Getting started

My aim in writing this course is to provide a good basic understanding of the most common grooves, or feels, that you will encounter in contemporary music, and to share some of the philosophy and practical advice that I have developed in my years as a drum educator and performer. It is intended to supplement but not replace the guidance that a drum teacher can offer.

During my years as a working musician and teacher, I have sometimes noticed drummers playing a groove, or feel, that may not be best suited to the groove being conveyed by the bass player or other musicians. This course will increase your musical awareness and help you choose the groove that will fit most appropriately in any musical situation. This course will make you think more musically.

A good drummer should be able to play musically appropriately in any given style and today’s players, at any level, should not limit themselves to one idiom. This is why I have tried to cover as many contemporary styles as possible.

How to Use this course

This course is structured as a collection of ‘modules’, each covering a specific groove or specific subject. Each module contains an introduction and a number of exercises and variation’s to be practiced. The modules should be covered in the order in which they are presented, without skipping, as some modules build on concepts introduced in earlier modules. Spend as much time on each module as you need to become thoroughly familiar with each groove.

Each exercise contains condensed information, so it is essential to practice each exercise in the module thoroughly, in order to get the full benefit from the module.

I would like to reiterate that these exercises give you the essence of each style, and I encourage you to take the time to investigate these contemporary grooves further to become more familiar with the subtleties of the groove, through as much listening to as many different players, bands, and albums as possible.

When listening, pay close attention also to the other instruments (particularly the bass player), to see how they fit together and complement each other to give the overall feel.

Because this course is groove oriented, it is particularly important to have a time source to practice to, whether it is a metronome or a drum machine or live musicians. To clearly understand what you are playing you should practice everything first at a slow tempo, as this makes it easier to catch any subtle errors in your execution of the groove, and then increase the tempo as you become more familiar with the exercise.