Drum Rudiment System 2.0. with Lionel Duperron Review

As a drummer with a rudimental background, rudiments come out in everything that I play. Despite years of marching band, drum corps, private lessons, and practice, applying the rudiments to the drum set is a constant creative challenge for me.

I’ll never forget that rainy day. I decided to stay home all day and watch the entire Drum Rudiment System (affiliate link). One of the great aspects of the this course is that the instructor, Lionel Duperron, constantly reminds you to think critically and do what’s comfortable for you.

The Drum Rudiment System (affiliate link) is a great professional drum course. It covers all 40 international drum rudiments. Everything is slowed down for you in the beginning of the video. The rudiments and exercises are demonstrated at a variety of camera angles. Lionel emphasizes the sequence of each rudiment and how to master it.

I had only two complaints: In my opinion, the course doesn’t go into stick grip and motions to a deep enough level. I also didn’t like is that he didn’t give the name variations of each rudiment.

For a course on how to play drums, I would not recommend this. Parts of it are good if you are learning drums for the first time. A more thorough drum course, such as, Learn and Master Drums with Dan Sherrill (affiliate link) or Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System (affiliate link) would be better for a you, if you are a beginner. The Drum Rudiment System (affiliate link) is a great supplement to either of these drum courses.

As a professional studio drummer, it was a great refresher for me and it showed me some great ideas in regards to how to apply the rudiments to the drum set. I will definitely revisit this course in the future.

It’s more than worth the price for once reason: the sheer quantity of information!

Learn more about the Drum Rudiment System (affiliate link).

 

How to Build Drum Speed, Part 4: Bass Drum Speed

When it comes to improving your drum speed, especially bass drum speed, you’re going to have good days and bad days. Be patient as your leg muscles grow and stretch. Keep it mind that the legs and feet have more muscles and larger muscles than the hands and arms.

One thing that I always have to remind my own students is that your feet will never go as fast as your hands. It’s just how we’re built. Before you can develop bass drum speed, it’s good to work on bass drum exercises that help you develop control. A great resource for bass drum exercises is Colin Bailey’s book,
Bass Drum Control (affiliate link).

The Drumming System (affiliate link) says that one of the secrets to bass drum speed is to wear ankle weights while you practice. This well help you develop the muscles in your legs. After a practicing with them, go back and practice without the weights. You will notice results immediately. Another tip for developing bass drum speed is to try playing as loud as you can for a long period of time while wearing ankle weights.

A great exercise is to practice playing singles on your feet heel down and heel up. Playing heel down, you will feel the burn. If you find this boring, put a practice pad on the snare and play along. Years ago, my teacher Chet Doboe, the founder and musical director of the Hip Pickles Drum Band, taught me to practice the samba to develop my foot technique. The samba is great exercise because it allows you to work on controlling two notes in a row.

The Drumming System (affiliate link) recommends Hansenfutz (affiliate link) pedals for training. These are great because you practice in any chair that you are sitting in. You can even them under the desk in your office.

How to Build Drum Speed, Part 3: Hand Speed

According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), a drum pad is only one surface with one feel. It’s a bouncy type feel that’s great for practicing. On the other hand, a drum set has many surfaces with many types of feels. Speed will allow to move your ideas around the drums with much more ease.

  1. Your drums and cymbals should be within easy reach so that you can get to where you need to get really fast. This will constantly change with time, but you want to make as easy as possible.
  2. Practice moving around the kit as fast as you can with a single stroke roll. Do this until your arms are tired. Try to go for five minutes and you will be sweating. Try to keep an eye on where you’re going so you’re not hitting rims. Ask yourself questions, such as  “where am i hitting?” and  “where i am i going?”
  3. At midnight, when everyone is sleeping, air drum AS LOUD AS YOU CAN. This strengthens you wrists. Remember that if you hit your drums you will wake people up. This is a good warm up, too.
  4. Try to play a single stroke roll on you floor tom only holding the middle of the drum stick. Not only does it feel awkward but you have no convincing balance point. Also, practice using the lock grip in the middle of the floor tom. If you have a high pitched floor tom, detune it low (before it loses its tone) so its soggy.
  5. Finally, practice playing double stroke rolls on your floor tom.

The Drumming System (affiliate link) goes into much more depth about how to improve your speed. This is one subject that most drummers from around the world are very interested in. As with everything in drumming and in life, patience and perseverance go a long way.

How to Build Drum Speed, Part 1: Hand Speed

Building drum speed is one of the top priorities of most drummers in the world. Playing faster is part of the fun in developing yourself as a drummer. Check out an impressive demonstration of hand speed and some great exercises to build it in the Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System (affiliate link).

Here are some tips:

  1. Even out your hands. We all have a stronger hand. Whatever you can do with your strong hand you should be able to do with your weak hand. Keep in mind that the hand that usually plays the hi-hat and ride is getting so much more practice than the hand that plays the snare. Practice open handed playing. Open handed playing usually means that the left hand plays the hi hat (for right handed players). Check out the book The Weaker Side (affiliate link) by Dom Famularo and Stephane Chamberland and The New Breed (affiliate link) by Gary Chester.
  2. Set a goal. For most hand speed goals that you set, the weaker hand is going to need to get stronger. It might be necessary to isolate the weaker hand and work on it. Increase the tempo in small increments. Keep in mind that certain techniques might take months (or years) to improve. Be patient and trust that it will get easier. If you can play 16th notes at 110 on each hand, then you can play 32nd note singles at 220 bpm. I recently set a goal of playing the Moeller technique relaxed with sixteenth notes, at 120 bpm for five minutes straight with each hand.
  3. Practice on drum pads that give very little rebound. Putty practice pads and Moongel Workout Pads (affiliate link) have become popular in the past decade. Mike claims that he put a putty practice pad on the left side of his dashboard and would tap the left stick while driving. Although this is an excellent use of time management, it does not seem to be safe. Don’t drive and drum.

The Top 2 Professional Drum Set Courses on DVD

If you type the words “drum course” or into your favorite search engine, numerous results will come up.

Learn and Master Drums with Dan Sherrill (affiliate link) and
Mike Michalkow’s Complete Drumming System (affiliate link)
are the Top 2 Drum Courses Available.

So which one is the best?

Watch My Video Comparison

Course Comparison Chart

Drum Course Learn and Master Drums
(affiliate link)
The Complete Drumming System
(affiliate link)
Instructor Dan Sherrill Mike Michalkow
Review Read My Complete Review Read My Complete Review
Price $149 $197
Purchase Buy Now (affiliate link) Buy Now (affiliate link)
DVD’s 12 Full Length DVD’s 20 Full Length DVD’s
Play Along CD’s 5 CD’s 15 CD’s
Workbooks 112 Page Workbook 5 Workbooks
Bonuses Online Support Forum Start-Up Resources & Guide
One Handed Drum Roll DVD
Drum Gear Buyers Guide DVD
Members Support Forum
Unlimited Coaching
Level Beginner, Intermediate Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Guarantee 60 Days – Full Refund 90 Days – Full Refund

[Read more…]

Review of Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System, Part 3

As a professional drummer, I would totally use the Drumming System (affiliate link). In fact, watching it for the purpose of doing this review taught me so much.

It really refreshed me on some fundamentals that I take for granted. It also reminded me about some details that I had forgotten about. As a drum teacher,  it gave me a new ideas on how to approach certain material in my lessons.

I have incorporated the course’s Practice Routine Generator (affiliate link) into my practice routine. In fact, there is an entire DVD dedicated to practice. It emphasized the importance of practice in a fun way and how to go about structuring your practice routine.

The foot technique DVD really explained bass drum technique very well. For years, I have been curious about the slide technique and heel toe technique. Since watching that DVD, I have now incorporated both into my playing. The speed DVD gave me a few tips that have improved my overall speed.

The folk drumming videos really helped me and I felt the rock section was a great review for me. I play rock a lot and it reminded me about the subtle nuances that you need to play in each style. For example, grunge, alternative, heavy metal, and speed metal all require different types of details.

For weeks I had these DVD’s playing on my television. And then one day I actually called Jared Falk, the producer of course. I congratulated him on such an excellent product, but I mentioned it was LONG! He laughed and said, “You didn’t realize what you signed up for when you ordered it, huh?”

In the future, I plan on reviewing it every so often, just to stay on top of the basics. I’ve learned the hard way that as you excel in your drumming, it’s easy to forget certain fundamentals.

Learn more about Mike Michalkow’s Drumming System (affiliate link).

The Blues Shuffle for Drums

While the shuffle is mostly associated with the blues, it’s a pattern that can be played in any style of music. As a drummer, it’s important to this pattern and all of its variations. While in high school, I studied drums with Chet Doboe. He told me that ability to play a good shuffle would allow me to make more money as a professional drummer. While I can’t draw a direct correlation between my ability to play this groove and my income, I will say that it has come in handy on many occasions.

Here are the basics:

  1. The cymbal pattern is based on triplets.
  2. You play the first and last triplet of every quarter note.
    1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let 1 trip let 2 trip let 3 trip let 4 trip let
  3. As it gets quicker, you’ll eventually stop counting and feel it.

To learn more about the basics, check out this article on blues drumming.

My friend, fellow drummer and drum teacher, Chris Scherer said to me once that he felt people get thrown off when learning to play triplets. There is something about adding that third note to the rhythm that makes it a lot more difficult than counting eighth or sixteenth notes. As a drum teacher, I couldn’t agree more.

It’s important to get comfortable counting and feeling triplets.

While the groove itself might seem simple, it can be quite difficult to execute. It’s important to count out loud, go slow, and use a metronome.

According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), the following grooves are important to know:

Jump Shuffle

This is a fast pattern. It’s mostly about what is going on with the hi hat.

  1. The hi hat opens on beats 1 and 3, while closing on 2 and 4.
  2. Next, eliminate the “let” of beats 1 and 3.
  3. This essentially becomes your standard jazz cymbal pattern.
  4. Accent the snare on beats 2 and 4.
  5. The bass drum can play a variety of patterns.

Texas Shuffle

This can be challenging to play at first because both hands play at the exact same time. One is on the ride (or hi hat), the other on the snare. Then accent beats 2 and 4 on the snare. The bass drum can be on beats 1 and 3 or on every quarter note. This is a driving groove! Check out music by Stevie Ray Vaughn with Chris Layton on drums.

Kansas City Shuffle

Like the Texas variation, this is a double shuffle (both ands play the exact same time). It’s a lot faster than the Texas variation. Played on the ride, it sounds happier.

Other Variations

Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) teaches even more grooves, such as the Flat Tire Shuffle, the Driving Shuffle, and the Charleston Shuffle.

The Half Time Shuffle

The half time shuffle is a legendary drum groove. Both the Drumming System (affiliate link) and Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) have entire sections devoted to this groove. After a thorough analysis, the Drumming System (affiliate link) gives you more examples of how to execute this amazing pattern.

This is a really fun beat to learn and to teach. The term “half time” refers to the fact that you’re accenting the snare drum on beat 3. In most shuffles, the snare is accented on beats 2 and 4. By shifting the accent to beat 3, it changes the feel entirely. It sounds more relaxed and laid back. It’s groovy and fun to play. Remember that while playing in half time, its only the feel of notes that are cut in half. The actual time value remains the same.

What makes this fun is when you begin to combine ghost notes on the snare drum with accented snare backbeats. It’s important to remember to be  sharply aware of the volume of the snare notes.

You can create some real funky patterns!

The half time is used a lot in hip hop and some blues music. Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) actually categorizes the groove as R&B. In my opinion, regardless of the style of music, if you play a half time shuffle, it feels like there is a hint of reggae.

Examples of this groove include John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) on Fool in the Rain and Jeff Porcaro (Toto) on Rosanna. Learn & Master Drums (affiliate link) shows you how to do the actual beat to Rosanna.

This groove can be extremely difficult to learn…it might even by a life long challenge for many drummers. In my opinion, if you are looking to master this pattern, I would check out the Drumming System (affiliate link).

The Bernard Purdie Drum Shuffle

The Drumming System (affiliate link) has an entire section on the Bernard Purdie Drum Shuffle. It is one of those grooves that every drummer should know, but few drummers actually master.

The groove was popularized by Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, one of the greatest groove drummers of all time. In fact, many consider him to be the most recorded drummer of all time. He invented this beat by taking the simple shuffle pattern and adding some flavor to the role of the snare drum within the groove.

Two great examples of the Bernard Purdie Drum Shuffle can be heard on Babylon Sisters and Home at Last by Steely Dan.

The groove begins with a half time shuffle (accent the snare on 3). Then ghost notes are played on the snare. According to the Drumming System (affiliate link), they are played on the “trip” of 1, 2, and 4. From my own experience, I prefer to play them on the “trip” of all 4 beats. This is more a difficult shuffle to execute, but it sounds more full.

The ghost notes drive the Purdie Shuffle!

In fact, if you take out the ghost notes, the sound and feel of the groove change completely.

The ghost notes are amazing because they are subtle, yet so important to the feel of the groove. When Bernard Purdie plays it, he hits the snare with so much conviction, yet keeps the ghost notes almost invisible. That’s the art of drumming.

Just a side note: I was fortunate to have dinner with Bernard Purdie when I was a junior in high school. We sat face to face at Docks Oyster Bar & Seafood in New York City. We got to chat drums and we each had two lobsters. Years later, I went to see Bernard perform. I was eating a huge plate of ribs and he walked up to my table, looked at my ribs, his eyes lit up, and he started screaming in joy.

Become a Studio Drummer and Make Money

Many drummers set the goal of becoming full-time studio drummers. It’s very rare that someone has a full-time job as a professional studio drummer these days. Back in the 1970’s drummers, such as John “JR” Robinson, Steve Gadd, and Jim Keltner were busy drumming for television commercials, television soundtracks, movie soundtracks, and top artists. Studio drumming work is still available, but not nearly as much as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

Nowadays, many professional studio drummers, such as myself, do recording sessions with local artists. Making a good sounding recording is very affordable for a singer/songwriter.

Here are some tips that I picked up from the Drumming System (affiliate link) and mistakes I have made:

  1. Live drumming and studio drumming are two completely different animals. With recording, you can listen back to what you did. There is a final product forever.
  2. Unlike live playing, you’re alone in a silent room.The microphones are highly sensitive (even to an air conditioner in the room or garbage truck outside). If other people are with you, it’s important for them to stay quiet when the microphones are on.
  3. Recording sessions can be full of stress and pressure. There is no time to waste in a studio. Most studios charge by the hour.
  4. It’s important for you to relax. You don’t want to sound rigid and tight. Also, you have to be able to comfortably play along with a click track at a variety of tempos.
  5. Be prepared with your music.
  6. Whether or not you have a top of the line drum set, get brand new heads (top and bottom). If not, it will be a waste of time. Tune your heads perfectly to the style you are playing.
  7. Set up your equipment so microphones can be placed on your drums.
  8. Bring extra muffling, tape, extra drum heads, towels, and drum keys.
  9. Bring an extra snare drum or two. You have no clue what your snare drum will sound like in the studio. Many of the top studios have a whole library of snare drums for you to choose from that include wood, steel, brass, copper, and snare drums of different depths.
  10. Strive for perfection, but be patient with yourself.
  11. Cooperate with the engineer. The engineer is trying to get the best possible drum sound.
  12. Have great attitude and give it your best. A job well done in the studio may lead to you getting more live work from the person that hired you.
  13. Know that as time goes on, you will get better and better at studio drumming.

Be sure to read these additional studio drumming tips.