Drumming Basics: Quarter, Eighth & Sixteenth Notes

In most music, rhythmic durations are measured and timed within the framework of a steady beat. To put it another way, rhythms are created by subdividing the beat into shorter durations or by adding them together into longer durations. All rhythmic values (durations) of notes and rests can be defined by their relationships to each other,Continue reading “Drumming Basics: Quarter, Eighth & Sixteenth Notes”

The Unsexy Fundamentals

I love teaching drums.  The most rewarding part is meeting new people, watching them progress, and helping them on their journey to become better drummers and musicians. Yet, I’ve noticed the learning curve is not a linear one. There are many set-backs along the way, and as an instructor, I often find it challenging toContinue reading “The Unsexy Fundamentals”

Rates & 16th Note Variations

As a drum teacher I’ve noticed that one of the most difficult things for beginner drummers is to switch rates, e.g., to go from triplets to 16th notes, and moving between different 16th note variations. This short exercise is designed so you can play along with me (or the click only), get comfortable with counting,Continue reading “Rates & 16th Note Variations”

Sugar Soul Wednesdays @ Hawaiian Brian’s

In January, The Project (@jaykeyzproject) started to host a weekly Neosoul/Funk/HipHop flavored jam session at Hawaiian Brian’s, in Honolulu. We usually open the night at 10 PM with a short set, and then invite people up to jam and improvise. It’s a great opportunity to hang, vibe, network, and play with some of Hawaii’s topContinue reading “Sugar Soul Wednesdays @ Hawaiian Brian’s”

Get a Grip

Other drummers have asked me about my (default) grip. Just flip a stick and catch it. That’s it: The brilliance of simplicity. Note: I use a middle finger fulcrum as my “home position,” the index finger comes in to close the hand, add control and pressure, only when necessary (fast doubles, press rolls, etc.). This allowsContinue reading “Get a Grip”

Brush It Off

I love playing the brushes. There’s a meditative, soothing quality to it. Playing brushes can assist you in developing better timing and flow (because of circular/elliptical stroke patterns) — which will also show when playing with sticks. All time great brush players include Papa Jo Jones, Clayton Cameron, and Jeff Hamilton. A little history onContinue reading “Brush It Off”

16th Note Hi-Hat Variations Loop

Here’s a cool exercise one of my teachers shared with me, a long time ago: You play 14 different 16th note variations on the hi-hat, one per measure, while keeping a continually repeated pattern (ostinato) on the bass drum and snare. The bass drum syncopation includes a note on the “a” and “&” of theContinue reading “16th Note Hi-Hat Variations Loop”