School of Drums
PRIVATE DRUM LESSON 5E-M
Copyright 1996 Bill Powelson all rights reserved
for those of you who are having trouble will rolls and fills. It
is guaranteed to take the embarrassing kinks out of your playing
style. Learn to connect will fills every time in mid-song!
Contains beginner and advanced material.
This lesson has been written to appeal to everyone on the
newsletter mailing list. You will go from beginner to advanced, all
in one lesson. Don't let the complexities in 'Rudiments, Rolls & Fills
PART II' discourage you. It may take some time to comprehend it all.
Also, it is important that you know how to manipulate the hi-hat as
described in this first half of this lesson . . . before learning to do
the fills. I don't know for sure if you are using the hi-hat in this way,
so I am including it as a part of the lesson.
#1. In the lesson that follows, I am assuming you have
mastered 'The Basic Dance Beats' lesson.
#2. I realize that many of you do not own a drum set.
No problem! You can practice these routines right where you are.
Use your imagination! Tap on anything nearby and pat your feet on
the floor. Get accustomed to practicing this way. I recommend it
for EVERYONE, including those who DO own a drumset. Doing so will allow
you to practice anywhere you may be. Get into the habit of mastering
all the necessary, boring routines while away from the kit. Then, when you
finally do get a few minutes on the set . . . you'll have a ball, playing
all the new ideas as you jam.
*** USING THE HI-HAT ***
There are many approaches to using the hi-hat but the most
common technique is to kick the hi-hat on the 'back beat' of the
particular dance beat you may be playing. The 'backbeat' is the
snare portion of the basic dance beat. If you are playing 8th note
rock as it is shown below, your right hand will be on the RIDE cymbal
(not the hi-hat) and you will kick the hi-hat with your left foot as you connect with
the third cymbal note and simultaneous snare. ( Left-handed students must
do their own transposing here.)
8TH NOTE ROCK:
It is hard to hear the hi-hat on the backbeat (snare) but it is there!
Get accustomed to kicking the hi-hat with each repetition of
the above pattern as you jam with your favorite recordings. It will
become second nature with only a little practice. Try doing the same
thing with *ALL* the basic dance beats. You *DO* have all the basic
dance beats memorized! Right?
The Waltz beat is an exception. Many drummers kick the hi-hat
on 2 & 3 of most Waltz beat patterns.
MAGIC FORMULA FOR SIMPLE FILLS:
One of the most common E-mail questions I receive at the
website, concerns fills (i.e. dropping rolls into a song while
jamming). Everyone seems to be looking for a 'magic formula' to
help them develop their roll patterns.
I learned by listening to various drummers and imitating
their rhythmic ideas. I recommend this to everyone, but there are
other things we can do to make the learning process a little easier.
The following trick will work with nearly any dance beat
pattern, but for simplicity, we will use the 8th note rock beat to
illustrate the idea. If you have not learned to play the 8th note
rock beat yet, go GO HERE.
In this exercise, you will learn to jump from a basic dance
beat, then improvise (or make up) a random fill and return to the beat.
It is easier than you think, if you are comfortable using the
hi-hat as it was studied in the 'Beginners Corner' above.
LET'S DO IT!
Play a repetitious, basic 8th note rock beat and kick the hi-hat
as we learned earlier (above). Get it going! Keep it going for awhile,
then stop hitting the ride cymbal and snare.
That's right! STOP YOUR HANDS, but continue with both feet.
Hold both arms over the drums, but don't hit anything yet. Your feet
will be playing the steady beat, producing a "boom, chic, boom,
Keep the feet going in steady rhythm, just as they were when the
hands were engaged. If you were playing along with a song, the feet would
remain 'in time' with the music. Got it?
OK! You are half way home! The feet are still marking
time . . . boom, chic, boom, chic . . .
Begin thrashing at the drums with both hands! Do anything you
want but don't lose the flow of the bass and hi-hat. The . . . boom,
chic, boom, chic . . . effect should remain steady as you thrash about
with the hands. Bang away on the snare, go to the toms and back. In
short, do anything that sounds good to your ear. Challenge yourself to
do this for long periods of time as the feet maintain the steady rhythm.
It gets easier with a little practice!
You are now playing an improvised fill!!! That is all there
is to it! The hard part will be in returning to the beat, without
RETURNING TO THE BEAT . . .
Ok! You are still thrashing away at the drums with both
hands while the feet are marking time . . .
Resume playing the beat on *ANY* bass drum (or right foot)!
Your right foot has not stopped (we hope). Each right foot marks the
beginning of another repetition of the beat . . . so, just come in
playing the (8th note rock) beat on *ANY* boom sound or right foot.
(LEFTIES: You must do your own transposing here.)
REMEMBER THESE THOUGHTS:
You can do anything you wish as a fill . . . and the fill
may be of any length you desire. You may play on any of the drums
(objects) in front of you. Just maintain the beat flow with your feet
as you play your fill. This way, you will never lose track of the beat
flow within the music.
Practice the above lesson without music until it becomes
'natural' or 'second nature'. Then try it with simple, medium tempo
songs. You needn't wait for the drummer on the recording to play a fill
either. You may add your fills anywhere you choose for now, while you
LISTEN TO THESE EXAMPLES:
You may memorize these examples if you like but the real point being made is that you can do ANYTHING as a fill . . . just don't lose the beat flow.
Here is another!
Later on, you will learn to be selective about fill
placements. Fills are normally used by drummers to 'fill' up the holes
or dead spots in a song. We usually save our fills for those little
empty gaps in the music where nothing much is going on (i.e. between
verses or leading into the chorus of a song.)
My very best-kept, MOST VALUABLE secrets, ARE HERE!