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!

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.

Rates & 16th Note Variations

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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, and develop confidence in switching beats while keeping the tempo.

Try to keep a steady quarter note pulse on the bass drum during the exercise.

If you’re wondering about the sticking of some of the variations, you can find them in my PDF Kick Start.

– Beck

Ps.: I posted both play-alongs in the educational section on my website.

 

Sugar Soul Wednesdays @ Hawaiian Brian’s

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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 top musicians!

There’s no cover at the door, so please show some love to the excellent bar staff at The Studio. Hope to see you there!

– Beck

Get a Grip

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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

 

Jazzy Snare-Tom Combo

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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.

Celebrating the Godfather of Soul

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Had a blast playing a James Brown Tribute show at Blue Note Hawaii. Clyde Stubblefield & Jabo Starks have been a major influence in my drumming, from an early age on. #ThankYouFortheGrooves

Time Feel Exercise

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This is great exercise to deepen your pulse and improve timing on the drums. I start playing a beat at the downbeat, then move it to the “e” of the beat, then the “+” and the “a.” I’m basically moving through the 16th note grid, using each 16th note as a new starting point.