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Category: Education

Educational materials on drumming from Modern Drummer.

Flam It Up

Video Lesson: Basics – Flam it Up

Many of these exercises have a rock ’n’ roll feel and sound. But you can use them in jazz, funk, or fusion settings by experimenting with dynamics, touch, subdivision, and the tuning of your drums. Try playing the phrases on high-pitched drums for use in a bebop setting.

World Groove Mash-Up

Video Lesson: World Groove Independence Mash-Up with Mike Johnston

This lesson is an example of that approach. When I started working on world grooves in my teens, I learned quite a few traditional hand patterns and foot ostinatos from Cuba, Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Until recently, it never occurred to me to treat them as drumset rhythms without a cultural association. Once I made that leap, I started to mix and match to improve my independence on the kit.

Progressive Drumming Essentials, part 6

Video Lesson: Progressive Drumming Essentials, Part 6 – Syncopated Double Bass…The Easy Way

Vater is good about balancing its catalog with highly practical products and innovative designs and accessories. This year the company introduced unfinished versions of two of its most popular “rock” models, the 1A and 3A, and added custom designs for Primus’s Tim Alexander and 311’s Chad Sexton. Also new are two sizes of clear muffling gels, the Buzz Kill and Buzz Kill Dry, and a couple of inventive StickMates, which allow you to add shaker or tambourine textures to your grooves via a slim, lightweight plastic grip attachment. It’s all very cool stuff, so let’s take a look.

Jim Riley

Video Lesson! In The Pocket – Ghost Notes 101 with Jim Riley

One thing that separates the novice drummer from the professional is the ability to play grooves that have dimension. Ghost notes are a great way to achieve this, but first you need to understand, on an elemental level, how to create them. In this lesson I’m going to show you the six ghost-note elements that I use when playing music that’s based on a 16th-note subdivision….


Video Lesson! Basics: Practi-Patterns with Rich Redmond

One of the best things you can do in your drumming study is work on practical techniques, stickings, grooves, and fills that can be applied in real-life situations on the bandstand and in the studio. After playing a wide variety of music in my formative years, and then becoming part of Nashville’s touring and recording scene, I’ve made note of a handful of these “practi-patterns” that have shown their face time and time again….

Mike Johnston - December 2015

Video Lesson! Raw Speed Bass Drum Workout with Mike Johnston

This bass drum workout is all about developing your raw speed. Raw speed is very different from pattern speed. Pattern speed requires your brain to keep track of a specific sequence of rights, lefts, and kicks, and you have to play a sequence for a long time while your brain memorizes it before you can speed up. Raw speed is referring to how fast you can physically play something that doesn’t require a lot of thought or pattern memorization. Think of it like this: Maybe you can play singles and doubles at 160 bpm but you can play paradiddles at only 110 bpm. That drop in speed doesn’t make sense, since paradiddles are made up of singles and doubles. But the problem isn’t with your raw speed; it’s with your brain’s ability to keep track of the patterns….


Video Lesson: Quintuplets, Part 1: The Basics

Some may think of quintuplets—groups of five notes in the space of a quarter note—as an unusual rhythm reserved for the technical folks playing math music. But quintuplets aren’t that different from triplets (which weren’t always commonplace), and it’s possible for us to use them in musical ways to increase our vocabulary….