Videos of Drummers In Action

I really enjoyed the recent post on Steve Goold’s blog with “drum cam” footage from a recent performance and thought I’d post a few videos showing drummers at work including one of myself, for good measure.

There’s a huge amount of indulgent stuff being shown by drummers in their practice rooms, and it’s great fun to watch but to see our colleagues working up close during a live performance is something else. The following videos all show drummers of a high calibre who are continuing to work on their skills and are generous enough to share with their fellow musicians some very personal insights into their learning process as well as showing off their existing chops and musicality. And me at the end…

Starting, then, with Mr Goold from his blog post here –

Next a clip from Steve Hynes, a great drummer who has a YouTube channel chocka with interesting footage here –

Next, some drum cam action from another YouTuber, Adam Hay, whose videos I discovered via a chat he put up with drummer Al Cross about strokes (not the type that land you in hospital, of course). His channel is here –

Joe Crabtree is another brilliant drummer whose series showing the drum solos he did on a tour with insightful comments on what he played, thought and learned, accompanying the videos is must-watch stuff. He has tons of lessons on his YouTube channel and also a website where subscribers can watch hours and hours of lessons, too –

Here’s a bloke called Alec Tackmann whose YouTube channel, GoAndPractice is full of little exercises you can learn to add to your vocabulary presented in a very economical way. You can grab any one of the ideas and work it up to speed and take it to your next gig –

Lastly, here is a bit of me playing a pub gig in Finchley. It’s from a couple of years ago and it strikes me that my drumming has evolved quite a bit since then. I am doing Use Somebody by the Kings of Leon which some of my students are learning, they might find it amusing…

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Jojo Mayer – Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer Pt. 2: A Guide to Foot Technique

Jojo Mayer - Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer Pt. 2 A Guide to Foot TechniqueI’m rather excited to discover that the long awaited sequel to Jojo Mayer’s insane video on hand technique is due out soon. Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer Pt. 2: A Guide to Foot Technique is released by Hudson Music “soon”. It promises to be “The most comprehensive guide to foot technique for drummers ever available”.

The hands video is best viewed as a compendium of technical information rather than a step by step guide that needs to be mastered in its entirety. It looks like the foot one will be similar. I’m very much looking forward to the experience of elaborating my drumming-related neuroses to the feet.

You can pre-order the “soon” available product from or just wait and buy it somewhere like a normal human being.

For more info, check out Hudson’s page on it here –

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Stanton Moore Clinic at Bell Percussion

Stanton Moore Clinic - Bell Percussion 19.10.2014 (2)I had a great time last Sunday attending a clinic with top-notch New Orleans drummer, Stanton Moore, at Bell Percussion in Acton. The event was organised by fellow Edgwareian and hub of the drum community, Mike Dolbear of

I admit I was feeling a little apprehensive about seeing Stanton since I became a bit “Stantoned out” with his Street Beats DVD and Groove Alchemy Book and DVD. It started to feel like he was popping up everywhere I looked, like some sort of drumming Jimmy Carr, doing his gurning and a-rat-a-tat-buzz-buzz-thump thingy. My apprehension was all for nothing, though. Stanton Moore is a brilliant drummer and his presentation was thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring.

The clinic was part of a two day educational programme which involved a couple of day-long master classes for a privileged few. After a brief introduction by Mike, who requested, in a fit of nostalgia for the 1990’s, no one post anything to YouTube, Stanton sat down on stage and proceeded to play a couple of songs from his oeuvre with great energy. He then got straight to the educational part of the programme.

The main topic of the evening related to “musical mileage” – how we can use one idea and create loads of variations with it around the kit to develop grooves and fills. As an example, Stanton used a three stroke ruff (or what I would call a single drag) – llR or rrL, played closed at first and then open as triplets. With this simple rudimental pattern, we learned how to work on feel, to understand the swung and the straight variants and how to move between the two, we learned about dynamics and phrasing and how to apply an excercise we use to develop our physical prowess to make music.

Stanton Moore Clinic - Bell Percussion 19.10.2014 (1)Stanton seamlessly incorporated all of the themes familiar to anyone who’s followed his educational work into this dissection and reconstruction of the single drag – the James Brown/Meters funk thing, the Johnny Vidacovic thing, the swing thing, the Bonham thing and so on. He must have gone on for a good 90 minutes on this subject alone. It was engaging and entertaining all the way through. Following a question from an audience member, he also spoke about how he developed his famous buzz roll, thanks to a gig with a punk-klezmer outfit.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to see Stanton Moore do his thing and feel like I went away with a load of ideas I can apply to my approach to learning and teaching drums which, although I was familiar with many of them from his books and videos, have been brought to life by seeing him in the flesh. His presentation was a perfect example of what a drum clinic should be.

Check out Stanton’s site here –

Thanks to my student, Jonathan Cocking, who let me use his photos.

Here’s the YouTube lesson he did covering similar topics. I don’t think seeing this will put anyone off going to see drum clinics. If anything, I am sure it will encourage people to support real life events.

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My New Custom Moulded Earplugs Are Here

JpegI’m very excited this morning because the postman bought me my new pair of ACS ER-15 custom moulded earplugs. My old pair died and I’ve had to wait a few months before ordering a new pair.

Without my proper earplugs I have been using Elacin ER20s and ProGuard PR20s, both of which seem pretty good although the ProGuards are more comfortable for longer periods of time. The-off-the-shelf musician’s earplugs are not bad, I think all musicians should have a pair and use them regularly when practicing, gigging or when listening to live music, but for the amount of time I have my ears plugged, they don’t really cut it. The comfort offered by custom moulded earplugs is incomparable and I believe the protection for my ears is better. After using the off-the-shelf plugs, my ears still feel fatigued.

If you are a busy musician or teacher exposed to loud music for hours at a time, I strongly recommend you invest in a pair of custom earplugs.

I’d like to give a plug (geddit?) to Gisele the audiologist at Aid2Hearing who took the impressions for the earplugs and got them made for me, she offered a great service and is highly recommended to anyone in the London area.

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Funky Left-Hand Open Hi Hat Splashes

Hi-HatHere’s a sheet of exercises I wrote to develop the facility to play open hi hat splashes on the ee’s and ah’s using the left hand.

These exercises are based on the famous Bernard Purdie lick you can hear in Aretha Franklin’s Rocksteady and which is a staple of funk drumming. If you watch Purdie play the lick, you’ll notice he plays the open sounds with his right hand but I find that when you use the left hand it keeps your right hand on the beat helping to maintain a good flow (not that BP has any trouble in that area…). The trick here is to work on playing a really tight hi hat “shoop” that’s perfectly lined up with the bass. In these examples, the right hand doesn’t play on the 8ths after the open hat moves, I will post a couple of pages utilising the right in the near future. Meanwhile, hope you like these.

Donwload the PDF: Funky Offbeat Hi Hat Fills

Funky Offbeat Hi Hat Fills P1

Funky Offbeat Hi Hat Fills P2

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Drum Lessons In North-West London

Drum Lessons In Mill Hill & ColindaleA quick note to let you know I still have a few free slots available for drumming students in the North-West London area.

Please get in touch if you want drum lessons starting in September. I teach in Mill Hill and Colindale and can work with people of all abilities from beginners to advanced. I have students of all ages and am dedicated to helping everyone become as good as they want to be.

I like to think of myself as a thorough teacher. Students will work on their technique, rudiments, vocabulary, various musical styles, reading, listening skills, musicality, good posture and general grooviness.

Styles covered include rock, pop, funk, soul, R&B, jazz, ska, reggae and more. I can even help you prepare for your graded exams, although you might have to give me a good reason why you want to take that particular course of study first :-D.

If you are a more advanced drummer, I can help you identify areas that might be holding you back, introduce you to new styles and, in particular, I can help you develop your fundamentals, to improve your sound, time, articulation, dynamics and stamina.

Please get in touch with me by emailing,, messaging via my contact page or calling 07828 845 047 to book your lesson or to have a chat.

I am also running band workshops at Ebony & Ivory in Colindale with my colleague, Rodrigo the guitar teacher to work on group playing with beginning and intermediate students. We have a group for kids and for adults. For more information check out

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Lady Marmalade Drum Lesson

I am finding myself doing video lessons and bunging them up on Youtube for students in various contexts. Here is a lesson on the famous groove for Lady Marmalade by Labelle, played originally by drummer Herman “Roscoe” Ernest III.

First, let’s watch him explain the groove’s provenance. The clip is off a DVD called New Orleans Drumming which has Herlin Riley, Johnny Vidacovich, Earl Palmer and Mr Ernest all holding forth on drumming. It’s one of the best drumming videos I’ve seen.

Here’s the dots, my video lesson follows:

Lady Marmalade Groove

And finally, the original track:

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Todd Bishop’s New Album, Travelogue, Out Now

Todd Bishop - TravelogueTodd Bishop of the Cruise Ship Drummer blog puts out a high volume of interesting, valuable and varied drum set lessons and exercises. I like to show my support by buying the stuff he’s got for sale like his books and records.

It’s come to my attention that Todd’s latest album, Travelogue, is out so I thought I’d give it a mention here. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet but you can preview it on the record label’s site or at the Amazon MP3 music store where you can also buy it.

From the label’s site:

Portland drummer Todd Bishop follows up on his collection of rarely performed Ornette Coleman compositions, 2012’s “Little Played Little Bird,” with an album of mostly original music, again featuring the great Brazilian pianist, Jasnam Daya Singh (until now known as Weber Iago), Seattle saxophonist Richard Cole, this time performing on several woodwinds, and Portland bassist Chris Higgins. The group’s compositions were inspired by the band’s recent tour of Europe and their ongoing collaborative processes which have only grown richer over the last several years of performances together.

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The Art & Science of Groove, Benny Greb’s Indigogo Project

20140705043405-05_bg_dvd2_teaser_v01_.Standbild014Here’s a cool idea:

Benny Greb is producing a high quality DVD via the crowdfunding site Indigogo. I think it’s a positive thing to produce this stuff independently.

The video pitching the idea sounds encouraging, there’s a few seconds of tap dancing which is an artform closely associated with the drum kit, according to Freddy Gruber talking on one of the videos I watched on Drum Channel recently. Then Benny talks about the myth of groove or musical feel being something you either have or you don’t have and how he wants to show us how this is untrue, that it’s something you learn. I think it’s true that some people are born with an innate musicality but me and Benny are in the camp of those who had to work on it.

I’m not sure the world really needs another drum DVD but it will be interesting to see if this project can deliver something fresh. For someone with an almost fetishistic compulsion to acquire drum education materials, it’s an irresistible proposition.

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Chaffee Linear Patterns Lesson Video

Chaffee - Time Functioning PatternsI found this video demonstrating numerous ways to apply the linear sticking patterns from Gary Chaffee’s Time Functioning Patterns. The ideas are explained really well and the lesson gives a basis for much exploration. It’s a good idea with this material to work on one pattern comprehensively until you internalise the principles embodied in the variations. This will make it easier to hear the music in the other patterns and will make application flow more easily. Then again, you might prefer to work on one of the groove ideas with all the patterns and then try a fill on all the patterns and so on. Depends how you like to work.

The grooves and fills you can create using these patterns sound really cool and are great for developing fluidity, dynamics and control but I have often struggled find uses for linear patterns in styles I play. I quite fancy getting in to some of this and figuring out what I can do with it. Any suggestions welcome.

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