Category Archives: All Things Percussion

In my two previous drum lessons I demonstrated how to play a paradiddle and a paradiddle diddle. In this drumcover video I demonstrate the double paradiddle rudiment and how it can be used in the song “I Got” by Young the Giant.

The Paradiddle-diddle

In percussion music, a rudiment is one of the basic patterns, or “sticking”, used in drumming. These patterns of drum strokes can be combined in many ways to create a unique sound. The second rudiment you will learn is the “paradiddle-diddle”.

A paradiddle is the basic rudiment every percussionist should know. It is the foundation to many other different rudiments including the paradiddle-diddle.  A “diddle” in percussion terms is when the stick bounces twice on the same hand. The paradiddle-diddle gets its name because it is basically a paradiddle but with an extra diddle at the end of the phrase. Paradiddle-diddles are extremely fun to play fast and can be used when playing marching percussion, concert percussion and on the drum set.

Check out the video below on how to play a Paradiddle-diddle!

Periphery and Djent Music.

Periphery is a heavy metal djent band from Baltimore, Maryland. Djent is a heavy metal movement that was developed as a spin-off of progressive metal. In djent music the predominant sound is the drum track. The band is consisted of only four members, Misha Mansoor, Matt Halpern, Spencer Sotelo, and Adam Getgood. Matt Halpern, the drummer, is widely known in the drum community for his progressive, rhythmic, and technical polyrhythms. A polyrhyhm is the simultaneous use of two or more conflicting rhythms in the same measure. Matt Halpern and Periphery have been major influences on my drumming career with their complex use of polyrhythms and melodies. If you have a chance you should check out the video below to fully understand the craftsmanship of the band Periphery.

Matt Halpern Explains Polyrhytms

Neil Peart: The Time Machine

Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances, and is known for his technical proficiency and stamina.

Different types of Percussion Instruments.

First we start off we a vibraslap, a vibraslap is a percussion instrument made of a stiff wire bent in a U shape connecting to a small wooden ball to a hollow wooden box with metal pins. The percussionist would hold the metal wire handle and strike the ball against their other hand.The wooden box acts as a resonating body for the metal pins making a rattling sound.

Next we have the cajón, the cajón is a box shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru, for playing the cajón the percussionist would slap his/her hand on the front face making a deep wooden sound.

Last we have the glockenspiel, the glockenspiel is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned keys arranged in order as a piano. The glockenspiel is made of metal bars or tubes. The glockenspiel is usually smaller and higher pitched than a Xylophone.

Product Review: The Roland V Drums

In the world of music more and more instruments are switching to an electronic feel. The Roland V Drums is a great example of this. The V Drums is a next generation drum module, the first of its kind in digital signal processing technology. The realistic feel of the drum pads and cymbals have truly come a long way.

When I first bought my Roland drum set one year ago it was definitely very slick looking. The kit came with 2 cymbals, one hi hat pad, a mesh snare, 3 tom pads, a hi hat foot pedal, and a bass drum pad. All this could be easily placed on the Roland rack that it came with. The kit when set up looks like any regular electric drum set. The size of this kit is very small, which is nice if you have issues with room in your house. The snare was very nice looking, having a white mesh skin. This made it look more like a real snare head you hit, with a similar feel.

The Module for any electric drum kit is the brain of the drum set. No matter what pads you have, the sound comes from this brain here. This means you can buy a very cheap electric drum kit, but with an upgrade to the TD-6 module, you will get the same sounds. The TD-6 module is actually very powerful considering the amount of buttons it has.

Whats unique about an electric drum set is that for each tom and snare, you can adjust the width and depth of the shell of the drum. This means you can change the pitch and tone of your birch snare by changing the dimensions on the module. A great feature for personalizing your sounds. The TD-6 comes equipped with all the basic features of any V-drum set, a metronome, preset beats, songs, fills, and other patterns for teaching.

An interview with a Drummer.

Drumming is a story that goes back to the time of the apes. At one point when the first monkey was drumming on his chest he did it to communicate something. There is a theory that humans started to communicate with speech the same time people started to play the drums. The first drum rhythm was a assimilation of speech patterns. Drumming was used with different cultures to communicate with far away entities. Today we communicate with a fellow drummer who tells us how his life story of drums has changed him to become the percussionist he is today.

Drummers who inspire me.

If I ever wanted to learn something new I would always watch people first then repeat what they had done. When learning to play the drums I used this same method. While learning these new things I had always looked up to many drummers. I watched how they would play and mimic what they did. After watching others play and acquiring new information for 8 years, I had decided who the drummers that inspire me the most are.

First, I start off with the well-known Luke Holland from the wonderful world of YouTube, where overnight you can become famous around the world. Luke is a drummer that has inspired me because of how talented he is at such a young age. After finding Luke in late 2010, I have watched Luke grow in his talent of drumming, posting his drum covers to YouTube. After posting a remix of Cinema, a famous song by Skrillex, Luke’s video has had over 2 million views and is growing rapidly! Luke continues to post drum covers til this day, and even producing videos that have millions of views! Luke has taught me that if you put anything to hard-work you become a master at any age.

Next we have is Thomas Pridgen from the band The Mars Volta. When Thomas Pridgen plays his drum set it looks like nothing can stop him.  Thomas Pridgen LOVES to play drums. A quote Thomas Pridgen once said, “The best reason to play drums is just to play drums.” I take a look at this and realize that when I play the drums I don’t play to be flashy. I play the drums because it’s my life, I live and breath music. Thomas Pridgen has taught me that when playing the drums you always need a little love and passion.

 Lastly the most influential drummer that has inspired me the greatest is professional drum set player Jo Jo Mayer. Whenever Jo Jo Mayer talks about drums he always sounds like a scientist that has studied the art of drumming for 50 years. Jo Jo Mayer knows every little thing about percussion possible. This is what makes me like Jo Jo Mayer the most, his knowledge about drumming, the history of percussion, importance on technique and playing style is very important and which I take to heart very seriously. Jo Jo Mayer always steps out of his comfort zone playing new genres of music learning what it takes to be the best. Jo Jo Mayer has taught me that when playing the drums always approach them with technique and that playing outside of the box can improve your technique incredibly.

Marching Band: Introducing the Big Red Band.

Another aspect of percussion is Marching Band. Marching band brings a very exciting aspect to any sports event in high school or in college. May it be playing the fight song during a critical point in a football game, the schools song when they score a 3 point shot at a basketball game or just a famous pop song to get the crowd pumped during the halftime performance!

The Big Red Marching Band here at Western Kentucky University brings life to every event on campus. Coming to existence in 1925 with only 20 members, the Big Red Band has now grown to over 200 students! A marching band student’s life consists of playing at festivals, sports events, and parades.

And don’t forget, next time you’re at any sporting event and hear the marching band, don’t be shy, stand up and cheer for they represent your schools spirit at its finest.

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The “WKU Fight Song”

Stand up and cheer

Stand up and cheer

For dear old Western

For today we raise

The red and white

Above the rest

Rah-rah-rah

Our boys are fighting

And we’re bound to win the fray

We’ve got the team

We’ve got the steam

For this is dear old Western’s day.

Drum Corps International, committed to excellence.

  “Excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude.”  Ralph Martson

A brass member of the Phantom Regiment stands at attention.
Photo taken by Jolesch Photography

The Cadets Drum line perform their 2008 show entitled “…And The Pursuit Of Happiness.” Photo taken by Alonzo Adams Photography

The first time I saw a drum corps show, I was hooked for life.  Seeing drum lines performing their hearts out  fueled my passion, and is what led me to excel in marching percussion.

What is Drum Corps?

  Drum and bugle corps is a marching group consisting of brass instruments, percussion, and color guard. These groups are run by independent non-profit organizations, drum corps perform in competitions, parades, and festivals. The majority of ages are between 14-22.

 Competitive Drum corps compete in summer touring, like Drum Corps International (DCI) and Drum Corps Associates (DCA). Corps release a new show each year, around 8–12 minutes in length, and over the summer perfect their shows. Shows are performed on football fields and are judged in various musical and visual categories, or “captions”. Musical selections vary among corps and include symphonic, jazz, big band, contemporary, rock, wind band, vocal, Broadway, and Latin music.

The percussion section contains two subsections: the front ensemble and the drum line. Front ensemble members perform on keyboard percussion and electronic instruments. Because of the size of these instruments, the front ensemble remains directly in front of the field and centered on the 50 yard line. A full-size front ensemble features 10–15 members.

Members of the drum line perform on marching percussion instruments, including snare drums, tenor drums,  bass drums tuned to different pitches, and cymbals. A full-size battery features 7–10 snare drummers, 4–5 tenor drummers, 5 bass drummers, and sometimes 4 cymbal players. My favorite drum corps that have influenced me are: The Bluecoats, The Cadets, and Phantom Regiment.

Drum corps has played a big influence in my drumming career; it has made me strive to excellency.

The Bluecoats performing their 2012 show “UnMasqued.” at the DCI 2012 Finals
Photo taken by Skipp Photography

I have more of my favorite drum corps videos in the “Video” section located in the top bar.