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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #5

It’s time to get groovy! This week’s groove of the week is a simple 2-bar pattern. Here’s groove of the week #5:

I’ve always loved this beat. Skipping the bass drum on beat 1 of the second bar gives this groove a very upbeat feel and adds a certain swagger to it. A song that really shows off that swagger is the rock classic Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf. This groove drives the verses of that song and gives it the rebellious feel needed.

Grooves that are 2 bars in length, such as this one, present their own challenges when playing them. The first challenge is being able to play the whole pattern continuously without changing it. I find that singing the pattern in my head while playing helps me to keep it correct. Record yourself playing the groove for an extended period of time; can you play it for 3 minutes without changing the pattern at all?

The second challenge is adding in drum fills. Normally with 2 bar patterns, drum fills will occur on the second bar. You want to practice adding drum fills to the second bar and then resuming the beat from the first bar. Here’s how I practice adding fills into this beat:

Groove of the week 5 played as a four bar pattern with fills added on the fourth bar.
Add some fills to spice things up!

Obviously, you can change the fills to suit your musical needs, make sure you’re able to play fills starting on any beat of that last bar. For suggestions on fills, head over to our fill of the week section.

If you’re in Singapore, and you’d like a free trial drum lessons, contact us via the contact us page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #4

This week’s fill is a classic. If you haven’t heard this somewhere I’ll be surprised! Here’s fill of the week #4:

Sounds pretty simple! It is! But it’s one of the most powerful and effective fills you’ll come across. Drummers sometimes get lost in playing busy; hitting as many things as they can, as fast as they can. Often all a song needs is a simple fill to move it along. This fill is a very effective rock music fill really makes a statement.

Where have you heard it? AC/DC’s Highway to hell and Free’s All Right Now spring to mind. But there are countless other rock songs that use this fill. It’s one you need to know.

The main thing to focus on is the flams; Make all your flams sound the same. Focus on getting consistent spacing between the grace note and the main note of the flam. Get that happening and you’ll be ready to rock.

Simple variations of this fill include splitting the hands up across different surfaces or playing the flams on different drums. Here’s 3 simple variations:

Fill of the week 4, flams played on snare, tom 1 and floor tom.
Flams On Different Drum
Fill of the week 4, hands split between snare drum and floor tom.
Left Hand On Snare, Right Hand on Floor Tom
Fill of the week 4, hands split between snare drum and crash.
Left Hand On Snare, Right Hand on Crash

While those variations on fill of the week #4 are very useful, we can create more fills by using displacement. The idea of displacement is to move all the notes in your fill a certain note value (an eighth, a quarter, a sixteenth) to the left or right. The notes on the end that get kicked out of the bar, return at the start or end of the bar depending on which direction you displaced your fill.

Here I’m going to displace fill of the week #4 one eighth note to the right. So beat 1 on the original fill will move to the “&” of 1. The note originally on the “&” of 1 moves to beat 2 and so on and so forth. The note on the “&” of four, prior to displacement, will become the new beat 1. Here’s displacement #1:

Fill of the week #4 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Displacement 1: Original fill displaced 1 8th note to the right.

We can keep displacing the original fill by 1 8th note another 6 times to create 7 new fills in total. Here are the other 6 displacements:

Fill of the week #4 displaced by 2 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 2: Displacement 1 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 3 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 3: Displacement 2 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 4 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 4: Displacement 3 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 5 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 5: Displacement 4 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 6 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 6: Displacement 5 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.
Fill of the week #4 displaced by 7 8th notes to the right.
Displacement 7: Displacement 6 displaced by 1 8th note to the right.

If we displaced the last fill one more time, we would end up back at our original fill.

All 7 of these variations are very useful, and of course, you can apply the earlier ideas – flams on different drums & splitting the hands between surfaces – to create more fills. You may have even heard these fills in songs. Displacement number 6 is the basis for the main drum fill in “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns n’ Roses for example.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #4

It’s groove of the week time! Here’s groove of the week #4:

Here’s one of those grooves that occurs in more songs than you’d think. Having the bass drum on the “ah” of 2 followed by a bass drum on the “&” of three is extremely common. Check out “How To Save A Life ” by The Fray, “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie & The Blowfish, or “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script to hear examples of this bass drum pattern.

As with Groove Of The Week #3, the challenge for beginners is to get the bass drum landing accurately on the 16th notes in between the hi-hats. As always, work with a metronome, go slow (50-60bpm), count, & focus on keeping your hi-hat steady. Here’s the groove with the counting added to help you out!

Groove 4 with counting added
Don’t Forget To Count!

The open hi-hat on the “&” of four may also need attention. Open hi-hats can sound sloppy very easily, focus on not opening the hi-hat until the & of four and closing it perfectly in sync with the bass drum on beat 1.

For more advanced players, try changing the hi-hat pattern to 2-handed 16th notes, this will force you to work on your co-ordination between your left hand and right foot. Are the bass drums on the “ah” of 1 and 2 really landing perfectly in time with the hi-hat? Record it and find out… if you’re having problems, slow it down and really focus on the left hand & right foot accuracy. Be precise with you note placement.

Groove Of The Week 4 with 2 handed 16th notes on the hi-hat
Keep Counting, Be Precise!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, you can arrange one on our contact us page.


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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #3

Here’s Groove Of The Week 3:

This is one of my favourite grooves. It just feels great to play and has lots of forward momentum. It really pushes a song along. The most famous use of this groove is probably Europe’s “The Final Countdown” but it’s not the only song out there with this groove.

For Beginners the hard part of this groove is getting the 16th note bass drum on the “ah” of 1 and the “ah” of 3. Often the right hand will want to follow the right foot and they end up playing together.

When trying this beat for the first time, go slow (50 – 60 bpm) and count. Focus on keeping your right hand playing steady 8th notes & try to slot the 16th note bass drum in without disturbing your 8th note hi-hats.

Groove of the week #3 + Counting

For more advanced players, try playing the song with a quarter note hi-hat instead. Like this:

Groove of the week #3 + Quarter Note Hi-Hat

Playing quarter notes on the hi-hat will force you to think more about your bass drum placement. Try playing 4 bars of the groove with 8th notes on the hi-hat and then 4 bars with quarter notes on the hi-hat. Is your bass drum falling in the same place in both grooves? Do the snare and bass drum sound the same in both grooves? Record yourself and find out!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, visit our contact us page to arrange one.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #3

Here’s fill of the week #3:

That fill might seem pretty busy, it’s only 16th notes, but there is a lot going on. Let’s break it down and approach it one step at a time.

First up, lets look at what the right hand is doing:

Step 1 – Right hand

So the right hand is just playing a simple 8th note pattern between the snare drum and floor tom – snare, snare, floor, snare, floor, snare, floor, floor. Simple!

Now lets add in the left hand

Step 2 – Add the left hand

The left hand is just playing on the “ah” each beat. For the first 3 beats it’s on the high tom and on beat 4 it plays the floor time. This is a nice drum fill on it’s own & doesn’t sound as heavy as the full fill. I use this fill in lighter playing situations. The addition of the bass drum makes it sound heavier and more “Rock.” Let’s add the bass drum.

Step 3 – Add the bass drum

The bass drum just slots nicely in the space left by the hands on the “e” of each beat .

Once you’ve mastered this fill, try and come up with your own variations by moving your hands around the kit differently. Here’s some variations to get you started:

Four Variations

Keep the sticking pattern the same as the original fill when playing these variations (R K R L). Note that the last fill is just the original fill of the week with flams added on the snare drum. Adding flams to a fill can make it seem bigger and heavier again.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #2

Here’s Fill Of The Week #2:

This fill uses 3 note groupings over 16th notes. This is a very common way of phrasing drum fills & this fill is a good introduction to it.

In any bar of 16th notes you can have 4 groups of 3 and 1 group of 4 notes. This fill is phrased as 3,3,3,4,3 to make the movement from the floor tom back to the snare drum easy. Here are some variations on this fill that moves the group of 4 around a bit.

Fill of the week #2 - phrased 4 3 3 3 3
Fill phrased 4, 3, 3, 3, 3
Fill phrased 3, 4, 3, 3, 4
Fill phrased 3, 3, 4, 3, 3
Fill phrased 3, 3, 3, 3, 4

Another good thing to practice when playing this type of 16th note fill is putting the bass drum on quarter notes underneath the fill. This helps to add more weight to the fill, makes it feel more complete and it keeps the pulse going so the listener doesn’t get lost (hopefully). Here’s the original fill with the bass drum added.

Fill with bass drum added on quarter notes

Now try adding the bass drum to the other variations.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like drum lessons, you can arrange a free trial lesson on the contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #2

Here’s groove of the week #2:

Like Groove Of The Week 1, this is a basic groove that is probably the 2nd or 3rd one that students learn when they first start drumming. It features in so many songs that you really need to spend the time to master it. You’ll have heard it in songs by Green Day, Coldplay, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragon and many many more.

As with all these grooves, make sure you record yourself playing it and focus on playing it as smoothly as possible. Remember that you are laying a foundation for a band to play on top of, if you don’t provide a strong & solid foundation the band isn’t going to sound any good.

This is also a great groove to start experimenting with accenting your hi-hat pattern. Use the shoulder of the stick to create the accent and the tip of the stick to play the unaccented notes. Try it on the on the downbeats…

…. and then on the upbeat

You may find this challenging at first, but it’ll give you 3 very useful variations of the same groove.

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Fill Of The Week instagram Tips for students

Fill Of The Week #1

Here’s fill of the week #1:

I’ve always like fill with flams in them. They add a lot of power to a fill and are great for making a statement. The challenge of course is to get your flams sounding consistent across the fill.

Taking it further

As with any fill you learn, you want to experiment with it and make it your own. This fill is an easy one to change up. The first change is to the drums we hit. Here’s two examples of that:

Fill of the week #1 - Variation 1
Variation 1 – Changing The Drums
Variation 2 – Changing More Drums

You can experiment by changing the drums up as much as you like. Move the flams to a tom-tom, see how that sounds. Find the sound that you like.

When I have a 16th note fill with some space in it, I like to experiment with putting the bass drum in the space. Here’s two examples of that:

Fill of the week 1 - variation 3
Variation 3 – A Little Bass Drum Added
Fill of the week 1 - variation 4
Variation 4 – More Bass Drum Added

Adding the bass drum like this makes the fill sound more complex but also more complete. Variation 3 just adds a bass drum to help set up the flams and variation 4 fills in the space before and after the flam to keep the 16th notes flowing.

By changing which drums you hit and being able to add in bass drums you’ll be able to create lots of new fills from this one idea.

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, you can arrange for one on our contact us page.

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Groove of the week instagram Tips for students

Groove Of The Week #1

Here’s Groove of the Week #1:

It’s the first beat most people learn to play when they start playing drums. It’s been used in some of the biggest songs of all time such as Another One Bites The Dust, Billy Jean, Like a Virgin, Back in Black, Manic Monday, Raspberry Beret and many many more. This is groove deserves a lot of attention for that reason. Can you make it feel as good as the drummers on those songs could? The intro to Billy Jean is easily recognizable and instantly makes you want to dance.

Spend time with the beat and make it sound as good as you can. Make sure there are no flams between the hi-hat and bass drum or hi-hat and snare drum. Check you volumes… how loud is your hi-hat? Does it seem annoyingly loud? Is it overpowering the snare and bass? It shouldn’t, but a lot of beginners will play it that way.

Experiment with where and how you hit the hi-hat. Use the tip or the shoulder of the stick to get different sounds from your hi-hat. Try playing on the ride cymbal or crash instead. Experiment with getting different sounds from the those cymbals by playing on the edge, the body or on the bell. Practice the groove by playing it with rim shots or rim clicks.

Don’t forget to work with a metronome at different tempos, can you make it feel good at 60, 80, 100, 120, 140 & 160bpm? How’s your note spacing at 60bpm? Are you tensing up at 160bpm? Keep those hands relaxed. Get working on it!

If you’re in Singapore and you’d like a free trial drum lesson, contact us via the contact us page and we’ll arrange one for you.