A good drumbeat can be the backbone of a song. It can make you want to tap your foot or dance!

Backbeat drum patterns are the most common drumbeats found in popular music; from early Rock and Roll, to modern Hip-Hop and Dance music, and everything in between!

In this lesson, students created a backbeat drum pattern using GarageBand to learn more about rhythm and rhythmic notation. 

Learning Objectives for this lesson: 

  • Create a backbeat drumbeat.
  • Understand the rhythms used to create a backbeat.
  • Notate a drumbeat in different ways.


Cover from the Backbeat Keynote journal. The word ‘backbeat’ is created with steps from the Beat Sequencer in GarageBand.

This activity puts music creation first.

Students had an opportunity to create music as a way to better understand rhythm and how to notate this. 

Their creations were more personalised and had more musicality as a result of using GarageBand.


Screenshot from the Beat Sequencer in GarageBand. A backbeat drum pattern has been created, and annotated using Markup.


Screenshot from Backbeat Keynote journal. Coloured steps can be dragged to a drum grid to recreate a backbeat drum pattern.

Students created backbeat rhythms - and variations on these - using the Beat Sequencer. 

They also used audio recording to vocalise and tap out their drumbeat.



Screenshot from Backbeat Keynote journal. Backbeat drum pattern created by dragging musical notes onto a musical staff.

They used a Keynote journal to document the music they created, and then notate this.

🔗 Download the journal here to use with your students: 

🖇 Or, download the attachment below.


This lesson formed part of my Apple Teacher Portfolio as an ‘Explore’ lesson, but could be easily adapted and used as an ‘Apply’ lesson depending on the age, skill level, positioning of the activity, and has lots of opportunities for extension activities.  

I used this lesson with my 1st Year Music class (12-13 years old), but it could easily be used in different contexts — not just with a music class! — with other age groups too!


All Replies

Posted on September 28, 2022

Thanks for sharing this resource, Eoin! ❤️ how students can use the Keynote journal to document and share their learning.

For those looking to go a little further with their rhythm skills be sure to check out Chapter 2: Rhythm and Drumbeats of the Everyone Can Create Music guide available on Apple Books.


Chapter overview description from Everyone Can Create Music guide.
Page image from Everyone Can Create Music guide of a backbeat created with the Beat Sequencer.

Posted on September 29, 2022

Thanks, Erika! 😊 My students always enjoy this lesson. And, then we extend it to use in their other GarageBand projects, as well as learning how to beatbox and play this drumbeat at the drum kit! 🥁

Chapter two of Everyone Can Create Music is fantastic! I love the interactive drum widgets and the songs examples given for each drum pattern. 🎧 🎶

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