Learn How To Play Drums To A Click Track: 4 Essential Tips!

By JohnPascuzzi

There is no denying that a click track for the drums is the love or hate of the drumming world. Both options are understandable to me; a click track can significantly enhance your playing, but it can also be difficult to master if you are not born with superhuman beat keeping.

What Is A Click Track For Drums?

What Is A Click Track For Drums
What Is A Click Track For Drums

Any musician may keep time to a set speed with the aid of a click track, which is a metronome. It comes in a few different varieties. As a drummer, you will probably either play along to one in the studio or play along to one at a live show via a smartphone app or other piece of equipment into which it is incorporated.

Why Is A Click Track For Drums Important?

It is crucial for drummers in the present day to play both in the studio and on stage while using a click track and in-ear monitors. The best drummers in the world do that; if you do not, you automatically place yourself in the lowest 25% of drummers.

You might believe that you play very tightly, but once you start utilizing a click track for the drums, you might be amazed at how much you can improve. Being the greatest drummer you can be will boost your chances of success because you do not influence anyone else’s behavior.

Your general sense of timing and rhythm, two crucial drumming elements, can be improved by practicing at home with a click. You would be a tighter player without a click after hundreds of hours of at-home practice, in addition to being able to play to a click more accurately in the studio and live. This is because you will unconsciously keep yourself in time, indicating that you are improving as a drummer.

Your band’s ability to perform better after incorporating a click track for the drums into band practice sessions. Drummers are the foundation of a band’s rhythm section, and when you can play precisely to a click, your entire ensemble will have better timing and sound tighter.

Playing to a click will make you sound much more professional to both a skilled and untrained ear. At a live performance, it can be simple to determine which bands do and do not play for one another.

Modern music also calls for more intricate live performances, with the drummer keeping the band in time to the pre-recorded music via a click track while backing tracks are played from workstations like Ableton and Logic via a laptop through the PA. This is a crucial component of modern live music performances, including pop, R&B, metal, hip-hop, and many other genres.

Your timing will be tested in the studio; if you cannot drum to a click (which you could well have to), you are in for a nightmare. Although 99.9 percent of your prospective audience will not be listening to your record for the feel, it is acceptable to tell the engineer that you want to record live as a band for the feel (oldie). Both of you and they want it to sound fantastic.

It would be best if you had tight-sounding music to compete with the big guns, and the process begins with you playing along with a drum click track. Inadequate final products, whether your band’s music or a session recording, will lead to a highly frustrated engineer, a demoralized you, wasted studio time, and probably worst of all, a disappointed engineer.

*** Read more: How To Teach Yourself Drums: Step By Step for Beginners

Play Drums To A Click Track

Play Drums To A Click Track
Play Drums To A Click Track

#1. Practice To A Click Track On A Practice Pad

You might be perplexed by how some of the best drummers can play extremely technically at a fast tempo while still sounding flawless. The secret is to repeatedly rehearse your fills to that click while drastically reducing the pace of the click, sometimes by more than half. Increase the tempo and repeat the process once everything is perfect and you can repeatedly play a perfect note for note.

You will not catch all the minor mistakes if you always play at top speed. You may omit a note or add one when you should not have. In either case, you can improve your playing at a slow speed by drastically slowing it down and playing to a click. You cannot play your parts well at full speed if you cannot play them properly when you play them slowly.

Learn a rhythm or snare roll, then play it slowly until the hits’ time, velocity, consistency, and cleanliness are flawless. Then increase by 10% at a time until you reach the performance’s actual tempo. To make playing at an average pace appear more straightforward, you can learn it at 110 percent and 120 percent.

#2. Play To A Backing Track With A Click 

The simplest way to get better at playing is to play along with a click track. It is crucial to keep your attention on the click and away from the instruments. The background track’s instruments should theoretically be timed to the click, but as a drummer, the click should always serve as your standard for timing.

The advantage of this approach is that it is a blast. Playing along with your favorite songs while learning to play in time to a click is the best way to do it. Find some backing tracks for your favorite songs and practice them repeatedly. 

There are several methods you can go about doing this. You might play along to a drum backing track with a click that you get from the internet (there are plenty to choose from). If you have a DAW, you can also import a backing track into it and use the click and metronome features.

*** Read more: How To Remove Drums From A Song? 2 Methods

#3. Record Yourself Playing To A Click Track

Record Yourself Playing To A Click Track
Record Yourself Playing To A Click Track

Make the most of your recording equipment, if you have any, at all costs. Go one step farther than the advice in the previous paragraph and record yourself performing to a click track.

Similarly, it will be straightforward for you to play along with a click track and believe you are doing it well. You cannot presume you’re doing anything correctly without hearing the audio feedback from a recording.

When you compare your performances, you should be able to tell that your timing has improved noticeably. You will feel inspired to keep going by listening to these advancements, which will also help you feel successful in your endeavors. Without this, you will rapidly become frustrated with this.

#4. Play To Just A Click Track

Pick a song that you can perform section by section, note by note, without the aid of a backing track. Set the song’s tempo by using a click track and playing it over your drumming headphones. Then play this music without interruption, simply till the click.

When playing a click track for the drums, pay close attention to your timing. Make sure your quarter-note cymbal and hat hit lock in with each click and that, if you’re performing a backbeat section, your snare lands nicely on beats 2 and 4 (or beat 3 for halftime). The initial beat, which typically has a kick at the end of every bar, is where you want to come around correctly.

Unless there are guide tracks, which are only there to show you where you are in the section/song and will be very rough, this is precisely how you will be tracking in the studio. As a result, once you master this, recording will be much simpler because you will have acquired this vital ability.

The Pros And Cons Of Drumming With A Click-Track

The Pros And Cons Of Drumming With A Click-Track
The Pros And Cons Of Drumming With A Click-Track

#1. Pros

– Editing is simple. When minor rhythmic performance errors are recorded while playing with a click track, they are simpler to fix. The engineer or producer can modify objectionable notes’ timing using the click as a reference. This is particularly valid when every instrument is recorded separately.

– Ease of multi-tracking and overdubbing. The standard tempo measurement unit is beats per minute (BPM). Everywhere in the world, 120 BPM is the same. Every musician encounters it as a universal aspect of music, which keeps an ensemble playing together and sounding fantastic.

The recording speed can be maintained by employing a click track, allowing other musicians to sense the song’s pulse and making it simpler to record new instrument parts in rhythm with and on top of previously recorded sounds. A consistent BPM eliminates another variable from the recording process for session musicians. Additionally, saving you time and money, it enhances the performance of musicians contracted solely to record an album or song. When a session musician can depend on the tempo, he is less likely to need numerous takes to record his part accurately.

– Simplicity of significant song arrangement adjustments. What prohibits a producer from making the first bar the last bar, or vice versa, if the first bar and every other recording bar have the exact BPM? Nearly nothing precludes it in the digital recording environment of today. By employing a click track, engineers and producers can completely alter the arrangement of already tracked songs. 

*** Read more: How To Read Drum Notation: Quick And Simple To Learn

#2. Cons

– Adhere to musical customs. The concept of click tracks did not even exist until the 20th century. Furthermore, no great rock musicians ever used clicks in the studio—surprise. None of the musicians on those legendary albums you listen to—Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or the Beatles—used them. Are you interested in alternative names? You do not need them. They are people you already know. They include some of the most well-known musicians.

– Add a more musical atmosphere. Clicks have occasionally been said to have the power to drain recordings of their musical vibrancy and vigor. Clicks may be annoying. A player may concentrate too much on tempo and not enough on the music if it is too loud in the musician’s headphones when recording. A recording could sound lifeless and flat. Additionally, if you use a click, you might have to fight the impulse to adjust every note to fit rhythmically with the beat, even after tracking an instrument with a vibrancy to its recording. It is time to switch off the click track if you ever realize that it interferes with your ability to hear the feel and melody of a recording. I hear music! Develop it! Do not get fixated on a precise, mechanical result. Measurement of your song that divides it into easily digestible microbeads without any consideration for musical taste.

– Save time in advance. In the studio, setting up click tracks takes some time—not a lot. This means you must accept that not much progress will be audible during the first few hours of recording each song. You must assess the advantages and disadvantages of the time issue because, in the studio, time is money. Here, you might save time, but you might waste it on overdubs.

– Save time while practicing. If you have ever tried, you know how challenging it is to play to a metronome. If it is not, it is because you have been using a metronome to practice for a long time. A lost musical art seems to be playing effectively against a click. Also, did it ever…? It will take some time if you want to do it well.

What Kind Of Metronome Or Click-Track Should You Use?

What Kind Of Metronome Or Click-Track Should You Use
What Kind Of Metronome Or Click-Track Should You Use

There are countless ways to “create” a click track, but not all are practical for drummers. The metronome must have an output so that you can connect headphones, speakers, or a monitor. Some drummers favor using metronomes without clicks, which simply flash at the prescribed tempo. However, because a blinking light lacks the sense of urgency that a click might have, this is not always the ideal technique to ensure that your playing is precise. There are metronomes explicitly designed for drummers that vibrate rather than click. Playing in time to these is a form of art in and of itself, just like with the light metronome. However, the ability to program complete setlists into some of these metronomes is a beneficial feature. So, instead of fiddling with BPM settings between songs when playing a full set or a significant chunk of a performance with a click, you may press a button to go to the “next track.” You can even do without other devices by using the metronome included in your recording program or a metronome app.

*** Read more: Birch Vs. Maple Drums: The Difference Between Them


Whether you are or not, you must begin working hard if you want to rank among the best. If you have been putting off doing this, don’t wait any longer. The sooner you start playing with a click track for drums, the faster you improve. Although learning to play to click on the drums is difficult, you have already made a start by reading this article.

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