Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3

Dancing in the moonlight was originally written & recorded by French-American rock group King Harvest in 1972. In 1999 Toploader recorded a cover version on their Onka’s Big Moka album and then released it as a single in 2000. The version presented in the Trinity Rock & Pop syllabus is closer in feel & groove to the Toploader version. Here’s my attempt:

Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3 Drums

This is a fairly straightforward song to play. The focus for this song is on the grooves and making people want to dance. There are only 2 drum fills in the song & it’s the same fill both times; I did add another one at the end of the solo section – there’s nothing to say you can’t in the score.

The chorus groove with its 16th note snare drum can prove tricky for some. There is no real direction on how to play this groove dynamically in the score. I elected to play the snare on beats 2 & 4 louder than the other snare drum notes. I’m not really ghosting these notes, but I’m certainly not putting as much emphasis on them as I am the 2 & 4 backbeat. This helps to create a bit more movement in the groove and it doesn’t feel as stiff or aggressive as it would if I had played them all the same volume. When practicing this groove, record yourself and try to get 2 consistent volume levels for your snare drum.

One of the things I enjoy about the Trinity Rock & Pop syllabus is that at the higher grades they allow you to make your own choices on what to play. There are large sections of this song where you are told to “continue in a similar manner”; I ran through this song a few times and every time I played these sections slightly differently. If you are taking the exam,  I would encourage you to just play what you feel at the time during these sections. Don’t try to nail down exactly what you want to play as trying to remember it note for note in the exam will just add to your stress. Just let the beat flow out of you & stay in time. Listen to my version, the original version and other versions out there on youtube to get some ideas. Don’t be afraid to change it up a little bit, sticking to just the basic groove is a bit boring and I think the examiner would rather hear you do something a little different – as long it’s within the style of the song.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 3 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 18 months to 2 years into your drumming career. 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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