drum?? Then find a big fat book to use as your drum, it'll work
have you drumming shortly, but first, a few tips:
While playing let your wrist, hand and finger joints flex and
move. Slap more than push. Keep your hands and wrists loose.
Strike the drum with the middle part of your fingers.
If you can say it, you can play it. We won't have you count,
you'll learn a drum language right from the beginning. Say or
sing "Ta" for a regular beat and "Boo" for a heavy beat. We'll
add more later on.
Play each drumming pattern very slowly at first. Allow a period
of time for it to 'imprint', then speed up.
number of drumming patterns is so large as to be infinite. Most
patterns are just a few beats long, then they repeat. Complex
patterns are created by arranging basic patterns into a larger
structure. As letters of the alphabet can be arranged to create
words and words arranged to create sentences and sentences
arranged to create paragraphs, so too can drumming patterns be
built into longer structures.
page will teach you the basic building blocks of hand drumming.
Once you have mastered them you can create and evolve your own
Remember: Any time you make a 'mistake' it's really just the
creation of a new and different pattern!
And we're not saying this just to be kind.
The basic of basics.
steady, even beat:
is the most basic pattern in drumming. Whatever happens, you can
always come back to it.
Using this pattern, you can play along with anything.
pattern is the basis of all drumming.
You can learn it in seconds.
Put a little beat in it.
Right Left Right
second right-hand beat is slightly heavier than the others
(heavy hand). On this fourth beat move your right hand a little
closer to the center of the drumming surface.
that we've taken the first pattern and changed it just slightly.
Made a 'mistake' so to speak and came up with something
Getting more interesting.
necessary, play this pattern very slowly at first.
light and heavy hands should strike different places on the
the drum song as you play.
More on Drumming Patterns:
first two patterns are even. They are divisible by two. The
third pattern is odd, divisible by three. With just two hands
all drumming patterns must be either even or odd.
every even pattern first left handed and then right. Continue
until both hands knows the pattern equally well. With odd
patterns the emphasis naturally moves from hand to hand. That's
part of the fun with
Alternate starting patterns with the left hand and then the
a while you may find a startling sensation of being able
automatically to transpose drumming knowledge from one hand to
the other. A kind of mirror symmetry. As each hand is entirely
controlled by the
opposite brain hemisphere,
some interesting things must be going on upstairs.
your hands go everywhere you go, you can drum anytime. Play on
any surface you find. Counters, boxes, books. Drum on your
knees. Drum on the steering wheel while waiting for a light.
Waiting in the grocery checkout? Drum on the handle of the
cart--just flicking your fingers. Sing your drum songs while you
practice and if you're in a circumstance where neither drumming
or singing is recommended, practice sub-vocally. Sing and listen
to the rhythm in your mind, the best practice of all. In time
you may even dream drumming. Or is it drum dreaming? Tap out
patterns with just your forefingers while waiting in the
checkout line. In short, put some rhythm into your life! And
also listen for it. Traffic rhythm, adding machine rhythm, leaky
you think it's just noise, this means you haven't found the
add an extra beat with your right hand to the Second Pattern.
Another 'mistake', another pattern.
Play : L-R-L-R-R-....
this starting with the left, then begin with the right.
More double beats
double beats to the Third Pattern. Eight beats total. Starting
to sound a lot like real drumming!
fun, leave out one of the doubles. Try it both ways. Triples?
Time and Timing:
is the philosophical part of the page. Rhythm, at its core, is
structured time. So far, all the patterns have been played with
a steady beat. That's just part of the fun. What can send you
over the top is finding your own particular rhythms, discovering
and trusting your personal "structure" of time.
three or four beats, then stop and wait for an impulse to repeat
the beats you began with. Don't consciously count during these
pauses! Rely on your own internal clock to tell you when it's
time to repeat the beats.
practicing the phrase you're "writing" until you "hear" your own
private "ticking", then get a little crazy. Change the length of
the second phrase--any length that feels right, as long as it's
different from the first phrase. Don't Count! Repeat this new
prase until you've got it. then change number of beats between
the two pauses by adding or subtracting a beat. Then you'll be
on you way to Ecstatic Drumming.
Adding something special
first two beats, quick ones. Then left-right-left.
add a heavy beat at the end.
Startin' to cook!
Sounds like you know what you're doing
rights and one left, the first four beats, quick ones.
just taken the Time Pattern and added a little. Notice how a
single beat can completely change a pattern.
continue development? Well, a lot of drumming seems to help.
Then drum some more.
every drumming session play the First Pattern as fast as you
can. Start slow and then speed up. When you don't think you can
go any faster let your hands surprise you. There will be that
day when they just take off on their own. TaTaTaTaTaTa....
with friends. Just a few in the beginning, otherwise things can
get chaotic quickly. Everyone should have something to bang on.
noticing the 'texture' of rhythms, even washing the dishes has a
definite 'textural' rhythm.
people: some are fast, or slow, or jerky, or smooth. And some
can change pace to match the beat. Rhythm is a very basic
component of all life
are or have become an intermediate or advanced drummer then you
know way more than we do. You're on your own. The rest of us
should be aware that every drumming surface has a different
tone. For a change in pitch, drum on the cutting board instead
of your drumming book. Or if you want to get tricky, place them
side by side--book bongos! Which brings up the subject of
multiple drumming surfaces. There is no reason why you can't
play any of these patterns on more than one surface. Start by
drumming each hand on a separate surface. And then......
At some point it will be time to approach a real drum, there're
about a million different kinds. Now you can do so with some
measure of confidence.
hand drumming consists of just two things: different kinds of
hand strikes and structured time. That's it! Tone and
time. We've notated timing with dashes. None for quick, one
for regular. You can add two, three and so on. Remember that
dashes are time units relative to an individual pattern and that
patterns can be played faster or slower.
have used two hand strikes: regular (Ta) and heavy (Boo). You
can add playing on the edge of the drumming surface (Bim) and
curling the hands slightly and striking with the finger tips
(De). Experiment with hand strikes: palm flat, the heel of the
palm, edge and thumb strokes. Give each of your new hand strikes
word and then you can easily record any new pattern either as
lefts and rights or as a drum song.
Now You Do The Cooking:
of the patterns so far have been played with alternate hands.
Right-left-right-left. Now you can begin your own drumming
style. The first recipe, for instance can be played:
R-L-L--L-L-R-- and so on.
recommend that you first learn any pattern with alternate hands
and then develop your own hand style particular to the pattern.
Watch out for relying on just a few hand styles. Keep flexible,
learn to play any pattern with several hand styles. Your hands
will become very knowledgeable. Then there will come the day
when they compose and play on their own. You can just listen and
Evolving New Patterns:
making 'mistakes', however you want to think about it. New
patterns are just additions to and variations of what you
Different methods of evolution:
alert for interesting 'mistakes'.
2. Experiment. Try different strokes and timing.
3. Babble. Make up and sing different drum songs. Ta-Ta-De-Boo-Bim.....
4. Listen. The environment and people around you all have
rhythms. Discover them. The surf, birds, the wind and popcorn
popping all have patterns. Even TV commercials have rhythms.
5. Drum. And make your hands do something new, something crazy.
6. And as a last resort be logical. Write patterns down and find
you've got the basics down, it's time to go public. Drumming
with others is a rare form of communication, a way of expressing
our most basic "rhythms" and responding to the rhythms of
others. Like other exchanges of such basic information, it's
with the simple stuff. Play a basic pattern with another player
who won't be bored with your level of skill. First play the
pattern together and keep repeating it until the two of you are
in synch--that is, until your individual internal rhythms are
matched. Then switch to a "call and response" sequence. This is
where the conversation starts getting interesting. Invent a
pattern--make a statement--and the other player repeats it.
Modify or improvise on the pattern and your partner follows with
his interpretation of the same rhythmic idea. Then reverse
careful attention and you'll experience the timelessness of
ecstatic communication without exchanging a single word.
Drummer Boy Pete: 021
Our mate Charlie having a play with 'Abby' my big parade drum