Leaving Space Grooves

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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 (featD’Angelo on Rhodes)  by Don-E & Azure

You can download the sheet music 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

STYLES

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There are lots of materials out there on different styles and drum grooves. The sheer amount of method books and sheet music can be overwhelming.

I put together a PDF to provide a basic overview of grooves that are used in different styles.

You can download it HERE for free.

Whether you are a drum teacher or are learning by yourself , I hope you find it useful.

Adding the Bass Drum – The Loop

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Fellow drummers!
Here’s the last video of my short drum lesson on timing/coordination/subdivisons/rates.
My playing is not as clean as I want it to be, … I’m still working on these drills and ideas, but that’s what practice is all about.
I hope you find the information presented inspiring and useful.
Aloha!
– Beck

The Unsexy Fundamentals

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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.