I'm always looking for new ideas to work on. The web is loaded with good stuff to practice (look on the Links page to get started) but I wanted to add some of my own concepts for others to check out.

      I use these with my students but I'd love to get some feedback from other players as well. Try these exercises then e-mail me here and let me know what you think. Praise is good, but constructive criticism is just as welcome. I'll post up a new page every month and if I get some good responses I'll include them as well.

You will need Acrobat Reader to download these files.

#7 Contemporary Conga Tumbao––At the Edge

Ever wonder why the hot-shots can play so fast? Here's how!

Contemporary Tumbao, At the Edge. pdf

Paul Ross's Caribbean Drumming Patterns

     Paul Ross and the Pan Go Steel Band held a Caribbean Drumming Seminar during our Spring Percussion Recital on June 22nd. He has graciously allowed me to post up some of his Calypso and Soca drumset patterns. Thanks Paul!

Caribbean Drumset Patterns pdf

Brian Riordan's Arabic Rhythms

     My colleague, Brian Riordan, has been working on a book of Arabic tabl rhythms. We've decided to post some of them up here to see if we can get some feedback from other players and Arabic scholars. His examples are thoughtfully transcribed in both western and Arabic notation, and each rhythm includes many variations. Please feel free to download, practice, and comment on these examples.

View Western Notation Key-first page
Western Notation Key pdf

View Mahksum-first page
Mahksum pdf

View Falah-first page
Falahi pdf

E-mail Comments

Kevin Winard's Brazilian Rhythms

     Kevin Winard recently guest taught and gave a master class on Brazilian drumming at CMP. He has graciously allowed me to post up his revised teaching examples so the students (and anyone else) can take advantage of his expertise.

Samba pdf
Samba Reggae, Batucada, and Baiao.pdf

#1 Syncopated High Hat in Jazz

     The high hat generally plays the pulse, the backbeat, or the off-beat in most patterns, but by syncopating it (shifting it to a weaker beat) you can alter the feel and flow of the time. This can have a powerful effect on the groove. So since it complicates the feel, use it sparingly in most situations. The patterns included here are written in exercise form and are not meant to represent a style (although you can play them straight through), so use your ears when playing these with a group. Don't try to force complications into the time-feel unless the music calls for them.

View exercises
Download pdf

#2 Two-Bar Phrases in Jazz

     The biggest problem for many young Jazz drummers is not technical execution but musical phrasing. Once they've developed the chops to patter between bass and snare, they tend to play way too fancy, often impeding the flow of the music and creating problems for the other musicians. This is a good way to get fired from the band. The best way to develop good phrasing is to listen to a lot of music. Don't just listen to the drums but check out the way the horn players phrase their solos -- after all, they are the ones you are accompanying.
      Here are some exercises to help develop a better phrasing concept. One-bar patterns are not enough since most music is felt in two- or four-bar phrases.

View Two-Bar Exercises
Download pdf

#3 Latin Six-Eight

      Playing in six-eight time is very common in Latin music but there are very few resources for developing a repertoire of patterns to fit different playing situations. Here are some models for creating new patterns in Cuban-style dance music and Latin Jazz. These don't work in every situation so listen to recordings and watch live performances to develop a better understanding of the music and the people who play it. Remember that music is played differently in different countries and each style has evolved over time so, for NonLatinos, the study of Latin music is a trip through both geography and history. Understanding where and when a style of music is played is the difference between a happy career and a future in the food-service industry.

View Basic Latin Six-Eight
Download pdf

#4 Cuban Guaguancó Conga Patterns

     While rumba stands on its own as a musical style, it can also be viewed as transitional between the folkloric and popular traditions. As such, it is essential to understand rumba if you wish to understand Cuban music. There is no one right way to play rumba. I transcribed these patterns from lessons at La Escuela Nacionál in Havana, but I know that there are other good playing models which should be studied as well. The more ways you know to play the more resources you'll have to draw from when you're on the gig.
     This page is excerpted from the Latin-Percussion Handbook by Don Skoog.

View Guaguancó Patterns
Download pdf

#5 Cuban Batá Toque–Olumbanshé

     This batá drum example is for all the kids who attended our Batá/Arabic Drumming Seminar on February 5th at Vandercook College. I've posted a short article on batá drumming on the upper right side of this page, and Brian's Arabic drumming examples are front and center. If you have more questions, feel free to E-mail me here.

Olumbanshé-Ensemble pdf
Iyá Variations

#6 Introduction to the Bodhrán

     Here are some basic exercises for the Irish framedrum, the bodhrán. I've been working on and teaching this drum a lot lately and intend to expand these materials, so I'm posting them up to get some feedback. Bodhr án players! Let me know if you find these helpful. Any suggestions?

Intro to the Bodhrán.pdf

#7 Syncopated High Hat Patterns in Straight Eighths

     Including the high hat in 4-way patterns adds another dimension to your playing. It also complicates the rhythm, so be sure to use these sparingly and only when they are appropriate for the music.

Syncopated High Hat in Straight Eighths.pdf

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Guest Lessons

Arabic Tabl Rhythms
by Brian Riordan

Brazilian Rhythms
by Kevin Winard

Caribbean Drumming Patterns
by Paul Ross