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 to keep my students motivated and inspired. 

When I reflect and look at my most proficient students, I’d say they have two things in common:

  1. A passion and love for drums & music.
  2. The willingness to put in the time and dig deep on the fundamentals. 

Let’s face it, all great drummers have great fundamentals.

What do I mean by fundamentals?

  • timing: knowing quarter notes, eight notes, triplets, 16th notes
  • solid timing within a beat and when transitioning, e.g., going from a beat to a fill-in and back
  • basic coordination between the limbs; bass drum independence
  • playing singles and doubles

There’s more, of course, but these are the big pillars of drum set playing, in my opinion.

Focusing on these things, I believe, will make you a great song and groove drummer.

When I was younger, I played along to music, all the time. I loved Tom Petty, AC/DC, and straight-forward rock tunes. I didn’t focus on crazy fills or drum chops, my goal was to lock in with the band, and play with them, as if I were the drummer on the recording.

I’m convinced that this is the most important drum-practice, I’ve ever done, because it made me focus on my groove and timing, and what it means to play with others.

One problem I’ve noticed is that many of my students want to move on too fast, when they aren’t ready yet, and haven’t mastered some of the basics.

I get it, we watch all these drummers on YouTube or Instagram and we’re inspired and fired up to do what they do.

Problem is, 90% of those drummers have been playing for 30+ years and, therefore, have way more mileage under their belts than the average drum student that comes to learn with me.

I admit, I often struggle with keeping folks motivated, because I can understand and see their frustration and where they want to go.

Learning an instrument, especially later in life, can be challenging. 

So kudos to all of you!

But I keep coming back to The Basics.

A house is only as strong as its foundation. 

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 allows me to utilize the rebound I get from the drums and cymbals, and to play with the least amount of effort.

#KeepItSimpleStupid

 

Play As You Are – Holiday Discount

For a limited time only you can get my Kindle ebook Play As You Are for $2.99!

unnamedHere’s a short interview by takelessons.com, where we touch on the book.

As always, I remain deeply grateful for your support.

Wishing you all a very happy new year…

Beck

 

 

KICK START – Get Ready To Play!

Aspiring drummers and drum set instructors!

I updated my instructional drumming PDF “Kick Start” (40 pages).

It covers basic reading skills and coordination exercises, and helps the beginning drummer to master her first beats, fills, and gain confidence on the drum kit.

I’ve used it successfully in my teaching practice for almost two years now.

You can work through the material by yourself, but I highly recommend getting a teacher, who can help you understand the basics and fill in the blanks.

You can download it for $9.99 when you click the link below.

Happy Holidays!

– beck

DOWNLOAD KICK START

Drumming Videos

 

Here are two simple, yet cool triplet combos: ||:Left Right Kick:|| (Gadd is a master at this!) and then something I’ve heard Bonham do a lot: ||:Left Right Kick | Right Left Kick:||


In this songo improv I play open handed, aka left hand lead (I’m not crossing my sticks), which allows me to get around the kit more easily.


Here’s an Elvin Jones inspired afro-cuban pattern. It has a 6/4 kind of feel, and the hi-hat splashes and tom accents make it challenging to keep balance. I’ll try to follow up with a transcription, soon.


I recently came up with this cool beat:

8th note heel/toe hi-hat splashes over a polyrhythmic double stroke bass drum pattern. 1&A cymbal pattern + snare drum on 2&4.


 

Jazzy Snare-Tom Combo

Been listening to a lot of Hard Bop lately. Here’s a triplet-based lick that’s fun to play and gets you around the kit. Might have heard it from #BillyHiggins or #MaxRoach, not sure.