Month: February 2014

A Legendary Drummer’s Pursuit of Perfection And His Emotional State

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Drumming Technique Simplified

Hi all,

I decided to write this post after a very interesting lesson with a student. It was one of those lessons that seemed frustrating at first because the student was not really getting it, but one and a half hours later, he made a discovery. What was it?

DRUMMING TECHNIQUE SIMPLIFIED.

What is this and how is it done?

First, let us look at 3 steps to making a stroke on the drum:

1) Your stick is parallel to the drum surface about at least an inch above the drum with your wrist angled flat. Alternatively, if you prefer to hold your sticks with your thumbs up, then the thumb is on top of the stick parallel to the surface of the drum, again at least an inch above the drum. This can be called the REST POSITION.

2) From the Rest Position, you raise your stick to a desired height to execute the stroke.

3) The stick strikes the drum and you now have the option to stop the stick at the REST POSITION or allow it to rebound up.

With point no.3, why do you have these two options? It is because of the next note you are going to play. Is it a soft note or a loud one? If it is a soft note, you just have to stop the stick at the Rest Position and lightly tap the drum from there. You immediately achieve a stroke with the right sound and texture for a soft note. If this note is instead a loud one, you must then allow the stick to rebound immediately after the previous stroke and then you thrust the stick down again to achieve the right sound and texture for a loud note. Am I making sense?

TIMING OF YOUR STROKE:

The timing of your stroke will depend on two things:

1) Your ability to hear where the stroke should land in relation to the time

2) HOW you prepare for that stroke such that it lands correctly in time.

Point No.1 is extremely crucial. You are a musician and your ears are your greatest weapons. Train your ears to hear the time accurately and it will go miles for your development. Thus, when you make a stroke, you want to know where the stroke should be in the bar and if you can hear it in your mind? This is where practising with a metronome comes in. Verbalizing the stroke aloud with or without actually playing the stroke will also help you determine the accuracy of your timing.

Point No. 2 is the “make-it-or-break-it” in the success of your execution. Once you are able to hear the stroke accurately in your mind, you then want to PREPARE for the stroke in an efficient and relaxed manner, so that the stroke lands right on the money and you physically feel great doing so. Pay attention to how your hands and feet FLOW with the time. Drumming is like a dance – alot of the activity of drumming takes place above the surfaces of the instrument (The late great Freddie Gruber would teach this too). Therefore, if your motions flow well with the time at whichever tempo, you are relaxed, and you are NOT THINKING TOO MUCH BUT RATHER FEELING THAT FLOW THROUGH YOUR BODY, you will always achieve accuracy and consistency in your playing.

In summary, having a GOOD FLOW in your physical motions on the drumset is highly essential to playing well.

To find out more, book a lesson or a couple of lessons with me. Contact me at jason@pulseofmusic.com for more information!

I hope this article opens up your awareness to the actual simplicity of drumming technique.

 

John JR Robinson’s Drum Solo at NAMM Chicago Drum Show 2011

I came across this solo clip two days ago and was immediately taken by the musicality, creative use of double stroke and flam rudiments, and the way he tied the solo together with this fusion-based groove. I showed this video in two of my classes and both students were very inspired.

Upcoming gigs: Beatles, Shadows, Classic Rock Tunes

Hi all,

Hope your week has gone well and it’s time to look forward to the weekend. 

It’s a great pleasure to inform all the good peeps who are reading this blog, that I’ll be doing some gigs with a veteran Singaporean band covering golden favourites from the 50’s ,60’s and 70’s, which could turn into a regular affair thereafter. There will be lots of Beatles, Shadows, and classic tracks from the Rock greats of the 60’s and 70’s. The audience demographic will naturally be made up of people who spent their childhood during this fascinating period for music. 

So what does this mean to me, being the youngest member of the group playing music that was recorded when my parents were still studying? It is a rare opportunity to go back in time and embrace the roots of the music I love. It is that rare opportunity to learn in greater depth and detail the infant phase of development of Rock And Roll, especially as applied to the drumming. My goal is to have lots of fun and nail the gigs by playing the original drum parts as accurately as I can to the original studio recordings with the correct sounds, tempos, and feels. Only then will I be able to help the band create an authentic experience for the audience who would prefer to hear the music as how they have heard it on radio and recordings all these years. Some of them have even seen some of these bands we’re covering live before, so perhaps I may get an opportunity to talk to them about their experiences hearing and seeing these bands up close. 

Exciting times ahead!