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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #74

This week we’re going off beat.

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Groove of the week #74 shifts us totally away from playing the snare drum on the backbeat. Our first snare drum appears just a little early on the “ah” of 1 and the second snare drum turns up late on the “&” of 4. Add to that some 16th note bass drums and you’ve got one messed up groove that some how works!

Get The Groove

Let’s start this week’s groove by looking at just the hands.

Just the hands

For this groove we’re playing the usual 8th note hi-hat pattern, but the snare drum appears on the “ah” of 1 and the “&” of 4. You may need a little time to get used the spacing of the snare drum notes if you’re used to playing on beats 2 and 4 all the time.

Now lets bring in the bass drum pattern.

Bring in the bass

The bass drum provides a nice solid start to this groove and anchors it by playing on beat one. Then it gets funky by playing in between the hi-hat on the “e” and “ah” of 3 and the “e” of 4. Count and go slow as you practice this – pay attention to your bass drum placement.

The finishing touch to this groove is an open hi-hat on beat 1 and the “&” of 1. Note that I’m closing the hi-hat together with the snare drum. You can try closing it on the “&” of 1 or on beat 2, but it sounded best to me closing on together with the snare drum.

Add some open hi-hat goodness

Taking It Further

It’s not every day you get to play a groove with no back beat. Let’s explore this snare drum placement further. Here’s some more ideas with this snare drum pattern. Add open hi-hats to taste.

Playing with the bass

Try those three variations and then think of some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #74. 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

Fill Of The Week #73

This week’s fill sees us welcome back an old friend: The three 16th note pattern.

Watch drum fill of the week #73 on instagram

This a great sounding rock drum fill. The snare drum plays every third sixteenth note, the floor tom provides warmth and heaviness on the 8th notes and the bass drum fills in any spaces to give us a 16th note flow.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic ingredients that go into making up this fill.

First we have the snare drum pattern. This is a pattern you want to become very familiar with. It crops up in a lot of places and always sounds good.

On the left

If you’re not comfortable with this pattern yet, then I suggest you spend some time with it. Your left hand will be playing this on the snare drum during the fill.

Your right hand will be busy doing this:

On the right

Hopefully playing eighth notes on the floor tom is well within your ability…

Let’s mash these two rhythms together.

All together now

Get comfortable playing this pattern. It can be used as a drum fill as it is and always sounds great – especially at higher tempos.

Our final job with this drum fill is to add in the bass drum. The bass drum will occupy any note that doesn’t already have a snare drum or floor tom being played on it.

The full fill

Take It Further

Whenever you are playing a three 16th note pattern, you can always displace the pattern 2 times to create 2 new fills. Here’s the new snare drum patterns for this fill.

Two snare patterns to go

Again, get comfortable playing these patterns first before combining them with the floor tom and then adding the bass drum in the spaces. Here’s the full fills:

Two drum fills made to order

I hope you enjoyed fill of the week #73. 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 #73

This week’s groove is an exercise in snare drum control… can you control your snare drum?

View groove of the week #73 on Instagram

This week, we’re playing a funky two bar pattern. The challenge with this groove is getting control of the snare drum. Some of our snare drum notes are loud and proud, others are ghosted. Can you get the dynamics correct and maintain them for 20 bars or so?

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the basic groove.

Get yer groove on

Our basic groove is a fairly simple two bar pattern. Hopefully you’ll have no problem playing this. If you do have problems, slow down (40 – 60bpm) and count out loud as you’re playing it.

Now let’s add in the first of our additional snare drum notes. This will be on the “a” of 2 during both bars.

Loud & proud

The new snare drum note is to be played loud; at the same volume as beats two and four. This one snare drum note gives a new feel to the groove, it make it feel more aggressive. Now let’s add in the ghost notes.

The ghost notes appear on the “a” of 4 on both bars and on the “e” and “&” of 1 of the second bar.

Soft & subtle

Your challenge now is to play all of the ghost notes nice and soft while playing the other 3 snare drum notes loud. Good luck! Don’t let the changing volume of your snare drum affect the volume of your bass drum – the bass should always be loud.

Take It Further

Getting control over your snare drum is essential if you want to be a good drummer. A good exercise is to pick a groove – like groove #73 – and try different combinations of ghosted and non-ghosted snare drum notes. Try these variations:

Change it up

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #73. 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

Fill Of The Week #72

This week’s drum fill is getting funky. Check it out!

Watch Drum Fill Of The Week #72 on Instagram.

This kind of drum fill is what I refer to as a hybrid drum fill. It mixes a groove fill – where you’re focused on playing a fill between the bass and snare drum while keeping the time flowing on the hi-hat/ride cymbal – and a regular fill. You can find the full groove fill part of this drum fill on fill of the week #15.

Get The Fill

This drum fill consists of two parts, the groove fill and the regular fill. Let’s check out the groove fill part first.

Part one

This is part of one of my favourite groove fills. The snare drum lands on beat 1 and the “&” of 2 and the bass drum provides funkiness by playing on the “e” and “ah” of beats 1 and 2 and the “e” of 3. Play it slowly and carefully, be sure to keep the 16th notes evenly spaced. During the groove fill portion, the right hand stays on the hi-hat and the left hand plays all snare drum notes.

The second part of the drum fill is the more regular part. We’re playing a simple 16th note drum fill that starts on the “&” of 3.

Part two

Now let’s fit the two parts together.

The full fill

Take It Further

I like to take a modular approach to my drum fills and combine different ideas or modules together. So here are 3 groove fill beginnings and 3 regular fill endings. If you play each combination, you’ll get 9 new fills.

Three beginnings
Three endings

Play all nine combinations of beginnings and endings. The sticking for the third endings is R-L-R-K-R-L; the other two are simple RLRLRL stickings.

If you include the beginning and ending of the original fill into the mix then you get another 6 possible combinations. I’m sure you can also think of some of your own beginnings and endings to throw into the mix.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #72. 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 #72

Rim Click vs Bass Drum – The ultimate battle!

Watch Groove Of The Week #72 on instagram

This week’s groove is a two bar pattern featuring a conversation between the bass drum and rim click – at least that’s how I like to think of it. We’re using 16th notes on the hi-hat (played by just one hand) to give a nice smooth back drop to the battle raging between the bass drum and rim click.

Get The Groove

Let’s begin by looking at the first bar of this conversation.

In the video, I play the whole groove at 75bpm. You may wish to start at a slower speed. The pattern is not a common pattern, it may take some time to get used to it. I tend to sing the rim click and bass drum pattern to myself while playing it.

Playing this one bar on it’s own, it feels like an incomplete phrase to me. Which is why I added bar #2.

The first three beats of the second bar are the same as the first bar, just beat 4 is different. Now we’re playing bass drums instead of rim clicks on beat 4 and we’re augmenting them with hi-hat barks.

Now let’s play the two bars together to complete the groove.

Do you hear the conversation between the rim click and bass drum? Do you hear how the second bar completes the idea of the first bar. No? Guess I must be crazy then!

Take It Further

In this groove we kind of substituted the bass drum for the rim click on beat 4 and beyond to create the two bar pattern & give the second bar an alternative ending. What would happen if we progressively switched bass drums and rim clicks throughout the rest of the bar?

Switch em

Our first variation sees us switch the bass drums on the “e” and “&” of beat 3 in the second bar to rim clicks.

Our second variation takes the groove from the first variation and now switches the voices during the second beat of the second bar as well.

Our final variation takes the groove from the second variation and now switches the voices during the first beat of the second bar to complete the idea. So now you’re playing the same rhythm, two completely different ways but it sounds like one long groove.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #72. 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

Fill Of The Week #71

664 – the number of the drummer

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This week’s drum fill uses our old friend, the 6-6-4 phrasing. We’re playing a 6 note grouping twice and then putting a 4 note group on the end. It’s a simple concept, but one that works well and sounds very musical. We’ve seen it before on drum fill of the week #37 and most recently drum fill of the week #46.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm and sticking that the hands are playing.

Just the hands

So here we’re playing two groups of 5 and a group of 4 all separated by a 16th note rest. Our groups start on beat 1, the “&” of 2 and beat 4. Note that I start each group with the Right hand and then alternate. Practice this pattern with a metronome and get comfortable with it.

Now let’s bring in the bass.

Snare + Bass = a match made in heaven.

The bass drum fills in the space created by the rests in our original pattern to give us the 6-6-4 pattern. Play this pattern slowly at first and focus on keeping all the 16th notes evenly spaced.

The final step is to orchestrate the hands around the kit. Here’s my orchestration.

Everyday I’m orchestrating

For the groups of six I’m just playing 3 on the snare and then one note on the high tom and one note on the floor tom. The group of four is just a very common four note fill – snare, tom 1, floor tom, floor tom.

Take It Further

There are loads of drum fills you can generate using the 6-6-4 pattern, here’s a few more using this particular pattern with the bass drum on the end of the 6 note groups.

6 6 4 6 6 4 6 6 4

Our first variation plays each group on a different drum.

The second variation includes every drum in all the groups.

The final variation sees our right hand leaving the snare drum to play a tom tom on the third note of each group.

Experiment with this pattern yourself and see what you can create.

I hope you’ve enjoyed fill of the week #71. 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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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #71

The feet do the walking, the hands do the talking.

Due to changes at instagram and facebook, I can’t share the video here right now… so… while I’m working on a solution to that, please click this link to enjoy the video on instagram:

Groove Of The Week #71

This week’s groove is a fun tom tom groove. I’ve taken a fairly simple bass and snare drum pattern, added a quarter note hi-hat with the left foot and then added toms to give the groove some colour.

If you enjoy tom grooves, check out groove of the week #69 for a linear tom groove.

Get The Groove

Let’s start by looking at the bass and snare pattern we’re going to be augmenting.

Bass & Snare

We have one 16th note bass drum to worry about on the “ah” of 1. Everything else is on the beat or on an “&”. Play this pattern with your metronome and get confident playing it without the normal help from your right hand keeping time on a cymbal. You might want to count… Now let’s add the left foot.

Bass & Snare & Hats

The left foot is going to be our time keeper for this groove. It’s just pumping out quarter notes to keep everyone in line. Again, go slow and practice this with a metronome… are you still counting out loud?

Our final step is to add in the toms.

Bass & Snare & Hats & Toms

On beat 1 we’re playing a linear idea between the kick drum and the floor tom- KLRK. This almost sounds like a double bass drum being played. I play the left hand first in this combination to give it more time to get back for the snare drum on beat 2. On the “&” of 2 and 3 the right hand is playing the 2nd tom together with the bass drum and for the first bar I’m adding tom 1 on the “&” of 4.

Take It Further

It’s time to try this out for yourself. Here’s some bass and snare drum beats with the hi-hat played by the left foot. Your job is to add in the toms to give them some colour. Think linear. Think layered. Think melodically. Good luck!

Colour between the lines

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #71. 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

Fill Of The Week #70

12 / 8 = drum fill of the week #70!

This week’s drum fill, like groove of the week #70 is in the 12/8 time signature. You might want to check out groove of the week #70 for some further drum fill suggestions in 12/8.

Our drum fill this week features flams and bass drums and showcases the way I often combine these two elements in drum fills to create complex sounding fills.

Learn The Fill

Let’s start by looking at the basic rhythm and hand pattern for this fill.

This drum fill is in 12/8; notice how we count it. Each eighth note gets one count and the 16th notes get counted as “and” (&). Play this slowly with a metronome at first. As not all metronomes can count 12/8, I use a metronome set to count eighth note triplets in 4/4. The fill is at 76bpm, you may want to play slower to start with. Beats 1, 4, 7 and 10 should coincide with the main 4/4 beats.

Now let’s add in the flams.

Flammable

The flams simply go on beats 1, 4 and 7.

Now lets throw in the bass drum.

Give it a kick

The bass drum goes before and after every flam and between the last three 8th notes. When I’m playing a 16th note drum fill with flams, I often put a bass drum either side of the flam to keep the 16th note flow going and to give my hands time to prepare for the flam or what follows it. This is especially useful at faster tempos.

Our final step is orchestrate the hands around the kit. Note that I play flat flams on the last three beats with right hand joining in on the floor tom.

A thing of beauty

Take It Further

Anytime learn a reasonably complex drum fill like this, it’s worth spending the time to get as many drum fills as you can out of the pattern. Here’s a few more ideas using the same pattern.

A few ideas more

Our first variation just moves each block of 3 eighth notes onto a a different drum.

The second variation is a similar idea except the change the next tom is foreshadowed on the last 8th note of the previous block.

The final variation has us moving the RLR around between the snare and the toms playing a melody and the final three 8th notes are orchestrated so the right hand moves down the toms.

Now create some of your own.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #70. 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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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #70

It’s a 12/8 kinda week…

This week’s groove is in the 12/8 time signature. That means we’re gonna have to count to 12… yikes! I don’t have that many fingers! Normally, when playing in 12/8 we still imply a 4/4 pulse. It’s like we’re playing 8th note triplets in 4/4. We use the 12/8 time signature instead of 4/4 because it makes it easier to write and count these patterns – in 4/4 you’d have to write a whole bunch of 3s over the top of the triplets and trying to count rhythms combining 8th and 16th note triplets isn’t easy. With 12/8, as you’ll see, counting is a lot easier and it’ s faster to write.

Get The Groove

Let’s look at the basic 12/8 groove we’re going to modify to create this groove.

The basic 12/8 groove

Note the counting on the groove. When I count “7” I actually say “sev” and when I count “11” I actually say “lev”. This helps to avoid playing on extra syllables in those words and also shortens them for faster counting.

We’re going to modify this basic groove by adding in some 16th note bass drums, snare drums and hi-hats. We’ll start with the bass drum. The great thing about playing in 12/8 is that 16th notes simply get counted as “and” (&). This makes counting them really easy. Here’s the basic groove with the 16th note bass drums added.

16th note bass drums coming in hot

Play this groove slowly at first. Work with a metronome. To play this groove, I used a metronome counting in 4/4 set to 76bpm. I play three 8th notes per beat, so beats 1, 4, 7 and 10 all line up with the beat on the metronome. You might want to start at 60bpm.

Now lets finish the groove off with some ghost notes and extra hi-hats all played by the left hand.

Left hand getting busy

The left hand is adding ghost notes on the “&” of 5 and 6 and then addition hi-hat notes on the “&” of 11 and 12. Hopefully you’ll find those easy to add in.

Now lets take a look at the groove if it was written in 4/4 using triplets.

It’s so ugly… get it away from me… no no no no no!

Does that look as user friendly to you? I added the standard 8th note triplet count underneath, but how you’d count the notes in between “puh” and “let” I don’t know!

Take It Further

If playing in 12/8 is new to you then you might want to spend some time adding fills to the groove. Drum fill of the week #70 will be a 12/8 drum fill but, here’s some to get you started.

Fills fills fills

Our first drum fill just plays simple 8ths notes in unison on the snare and floor tom starting on beat 10. A classic drum fill that always sounds good. Try extending it back to start on beat 7.

The second drum fill starts on beat 10 again but this time we move 16th notes around the kit.

The third drum fill starts on beat seven and kind of combines the previous two drum fills but modifies both. We play the second drum fill but starting on beat 7 and on the “&” of 9 we play a bass drum instead of a floor tom. This sets us up to play the first drum fill starting on beat 10 but I’ve modified it by putting the bass drum on the & between the unison notes. Give it a go – slowly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed groove of the week #70. 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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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #69

It’s bass drum workout day!

This week’s drum fill is based around groups of 7 being played between the hands and the bass drum. Its a fairly simple fill to play but it may help you get used to working with 7 note groups. We’ve previously played a similar idea with 5 note groups on fill of the week #26.

Learn The Fill

Let’s look at the basic idea before orchestration. The 7 note grouping is clearly marked along with the 16th note counting.

Keeping it simple

Play through this pattern slowly at first and count it both ways – using the “1 2 3 4 5 6 7…” count and the “1 e & ah 2 e &…” count. Eventually you’ll be able to feel the 7 note groups within the 16th notes. Note: when I count “7” I count it as “Sev” – it helps to avoid playing an extra note on the “en” of “seven”

Once you have the pattern, you can start to orchestrate it around the kit. I decided to double up the hands, my right hand moves around the kit while the left stays on the snare drum.

The full fill

Take It Further

Once you can play the fill, you re-orchestrate the fill around the kit as you see fit. Let’s look at some permutations of this pattern. Here’s two fills for you to try:

Two permutations

Here we’ve shifted the pattern so that it starts on one of the other snare drum notes in the pattern. I’ve kept the orchestration very simple, once you can play the basic pattern, orchestrate your hands around the kit as you see fit.

We can also start the pattern on the bass drum. Try these two patterns:

Two more permutations

Again, once you are comfortable with the patterns, then orchestrate them as you see fit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed drum fill of the week #69. If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, send us a message on the contact us page.