Zoom Drum Lessons

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This Covid thing isn’t going away, so like everyone else, I have to make adjustments. 

I’m still waiting on some audio gear, but hope to offer online Zoom drum lessons soon. 

•••

From hand technique, rudiments and chops, to timing and groove concepts, reading, or just how to get started… I’m happy to share what I’ve learned over my thirty-plus years of playing the drums. 

I’ll keep you posted on when I’m up and running!

Chop Builders

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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:

1.RLRK

2.RKRL

3.RLKL

4.KLRL

Substituting two hands with two consecutive bassdrums also gives me four variations:

5.RLKK

6.RKKL

7.KKRL

8.KLRK (KRLK)

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.

For example:

RATES

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”

Available on

KINDLE/AUDIBLE

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Common – Like Water for Chocolate

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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.

Linear Drum Fill

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This one’s for my drum students!

Here are two great sounding Linear Fill combinations.

  • Learn the sticking (and footing) first, play it slowly and gradually bring it up to speed.
  • Make sure the pattern sounds even and not choppy.
  • Focus an clarity and groove first, the speed will come.

I demonstrate one example on the kit including three toms, but the possibilities are endless.

Play around and see if you can come up with your own orchestrations of the patterns!

Happy drumming and I hope to see you In Real Life soon!

Be well! – Beck

Quarantine Beats

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What do you do if you’re a drummer and in quarantine? Practice, of course!

I no longer have the luxury of an acoustic kit at home, but I don’t let that stop me from creating, practicing and experimenting.

I’m using a Roland TD-17KVX and trigger Addictive Drums 2 through my MacBook Pro.

Having said that, nothing beats a REAL drum kit and I look forward to striking plastic and metal objects in rhythmic intervals, with carved wooden dowels.

Hopefully sooner than later.

Aloha!

– Beck

Rolling!

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Practice Pad Time!

This exercise will strengthen your weaker hand and help to make quick switches between paradiddle variations/rolls and accents.

Start slow, and focus on timing and playing clean. Speed is a result of control.

Here’s the PDF

Sequence:

  • Play “A” (right hand lead) followed by “1”
  • Play “A” (left hand lead) followed by “2”
  • Play “B” (right hand lead) followed by “1”
  • Play “B” (left hand lead) followed by “2” …. and so on and so forth