Blog

Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5

“I ain’t scared of no ghosts!” Oops!.. wrong song… but this song does feature a lot of ghosts – ghost notes that is. By the time you master this song you’ll be a true ghost (note) buster! See how many ghosts you can spot in the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5 version of Amy Winehouse’s “You know I’m no good.”

Amy Winehouse – You Know I'm No Good – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5 Drums

SPOOKY!

Did you spot all the ghost notes? Not sure what a ghost note is? As far as drumming goes, it’s simply a note that is played softly. They are often added to a groove, normally on the snare, to add texture and give a certain feel to the beat. Generally you want to them to blend in to the background of the song & are normally played around the same volume as the hi-hat.

PAradiddle, paRAdiddle, paraDIDdle, paradidDLE

A great way to work on getting the control need to play ghost notes is by working on the following accented paradiddle exercise slowly and carefully. How slowly? I’d suggest starting at 30 or 40bpm. How carefully? You want two distinct sound levels; a loud level for the accented notes and a  very soft level for the ghost notes. Nothing in between. Really exaggerate the difference in the sound levels; it’ll will help you to reproduce it in action.

Accented Paradiddles - Drum Lessons Singapore
Accented Paradiddles

You’ll have noticed that the 3rd and 4th bars are particularly tricky. You won’t need that level of control for grade 5; but for later grades you’ll need to be able to play an accented note immediately followed by a ghost note on the same hand & vice-versa. It’s good to start work on it now. Whilst we mainly play ghost notes with the left hand it won’t harm you to develop the necessary control with your right hand too. The more control we have over the sticks, the more control we have over the whole instrument, the better we sound.

Groovin’ Ghosts

Once you start to gain control over the above exercise, you can practice applying ghost notes to grooves. Pick a groove with some 16th notes on the snare and try different permutations of accented and ghost notes, as in the following exercise (The ghosted notes are the ones with the smaller note head.) :

Ghost Notes - Drum Lessons Singapore
Get Control Of Your Ghosts!

Are YOU any good?

The main focus of this song is on the ghost notes, the rest of the song is fairly straight forward. Time spent developing your ghost notes is always time well spent. Record yourself playing ghost note  grooves and see if you can get the hi-hat and snare drum to really blend together. Check out ghost note masters such as:

  • Bernard Purdie – Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, B.B King, Joe Cocker and many more.
  • Chad Smith – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chicken Foot & Chad Smith’s Bombastic Meatbats.
  • Steve Gadd – Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Chick Corea, Kate Bush, Paul McCartney and many more.
  • Jeff Pocaro – Toto, Cher, Steely Dan, 10cc, America, Michael Jackson, Joe Cocker, Aretha Franklin & many more.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 5 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 3 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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

Stop & Stare – One Republic

Stop what you’re doing and Stare at this video!

One Republic – Stop & Stare – Drum Cover

Stop, Drop and Drum!

Stop & Stare is one of One Republics most popular songs and commonly requested to learn by students.

In terms of groove, this song is actually fairy basic. The beats used are 8th note rock beats that most students learn within their first 2 or 3 weeks of lessons. There are a few open hi-hats scattered through out the song, they can be omitted for beginners.

Stare at my Fills!

The toughest part of this song is the fills, but they are great to learn as you will find them very transferable to other songs. It should be noted though that some of these fills start left handed. The original drummer seems to be comfortable playing the regular fashion and also open-handed. You can see him in the band’s original video for this song playing both ways. Check this live video to see the drummer playing open handed.

Here’s the fills from the song with my suggested stickings:

Drum Lessons Singapore Stop & Stare Fills
Stop & Stare Fills

Note that on the 2nd fill I switch hands on the hi-hat on the & of 3 to give my right hand enough time to get over to the floor tom on the ah of 3. You could just play the whole bar with the left hand on the hi-hat. It would be a good idea to learn to play the whole song open handed, it’ll work wonders for your co-ordination!

If you are struggling with the 2nd fill you can just replace it with the first fill as it’s the same rhythm.

The 4th fill is much easier to play if you start it left handed. The 5th fill looks the same as the 4th but it uses the bass drum on the e of four which allows us to play it starting with the right hand. These two fills are also interchangeable so you can play whichever is easier for you – just keep the snare & bass drum patterns of the 2 beats proceeding the fills same.

The 6th fill is easily the most challenging to play. Work on it slowly with a metronome & make sure you count. I’d also recommend listening to it a lot & try to copy the sound & feel.

Stop & Stare at this Score!

This song marries fairly simple rock beats with fills that are very musical and are great to have in your vocabulary. Have a go at playing it yourself with this score courtesy of DrumLessonResources.com.

If you’re in Singapore & would like a free trial drum lesson you can arrange one here.

Don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel for more drum videos.

You can stop staring now 😉

Musicology – Prince – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5

It’s time to get schooled! Prince is here to educate you about Musicology.

Prince – Musicology – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 5 Drums

Get Funky

This track is in the James Brown style of funk. It features a syncopated funk groove with a fairly busy snare drum part. The chart provided for the song provides no real indication of dynamics for the snare part. I elected to accent beat two and then play the other notes softer, but not really ghosting them. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the buzzed snare notes, they are easy to miss while you’re grooving along.

Shuffle Along

The feel of this song has a 16th note shuffle feel. To get a feel of the snare drum note placements you may want to try playing the groove slowly like this to get used to the swung 16th note feel:

Drum Lessons Singapore
Practice Groove For Musicology

Keep the tempo slow, around 50-60bpm to start, as playing this  groove at the speed of the song is not easy, we’re just doing this to get a feel of the swung triplets. You may be able to reach speeds of around 80bpm playing the groove this way. Try playing the groove as written above for 8 bars & then switch to a straight 8th note hi-hat pattern without stopping for another 8 bars; keep the snare drum hitting on the 16th note triplets. Record yourself playing it and compare the snare drum feel between the 2 versions. Did you keep the swung 16th note snare feel?

Another idea is to play the song’s actual groove and try playing 8 bars with a straight feel and 8 bars with a swung feel. Record it. Can you hear a difference in the snare placements?

Woof Woof Woof – Barking Hi-Hats

The song also features a classic funk fill with the Bernard Purdie style hi-hat barks. Having a fast left foot is essential here as you need to close it in between each opening. Practicing the following exercise slowly and cleanly will help you to play this fill.

Drum Lessons Singapore Rhythm House Music
Open Hat Bark Practice

Going Solo

The solo section of the song shouldn’t cause too much trouble as it’s just the one bar played 3 times. However, if you are having trouble with it, try playing it with additional ghost notes on the snare with the left hand to get a feel for the timing of the tom tom part in the right hand like so:

Drum Lessons Singapore
16th Note Timing Exercise

Once you can play it accurately that way, then you can try recording yourself playing it with & with out the ghost notes – do the tom toms fall in the same place?

Did you get your diploma?

In conclusion, this is a funky song to play that gets you working on essential elements of funk such as synocopated snare parts, the swung 16th note feel and hi-hat barks. Mastering all the above will improve your funk playing no end. Have fun getting schooled in funk with Prince & Musicology!

The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 5 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 3 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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

Drum Solo: How to create your own. Example 1.

The thought of having to play a drum solo creates panic in many drummers. We’re quite happy playing along with songs, learning grooves and fills and practicing our rudiments; but solos are a different beast entirely. A solo challenges us to create something.

It needn’t be such a stressful task though. Drum solos can be thought of and prepared ahead of time, and most drummers have a library of ideas in their head that they choose from when putting a solo together.

I fully encourage you to spend some time at your kit just banging around looking for ideas that could go into a drum solo; put the books / youtube videos away, stop playing to songs & just try to create a drum solo and see what comes out. You’ll find over time you’ll create your own library of ideas that you can use.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

Drum great, Gavin Harrison records all of his practice sessions and listens back for anything he played that he thinks may be useful in the future. He’ll then make a note of anything he likes and files it away for use and further development at a later time. He’s easily one of the most creative drummers out there (I’ll wait while you go look him up on youtube – don’t forget to come back!)

Look For Inspiration

To get started though, you may need some inspiration. The solo in the video below was inspired by 1 drummer and 2 drum duets. The first duet was this one  by Godsmack. The second duet was this one by Phil Collins and Chester Thompson. Both of these duets have a very tribal feel to them, and that’s what I was going for in this solo. You can even hear the tom tom rhythm of my solo in the Godsmack one, or something very similar to it, from around the 15 second mark. All drummers steal from each other and it’s ok as long as you make it your own & give credit where credit is due.

The drummer that inspires my approach to drum solos is the jazz legend Max Roach. If you listen to solos by Max Roach you’ll hear a very song oriented approach to soloing. Like a song has sections such as Verse, Chorus & Bridge, Max Roach’s solos also have definite sections and themes that you hear repeated throughout his solos. Check out his Drums Unlimited album or try to find his “Big Sid” or “Five for Paul” solos for an example.

My Drum Solo

Here’s my short drum solo that was used in the promotional video on the home page of this website – minus the promotional material – just the drums.

Rhythm House Drum Solo For Promo Film June 2018

Putting Together A Drum Solo

This a very simply constructed solo. The form of the solo is ABAA. Each section is a four bar phrase except for the last A which has an extra bar for the finale. You can download the transcription here: Rhythm House Drum Solo Example June 2018

The A section of the solo is variations on this theme:

All of the variations come after beat 3 of the bar. So, to make this your own, I suggest you practice playing the first 2 beats and then thinking of something else to do for the second 2 beats. Here’s some suggestions:

Drum Lessons Singapore Drum Solo Examples
Examples for variations on drum solo theme A

I suggest practicing by playing one bar of the main theme and then one bar with your variation and repeating the 2 bar pattern over and over again.

The B Section of the solo is a more energetic 16th note phrase as I wanted to increase the energy of the piece at that point and it also introduces 16th note triplets into the solo for the first time. I don’t vary this theme very much as it’s only in the solo for a short time & I want it to be memorable. The sixteenth note triplet fill on the 4th bar helps to increase the energy again.

On returning to the A section I now hit a crash on every beat 1, again with the intention of increasing the energy – more noise and more energy. I also bring the 16th note triplet into the main theme to add yet more energy. The last 2 bars see me playing a 16th note triplet fill followed by 8th note triplets. The 8th note triplets just slow things down and put a definite end to the piece.

If you’re struggling with the 8th note foot pattern on this solo, try playing just quarter notes on either the bass drum or the hi-hat. Having some kind of foot pattern running underneath the drum solo anchors it and gives it a sense of forward motion.

Taking It Further

The next step, try adding a C section to the piece and play it in the form ABAC or ABCA or maybe AABACAB. Here’s an idea for an 8 bar C section I was contemplating putting into this solo. I left it out as it slowed the feel down too much for what I wanted for this solo. But I might use it in another solo or if I was playing an extended version of this solo.

drum lesson singapore drum solo ideas
Idea for a C-section

Again, you can take the basic theme from this idea and create your own variations.

What’s next? Try adding a D Section too – make it four or 8 bars long and then slot it into the solo… you can go ABACAD ABCD  or AABA BBCB CCDC DDAD… The combinations are endless… Experiment and have fun!

If you’re in Singapore and would like a free trial drum lesson, you can arrange it here.

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds – Trinity Rock & Pop Initial Grade

Don’t worry ’bout a thing; Cause every little thing gonna be alright… once you watch this video:

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds – Trinity Rock & Pop Initial Grade Drums

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds is now part of the Trinity Rock & Pop Initial Grade syllabus. This version of the song offers a nice introduction to playing reggae.

One of main styles of reggae is  referred to as One-Drop or Three-Drop. I’ve heard both names to refer to the same style. The main feature of this style is playing the bass drum only on beat 3 of the bar, often together with a cross-stick or snare hit. The hi-hat can be played in quarters, eighths, or a swung eighth note style. The snare drum / cross stick will also play notes in addition to the main note on beat 3 to create variety in the pattern. The hi-hat pattern will often feature accents to bring it to life.

In this song we’re playing a very simple reggae groove which allows us to get used to the feel of the one-drop reggae style. Listening to the demo version of this song provided by Trinity; I could hear a clear accent on the hi-hat on beat one of the bar so I’ve tried to emulate that in my version. It’s not notated, but accented hi-hats are a common feature of reggae. You may also want to try accenting on beats 2 & 4 in time with the rhythm guitar. Here’s the two accented grooves you could try:

drum lessons singapore
Accented Reggae Grooves

The drum fills in this song shouldn’t present much of a problem; your main focus should be on getting the groove feeling right and making sure you don’t flam between bass, snare.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Rock & Pop Initial Grade book is great to work through if you’re just starting 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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues (For You)

Got the blues? You’re not alone, Gary Moore has them too… and just for you!

Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues (For You) – Drum Cover

Still got the blues (for you) is one of legendary guitarist Gary Moore’s most popular songs. The version in the video is the shorter version, the original is over 6 minutes long, this version is missing the last 2 minutes of guitar solo. If you only have the longer version, just continue jamming along at the end!

The tempo of this song is really slow – it’s at 55bpm. The song has an eighth note triplet feel and you can count time either as eighth note triplets (1 puh let, 2 puh let etc.) or as 12/8 (1 2 3 4 5 6 etc.). This tempo makes it a great song for you to try figuring out the drum part for yourself; that’s a skill you should work on developing.

Being able to listen to a song and figure out – at least roughly – what the drummer is doing is a skill that will really help you to learn songs quickly. These days it’s very tempting to just google for a drum score or a drum tab or find a youtube lesson on how to play the song, but by doing that you miss out on developing your listening skills. I would encourage you to at least have a go a trying to work it out first before turning to other sources.

I started learning drums before the internet was really a thing and if I wanted to learn a song, I had to listen to it (a lot), try and play it (a lot), make mistakes (a lot), make note of mistakes and try to correct them and then ask other drummers or my teacher for help on the bits I wasn’t sure of. The more I tried to do it, the better I got, the more my listening developed, the faster I could pick up songs & play the songs I wanted to play. Try it!

This song presents a few challenges:

1) The speed… it’s S L O W! Playing slow is hard! Luckily we’re playing triplet 8th notes here and not just regular 8th notes, that means there’s less space between the notes we’re playing and that helps with the time-keeping. Where the slow speed is really felt is during the breaks, the moments when we’re not playing. There’s one 2 bar break toward the end of the song (3:29 in the video); make sure you keep counting during this break; to begin with you may want to keep tapping the triplet hi-hat pattern on your leg to help you keep time. Also listen for help from the other instruments – take note of the bass note on beat 1 of the 2nd bar.

2) Unison figures…. at 4 points in the song you need to play triplet 8th notes with your right hand, left hand & bass drum simultaneously… practice this carefully and don’t flam!

3) The crashes…. there are a number of crashes in this song, during the guitar solo there are 3 in a row (2:45). If you have 2 crashes practice playing the 3 crashes L R L and R L R, see which feels best to you.  Don’t just use one hand, practice crashing with your weaker hand. Listen to make sure your crash and bass drum are really together.

4) The fill at 2:05…

drum lessons singapore
Drum Fill @ 2:05

This fill features a 16th note triplet between the Puh & Let of 4. If you play the fill as notated above your right hand will play a nice smooth 8th note triplet – 4 puh let – and your left will play beat 4 and then the 16th note triplet between puh & let. You don’t need to count every note in the fill, you can just feel it. Listen to the fill and try to imitate it. If you still can’t get the rhythm, try saying 4-patti-cakes:

drum lessons
4-Patti-cakes

After you have tried to play the song on your own you can click here to check out this score courtesy of our friends at www.DrumLessonResources.com. Enjoy!

If you’re in Singapore and haven’t had a free trial drum lesson with us yet, click here to arrange one!

The Band – The Weight – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1

Ladies & Gentlemen, The Band:

The Band – The Weight – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1 Drums

The Band were an extremely talented group of musicians who played with Bob Dylan amongst others. Bob Dylan, and other musicians they played with, always introduced them simply as “The Band” so when they decided to strike out on their own they took “The Band” as their name.

The Weight is probably the most well known of their songs and is ranked as #41 in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs.

This song is fairly straight forward to play & if you are doing the exam you’re given a lot of freedom to choose what to play. The initial pick-up fill is defined for you, but the rest of the fills are up to you. The groove for the most of the verse is also up to you.

The tempo of this song is fairly slow at 74 bpm. You should practice playing the groove with a metronome at that speed and even slower to work on playing confidently at that speed. Slow speeds are tough to play at securely as there is a lot of space for you to place your notes. I would suggest counting all the eighth notes as you practice. Generally the slower the tempo, the more you count; The faster the tempo, the less you count. If I’m playing at 40bpm, I’ll be counting 16th notes; at 150 bpm I’ll be counting quarters & at 300 I’m just counting beat 1 of each bar.

For the first verse I chose to repeat the 2 bar pattern from the first  2 bars of the verse for the duration of the verse. This seems to fit quite nicely, but it’s not the only option, you may want to experiment with other simple rock beats to see if you can find something that sounds good to you.

For the fill at the end of the first verse, you want to start it on beat 3 so it doesn’t overshadow the vocals. If you’re struggling for ideas, here’s a few for you. The first one is the fill I play in the video:

drum lessons singapore
Verse Fill Examples

The chorus groove sees us playing the snare on all 4 beats with a bass drum happening on the & of 3. It’s a simple groove to play, but really helps to drive the chorus and adds a nice dynamic to the song and contrasts nicely with more laid back feel of the verse. Don’t forget to hit your snare a little harder here to get up to the forte dynamic. The chorus sees us stopping on the and of 1 of the 4th bar and letting the vocalists shine. This is where you need to count as the bar of 3/4 can make coming back in tricky. I suggest listening to the song a load of times and just counting & clapping along with it to get familiar with how it sounds in relation to the time.

The final bars see us playing a figure that’s very common… crashing on the & of  2 and then filling out the rest of the bar. I recorded myself playing this song 6 times and every time I did different fills. I would encourage you to practice it the same way. Don’t get stuck on just playing the same fill every time. Practicing with a variety of fills will help your flow on the kit and make you more responsive in real life playing situations. Here’s some fills you could try (create some of your own too!) The first two are the ones I played in the video.

Drum Lessons Singapore
Chorus Fill Examples

This is good song to learn for practicing playing slower tempos and working on your fills. Levon Helm, the drummer and one of the singers, is considered one of the best song drummers and has a great feel, you can learn a lot from trying to emulate him so be sure to check out the original.

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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

Eddie Floyd – Knock On Wood – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2

Knock on wood was a hit for Eddie Floyd in 1966 & has been covered many times since. It’s a soul classic written on a stormy night by guitar great Steve Cropper & singer Eddie Floyd. The challenge on this song is locking in fully with the band; the horns, the rhythm guitar & the singer all play unison figures with the band. Here’s my attempt:

Eddie Floyd – Knock On Wood – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

This song features a number of off-beat figures that need to be played perfectly in sync with the band; the introduction ends with the bass drum & crashes being hit with the horns on the & of 4 and the & of 1; the chorus ends with snare hits on the off-beats with the guitar & singer; the song ends with same figure as the chorus but played with the bass drum & crashes. If you are not confident playing on the off beats then these figures will cause trouble.

My favourite exercise for building confidence with off-beats is this one:

drum lessons singapore
Off-Beat Builder

To start with use a metronome that has an 8th note setting. (I recommend TempoPerfect on your computer or on your phone – search for “tempoperfect” by NCH software). Start slowly at 60 bpm, your aim is to play right on top of the metronome; you shouldn’t be able to hear the metronome when you strike the drum. You may want to dampen your snare drum so you get a dry sound so you can really hear if you are on top of the beat.

drum lessons singapore
Tempoperfect playing 8th notes @ 60bpm

Record yourself playing the exercise and listen back to see if you are really on top of the beat. Then,  if you are really on top of the beat consistently, set your your metronome to just play quarter notes, repeat the exercise & see if you can make it sound the same as it did when you had the metronome playing 8ths. Gradually increase the speed, see how fast you can go while keeping the accuracy. If you work on this regularly you will be able to play off beat figures confidently at speed.

The verse of this song should provide little trouble, however listen to the rhythm guitar and make sure you are locking in with it. I enjoy nothing more than locking in with a good rhythm guitarist. A good rhythm guitarist can really help to make your time keeping duties easier and aid in creating the right feel for the song; a bad one is a nightmare and all you can do is try to ignore them!

The pre-chorus (bars 17-21 – about 0:41 in the video) provides a nice change of groove with its syncopated bass drum pattern, but do note it is 5 bars in length which can feel a little weird and may catch you out. Try and get all the snare accents on the 5th bar the same volume; on the video I played them LRLR but you may try playing them all with one hand, this will give you a chance to throw in some showmanship with your free hand… a twirl perhaps?

The chorus features the same funky syncopated groove as the introduction with the tricky off-beat figure at the end. After playing the chorus the first time we get to play the turnaround; this features the snare on all four beats with the bass joining it on beat one. This section needs a fair bit of attention as you need to get the snare & bass perfectly in sync on beat one and crescendo over the three bars. You may want to practice this section on it’s own for a while. It looks easy but there is a lot to get right.

After repeating the verse, pre-chorus & chorus we move on to the outro; this is just a continuation of the chorus using the ride cymbal instead of the hi-hat and has the off-beat bass & crash figure discussed earlier. The final bar has hits on beats 1 and 4. Don’t rush the last hit on beat 4, practice it with a metronome to get it accurate, and count during the last bar. Too early or too late and it’ll sound wrong and will leave a bad last impression on your audience.

In 2014 I saw The Rolling Stones performing live and Charlie Watts was totally off on the hits at the end of one song; it was very obviously wrong. It was a great show, but I still remember that bad ending. When I miss something on stage (which doesn’t happen very often – honest!) I remind myself that even a legend like Charlie Watts gets it wrong sometimes & then laugh off my mistake and get on with the rest of my life & enjoy the rest of the show – and concentrate a little more!

Knock On Wood is a great song to work on and provides some great opportunities for working on your timing and dynamics and locking in with a band.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 2 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 6 months to a year 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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

 

 

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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!

 

 

 

Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3

Want to learn how to play rock drums? Listen to Aerosmith with Joey Kramer on drums, it’s that simple! Joey always provides the perfect driving rock feel for every Aerosmith song. His feel is so integral to the band that when he left the band, they found they couldn’t continue without him; no other drummer felt right, they had to beg him to come back! Here’s my attempt at emulating Joey on Trinity Rock & Pop’s version of Sweet Emotion.

Sweet Emotion – Aerosmith – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3 Drums

Two drummers really influenced my use of the open hi-hat; one was Tico Torres from Bon Jovi and the other was Joey Kramer from Aerosmith. The groove on the verses of this song (0:25), with the open hi-hat on the “&” of 3 and then “&” of 4 is one of my favourite grooves to play. The challenge is trying to get a consistent open hi-hat sound and closing it perfectly on beats 4 & 1 every time. You may want to just practice that hi-hat part on its own for while before adding in the other limbs.

The guitar riff after every verse (0:43) with the driving snare on beats 2, 3 & 4 is a little unusual & will require practice. The use of the bell of the ride cymbal for this groove provides a great colour and really helps to distinguish this section. I elected to hit the crash on beat 1 with my left hand to allow my right hand to stay on the bell of the cymbal; the bell isn’t a huge target and is easy to miss so I find it’s easier just to leave my hand in place once it’s there. Make sure your crashes at the end of this section line up with the guitar.

The guitar solo features a 2 handed 16th note groove with 4 e & ah being played on the snare every bar. The 16th notes on the hi-hat & snare must be evenly played with an aggressive driving feel.

The ending of this song (2:42) is similar to how the band end it in live performances. Playing live, Joey accents the same rhythm as the guitar before playing his big ending licks. To accent with the guitar you could play something like this.

Drum Lessons Singapore
Sweet Emotion Live Ending

On my video I decided to keep it simple and just play the basic groove with crashes on beats 1, 3, and 1 of the two bar pattern. If I was performing with a band, I would accent it the same way as Joey before going on to my big ending show off lick.

With this song you are asked to fill around the kit for the big ending. On the Trinity rock & pop  version of the song with the metronome on it, the metronome drops out at this point. However if you continue counting you’ll notice you actually have 9 1/4 note beats to play with here (two 4/4 bars + 1 beat). For this big ending I elected to crash on beat 1 and then start a 16th note triplet lick on beat 2. Here’s what it looks like:

drum lessons singapore
Big Ending Lick

I use “ti-ta” for counting 16th note triplets, so the counting for this lick is:

1          2 ti-ta & ti-ta 3 ti-ta & ti-ta 4 ti-ta & ti-ta 1 ti-ta & ti-ta 2 ti-ta & ti-ta 3 ti-ta & ti-ta 4   &    1.

Note that this lick is performed more by feel; I notice in my execution of it in the video that I’m a little late starting the 16th note triplets on beat 2 and I tend to ritard over the last three notes (4 & 1) and hit the last crash as the guitar dies out.

I used 16th note triplets between the hands and bass drum for this ending as it’s a fairly standard song ending lick & you should learn how to do it at some point. However, if you’re taking the exam & don’t have time to master it, you can try some 16th note alternatives like these:

drum lesson singapore
Alternate Endings

This is great song to learn to play; it’s a lot of fun and really allows you to rock out & it’s always good to practice those big endings. In addition, the timing challenges presented by the song in the unison figures and also the big space between the last verse and the guitar solo will help to solidify your time feel if you work on them. Your open hi-hats will also benefit greatly from working on the verse groove.

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!

Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel & subscribe for more videos!

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial lesson with us, sign up for one here!