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

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

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

Here’s a demonstration of Red Hot Chili Peppers Under The Bridge from the Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums Syllabus.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge – Trinity Rock & Pop Grade 2 Drums

As always with the early grades on the trinity rock & pop drum syllabus, we get a cut down version of the song here, but it’s still enough for us to enjoy playing it. Let’s have a look at some of the trickier bits of this song.

A Bridge Too Far?

There are couple of points in the song where the drums act as a bridge between parts of the song. The first one is where the drums first enter the song;  there are 8 bars of guitar intro & then it’s 2 bars of just drums while the guitar sustains it’s last note. There is nothing to lock in with & nothing to help us with the timing. If you use the version of the song with the drums or the click, then it’s obviously easier; but to get a good idea of how your timing is, try the version without the click. Counting may be necessary!

The other time the drums act as a bridge is at the end of the first verse. At this point we’ve been playing for 10 bars and have a good idea of the tempo and how it feels, but the pattern features a slightly more complex left hand part… don’t speed up! Again, while working with the click this shouldn’t be too hard to nail, but try it with the version without a click to get a better sense of how well developed your internal clock is.

Rim Click, Upside Down Stick

One of the areas being assessed for this song is the quality of the rim click sound. To get the best sound from your rim clicks, hold your stick upside down (near the tip) and put the butt end of the stick over the rim of the drum. This will give you a fatter, meatier, fuller sound than if you hold the stick in the normal manner.

Once you’ve finished with the rim clicks you can continue to hold the stick upside down for rest of the song, or you can flip it back over – but you may not want to increase the risk of dropping your stick on exam day. I know many drummers that play with the left stick almost permanently upside down so they can get more power into the back beat on the snare in loud playing situations.

Did You Cross The Bridge?

Most of this song is fairly straight forward, just make sure to focus on playing the rim click & bass drum together on beat 3 during the second verse. I don’t want to hear any flams.

The fills during the finale of the song are not difficult, but again, practice them with a metronome to make sure you don’t rush.

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!

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.

 

 

 

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:

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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.

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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!

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!

 

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!