New Orleans Second Line Drumming

Second line drumming is a great way to work your chops and perfect your timing!

New Orleans is well known as a melting pot of music styles.  The French Quarter has produced the foundation for great jazz, blues, funk, R&B, and many other groove-based styles of music.  The most popular style of music associated with New Orleans is second line.  Second line drumming is a loose style of drumming that sounds simple, but is very complex.  Professional drummers that have a solid second line beat are renowned for their timing and deep groove.  I found a few videos that explain some second line patterns and feature great performances of classic and funky second line variations.  Watch, listen and enjoy the videos!

The first video features a second line drum fill lesson that explains some of the background of this great style of drumming.  Check it out at

Professional drummer Herlin Riley provides some classic second line drumming in this next video.  He is accompanied by bass, piano and trumpet for a great second line groove.  Check it out at

Professional New Orleans drummer Terence Higgins features some of the funkier second line grooves in this next video.  He even includes the Gospel Pocket Pack on his drum kit, which features a tambourine, wood block, and cowbell.  Check it out at

The last video I’ll leave you with comes from Peter Erskine.  Erskine is a professional drummer with an impeccable groove and a very musical approach to the drums.  See and listen to his a New Orleans solo at

Second line drumming is extremely groovy and it takes time to really get the rhythms down.  Once you put some practice into this style of drumming, new options will come to you in any style of drumming.  I hope you enjoyed these videos and got some new ideas from them.

Stay tuned for more!


Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Chris,

    these guys are smooth! Thank you for sharing this and posting the previous lessons too! Good Stuff man!

    I started drumming at 9. I really wanted to learn hand drumming but where I lived and the times that wasn’t gonna happen so i learned traps – and played in bands – and stayed sane. And now
    at 60 i went back to hand drums – djiembe – and shakers. Discovered strong feel for shakerere parts etc. Drums is drums – life is a symphony of rhythms.

    I’ll keep listening – you keep drumming!


  2. Sounds like a deal Robert! 🙂 Talk to you soon.

  3. Edwin Arocho

    Really inpiring videos. that’s where those grooves come from.

  4. Brian Cobb

    Chris, Thanks for all the free info. I have been playing drums all my life. I play in my church’s Worship team and this gave me some great ideas to use with them. Thanks again for all the tips…