Live, Loud & Drum Healthy Vol. 1

I watched this video recently on YouTube by a bloke called Jai Es who talks about a lot of stuff I think is very important for drummers and not discussed as often as it should. It’s a great run down of fundamental drum technique with a great deal of focus on posture, relaxation, attitude and flow. Jai addresses the mental and spiritual aspects of musicianship and drumming in particular as well as discussing the importance of maintaining your health in order to excel as a musician. He presents a very thorough overview of hand and foot technique including explanations of the German, American and French grips, heel up and heel down bass pedal technique and more.

I love Jai’s approach and vibe. This video seems suitable for intermediate drummers who want to make sure they have a well rounded understanding of the fundamental techniques for hands and feet and for advanced drummers who would like to review their overall approach.

There’s loads of interesting and useful stuff on Jai’s YouTube channel. I recommend you check it out.

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How To Play The Train Beat

Here’s my latest video. It’s an introduction to playing the train beat. Making videos is quite challenging and I intend to keep them coming as much as a way to learn the skill as to offer my take on whatever areas of drumming I think I can do justice to.

Hope you enjoy this. Check out the post I did that has a bunch of exercises to expand and embellish your vocabulary with the train beat –

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Chuck Berry – After School Session

Chuck Berry - After School Session
I grew up listening to olden days blues, rock ‘n’ roll and R&B, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters. My dad’s record collection included LPs and singles from the late fifties and early sixties and that was my food and drink for most of my childhood. I must have listened to After School Session a thousand times.

Chuck Berry died and here’s After School Session. Everything swings!

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Mark Guiliana Clinic at Bell Percussion

The amazing Mark Guiliana is doing a clinic at Bell Percussion on the 31st of May. Go get a ticket, there’s not that many of them and I’ve got mine. Can’t imagine anything better you could do with a tenner.

Mark Guiliana Clinic at Bell Percussion

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Playing Ghost Notes In A Shuffle Groove Like Reelin’ In The Years

Playing Ghost Notes In A Shuffle Groove Like Reelin' In The YearsI’ve been listening to Steely Dan’s Album Can’t Buy A Thrill a lot lately and two songs really stand out. One is Dirty Work, a very laid back, greasy and dark tune with a funky groove. The other is Reelin’ In The Years which bounces along beautifully, driven by Jim Hodder’s light and fluffy shuffle with ghost notes. It’s so good I’ve listened to the song about fifty times since Sunday.

Shuffles are interesting. Despite being a very common feel, too many musicians can’t play them very well. For drummers it’s particularly important to understand shuffles and to learn how to get the feel to flow nicely. It’s important to learn the nuances of shuffles that feel more triplety and shuffles that feel more sixteenthy and to dig everything inbetween (Stanton Moore shows a great exercise for developing an ear and a feeling for the placement of the “&” going from a straight feel through a round shuffle to an angular shuffle and back again on his video Groove Alchemy).

So I grabbed my colleague Rodrigo of Scrofa Music Recording Studio, who’s helping me get into the video production game, and we made a video showing how to play a shuffle with ghost notes in the style of Reelin’ In The Years’ chorus.

If you want to work in more depth, here’s a PDF with three pages of grooves based on the same ghost note pattern. If you do the lot as 8th note grooves then learn on the ride with hi hat foot playing 2+4 (of course) and also with a quarter-note ride pattern, you have a good chunk of work to do.

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How To Play The Jazz Ride (Swing) Pattern

Here’s my latest YouTube video demonstrating the way I play the swing pattern on the ride cymbal. I learned this approach from the great Ralph Salmins and find it’s a great way to play an even, relaxed and swinging jazz ride. The key thing is to spend plenty of time working on the two-for-one rebound stroke so that you produce the “ga-dang” part of the the rhythm with only one movement of the hand. You then get three sounds with only two hand movements.

When playing the ride, I recommend using French Grip, i.e. with the thumb on top. The stick pivots over the forefinger and middle finger and if you persist, you can get two even sounds from one hand movement.

Please be aware there are several approaches to playing the swing ride pattern. This is the one I use most of the time and the way I teach my students to play a swing.

Thanks to my colleague, guitar teacher, recording and videoing guy Rodrigo Lemos for filming and editing this video.

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Loving The Bad Plus

I must have listened to this twenty times today. Delicious and nutritious!

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This Is The Second Groove Of Afrobeat According To Tony Allen

Having watched the whole Tony Allen Masterclass wot I posted about here yesterday, there are two beats drummers need to know and you’re OK with Afrobeat. The first one I wrote about in this post –

So I’ll call this the second groove of Afrobeat. Play until you make them smooth with a crispy hi hat just like Tony does it.

Tony Allen's Second Groove Of Afrobeat

On the masterclass video you can watch it demonstrated here –

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Full Tony Allen Masterclass on YouTube

Wow, this is brilliant, an hour long masterclass with Tony Allen giving loads of detail about his playing style and approach to music. Wonderful, wonderful. What a treat.

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Mark Guiliana’s Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset

Mark Guiliana - Exploring Your Creativity On The DrumsetMark Guiliana’s new book, Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset is the second drum education publication I paid for via crowdfunding. Before that was Benny Greb’s The Art & Science Of Groove. It’s rather fun to be involved in funding a new project. From Mark Guiliana I got the ebook first and a week or so later the physical book with DVD with a signature. You can download the video content using a code that comes with the book. The ebook works through an app on iOS which works pretty well on my iPad mini. On my Windows computers there is Hudson’s ebook reader which I don’t particularly like using, it has this pointless page flipping effect.

In a world with far too many drum books and DVDs to be useful (I have a disturbingly large collection), Mark Guiliana’s book adds something useful and different to the subject. The book and video present a system for developing ideas on the kit that incorporate the full breadth of rhythms and sounds we could use in music making. The creative elements we use are broken down in to the DROP system – Dynamics, Rate, Orchestration and Phrasing. Dynamics are dealt with pretty briefly (hey guys, don’t forget to use dynamics when you practice) but the other areas are developed in great detail. Each section evolves from simple to complex and we get to work through the building blocks of how to use Quarters, 8ths, Triplets & 16ths (notes and rests, of course) to develop new and exciting rhythms, how to mix up those rates, how to move the rhythms around the kit and how to move the phrases we create into different permutations.

If you work through the exercises in the book as they are written, you will improve your sense of time and rhythm, you will discover new abilities to improvise and invent new grooves. Once you understand the concepts presented (and memorise the handy DROP acronym) you’ll be able to apply them to whatever you’re working on.

The material in Exploring Your Creativity On The Drumset is style-agnostic and would be useful for any drummer who would like to strengthen their rhythmic awareness and precision, who would like to learn techniques for evolving original and interesting patterns and who would like to gain more freedom on the kit.

The video is really well made with loads of examples of the exercises and some clips with Guiliana’s band.

I would highly recommend this book/video to all drummers, regardless of how indulgent their existing collection of educational materials.

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