Drummers and drum teachers,
Thanks to everyone who tuned in and watched our set at Theatrix Hawaii.
To be honest, it was weird to play for cameras and not a live audience, but we all had a blast and enjoyed playing music together — the first time in over 3 months!
If you missed it, you can rewatch it here.
Mahalos for all the support from near and far, Eric Ho, and the team at Theatrix Hawaii.
Next up, on July 8th, are Jasmine Nicole and FIA.
Here’s a Timing/Coordination Groove Exercise I like to do.
- The bass drum plays a “Bo Diddley pattern.”
- The left hand plays the 2 + 4 backbeat.
- The right hand moves through all the 16th note variations of a 4 note grouping on the Hi-Hat, e.g.:
X… = Quarter Note (ONE e and a)
.X.. = 2nd 16th Note (one E and a)
..X. = the off beat (one e AND a)
…X = 4th 16th Note (one e and A)
2nd run through is BOTH hands in UNISON
This might be incredibly boring to watch (LOL), but it’s an exercise I’ve found tremendously helpful to develop coordination and good timing.
Wanted to share.
I’m excited to play my first show in three months with the JayKeyzProject at Theatrix Hawaii, on Wednesday, July 1st!
The concert is virtual and will be streamed live on Theatrix Hawaii’s Facebook page.
Jason Laeha‘s set is from 7:00-7:45 pm HST, and we go on after, from 8 to 9 pm, HST.
Hope to “see you” there.
I’ve always loved the half-time shuffle feel, a la Bernard Purdie.
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different Hi-Hat variations while keeping the rest locked in.
Needs work, but there’s for some interesting vibes …
Here are three variations:
One of my younger drum students loves Hard Rock, classic Heavy Metal, … and Star Trek.
His favorite series is Star Trek: Enterprise, which features a version of Faith of the Heart (aka Where My Heart Will Take Me) as sung by Russell Watson.
I made a quick transcription of the 1:18 min piece. It’s not note for note but gives you a good idea of what’s going on, drum wise.
At 65bpm, it’s a classic rock ballad and features some signature drum fills, especially in the outro.
I was unable to find out who’s drumming on the recording. Please leave a comment if you happen to know.
You can download the free pdf HERE
In the age of flashy YouTube and Instagram drumming stars it’s easy to forget that it’s surprisingly hard to play slow beats with lots of space between the notes.
It makes sense to me: The more notes you pack into a beat, the easier it is to get away with sloppy placement or bad timing. Especially to the untrained ear.
Here’s a simple, yet challenging exercise I like to practice:
I play through all rate variations on the hi-hat while maintaining a simple beat between bass drum and snare drum. Note, there is no “One” on the bass drum, which really forces you to feel the rhythm internally, rather than relying on coming down hard on the downbeat with your right foot.
In the video I play each beat twice, before moving on to the next one.
Background music: So Cold (feat. D’Angelo on Rhodes) by Don-E & Azure
You can download the sheet music HERE.
This one might be for the advanced drummer, because it does require a certain level of coordination and technique.
The short groove idea is the result of a “happy accident” while playing around. I broke it down and transcribed it. It’s a three bar pattern that repeats itself. Check it out.
I sometimes get the question on how I come up with combinations/melodies/fills around the kit. That’s a tough one to answer, because when I play, I play, and try not to think (in concepts and combinations).
Having said that, there are exercises that have helped me develop dexterity around the kit, and that allow me to move around the drums with more freedom.
Here’s an exercise I learned years ago, but I took it further and “put it through the wringer.”
I take a 4-note grouping (RLRL) and systematically substitute one hand with one bass drum (K), which gives me four variations:
Substituting two hands with two consecutive bassdrums also gives me four variations:
I recommend working on these combinations slowly, until you start to hear the rythmic melody in your head, and your hands and feet can execute the patterns effortlessly, even and relaxed. That’s very important. Don’t worry about speed. Instead, focus on relaxed control and playing “clean.”
Drop your shoulders, don’t hold your breath, and eliminate all unnecessary tension when you practice.
When I first started working on this stuff, I had a hard time staying focused, so I practiced on a practice pad and tapped my feet on the floor. That cut out the temptation to immediately play something else and focus on the basic mechanics of the exercises.
Start playing them as 8th notes first, and step quarter notes on the Hi-Hat.
I find it important to switch between the rates in a very systematic way in order to internalize the ways the rhythms feel in our body and how the melodies sound on the drums.
To get the most benefit from the exercise, play it in different rates, e.g., 8th notes, 8th note triplets, and 16th notes — Mark Guiliana calls this “The Loop:” 8th notes – 8th note triplets – 16th notes – 8th note triplets.
If the pattern is 8th notes, it gets played twice, triplets three times, 16th notes four times.
Time to break out the metronome and start s l o w.
Continue to play quarter notes with your left foot on the Hi-Hat.
You can download the free PDF here.
Here’s a short video, demonstrating the exercise. First run through is on the snare only, then I orchestrate the patterns around the toms.
I hope you find this helpful and inspiring. If you’re interested in drum lessons on Oahu, or would like to schedule a lesson online, please get in touch.
GET “PLAY AS YOU ARE”
I can’t believe this record is almost twenty years old.
It’s packed with great beats by Questlove and others. The track “Heat” samples Tony Allen, Fela Kuti’s one-time fellow band member and co-founder of the Afrobeat genre.
Here are some beats from the record. – Beck
Download the free pdfs HERE.