What is drums programming?
The whole process of the using MIDI notes to put a set of drums samples together and make a beat is called drums programming which can categorize it in realistic (also known as the acoustic) and unrealistic (aka electronic) beats, depending on what kind of music and what genre you're programming this beat for. I assume the names are pretty clear and don't need to mention which one is for which type of music. But you always can also combine the genres for example if your song is filled with synthesizers and other non organic sounds, you can try adding an acoustic drums beat and see how it works. Even sometimes if your main beat is all about electronic elements, you can blend some of acoustic drums elements and blend it in for certain drum instruments like high hats or cymbals, or also you can (for example) layer your electronic bass drum with an acoustic kick to add some of that organic feel to it.
When you are up to make an acoustic drums loop, you should consider certain "laws".
- Don't over-process each individual instrument separately and let your process to be mostly on the whole drums bus channel.
- Keep it realistic. For example, it's almost impossible for most of drummers to play 1/64th notes on drums! So it's better to avoid such things in your programming as it would make your beat sound unrealistic. Or as another example, it's impossible for any drummer to play snare and toms and open hats at the same time unless the drummer has 3 hands or more!
- Use the right samples. If you want your MIDI drums line to sound like a real drums, it's usually not a very good idea to use electronic drum samples and then try to push them to sound like a real drums!
- Don't be all quantized! One beautiful thing about using actual drums in a song is that slight shuffled feel as it's a human playing the notes not a machine, so sometimes it goes a bit off beat and it's not a problem at all, in fact it's a part of the beauty of drums. So even if you draw the notes in your software, sometimes you can make them slightly off beat to have the realistic messy sound.
Of course the world of programming music and drums each are so big and complicated that for proper explanation of how to program drums beat need to write a book, but these were a few useful tips. And the most important part will be practicing.