Monthly Archives: January 2011

Monday: 1-2-3-4

Warm-up: Play the 1/16th-note grid with buzz rolls and double-stroke rolls. Work up to playing in time with “Firework” by Katy Perry (tempo = ~128 bpm).

Skill work: Spend 10 minutes working on your singles, doubles, threes, and fours by playing this exercise. Starting tempo is dotted quarter note = 108 bpm, and go faster only when you have mastered the transition from pattern to pattern. Aim for high heights, a full sound, and perfect rhythm.

Challenge: How fast can you play fours (RRRR LLLL)? Play one measure of 1/16th-note fours, accenting the downbeat and allowing the ‘e+a’ to rebound naturally.

Post heights, tempos, and thoughts on Katy Perry to comments.

Friday: Paradiddles and Puh-duh-duh’s

Warm-up: Spend 6 minutes playing a mixture of singles and puh-duh-duhs (RLLRLL, LRRLRR). Play along with “Gossip” by Galactic.

Skill work: Today we will work on two versions of the Paradiddle Grid. Begin playing slowly while focusing on even 16th notes and distinct heights. Notice too that both notes of the double beat are accented. Work each version before increasing tempo, aiming for the 160+ bpm tempo range.

Challenge: How fast can you play 8 puh-duh-duh’s in a row? Off the left? Use a metronome, and play the puh-duh-duh’s as sixtuplets. The tendency as you get faster will be to “crush” the low double, so work on “opening” or “widening” that rhythm.

Post heights and tempos to comments.

Tuesday: Flam Taps

Warm-up: Mixing it up a bit today. Do 8 push-ups, each one with a different hand position. Loosen up with a mixture of buzz rolls and legato strokes. Repeat this couplet 3 times.

Skill work: Spend 10 minutes working on flam taps (use this exercise on page 2). Start at 80 bpm, and intentionally play each note with a wrist stroke. Increase the tempo by 8 bpm each minute, focusing on playing perfect flams (not double-stops) and consistent 16th-notes.

Challenge: Drumset players, can you orchestrate flam taps around the set? Try putting the accents on the toms and the taps on the snares. Also experiment with various foot patterns underneath, such as a samba or a rumba. Marching percussionists, can you play “ghosted” flam taps? (You will do the motion of each accent without actually striking the drum.) If so, how fast?

Thursday: Singles, lots of singles

Warm-up: Play 5 different flam grids (triplet, 16th-notes, fivelets, etc.). Be creative with what you choose to work on, and focus on playing consistent flams.

Challenge: Today we will return to Murray Gusseck’s “Master Click” article, and this time we are playing single strokes. Download the audio track here. Remember, this is a 31-minute mp3: it starts at 60 bpm and increases by 6 bpm each minute for 20 minutes, then decreases by 6 bpm every 30 seconds for 10 minutes. Play single strokes the entire time. Variations include:

  • Triplets, 16th-notes, fivelets
  • Right-hand lead (R L R L), left-hand lead (L R L R)
  • High-height, low-height
  • Crescendo, decrescendo

Enjoy! Here is a lecture to watch while drumming (starts 5:00 in).

Post experiences, variations, and ideas to comments.

Monday: Fivelet Grid

Warm-up: Use “Money Grabber” by Fitz and the Tantrums. Play 16th-note paradiddles during the choruses and alternating 8th-note flams during the verses.

Skill work: Today we are introducing the Fivelet Grid. This particular version keeps an accent on the downbeat throughout the grid, thus emphasizing the timing of all 5 partials in the fivelet. Start at 80 bpm and work through the phrases of 4’s, 2’s, and 1’s. Spend 15 minutes learning this rhythm and becoming familiar with how fivelets feel.

Challenge: Can you put a diddle on the downbeat of the Fivelet Grid? Start at 80 bpm and work through each accent variation with the diddle. Once comfortable, gradually increase the tempo while still playing even fivelets and perfect diddles.

By the end of today’s session, you should have a personal answer to the question, “What color are fivelets?” Post experiences, tempos, and colors to comments.

Friday: Rolls and Singles

Warm-up: Spend 5 minutes playing threes and fours (RRR LLL and RRRR LLLL) in various combinations. Use “I’ll Be Around” by Cee-Lo Green for tempo.

Skill work: Spend 15 minutes working on this exercise. Focus on transitioning evenly from low double-stroke triplet rolls to high 1/16th-note single strokes. Break down the last two bars slowly (start at 100 bpm), and play these rhythms emphatically. The goal is to internalize these common patterns to the point where they flow out of your hands naturally.

Challenge: Who inspires you? Over the weekend, find a new artist (visual, musical, theatrical, etc.) who inspires you in some way to become a better drummer. We are musicians, and as such we have the capacity to create art that points to something greater.

Post tempos, heights, and inspiring artists to comments.

Wednesday: Flammed Mills

Warm-up: Spend 5 minutes playing a mixture of singles, paradiddles (RLRR LRLL), and mills (RRLR LLRL). Use “Sábado a Noite” by Magary if you like.

Skill work: Spend at least 10 minutes working on Flammed Mills. Start at 80 bpm, and focus on playing consistent flams (not too wide, not too closed) and accurate rhythms. Increase the tempo by 8 bpm every 2 minutes, working up to a comfortably fast tempo. Drumset players, try adding the samba and rumba foot patterns notated in the link above.

Challenge: Can you put a diddle on the ‘e’ of the Flammed Mills? Use a metronome, and emphasize playing consistent flams and drags. Can you accent the added diddle? Work both of these new rudiments slowly and with impeccable heights.

Post tempos, heights, and drumset patterns to comments.