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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Drum Fill Of The Week #82

Space: the final frontier and often sorely lacking in drum fills on instagram… but not this week!

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This week’s drum fill is a simple one. But simple fills are often the most musical ones. Most memorable drum fills are simple. Everyone knows Jeff Pocaro’s drum fill on Africa by Toto; it’s simple and instantly recognizable. Let’s get simple this week.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start looking at the basic rhythm of the drum fill.

Five notes & done

All we’re playing for this drum fill is five notes. Five notes spread across a whole bar. Hopefully you can play the rhythm above accurately. If not, get your metronome out, start at 80bpm and count the 8th notes out loud as you play the rhythm.

All that remains now is to orchestrate the pattern around the kit. I decided to emphasize some of the notes over the others. In particular, beat 1, the “&” of 2 and beat 4. This is a very common accent pattern found right across all different styles of music.

I emphasized beat one by making it a flam. The “&” of 2 and beat 4 are emphasized by hitting a tom and the snare together & they sound stronger than the “&” of 3 which is just a tom.

On the “&” of 1 I play the bass drum and a open hi-hat so the drum fill doesn’t sound so dry. I elected to close the open hi-hat on the “&” of 2. You can also try closing it on beat 2 or letting it ring throughout the whole drum fill.

The whole fill.

Taking It Further

As mentioned above, accenting beat 1, the “&” of 2, and beat 4, is very common. Here’s 3 more simple drum fills that accent those beats.

Simple fills

The first drum fill, you’ll probably recognize, is a classic that has been in many many songs including Highway To Hell by AC/DC and You Give Love A Bad Name by Bon Jovi.

The second drum fill keeps the accents from this week’s fill, but moves the bass drum around and gets rid of the open hi-hat.

The final drum fill reinstates the open hi-hat and adds another one on beat 3.

Now create some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #82. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #82

It’s Tom Tom Time!

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This week’s groove sees us playing a simple foot ostinato while the right hand plays a tom pattern over top and the left hand keeps the back beat on 2 & 4.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the foot ostinato we’ll be playing under the hand pattern.

Just The Feet

The bass drum is going to be playing on 1 & 3, the hi-hat will be playing on the off-beats. Get comfortable with this pattern first if you’re not familiar with it.

Now let’s add the snare drum on beats 2 & 4.

Add The Back Beat

The left hand joins our foot ostinato on beats 2 & 4. We’ve now got a good basic groove going and the right hand is doing nothing yet.

The final part is to add in the right hand on the toms to bring some colour to the groove.

Colour between the lines.

The right hand is free to roam around the kit. I chose a pattern I liked, what pattern do you like? You may not have the co-ordination to play this groove straight away. Take it slow and you’ll get there.

Take It Further

Try coming up with your own patterns for the right hand to play over top of the basic groove. Once you have a pattern you like, you can try the following ideas.

  1. Displace the tom-tom pattern.
  2. Change the foot pattern.

Here’s how you can displace the tom tom pattern.

Where did I displace the toms? Hmm….

My original tom pattern started on the “&” of 1 with the 2 sixteenth notes on tom 1. Here I change the tom pattern so it starts on the “&” of 2, then on the “&” of three and finally on the “&” of 4. This creates 4 different sounding grooves.

Here’s two ideas I played with for the foot pattern on this week’s groove.

Change the feet

The first pattern was my original idea for this groove with the hi-hat on the beat rather than the off beat. This gives a different feel to the groove.

The second pattern keeps the hi-hat on the beat and removes the bass drum on beat 3. This gives a little more space to the groove and allows the hi-hat on beat 3 to really add something to the groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s groove of the week. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Drum Fill Of The Week #81

This week’s drum fill is a tried and trusted drum fill that works great when you’re rocking out! Simple, but effective.

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This drum fill is what I’d call a partial groove fill. It keeps the 8th note flow going on the hi-hat until the “&” of 3 and then we release all the tension the fill has created by going caveman on the snare on beat 4.

Learn The Fill

This drum fill uses our old friend, the three 16th note group. Our group this time is bass, snare, rest. Here’s what that looks like played across a whole bar:

Bass, snare, rest, repeat.
Bass & Snare

Play this with a metronome and count as you play it. Get used to the three note pattern.

Next, we’ll add in the hi-hat playing 8th notes.

add the 8th note hi-hat.
Add the hi-hat.

You may find that the steady hi-hat makes the bass and snare drum pattern easier to play. Make sure you can play the bass and snare pattern with and without the hi-hat. It’ll give you a stronger time feel and allow you to use the pattern to create further fills.

Now let’s cut the bass snare and hi-hat off at the “&” of three and we’ll accent the last snare with an open hi-hat. You can let the hi-hat ring until beat 1 of the next bar.

stop the pattern on the "&" of 3.
Cut off point

Now we have a whole beat to fill. I opted for just 16th notes on the snare. You can use your creativity to come up with many alternate endings.

Add an ending.
The full fill

Take It Further

The easy way to take this drum fill further is to come up with as many variations as you can for beat 4. I’ll let you do that. You can also change how this drum fill feels by altering how you play the “groove fill” part of the fill. Rather than just 8th notes on the hi-hat, try some of these variations.

3 variations of the fill.
Change it up

The first variation just sees the right hand moving from the hi-hat to floor tom to give a different sound to the fill.

The second variation has us crashing together with the bass drum.

The third variation sees us crashing together with the snare drum.

All 3 variations offer a different sound and feel. Experiment with them and see which you prefer.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s drum fill. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #81

Let’s have fun with fives with this week’s groove.

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This week’s groove uses a five note group played between bass drum and hi-hat. We’re using the eighth note triplet subdivision in 4/4 for this week’s groove so we only have twelve notes per bar. That means we can only play the pattern twice in the bar and then we have 2 notes left over.

We did a similar thing with seven note groups and sixteenth notes on groove of the week #79. Check that one out too.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by getting familar with the five note pattern we’ll be playing between the hi-hat and the bass drum.

Five notes of fun

This pattern is to be played between your bass drum and your hi-hat (using only one hand). Practice just playing this 5 notes smoothly and evenly. Count 1,2,3,4,5 as you practice it.

Once you can do that, we can apply it to our subdivision and time signature – 8th note triplets in 4/4 time.

Five note fun in four

Set your metronome to play at 50bpm with the 8th note triplet subdivision. Play along with it. Notice what should be happening in time with the main beats. You may need to count the 1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5,1,2 in time with the triplet subdivision to start with. Try to progress onto playing it and being able to count the 1 puh let, 2 puh let etc….

The final step is to add the snare drum on beats 2 and 4. Be careful not to flam the snare drum with the bass drum on beat 2.

The full groove

Take It Further

When playing a five note grouping like this, it will only resolve properly after 5 bars (resolve: the first note of the 5 note group lands on beat 1). This creates a whole five bar pattern for us to explore and to try and play. You might not ever use the whole 5 bar pattern, but you may find some bars, that when looped, can create a useful groove.

Here’s the whole pattern.

Five bars of five note fun

Learning to play the whole pattern will be good for your concentration and co-ordination.

Once you can play it all, try playing each bar individually to see if they work as standalone grooves. Then try 2 bar patterns.

Bars 1 and 5 are the obvious stand alone grooves because they have the bass drum on beat one. For two bar patterns, I like bar 1 and 2 together and also bar 5 followed by bar 1.

Another thing I like to do is play a regular shuffle groove for one bar and then attach any one of these 5 bars as a second bar.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #81. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Drum Fill Of The Week #80

This week’s drum fill has a bit of an accent. Check it out!

Watch drum fill of the week #80 on Instagram.

This week’s drum fill takes a 16th note accent pattern and orchestrates it around the kit. The challenge here is to keep the snare drum notes nice and soft and to bring out the melody of the toms with the accents.

Learn The Fill

The place to start is with the accent pattern being used. Here it is just played on the snare drum:

Do I detect an accent?

Practice playing this just on the snare drum first and make sure you can articulate all the accents cleanly and that you have only two sound levels going on; one loud accented sound level and one soft sound level. You don’t want anything in between. Really try to make a big difference between the accented and non accented notes.

The next step is just to orchestrate the accent pattern around the toms to create the drum fill. Here’s my orchestration:

On The Move

The challenge with this drum fill now is to keep the snare drum soft when moving to and from the accented tom toms. If you get it right the tom tom melody will be easily heard above the buzzing snares. If you get it wrong, the snare will drown out the tom toms. Practice it slowly and carefully at first paying full attention to your sound levels.

Take It Further

Once you have learnt an accent pattern, you want to make it a regular part of your vocabulary. To do that, I suggest coming up with as many orchestrations as you can for the pattern. Here’s 3 more ways of orchestrating this pattern.

Re-orchestrate the orchestration

The first variation has us play the first half of the fill on the snare only & the second half incorporates the toms as before. This creates a kind of call and response between the snare and the toms.

The second variation sees us keep the left hand on the snare until the very end while the right hand accents wander down the tom toms.

The final variation sees all the accents from the first 3 beats played on a crash cymbal together with the bass drum while the final four notes are accented on the snare. This is an aggressive sounding drum fill and works best with two or more crash cymbals.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #80. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #80

This week we’re going fast & getting trashy!

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This week’s groove goes by at 200 bpm, that’s pretty quick! We’re playing a 4 bar pattern for the first time on this groove of the week. There are plenty of songs out there that use 4 bar patterns; Sugar by Maroon 5 and Just Give Me a Reason by Pink are two examples.

Get The Groove

This groove is one of the more simple ones we’ve done. The first 3 bars are all the same. However, the 4th bar features a syncopated bass drum and the snare drum goes missing on beat 2. Here’s the full groove.

the full groove.
The full, fast & trashy groove.

You might need to spend a bit of time working on the 4th bar and then transitioning from the the 3rd to the 4th bar before playing all 4 bars together. The question is, how fast can you play it and maintain bass drum accuracy. In the video I played it at 200bpm. Can you top that?

Taking It Further

Four bar patterns are a common occurrence in music. You need to be able to keep a 4 bar pattern consistent for a long period of time (possibly the whole song) without losing the pattern. This requires focus. Here’s some more variations on the this week’s groove. Can you play each one for 3 minutes without losing the pattern?

three 4 bar patterns
3 grooves to try

The first groove just moves the bar with the variation to the 3rd bar instead of the 4th bar. This gives a different feel to our original groove of the week.

The second groove just gives us a more common variation on the 4th bar.

The final groove is more complex and has more variation in it, using the ideas from the previous grooves. How long can you keep it straight?

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #80. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Drum Fill Of The Week #79

It’s time for some fast tom fun.

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This week’s drum fill can be considered a back beat fill. That is, it keeps the snare drum on beats 2 & 4 happening during the drum fill. This is a very musical way of playing drum fills and is especially appropriate for dance music where you need to keep the back beat constant to keep people dancing.

Learn The Fill

This drum fill is very simple rhythmically speaking. It’s just all the 16th notes played with single stroke roll sticking. Here’s the drum fill:

drum fill of the week
Hit those back beats

This is one my “go to” drum fills when I need to keep the back beat going. It’s fairly easy to execute quickly and it sounds good. Notice how the left hand plays the first tom on the “e” of 2 and the “a” of 3 to facilitate the right hand getting between tom 2 the snare drum easily.

When working on your own back beat fills this is something to bear in mind – how easily can you access the snare drum on beats 2 and 4. You may need to use sticking patterns or add in some bass drum to make it possible.

I played the drum fill in the video at 140bpm; you may want to start slower and then bring it up to speed.

Take It Further

Here’s 3 more drum fills that keep the snare drum happening on beats 2 & 4.

optional back beat fills
A further 3 fills

The first drum fill adds a bit of rhythmic variation to our fills by missing out the occasional 16th note.

The second drum fill adds even more space with the use of eighth notes.

The final drum fill uses paradiddles to create the fill – except on beat 4. Now create some fills of your own!

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #79. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #79

Seven is the magic number.

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This week’s groove is built on a similar idea to groove of the week #77. Groove #77 was based on a repeating 5 note pattern played between the bass drum and hi-hat. Groove #79 is based on a 7 note pattern played between bass drum and hi-hat. Let’s check it out.

Get The Groove

The place to start is with the 7 note pattern we’re playing throughout this groove.

7 16th note pattern
Seven notes of groove

Play this pattern repeatedly beween your hi-hat and bass drum to get used to how it feels.

Next we’re going to apply that to a 2 bar pattern. We’re going to apply the 7 note grouping over 16th notes. There are 32 16th notes in 2 bars, the 7 note grouping can be repeated 4 times with 4 16th notes left over. We’ll just play the first 4 notes of the 7 note pattern at the end of the groove.

Repeating 7s across two bars
(16×2)/7 = I hate math

Take note of where each 7 note group starts within the two bar pattern. I also pay particular attention to where the 2 consectutive notes on the hi-hat occur – focusing on where they happen can help you to check that you’re playing the groove correctl. You are counting right?

The final step is to add in the backbeat snare on beats 2 and 4 of each bar.

The full groove
Cool sounding groove

Take It Further

You can shorten the 2 bar pattern above to just a 1 bar groove and you’ll get a funky groove. You can also change the last 4 notes of the 2 bar pattern to give a different ending. You could also add in some open hi-hats to the groove. Then, you could also come up with you’re own 7 note pattern and apply that as a 2 bar groove.

But… to bamboozle your listeners and bandmates further, you could play the whole seven bar pattern that these seven 16th notes create. This is a good way to work on your focus and independence. Here’s the full 7 bar pattern. The first two bars will look familiar.

7 bar pattern
7 bars of fun.

To make this more musical, add a 1 bar drum fill on the end to create an 8 bar pattern and then throw it into your next drum break / drum solo.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #79. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Drum Fill Of The Week #78

It’s 2021! Happy New Year! Here’s a fill featuring 21 notes. Enjoy!

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This week’s drum fill crams 21 notes into a bar of 4/4 by using 16th note and 8th note triplets. For more fun with 16th note triplets check out drum fill of the week #68.

Learn The Fill

Let’s check out the basic pattern for this week’s fill.

Keeping it basic

For this week’s drum fill we are playing a 6 note grouping – R-L-R-L-R-K – 3 times in a row. We are playing it over the 16th note triplet subdivision so there are no funny timing issues or polyrhythmic elements – each group starts on the beat.

For beat 4, we’re playing 8th note triplets to give a dramatic ending to a busy fill. Timing might be an issue for some here. Make sure those last 3 notes are evenly spaced. If you’re having trouble counting it as written above. You can try counting just the 8th note triplets and feeling the 16th notes inbetween – this might help get the last 3 notes more even.

Alternative counting

Once you have the timing sorted out, all that remains is the orchestration. Here’s the orchestration I used:

Move it

My right hand plays the snare, tom 2 and floor tom, my left hand plays the hi-hat and tom 1. Focus on playing the 16th note triplet group slowly and smoothly before speeding it up. Be sure to count!

Taking It Further

As always, when I spend time learning a drum fill, I always like to take the basic idea of the drum fill and find as many ways as I can to orchestrate it around the kit. Here’s 3 more ways to play this drum fill. See if you can find some of your own.

Change it up

The first variation is very similar to the original. I’ve just substituted Tom 1 for Tom 2. This makes the drum fill work for 2 tom tom drum kits.

The second variation leaves the hi-hat and focuses on moving around the toms.

The final variation changes the 6 note groups further to start with the floor tom. The ending is also changed to give a slightly bigger sound.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #78. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #78

Let’s get groovin’

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This week’s groove is a 2 bar pattern which uses ghost notes to spice up the groove. Let’s get to it.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by checking out the basic 2 bar groove that we’ll augment with ghost notes.

The basic groove
Basic Funkiness

Hopefully you can already play this groove. Note the use of the rim shot on the snare drum throughout the groove. This is an aggressive sounding funk rock groove, the snare drum rim shot on the “ah” of 2 really helps to drive it forward.

Now let’s add in some ghost notes to make things funkier.

The basic groove with ghost notes added
Extra Funkiness

I’ve added ghost notes to make the groove a little busier and to provide a contrast to the loud snare drum notes. The ghost notes on the “ah” of 4 help to move the groove along. The ghost notes on the “e” and “&” of 1 on the second bar provide a bit more rhythmic interest and pair well with bass drums on beat 1 and the “ah” of 1.

Go slow with this groove and work on getting a good contrast between your loud snare drum rimshots and soft ghost notes. Get used to moving between the two dynamic levels.

Take It Further

Whenever you learn a new groove, you want to get comfortable adding drum fills to it. I always start with simple drum fills just to get used to moving in and out of the groove at different points. Here’s 3 basic fills to try with this groove.

Groove of the week + fills
Fill ’em up!

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #78. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial lesson, send us a message via the contact us page.