Grade 1 Beginner Beats


Along with the tunes and exercises from the Grade 1 book, at each grade there are certain beats that you are expected to know and be able to play confidently. These are assessed as part of the ‘Playalong’ section of the Unpitched Aural test and you also need knowledge of them as part of the ‘Style Recognition’ section of the aural test. At Grade 1 level you’re expected to know how to play Straight 8’s, 3/4 Straight and Basic Latin Feel. The below exercises will help you learn these. As you may have to play these beats at any grade level the exercises increase in difficulty from exercise 1 through to exercise 5. Exercises 1 & 2 are around Grade 1 level but feel free to work through all the exercises on each sheet!

Straight 8’s Feel – BAS009

Straight 8’s beats are really pre-grade 1 level and are covered off in ‘The Basics‘ section of the site. You can also download the exercises from here.

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3/4 Straight – G1901

This is a basic 3/4 beat or ‘waltz’. We start with crotchet (quarter note) based beats and progress to a faster hi hat or ride cymbal in exercises 3 onwards. Exercises 1 & 2 are around Grade 1 level.

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Basic Latin Feel – G1902

Here we look at some basic Latin beats. Note the crotchet (quarter note) based ride cymbal in exercise 1 while we play a quaver based tom pattern on beat 4 of each bar. Exercises 1 & 2 are around Grade 1 level.

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