Here is a selection of exercises to build your hand speed, endurance and control. Once you've memorised these, some of them will double up as great warm-up exercises to use before you practice or hit the stage.
Music is a language, just like English, French or German and as musicians we need vocabulary to form our words, sentences and hopefully, stories when we play. This section will give you new phrases to add to your vocabulary and teach you how to take things and make them your own.
LICK OF THE MONTH
Each 'Lick of the Month' video delivers a different lick or phrase for you to insert into your playing immediately! A lot of the lessons on the site deal with foundation exercises but in this series we just dive right in to cool licks that you can use straight away.
A mini-library of grooves featuring different feels, styles and tempos. Similar to the 'Lick of the Month' videos in that we get straight to point with these grooves. I demonstrate them at slow and fast tempos and give you some variations to try.
It's always fun to put what you learn in the practice room into real-world situations. Playing along to records is something I did and still do a lot. This section provides some cool vamps and play-alongs to practice to.
ENDURANCE & MECHANICS
This section covers some great exercises for shortcuts to great speed and endurance. It's important to go beyond the point of necessity in the practice room so you have some extra headroom when you need it on the bandstand. Get ready for some great workouts.
BUILDING YOUR OWN VOCABULARY
This course addresses the question I get asked the most - how do you flow around the drums? It's essential, no matter what style you play, to have the ability to 'speak' at the drums and to have something to say without fear or hesitation. This course will help you build your OWN vocabulary from the ground up.
I started this section after a lot of email requests asking to break down certain licks and phrases I played in certain videos. This section of the site will also feature transcriptions of famous fills and phrases from other drummers!
FLOWING IN TRIPLETS COURSE
16th note triplets are one of the hardest note rates to play in and play freely in. I get so many questions on how to 'flow' around the drums - how do guys like Gadd and Weckl flow around the drums so smoothly? This course is a great introduction to this note rate and how to go about teaching yourself to improvise using triplets.
Playing in odd-tome signatures doesn't have to be difficult. Many drummers are put off by the subject and avoid it at all costs. The trick is not to count numbers but to sing certain clave-esque rhythms underneath what you play.
PLAY LIKE THE LEGENDS
Imitation is an important part of learning. Any great player you hear will have copied, imitated and transcribed their favourite players; it can be a great insight into how someone puts things together. This section covers some of the legends of our instrument.
Rudiments...something that we're all told we need to know back to front. I don't actually think it's essential to learn all 26 American rudiments, for example, but certainly having a command over the basics is a must. Some rudiments are particularly good for orchestrating around the drums, but even working on the ones that don't translate well to the drums can improve your overall hand control.
Foot technique! It's important to dedicate some time to working exclusively on the feet, whether you use a double pedal or not. Practicing heel-down (even if you 'play' heel-up) is particularly useful for these exercises.
Some useful independence exercises here. It can be a frustrating thing to practice but we need independence to free us up when we're playing in real-world situations so that we're not hampered by lack of ability to keep out left foot hi-hat going, for example. The independence system that I learnt from Thomas Lang is also explained here.
RUDIMENTS AROUND THE KIT
Drummers are so often told to learn and practice rudiments but it can sometimes be hard to know what to do with them on the kit. This section highlights some useful orchestrations of well known rudiments around the drums.
HAND TECHNIQUE COURSE
This course covers everything you need to know about hand technique. We cover wrist positions, grips, finger technique and also cover a lot of great exercises to develop your control.
GHOST NOTE COURSE
This course has some great tips for ghost note ideas and also how to play them effectively. Sometimes, to make a groove really 'happen' it's a combination dynamics and adding a few choice ghost notes - it takes a lot of practice to get a nice difference between the loud and soft snare notes. This course will help you with that.
GROOVE INDEPENDENCE COURSE
A book called 'The New Breed' by Gary Chester inspired this course. That book is an absolute must for every drummer. It's independence but it's based around grooves and the type of independence we really need as drummers. The book also teaches you to lead with different hands, count out loud over what you're playing and is a real test in concentration.
JAZZ INDEPENDENCE COURSE
A member requested a lesson on Jazz independence so I decided to make a short course on the subject. With the help of the famous book 'Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer' by Jim Chapin, I demonstrate some left hand independence ideas and also talk about the ride cymbal and the dynamics you need to sound 'legit' for jazz playing.
This course deals with a little bit of everything. I mention the word 'foundation' a lot on this site and I do so because I think you get a lot further a lot quicker by improving your basic tool-box, rather than practising individual licks and phrases that you try to shoe-horn in to your playing. Working on your foundation gives you choices.
In this section you'll find lessons on different drum set-up ideas, gear explanations, tuning tips and more!
Some footage from the practice room. Hopefully you can see how I use some of the things I discuss in the lessons. There will be more content to come in this section featuring me playing along to songs etc. If you have any questions, please comment under a video, post in the forum or email me.
Various clips from performances with different groups and bands around the world. At this point, mostly situations where I'm improvising but that allows you to see how I would use a lot of the things I talk about in lessons, on the bandstand with these types of bands.
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