The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

She Sells Sanctuary by the Cult is now part of the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums syllabus. Here’s my attempt at it:

The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 drums

Let’s Rock!

This is a fairly straight ahead rock song, the key thing in performing this song is to get the feel correct. It’s time to hit hard. The bass and snare want to provide a solid, steady, unrelenting groove throughout the song. The dynamic for this song only slips below forte (loud) for the breakdown section of the song.

This is a good song to practice playing heel up on the bass drum; it’ll help to get more weight into your groove. Switch to heel down during the quieter breakdown section to help control your dynamics.

Hopefully you’ve been playing your basic rock beats with a metronome and can absolutely nail this song. There isn’t too much about this song that is  challenging, but you need to really commit to the beat & make it rock.

Hard Hitting Hats

To help drive a song forward & make the groove feel heavier and rock solid, rock drummers often accent the quarter note pulse on the hi-hat whilst playing eighth notes. This is achieved by using a whipping motion to generate the strokes that play the downbeats (1,2,3,4) and then hitting the upbeat strokes (the “&s”) as you reset the motion for the next downbeat.

Watch powerful rock drummers such as Phil Rudd (AC/DC), Matt Sorum (Guns n’ Roses, The Cult, Velvet Revolver), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) or Tico Torres (Bon Jovi) and observe the motion of their arms; you’ll see all of them accenting the quarter note down beat in this manner. Try and copy their arm motion and you should hear more dynamics in your hi-hat playing that’ll help to solidify the pulse of the song and power it forward.

Flams & Fills

The song, like many a great rock song, starts with a flam. It’s a strong statement to make at the start of a song and tells the listener it’s time to rock. Make sure you really nail the timing and get it perfectly on beat four to give a secure & powerful start to the song.

All the fills in the song are performed solely on  the snare drum. As a rock drummer I’ve always loved snare drum fills, they have an aggression to them that you can’t get through hitting tom toms. They may be simple to play and don’t look so flashy, but musically they really make an impact.

The big fill at bar 48 – the end of the breakdown section – is a classic rock fill that you want to have in your vocabulary. It’s been featured in songs by AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Meatloaf, Queen, Poison, Guns n’Roses and countless others. Flams are used again to make it more powerful and to make more of a statement, focus on getting all 3 flams sounding the same.

Did You Find Sanctuary?

Hopefully you enjoy yourself rocking out to this track, it’s one of the simpler songs to play on the grade 2 syllabus, but it’s needs commitment to making the beat feel as good as possible & providing a solid back bone for the rest of the band to sit on.

The 2018 version of the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums 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!

Check out other Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 songs such as:

Under The Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Knock On Wood – Eddie Floyd

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

If you’re in Singapore &  haven’t had a free trial drum lesson with us, contact us & we’ll arrange one for you.

James Brown – Hot Pants – Trinity Rock & Pop Initial

It’s time to bring the funk! Here’s the Godfather of funk & soul, James Brown:

James Brown – Hot Pants – Trinity Rock & Pop Initial Grade Drums

Nothing To See Here!

So… not a lot happened on the drums in that song….  no fills, no change of groove, no tempo changes, no big ending… nada, nothing, zip…. and that’s the point. Sometimes playing drums is all about establishing a beat and just keeping it grooving so people can dance.

James Brown was known for fining & even firing drummers for playing drum fills when he didn’t want them. All he wanted was for drummers to play consistent, almost hypnotic, grooves for his band to play with and his audience to dance to. While it’s fun to play fills, sometimes they just get in the way & interrupt the flow of the music. Just gimme the groove.

Is It REALLY That Simple?

No, it’s not. The concentration required to stay focused on the beat, not add in fills and to keep the groove consistent, is quite substantial. It’s easy to zone out and lose focus when playing the same beat over and over again.

Trying to make just a simple beat sound consistent for a whole 3 minute song is quite a challenge. Record yourself just playing a simple beat with a metronome for 1 minute, then listen back and listen for variations in speed, kick & bass drum placement & volume. You’ll know when you’ve got it right.

Practicing working on your groove consistency and feel with this song will make big improvements to your overall playing.

Did You Funk Or Flunk?

Hopefully you brought the groove and made it funky… if you didn’t, keep trying! Careful practice and listening to yourself are essential. To help bring the groove to life, try singing the bass drum and snare drum parts to yourself while you are playing it:

Boom    Gak    Boom-Boom Gak

Or add in the hi-hats in the gaps as well

Boom Chick Gak Chick Boom Boom Gak Chick

You might find it improves your feel and helps your concentration. Most drummers can sing their drum parts and often it’s a helpful tool when learning a beat – especially more complex beats. Feel free to substitute in your own sounds for bass, snare and hi-hat.

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! Here’s a playlist of demonstrations of all the songs from the Trinity Rock & Pop Inital Grade

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 😉

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!