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Drumming Blog

Ideas for your drumming journey

Great Drumming Intros, part 1

A song with an interesting drum introduction can grab your attention and pull you into wanting to hear more. Some of these parts are just as iconic as the song’s guitar riff. There are many to choose from in different styles. Here is a list of a few of those songs that start with great drumming intros.

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2.5.3

This is a coordination exercise written in 4/4.. This can create rhythmic tension in your songs and solos.

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Bad Drumming Days

We all have those days when you sit down at the drums and nothing seems to be going right, the playing is sloppy, the timing is off, and it just isn’t inspiring. Here are some things you can do about that.

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Deep Listening

Along with analyzing other drummer’s parts, also analyzing what the other musicians are doing in your favorite songs will help you to become a more musical drummer. Here is how I suggest you go about doing that.

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Accents in Five

This is a basic beat in 4/4 with accents phrased in 5 on the hi-hat. This can create rhythmic tension in your songs and solos.

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Exploring Creativity

If you’ve ever gone through a period of time where you feel like everything you play sounds the same or you just want to come up with some new ideas, here are some things to help you get creative with your playing.

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Protecting Your Drums

If your drums are in good condition and you want to keep them that way, I recommend investing in cases or bags for when you transport them.

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Hybrid Songo

The Cuban songo is an interesting syncopated rhythm that can sound really funky and can really groove. Here is a variation done by moving the right hand quarter notes around the drumset. 

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Shuffle Modulation

We are going to take a couple of triplet shuffle rhythms and modulate them to 8th notes. This can me make the time feel elastic when done right.

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Grooving with the Bass Player

As a musician who plays the drums, your partner in rhythm in the band is the bass player. Here are some thoughts and examples on relating to your bass player in different musical situations.

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Single Kick Tom Groove Breakdown

We are going to break down this tom groove. It is done with one bass drum, but it can give the impression of double bass depending on how you tune the toms and how fast you play it.

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4 Limb Independence

The ability to play rhythms against each other is important no matter what style of music you play. These exercises vary the three limbs against the standard jazz ride pattern.

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Bass Drum Polyrhythm in 3

You can play a really cool sounding polyrhythm by phrasing the bass drum every 3 sixteenth notes in a standard 4/4 pattern. This can add some rhythmic tension to your playing. This exercise implies a 3 over 4 polyrhythmic feel with the bass drum (It’s easier than it sounds).

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More Beats Study

These are a continuation of the basic beats. Here are some more advanced beats and fills incorporating different styles.

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Jazz Modulation

In this lesson, we will modulate the jazz cymbal pattern by subdividing quarter notes into quarter note triplets, and then subdividing each of those triplets into eighth note triplets as a polyrhythm. It’s easier than it sounds.

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Playing Dynamically

Sometimes the difference between a good performance and a great performance is expression; playing and moving the music dynamically. One of the best ways to improve your playing is to work on your dynamics. This article discusses some things that will help you play more dynamically.

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Hi Hat Control

You can get some really cool sounds playing 16th note hi-hat beats with alternating hand and foot patterns. The challenge is to alternate the hi-hat with the hand and foot without getting any open hi-hat sounds. This exercise explores some things you can do with this concept.

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Basic Beats Study

The beats and fills in these four measure phrases are a good introduction to what’s most commonly played on the drums.

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Linear Drum Beats

Linear drumming (playing only one drum or cymbal at a time) has a funky, syncopated feel to it. This lesson will get you started.

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Basic Modulation

We are going to take a basic beat and modulate it using different subdivisions. This gives the impression that you are speeding up or slowing down but the actual tempo does not change.

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The Single Stroke 4

The single stroke 4 is frequently used as a popular fill around the drum set. This rudiment seems plain enough but if we apply it to different drums, experiment with the phrasing, and work it up to speed, it can sound really impressive. Here are a couple of variations.

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The Anatomy of a Drumstick

When you’re trying to find drumsticks that feel great to play, it is helpful to know the characteristics that affect their performance. Let’s take a look at the things that make the difference.

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2 Limb Independence

The following are two-way independence exercises to help increase coordination between the limbs. They will make it easier to play complex patterns on the drum set.

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Playing Open Mic Nights

If you play the drums with the goal of being in a band, the sooner you can start playing with other musicians, the better. If you are having trouble finding other musicians to play with, an option could be to attend an open mic night jam at a nearby bar or club.

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Switching Gears, Part 2

Once you feel comfortable with the subdivisions from the previous exercise, go through these pages to switch between all of them.

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The Rudiments’ Greatest Hits

One of the many benefits of practicing the rudiments is the control and coordination that you get by applying accents, flams, and drags to various stickings. These exercises extend that concept by using triplet marching grids.

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Intro to Jazz Drumming

This is an introduction to playing jazz swing time on the drums. These exercises will give you the basic independence needed to play jazz.

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Mastering The Metronome

Working with a metronome will help to improve your sense of time. Include it in your practice routine. Here are some tips to help.

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Your Drum Diary

Keeping track of what you practice can show you what needs attention and give you the motivation to keep going. You can use this log below to keep track of your progress. Write down when and what you practice, metronome settings, and other info.

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Switching Gears

You can subdivide notes into any denomination. Practice the following exercise to get used to the feel of each subdivision.

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3 Reasons To Practice With a Metronome

Love it or hate it, most drummers would agree that they should practice with a metronome on a regular basis. Here are three reasons to make metronome work a part of your practice activity.

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Dealing with Stage fright

For some, performing in front of others can produce feelings of terror and anxiety. Here are some strategies and thoughts on what you can do to deal with stagefright.

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Developing Your Weaker Side, Part 2

This second exercise is commonly known as a paradiddle pyramid. It uses the strategically placed singles and doubles to balance the limbs. The concept is to play two single (paradiddles) followed by two doubles and two triples; then back to two doubles and two...

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The Rudiments

The rudiments are the ABCs of drumming. Practicing them consistently can do wonders for your control and co-ordination.

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Developing Your Weaker Side

Drummers naturally have a stronger and weaker hand (or foot). This is a deceptively simple exercise that is designed to even out both sides.

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Music Staff Paper

If you need staff paper to transcribe your music, feel free to use these. Click the links below to download and print them.

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The Responsible Timekeeper (part 2)

In the previous lesson, we worked on our timekeeping skills by articulating the sixteenth note subdivisions. It’s a good idea to do the same with other subdivisions. Today we will look at eighth note triplets.

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The Responsible Timekeeper

Generally, when we play with a click track, it gives us the first part of the beat and we are responsible for the rest of the subdivisions. These exercises will help you to sharpen your timekeeping skills by focusing on those subdivisions.

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Get Your Drums Ready For Recording

Recording acoustic drums is one of the most difficult studio tasks.The following are some tips to get your drums ready before you enter the recording studio. (These tips are good for keeping your drums in good working order in general).

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The Helicopter

This exercise is a sweep around the drum set designed so that the right-hand moves counter clockwise while the left-hand moves clockwise. This is good for developing mobility around the drum set but you can also use it creatively for solo and fill ideas.

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Buying Your First Drum Set

If you are planning to buy your first drum set either for yourself or for your child, here are the basics of what you need to know to make an informed buying decision.

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