Friday, January 29, 2010

Lesson 5: Flam Paradiddle

flam paradiddle


New rudiment for ya'll to chew on, the almighty Flam Paradiddle. I play this rudiment two ways...
1) With an accent on the flam.
2) Without the accent on the flam.

...again, taking it through the Rhythmic Scale.

I have quite a few of these rudiments written out in this way, so I'll keep posting them for all that are interested. The purpose of running the rudiments in this way is to get you used to thinking in every degree of the scale. We can move on to some deeper stuff a little later, but the foundation has to be have to be comfortable counting the subdivisions before we can work on anything else. Hopefully you're still working on The Blueprint too...alot more exercises to come out of that also, but once again, the groundwork must be laid.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lesson 4: Flam Accents Using the Rhythmic Scale...

flam accent


Ok...last time we started to work through some rudiments, taking them through the Rhythmic Scale, and starting to see what some of the possibilities were. We looked at the flam in the previous lesson...this time we'll look at the Flam Accent. Same general idea, so for the details of how to work through it just refer back to Lesson 3.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drumming with an Injury

I've been getting some questions through email, Twitter, and via the Drummer Etc Facebook page. In the past I've addressed them privately...long drawn out emails...and then i started thinking, "Why not post the questions and answers for ALL to see?" I figure that if one person is struggling with it, maybe alot of others are too. So here's one from Alex via email...

Just thought I'd drop an email to tell you that the blog is great, and to keep up the good work. I read yer post on carpal tunnel, but I was writing to ask if you've ever gotten into any sort of serious injury or had an operation that kept you from drumming for a while. I ask because I recently had a small skin problem removed and along with it, some pretty gnarly stitches on my left arm. The doc said I'd have to stop drumming for a bit to make sure the wound heals properly. It should only be a couple of weeks but I'm still pretty bummed about the whole thing, cos my left arm is my weak arm as it is, and now this... ah well, I'm just hoping that after I get the thread removed I'll be able to play (painlessly) again. So... yeah. I was just wondering if you had ever had a likewise experience, and what you did to recover the practice lost and what not. Hope the email doesn't weird ya out, and again, keep up the good work!


What's up Alex...

The email doesn't "weird me out" in the least man...I really do love hearing from you guys! Now, on to the problem at hand...

That sucks that you had to have surgery...hopefully everything is alright...those stitches look NASTY (That's Alex's arm in the pic above...)

I actually did have a situation somewhat like yours when I lived in New Orleans. I was working at a restaurant part time for about 6 months(The Bourbon Street gigs got slow after 9/11) while also playing. As fate would have it, I wound up cutting the first knuckle on the ring finger of my right said I was lucky, a hair deeper and I would have gotten the tendons which would have done permanent damage. They stitched it up and put a HUGE bandage on my hand that wrapped around to my wrist. Problem was, I needed to play to make I stupidly took a gig the next week...I played, trying to baby the finger, but wound up bleeding through the bandage. I made it through the gig, but I shouldn't have been playing....I could have done permanent follow what the doc says. As for the practice...what did I do?

Well, instead of looking at it as lost time on my bum arm, I tried to think of it in a more positive light. I focused on my left hand and my feet. I went through all kinds of hand and foot exercises using just my left hand and my feet...what kind of fills could I come up with? What kind of grooves could I pull off with just my left hand and my feet? It was actually a pretty great growing experience...but it wouldn't have been if I had focused on the fact that I couldn't use my right arm.

Even though your left hand is your weaker, your right could always use some work...or maybe you take the time to just work on your feet? See what kind of grooves you can play with your right hand and right foot...what kind of fills could you do...practice your rudiments between your right hand and right foot...or between your left foot and right foot...

The point I'm trying to make is, don't look at it as a negative...try to turn EVERY situation into a positive one. I know you FEEL like your left hand is going to lose alot of ground, but you'll be suprised at how much muscle memory you have. The key is going to be keeping your mind sharp...if you stop practicing altogether, not only will your chops get rusty but your thinking will too, and that's a double edged sword.

During my time as a personal trainer, I've learned alot about muscle memory. When you first start a regular workout routine, it seems like it takes FOREVER to get in shape...months of hard work. However, I work with quite a few clients that have just been released from physical therapy and are now trying to recondition their muscles back to the level they were at pre-surgery. And you know what? It doesn't take near as long...there's a thing called muscle memory. When you quit a regular workout routine and then go back to it a year or two later, your muscles "remember" what they could do before and it takes a fraction of the time to get them back in shape. It's the same way with'll feel like you've lost alot of time, but in reality it will come back with a couple of weeks worth of hard work.

The big key is to not get frustrated. You're going to feel handicapped when you try to practice without that left hand...because you're used to playing things a certain way. This is going to break you out of old habits and cause you to look at things in a new light...something we don't often make ourselves do.

I've had times in my praciticing that I spent WEEKS just focusing on my jazz ride cymbal pattern, or my right foot, or the hand and foot coordination between my right foot and hands, or just my left foot, or whatever. Eventually, if you're serious about playing, you're going to begin to break down individual parts of your drumming...what better time to start than now?!

This is also a great opportunity to dive into some listening exercises. Too often we get consumed with how much practice time we're logging and we forget to take the time to expand our mind, open our ears, and discover some new influences. Take 30 minutes of your normal practice time and listen to a style of music that you've never taken the time to listen to. That could be salsa, jazz, big band, carribean, pop music, 70's funk, whatever...the important thing is to immerse yourself in the songs. Listen instrument by instrument and try to figure out exactly what makes that style tick. What's the drummer doing? What's the guitar doing? Are there certain fills or grooves that are associated with that style of music? In other words, take yourself to school on it. No, it's not playing the drums...but your still involving yourself with music, your still sharpening your mind, your learning some history, expanding your influences, and I gurantee that when you sit back down at the drumset you'll have a whole slew of different ideas to pull from.

The main thing to remember is to NOT STOP PRACTICING!!!

I think you'll find that you're not going to lose near as much ground as you think you are.

Hope this helps...and thanks for the question...

Hope you get your bum arm back in order...and just remember...DON'T GET DISCOURAGED AND NEVER STOP PRACTICING!!


This advice could go for any injury. I've gone through several pulled muscles, sliced knuckles, wrist happens. You just have to go on about the business of becoming that drummer and musician you have pictured in your mind. If you get discouraged and stop practicing everytime life throws you a curveball, you'll never get to where you're going. I have a kid and another one on the responsibilities, work, gigs, home repair projects, all adds up, but it's the same concept. The one thing I've learned that keeps me sane and focused...ALWAYS HAVE A LONG TERM MENTALITY. You're not in it for the short're in it to the just suck it up, get creative, and just watch how much you improve!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is It Worth It...

Another question...this one came via Twitter from Ryan. I play in a rock group, Lovers and Liars and Ryan had been asking some questions about alot of things...Did we have an agent or manager? Did we like them?...alot of general questions about "Band stuff"...and then he sent me these next couple of questions that really made me sit back at my desk and wonder...

Is all of it worth it? The long road trips, all the money that gets spent, all the hard work? Cuz I mean that is what I want. Life in music. do you answer that? Is a career in real estate worth it? What about a management career at a local restaurant? Or a teaching position at an elementary school?

I guess the idea of something being "worth it" depends on what your goals are, what your definition of success in that particular field is, what your driving motivations are...Are you looking for fame? Fortune? Notoriety? A comfortable living? The house in the suburbs with a couple of kids and a two car garage?

I think that if you apply these questions to life in general and not just to life in music you'll begin to see the bigger picture.

Whatever career field you pick, whatever life you design for have to set some clear goals...some markers that in fact let you know if something is worth it...and if you don't hit those markers by a certain point, maybe it isn't worth it.

A few years ago I quit playing "full time" ...whatever that means...and took on personal training, as well as continuing to take the gigs that I wanted to play...but only the ones that I wanted. You see, I had gotten to a point that the direction my music career was headed wasn't worth it to me. I had played professionally for 7 or 8 years, had a college degree, was well respected by my peers, had a wonderful wife and a baby on the way....but i was MISERABLE with the gigs i was having to take on to keep the ship afloat. I prayed daily that I would wake up the next morning and HATE the drums...just so I could have some peace of mind...some confirmation that I needed to move into another field of work. But the love stayed, and so the drive inside of me stayed, and so I had to find a way to make it work.

I know I every field you have to do some work that you don't care for...problem was, most of the work i was doing sucked. i hated it. So I decided to change other words, my dreams weren't worth it if that was the path I had to take to achieve them...*GASP, HORROR, SOBS, CRIES OF AGONY*...You mean give up on your dreams?! That's not what I said...but if you're beating a dead duck, chances are that's not going to make it fly.

If you have a career in music, more times than not it will require some travel. If you're single, no biggie...if you're newly married and she understands what you do, no biggie...if you have a kid...well, things start to look differently. you start to evaluate just how much time you're having to spend out of much am I getting paid for this? And how long are we gone? And why did I miss my son's first steps for this?

And if you have any type of career, especially if you start your own business venture, you're going to have to invest some biggie if you're single, it's your money to spend. No biggie if you're newly married and she understands things, it's ya'lls money to spend...but when the kid comes and there's a family involved...again, things just begin to look differently.

The point I'm trying to make is that at sometime you're going to re-evaluate what it is you're trying to accomplish and you're going to have to ask the same questions that Ryan was asking me...Is it worth it? All of the time, the money, the hard work? Is the end result worth all that you've invested?

So here's the criteria I judge my career with or leave it, it's just what I've come up with to help me make sure my life stays in some sort of manageable balance...

1) Is the monetary compensation enough for my family and I to comfortably live on?
2) Do I have the ability to say "No" to a gig?
3) Am I the one that gets a say so in when, where, and how much I get paid when I play?
4) Am I in enough control of my schedule that I can slot off times for family without interfering with any work or putting us in the poorhouse?
5) Do I like what I'm doing?
6) Does it look like the picture in my mind?
7) Is it allowing full use of my talents?

These are just a sample list...different situations sometimes have different questions, but these seem to be the core values that resonate with me in any given situation.

And about hard work...If you're working hard at something, it needs to be worth it. Anything I do I put 110% into it...painting my studio, practicing, training my clients, recording, playing a show with my name it and I'm going to try to give it my all...otherwise, why are you there.

For years I didn't ask the right questions...and I regretted now I always ask.

And yea, Ryan, it's worth it....if it looks like the picture I have in my mind (which it is more and more everyday) then yes, it's worth every bead of sweat, every penny invested, and every minute you're on the road.

Don't know if that's an answer, but it'll have to do...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Polyrhythms and Subdivision Taken to the Extreme...

Chris "Daddy" Dave...He was in Modern Drummer this month if you haven't caught it yet, great article. The lessons I've been posting will build to something, I promise...and if you don't believe me, check out this video....let it play until at least the 2 minute'll see what I'm talking about...Chris learned this stuff and now it's just part of who he is...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Video of the Week: Steve Smith...

I say this with all of the videos that I's one of my favs...Steve Smith. This guy is a walking talking history book on the drums. Such a student and such an inspiration.

Lesson 3: How to Make Rudiments Interesting...Starting with Flams...



I've mentioned this before, but in the past I wasn't thrilled about practicing rudiments...sorry, understated that, I used to HATE practicing them. The problem was, my college professor was huge on them...he actually wrote the book on it (The Drummer's Rudimental Reference Book…click on it to check it out, it's the best on the subject in my opinion). Me hating rudiments was akin to shooting his firstborn. There was no way around get out of college I was going to have to learn while I was at it I decided I would try to also learn to LIKE them, a different task altogether.

They really are a vital part of a drummer's “arsenal”. Everyday folks have the alphabet, horn players have scales, the library has the Dewey Decimal System (which NEVER made sense to me when I was a kid)...and we have rudiments.

Can you talk without knowing the alphabet?


Can you talk well without knowing the alphabet?


The alphabet does nothing but organize a language. Once you understand what letters look and sound like, why they have those sounds, how you can rearrange them and make different combinations of sounds...that's when you really begin to become proficient in a language.

Rudiments are the alphabet for drummers, it's as simple as that.

Can you play without knowing your rudiments?


Can you play WELL without knowing your rudiments?


…but if there was a better way to organize your thoughts while you were playing, it only makes sense to learn it…enter rudiments...

So I had to find a way to like them...a way to practice them that didn't make me want to drive stakes through my eyes.

I've mentioned some of the other ways I tried and liked...Practicing rudiments to your favorite songs, moving them around the drumkit, etc.

When I started messing with the Rhythmic Scale, I found another way to get enjoyment out of them. I'm a big believer in trying to multitask while other words, if you're going to be working on your funk grooves, why not try to incorporate working on dynamics, technique, timing, etc all at one time. Some of you may say, “I already do that.”...and maybe you do, but what I like to do is actually focus on those issues one at a time while I'm practicing another concept. Get whatever concept that you're working on under your hands and then put that part of it on autopilot and start to focus in on other issues…so you're practicing your new concept while also honing some of the most basic aspects of your playing, aspects that sometimes get overlooked in the quest for the fastest hands…or feet…or whatever...

The typical way to go through a rudiment is as follows...

1. Learn rudiment.
2. Play rudiment from slow to fast and back to slow.
3. Repeat.

I understand the helps you to explore playing that rudiment at all different tempos while also helping you push your speed to new levels. This gets boring to me quickly. Once I learn the rudiment, the thought of playing it from slow to fast and back down just to help me get quicker hands wasn't enough of a goal in and of itself to keep my interest.

The solution I came up with was simple but effective. I took whatever rudiment I was working on at the time (the example written out here is the Flam) and applied the Rhythmic Scale to it. I would set my metronome at a tempo that allowed me to play the whole Scale...once I was comfortable playing all of those subdivisions at that tempo, I would increase the tempo. Doing this allowed me to work with a metronome while working on my rudiments, therefore helping my timing and groove.

So the new way to go through the rudiment would be much more in depth…

1. Learn rudiment.
2. Decide on comfortable metronome speed and play rudiment while applying steps 1-8 of the Rhythmic Scale.
3. Focus on counting each subdivision within the scale until you're comfortable with how it lays under your hands.
4. Start to hone in on dynamics…soft to loud, loud to soft, soft to loud and back down to soft, one measure loud and the next soft, etc...
5. Increase tempo as able.

After I'm comfortable playing the rudiments in all subdivisions of the scale, I turn on the music. Pick your fav song, pick a degree of the scale you want to work on, and play that degree through the whole we're starting to get REALLY comfortable with them...and we're forgetting that we're working on rudiments.

Once you're comfortable with all of these, start moving them around the drumkit...the possibilities are endless. Put your left hand on the snare and your right hand on the floor tom…or any other combination you can think of…go wild with it!

…And before you know it, you've taken a very boring idea and turned it into a series of exercises and combinations that begin to sound musical…which is the end goal of any practice session.

I've written out the flam rudiment as it looks going through the Rhythmic Scale. It's one of the easier to count and subdivide at first. I'll be putting a lot more of them up in the near future as I'm able…life is really busy right now, really good stuff, just really busy though (If you'll continue to watch this space I'll let you in on all of it as I'm able to…). If you see some highlighted words in any of the lesson posts you can click on them and they'll refer you back to whatever post it is that explains the words or topic that is highlighted, just so you'll be able to reference things easier…or if you're just jumping in you'll be able to get caught up quickly. Don't hesitate to shoot me a line through FB, Twitter, email, or in the comments section of this post if you've got any questions or comments…I love hearing from you guys!

Now go to the woodshed and hack out some rudiments...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Video of the Week: Keith Carlock @ Modern Drummer Festival

Here he is...Mr. finesse himself. It's an older video of Keith Carlock at Modern Drummer Fest, but well worth the watch!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lesson2: The Blueprint Part Dos...

polyrhythm exercises1
polyrhythm exercises2

Hopefully, if you follow this blog with any sort of regularity, you caught my last lesson post. If so, I hope you've been working on the Rhythmic'll come in handy...starting now...

For years I was in awe of drummers that could use rhythms to suggest different time signatures than they were playing...or to even go beyond a suggestion and actually function in a different time signature while still keeping their place in the tune. The list could be a mile long but some quick examples would be Tony Williams, Antonio Sanchez, Bill Stewart, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta...and hundreds of others. The following exercises were some that I devised to help me work on this. I will preface this with saying...this takes a LONG, LONG, LONG time to master...I don't even have all of this stuff down quite yet. Polyrhythms are tricky by themselves, much less learning to play the polyrhythm AND function in both times that you're playing. I'll explain the exercises and then tell you some things I learned that helped me with this along the way.

DISCLAIMER: I felt this needed to be said...NONE OF THESE EXERCISES ARE MEANT TO EVER BE PLAYED OUTSIDE OF THE PRACTICE ROOM!!! These aren't "licks" or fills used to impress...They're a carefully thought out series of exercises aimed at improving your timing, facility on the drumset, and coordination...They are a means to an end, not an end in other words, these exercises exist to help you work on your coordination and skills. Application will come later. If you try to play one of these exercises on an actual gig, I swear I may show up and punch you in the face...if the bass player hasn't already, that is...

LESSON 2: Lots and lots of Polyrhythms...

The first thing you see above is the Rhythmic Scale that I gave you last lesson...I put it there simply for reference. Below that you'll see that every degree of the scale is broken down into a section...A-H, or Scale degrees 1-8. Once you can play the subdivisions comfortably in the Rhythmic Scale, it's time to move onto the exercises. When you've mastered both pages, you will be able to play all possible two-limb polyrhythms within the rhythmic scale. After you master these, we can move onto more advanced counting exercises and start to explore how to implement these ideas into your playing.

*In these exercises, all combinations of two or more rhythms, whether unison or contrasting, will be referred to as "polyrhythms" for the ease of explanation.*

Before each line of music you'll notice some abbreviations w/ each line representing a limb of your body: RH(right hand), LH(left hand), RF(right foot), and LF(left foot).

1. Starting with Section A: you'll be playing unison notes with your LH, RF, and LF and your RH will be playing the rhythmic scale from degree 1 all the way to degree 8 (pretty much as written). Again, put repeat signs after every measure and loop each measure until you're comfortable with that particular combination. Section A is simply for you to get your bearings... 1 is your constant, or your check pattern if you want to think of it in those terms. Set your metronome to 4/4 time and get to practicing whats written.

2. After you master Section A, move onto Section gets hairy from here on out. In Section B you'll encounter the polyrhythms 1 against 2, 2 against 2, 3 against 2, 4 against 2, 5 against 2, 6 against 2, 7 against 2, and 8 against 2. You'll notice that the first measure in Section B is the same polyrhythm that's in the second measure of Section A, 1 against 2 (Just flipped upside down). In other words, these exercises have a cumulative effect...once you get to Section E, you'll already know half of it (1 against 5 from Section A, 2 against 5 from Section B, 3 against 5 from Section C, and 4 against 5 guessed it, Section D).

You want to focus on really giving each note its proper value...that's of the utmost importance.

3. After you can play through a section, you'll need to focus on your counting. Play it through and try to count whatever subdivision your playing with your RH. When you can do that, try to count the subdivision you're playing w/ your other three limbs (the constant or check pattern)...the point here is to become completely comfortable with counting each separate rhythm while simultaneously playing another rhythm. Not easy in the least.

4 Once you can play AND count each section, it's time to switch limbs. Instead of playing the Rhythmic Scale w/ your RH we'll switch to playing it with your LH and playing the unisons with your RH, RF, and LF.

5. After you've mastered all w/ your LH, move the Rhythmic Scale to your RF and start all over.

6. And yes, you guessed it, after you've mastered it w/ your RF, move it to your LF.

The great thing about these exercises is that you don't necessarily have to be at a drumset to practice them. You can practice them at a red light, during commercials while you're watching tv, while listening to the can incorporate them into your lifestyle. This really helps because you're wanting these to become second nature. You want 5 over 7 to eventually be as easy to count, subdivide, and play as 2 over 3 is.

we'll stop here for now...this will take you a LONG time...I know it did for me.

The hardest subdivisions are 5 and 7. They're not a normal occurence in popular music, therefore our ear isn't accustomed to hearing them and naturally dividing a beat or measure into 5 or 7 equal parts. The only reason the others are easier is because we're used to hearing takes some time and LOTS of patience to subdivide some of these.

You may be saying "That's impossible! I can't play 3 over 4, much less 5 over 7, or 6 over 5, or whatever!"

I thought that at first too, but the more I dealt w/ and tried to count all of these polyrhythms, the more natural they became to my ear.

Again, a HUGE thanks to Shane Kelly, musician virtuoso, for voluntarily transcribing my chicken scratch into clean documents...

Stop by the FB page, Twitter page, or just comment here if you have any questions...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Custom Builder Highlight: Anchor Drums...

I've been talking with Shawn from Anchor Drum Co. We connected through the DrummerEtc FB page, and after I checked out some of his drums, decided everyone should know about Anchor Drums.

As you can see in the pics, Shawn and his crew build beautiful drums...from lug to finish. They're not as interested in building a company as they are in building a community of people that supports their "brand" and interpretation of what drums should look...and In his own words...

"We want to build beautiful drums that have a distinctive look and feel to them. No, we are not here to re-create drums. We are not here to be better than any other company. There are some fantastic companies out there doing some amazing things with drums! We are here because we love drums. We want to create beautiful pieces of art that are also, as we call them, “beefy cannons”. Sort of flows with our vibe and theme. We love the nautical/pirate aspect, what can I say."

What a novel something of quality and uniqueness and concern yourself more with the people involved than the object you've created and your bottom line. He's making a brand that interprets the drums as he see them. That's quality peoples I tell ya!

And as far as pricing goes...for a custom built kit, they're VERY competitively priced...and they offer specials every now and then, so check back don't wanna miss out on a chance to get a drum of this quality for the price he offers them at. They've also got some plans for some nice swag (shirts) check it won't be disappointed!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lesson 1: The Blueprint Part Uno...


So this has been sitting in my composition book for 4 years now. It's part of a series of exercises that took me roughly 3 years to come up with, hash through, write down, forget about, remember, work on some more, walk away in know, the usual process of learning and working on original (hopefully) material. I picked it up the other day (it's been a while since I've thought about it....much less worked on it) and I thought "Hey, maybe someone else could benefit from this." And then I thought about how hungry I was, remembered that I was supposed to mail off some thank you notes....and finally arrived back at the thought later that evening that again, maybe someone could use some of this info. So I'll be throwing this stuff up in individual posts over the next, I don't know, however long it takes me to remember everything I had worked out and thought of. If you can use it, great. If not, super. Hopefully it'll make sense... So here goes...

RHYTHMIC SCALE (AKA..."The Blueprint")

The picture above is what I like to call my rhythmic scale (Click on the picture and you'll be able to download a large copy of it to refer to). In the simplest terms, it's the numbers one thru eight. This is the basis for ALOT of the other exercises I'm planning on posting, so get familiar with it.

To practice this, let's start with a single hand. Set your metronome to 4/4 time (common time) and at a tempo somewhere between 70-80 BPM (beats per minute).

Put repeat signs around each bar and practice that one bar until you're comfortable with it, playing everything on one hand to start with. On the first bar, you'll be playing one beat per measure, second bar 2 beats per measure, third bar 3 beats per measure and so on...all the way to 8 (Yes, we're going to be dealing with polyrhythms, if you haven't figured that out by now.). Measures 1-4 are pretty simple...we commonly use those subdivisions in popular gets hairy once you get to measures 5 and 7. Those aren't as common, so it may take a bit to get used to subdividing them. With the metronome set to 4/4 time, you'll be counting polyrhythms as follows...

Measure One Polyrhythm: 1 over 4
Measure Two Polyrhythm: 2 over 4
Measure Three Polyrhythm: 3 over 4
Measure Four Polyrhythm: 4 over 4 (Unisons)
Measure Five Polyrhythm: 5 over 4
Measure Six Polyrhythm: 6 over 4 (or 3 over 4 doubled-if that confuses you, forget I said it.)
Measure Seven Polyrhythm: 7 over 4
Measure Eight Polyrhythm: 8 over 4 (or doubletime)

Once you've mastered playing this with your right hand, switch to your left hand. Once you're comfortable with that, switch and play it all on your right foot. And you guessed it...once you've got that, play them all with your left foot. While your playing them, count them out loud. It's of utmost importance that you engrain these into your skull so they become second will come in handy later.

Once you can play them all comfortably with each limb, let's dig deeper. Try alternating in the following combinations...

Unison (all limbs together...unisons are harder than you think)

Increase the tempo as you get better.

Once that's under the belt, try playing each measure 4 times and going to the next subdivision smoothly.

Again, this may seem elementary to some of you. If you want, just use this as a simple warm up when you go to begin a practice session. The point I'm trying to get across is that if you're not comfortable playing all of these subdivisions (or polyrhythms, if you want to think of them like that) you won't be able to play any of the exercises from this point on.

It get's MUCH more interesting after this, so I hope you'll stick around, work on some of this, and hopefully find it fun...I know I do.

Long Winded Update of Left Out Material Due to Writing This Post Right Before Bed...

First of all...My good friend Shane Kelly took the liberty of transcribing my chicken scratch notation into a more legible form...much appreciated. I actually thought about doing that, but there's only so many hours in a day...nonetheless, A great big "THANKS" is in order...

rhythmic scale-2

He also suggested using Musical Mnemonics to help count the 5 and 7... Go HERE to learn more about that...

...So I re-read this once I woke up and felt there should be a touch more explanation and clarification.

Sometimes you work on something so long that you take for granted things that need explaining. The focus of these lessons will be polyrhythms, time-within-time, Implied Metric Modulation (although I really hate that term), Metric Modulation, and the likes.

A polyrhythm is, in it's most basic form, two patterns played against each other (playing 2 evenly spaced notes in one hand while in the same amount of time playing 3 evenly spaced notes in the other hand...). It's really just a pattern if you play them becomes a polyrhythm when you start to separate the two patterns, count them separately, and start to subdivide using (from the example above) the 2 or the 3 as the basis for subdivision. Once you can consciously do that, you begin to realize that for any given tempo or time signature you're playing in, there are countless sub-signatures you can function in. This is getting a bit deep early on, but I wanted you to at least know where this is heading. This is how some drummers and musicians can make time feel like it's floating, or that the song is suddenly in another tempo, or any other number of "illusions" ...which aren't really illusions at all, they're just subdividing and taking that subdivision as the new tempo and further subdividing it......PHEW!!!

I hope some of that makes sense to you...