Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1

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!

Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3

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!

Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 3

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!

Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2

Alicia Keys – Fallin’ – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii keep on fallin’….. in love with… my drums!  Alicia Keys’ Fallin’ is part of the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 syllabus. Written in 12/8, this song provides a nice change of feel from all the other songs written in 4/4.

The 12/8 time signature means we are playing 12 beats in the bar and the 1/8th note gets the count. In a bar of 12/8 we can have twelve eighth notes, six quarter notes, four dotted quarter notes, three half notes or twenty-four sixteenth notes.

drum lesson singapore
12/8 examples

Normally when playing in 12/8 we play with a dotted quarter note feel. This means we emphasize the first, fourth, seventh and tenth beats of the bar. This gives us 4 groupings of 3 notes and makes it feel like we are playing 8th note triplets in 4/4. The two examples below will sound the same, it’s just the method of writing them down that differs. You can feel the beat either way. If you are more comfortable counting 8th note triplets in 4/4, you may wish to carry on counting that way.

drum lessons singapore
12/8 & 4/4 equivalence

Here’s my attempt at this version of the song, try counting along with the song in 12/8 and then try counting the 4/4 feel with the 8th note triplets.

Alicia Keys - Fallin' - Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

Once you’ve got your head around the feel of the song and the counting, it’s a fairly straight forward song to play. The bass drum does get a good work out and there are a couple of places in the song where you need to hit the bass 6 or 7 times in a row; focus on getting each hit the same volume in these sections.

The drum fill towards the end of the song (around 1:20) starts on beat 4 (or 2 if you’re counting in 4/4) and consists of 9 eighth notes. It can be played as shown in the video – using alternating sticking –   or you may prefer to use RLR LRL RLL to allow you to be more relaxed transitioning to the Ride cymbal.

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!

Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2

Blur – Song 2 – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2

WOO HOO! Here is Blur’s Song 2 from the Trinity Rock & Pop grade 2 syllabus.

Blur - Song 2 - Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

This version of the song is very close to the original version by Blur. It’s been slowed down a little; the original speeds a long at 130bpm, this version is a bit slower at 116bpm. That doesn’t stop the fun of playing this song though, you can still rock out to it!

Other alterations include a few crashes that have omitted and the only fill being orchestrated slightly differently. We’re also missing the first 4 bars where the drummer gets to groove on their own… but other than that, it’s pretty much the same as the original. WOO HOO!

This song is built around two separate 2 bar patterns. The bass drum part on both these grooves is very similar; if you’re taking the exam make sure you concentrate on the bass drum part when moving from one groove to the other, it’s easy to make a mistake there.

The groove used in the introduction and verses uses the rim of the floor tom to provide an interesting colour to the beat. It’s not a sound you hear often in rock & pop but it is a nice alternative to the usual hi-hat or ride. It also crops up in the chorus of Maroon 5’s Harder To Breathe and the rim of the snare drum is famously used for the intro to La Grange by ZZ Top.

This is a fairly simple song to play once you have the two main grooves down. Don’t forget to add dynamics to your grooves; the verses should be a restrained Mezzo Forte while the chorus is an energetic Forte that should get your listeners wanting to jump around! WOO HOO!

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!

Categories
Songs Tips for students Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1

Michael Jackson – Billie Jean – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1

Here’s the Trinity Rock & Pop version of this classic track from the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson - Billie Jean - Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1 Drums

This is one of the those songs that really shows that it’s not what you play, but the way that you play it. On the original track Ndugu Chancler plays a drum beat which is probably the first beat almost every drummer learns. It may be simple, but you can’t help but dance when you hear it coming out the speakers. That is down to how it was played. Listen to the original track & record yourself playing this groove until you can make it sound as good as Ndugu Chancler does (it may take a while!).

As with other songs on the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 1 syllabus, we get a shortened version of the song here & they have crammed in as many drum fills as possible. Most of the drum fills are straight forward, but there is one fill (at 53 seconds in the video) that just doesn’t feel natural. If you’re working on this song for the exam, I would suggest listening to the demo version a lot to allow this fill to seep into your brain and make it feel more natural. Counting bars during the chorus will also help (it’s on the 8th bar of the chorus).

This is a fun song to play, and nailing the groove on this song will greatly benefit your drumming.

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!

Categories
Songs Songs with scores Tips for students

INXS – New Sensation

In 1987 Australian band INXS rocked the world with their 6th studio album that eventually sold over 20 Million copies. New Sensation was one of 4 songs to reach the US Billboard Charts top 10. Here’s my attempt at playing this song:

Inxs - New Sensation - Drum Cover

Drummer Jon Farris lays down a straight forward groove on the verses of this song and then a driving snare groove on the chorus of the song. Playing quarter notes on the snare is a great way to change the feel of a song, drive it more, and make it more aggressive.

What I’ve always enjoyed about Jon Farris’ playing is his drum fills and his drum fill placement. He creates memorable moments in songs with his choice & placement of fills. The fill on the 8th bar of the first verse is easy to play but fits the song perfectly. Check the fill at the start of the 5th verse, it really punctuates the lyrics and creates a memorable moment.  At a couple of points in the song he uses a ghost note to give the groove a little push. Some drummers would have been tempted to add more, but he showed great restraint and as a result the ghost notes are very effective.

Here’s a copy of the score courtesy of our friends at DrumLessonResources.com. Have a go at playing it yourself!

Things to focus on when learning this song:

  1. Playing a consistent groove during the verses. The verse groove may be simple, but playing it accurately and with conviction takes practice. Record yourself playing the groove & nail it with a metronome first.
  2. For the chorus, the focus has to be on not flamming the snare and bass drum. Play the beat slowly at first and really concentrate on getting hi-hat, snare and bass hitting at exactly the same time. Slow and careful practice will reap rewards that you’ll be able to take forward with you onto to other songs.
  3. Getting the fills and crashes in the correct spots… they aren’t always where you’d expect them. Concentrate & listen to the song 1000 times! (Check out the whole Kick album, it’s a classic!)

If you’re in Singapore and  haven’t had  a free trial drum lesson with us yet, sign up for one here.

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