Blog Image

Richard's Drum Universe

About the blog

FREE DRUM LESSONS!!! This blog will incorporate drum lessons, drum patterns, music theory, advice, random drum related stuff... just anything related to drumming, teaching them and learning how to play them. This service is provided for free. Hopefully, you'll find it useful.

Random Linear Patterns!

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Wed, November 19, 2014 21:39:02

Once upon a time I did a PhD in Unpredictable Popular Music. The patterns included in this worksheet were created randomly using MAX MSP.

They explore random linear sequences for the hi-hat, snare drum and bass drum. Although they are all 1 bar in length, each one may be repeated any number of times, either by itself or in combination with two or more sequences to produce a longer pattern. It should be noted, however, that longer sequences (e.g., playing through all 12 patterns!) will sound a lot more unpredictable than shorter ones. Repetition will help reduce this effect, for example, a four bar sequence could contain patterns 1, 2, 1, 6.

The sticking patterns should be followed exactly and memorised. Ideally, the player should learn to move between each sequence in any order, thus increasing the perception of unpredictability.

Download the PDF

Triple Stroke Roll Exercise

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Wed, July 30, 2014 12:08:50

For a while now I’ve been trying to improve my triple stroke roll. It’s not a rudiment I use that often but I believe that that’s just because I haven’t tried to incorporate it into my practise. It’s a perfectly good rudiment, I’ve just been a bit lazy. The other day when I was playing it I realised that the best possible thing I could do was write a piece that used it throughout, that was both challenging and fun, and above all sounded pretty good. And so, here it is. I’ve called it ‘Seeing Triple’ because by the end of it your eyes will hurt. Good luck!

You can download ‘Seeing Triple’ here.

Jazz Waltz in 6/4?

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014 12:57:58

Yesterday, I pulled out an old worksheet I prepared about 6 years ago. It was a transcription of a “jazz waltz” pattern from a Van Morrison / Georgie Fame tune, “Early in the Morning” (I can’t find the right version on YouTube, otherwise I’d link to it here).

In my original transcription, I’d written it out in 9/8, which obviously made sense at the time because there are three beats in the bar and it’s played with a swing feel. The problem with this though is that it splits the pattern over two bars, which is kind of weird… and I now believe it to be incorrect.

Only when I looked at the pattern again yesterday did it dawn on me that it should be in 6/4. The pattern is a half-feel based around a dotted minim pulse. It makes much more sense this way and I’m not quite sure what I was thinking when I originally wrote it out!

It’s a really nice pattern. At one point there’s a tied note in the ride cymbal pattern which makes it really jazzy. And the stepped hi-hat pattern gives it a ‘skippy’ sort of feel.

So, is it still a jazz waltz if it has six beats to the bar? Hmm. I must admit, I’ve always though of waltzes as having three beats, but this 6/4 pattern is phrased in two groups of three. I think it might still be a waltz. Here’s a worksheet with both 9/8 and 6/4 versions of the pattern so you can judge for yourselves.

You can download it here.

Mice II

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Sun, December 08, 2013 14:40:10

Earlier this year I was asked to write a composition for a CD celebrating Frank Zappa’s unreleased works (bonkers, eh?). When he was about 15, Zappa wrote a piece for solo snare drum called ‘Mice’. There are a few clues as to what this sounded like (Frank once sung a little bit of it during an interview) but no actual recording is in circulation. My initial approach was to write a snare drum piece based on these clues, which I’ve uploaded here – it’s called ‘Mice II’. It’s not easy, but not as difficult as say, one of Zappa’s pieces, e.g. ‘The Black Page’ for drum kit. I’d also say it’s very much in the tradition of snare drum etudes.

I haven’t been able to play ‘Mice II’ yet – moving house, etc. hasn’t left me with much time – but here’s an mp3 of Sibelius playing it. Maybe you can have a go? I don’t think I like the ending yet, so I may revise it at some point.

After composing this, I found my mojo and continued to create a much more elaborate and bizarre electronic piece; although it still refers to the opening bars of ‘Mice II’ it’s sonically a lot more adventurous (sped-up textures, Varèse piss-takes, i.e., low budget ‘Ionisation’ textures, freely improvised guitar, and …. well, you’ll have to wait and see!). This will be the piece that will appear on the CD.

Oddly enough, when I was studying for my A Level music I wrote a very short piano piece (more of a texture really) called (I think) ‘A Small Mouse Spies Some Cheese’. Actually, I don’t think that’s the exact title. I’ll have to dig it out.

Here’s one we caught earlier…

The Inverted (or inward) Paradiddle

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Thu, November 21, 2013 12:06:58

This worksheet is all about the Inverted (or inward) Paradiddle.
I should probably create a sheet like this for the Single Paradiddle; however, I haven’t got round to that yet.

Let’s just remind ourselves of the sticking for a regular Single Paradiddle:


The sticking for the Inverted Paradiddle goes like this:


So you can see that they are very similar, it’s just that the sticking pattern has shifted position. The single paradiddle sticking is contained within the inverted paradiddle. See the bold type below:


On this sheet, the Inverted Paradiddle is shared between the hands and feet to create some funky beats. Because that’s what we all like. Funky beats. Did you know funk used to be a BAD word?

If you’re just working with a snare drum, you’ll want to push the tempo as far as you can, but make sure you keep the pulse even and work with a metronome to begin with. When you get the pattern faster you’ll start to notice the natural contrast between the single and double components. This gives the Inverted Paradiddle its feel and is to be encouraged. Like I always tell my drum students, you need to contrast the dynamics to get the correct flow of the rudiment.

‘Roll Exercise in 2/4’ by Morris Goldenberg

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Fri, October 25, 2013 20:18:05

I quickly bashed out this ‘warts and all’ performance of ‘Roll Exercise in 2/4’ by Morris Goldenberg from his famous book Modern School for Snare Drum. The dynamics don’t come across very well but I was observing them. I tried to keep a sense of 2/4 going through the rolls by emphasising beat 1 very slightly. The tempo is crotchet=88.


This is great book for anyone serious about learning to play a snare drum, but it’s best to work through it with a tutor.

Bo Diddley itself (Grade 8, Trinity Guildhall)

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Sun, April 07, 2013 22:26:24

So, I’ve finally cracked and posted a video of myself playing this piece. Playing it wasn’t a problem (apart from the pata fla flas!) but the sound is so thin and trashy. It doesn’t help that the drums have SoundOff pads fitted either. I’m not sure on the educational value of this accept as evidence of my ability to play it. I suppose I learnt that I need to find a better way of recording this sort of thing, if that counts. There are better produced recordings by others on YouTube but I can’t compete with them at the moment. Leicester Drum School operates on a tight budget!

(If your mobile phone doesn’t support Flash, watch the video here)

Bo Diddley – metronome track

Drum lessons (advanced) Posted on Sat, April 06, 2013 17:58:31

Here’s a metronome track I created for the Trinity Guildhall grade 8 piece “Bo Diddley”. It includes all the tricky little tempo changes.

There’s a 2 bar count in, so start playing after 4 clicks (remember, it’s a minum pulse, i.e., 2 clicks per bar).

Hope you find this teaching aid useful. If you do, please share it!

Next »