaded with a few extra beats besides the Basic Beat. They serve the purpose of showing you how the Basic Beat can be manipulated into new and more advanced beats. Also, after becoming comfortable with the Basic Beat, you may wish to try getting comfortable with the additional demo beats as well!
Click the "Help" button at the top right of the emulator to open up the help section, which contains the shortcut keys (hotkeys), as well as a link back to the guide.