Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1

Uptown Funk was a huge hit for Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars, now it’s part of the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1 exam. Here’s David’s attempt at the Trinity Rock & Pop version of the song:

Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1 Drums

Here’s a few things to focus on when trying this song:

  1. The opening snare hits on the 4th bar need to perfectly in sync with the horns.
  2. The main groove of the song features the bass drum playing a strong quarter note pulse. This is very common in dance music. Be careful not to flam the snare and bass on beats  2 & 4 as this will kill the groove and no one will want to dance to your version.  Take time to practice the groove slowly and record yourself playing the groove – be honest with yourself, did you flam? Keep working on it until you don’t!
  3. Speaking of flams; we also don’t want any flams during the 3 bar build up fill after the breakdown. Work on getting your snare, tom and bass perfectly together while building the crescendo – and don’t speed up as you get louder!
  4. During the end of the song there is one drum fill on the snare repeated multiple times. Practice this fill with a metronome until you can do it with out any variance in tempo. This fill, like the earlier snare hits, needs to line up perfectly with the other instruments that are playing the same rhythm. Make it tight!
  5. The final drum fill is an over the bar line fill, meaning it starts in one bar and carries on throughout the next one. This can feel strange if you are not used to going over the bar line with your fills. Use a metronome and slow it down to 50-60 bpm. Count. Repeat until perfect. Slowly speed it up. Don’t panic!

This is a fun song to play and offers the chance to work on some skills that will help you play many other songs in the funk/dance style.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 1 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re still in the early stages of your drumming journey. You don’t have to take the exam to benefit from the book. The songs are great to work on & fun to play and will help to improve your drumming. In Singapore you can find the book at Robert Piano – Paragon Shopping Centre (and probably their other outlets). It’s also available from Amazon if you’re happy to pay the shipping!

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