nasty lick 61 illustration

A simple idea, just placing one bass drum note before two paradiddles.

But from that idea comes “Nasty Lick #61.”

Here is the PDF for you to take into the practice room: nasty lick 61


Here, with Nasty Lick #60, are some great sounding applications of the six stroke roll on the drum set.

If you’re not familiar with this pattern, the six stroke roll, in it’s most useful forms, is as follows:

1) Right Hand Lead
the six stroke roll illustration

2) Left Hand Lead (“Backward”)
the backwards six stroke roll illustration

As shown in both 1 and 2 above, a common way to play the six stroke roll is as triplets and with accents on the first and last notes of each group of six. Many players, (myself included) find this to be the most useful version of the rudiment.

If you haven’t spent time with the six stroke roll, here is a PDF so you can shed it in the practice room: The Six Stroke Roll.

I’ve discovered that the “backward” or left hand leading version of the six stroke roll is very useful. The reason? It allows the playing of the upbeat (“let”) accents with the right hand. When playing the six stroke roll this way, those accents, which are arguably more interesting sounding because of their placement rhythmically, are easily played almost anywhere on the drum kit (left handed accents limit you to the left side of the kit).

I’ve found that idea extremely appealing because of the way it sounds. The “5 Variations” that follow will show you what I mean.

nasty lick 60 illustration

The illustration above will give you a taste of what I’m talking about. Nasty Lick #60 involves mixing the backward six stroke roll with a version that substitutes two bass drum notes and moves the accented right hand stroke to the toms.

The “5 Variations” include different phrasings and metrics: sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets and thirty second notes.

You’ll find the PDF here: Nasty Lick 60.


Nasty Lick #59 explores a simple paradiddle idea that has interesting and powerful results.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to play 32nd notes on the drum kit. I want to play them with interesting phrasing and dynamics. Incorporating double strokes and/or paradiddles into such ideas can be an important way to accomplish this.

Paradiddles, when played well, are interesting drumming “words” that have dynamics built in. Playing paradiddles well means that the chosen accented notes are loud and the unaccented notes are quiet—almost ghosted.
nasty lick 59 illustration
But just playing single paradiddles as 32nd notes doesn’t do the trick. If I start with two paradiddles and then add two bass drum notes, also as 32nd notes, the resulting ten note lick, when repeated, will move the accents around the bar line a bit. A-ha! Now we have something.

Frankly, I did not dream this up while sitting at home on the couch. Rather, like most of this stuff, I stumbled upon the phrase while working on something else in the practice room.

The result is a lick that I think has real potential to be a keeper. That is why I am happy to present it to you, my fellow drummers, as Nasty Lick #59.

The worksheet included here has 9 exercises: three versions of the lick as one bar ideas, two versions as two bar ideas, and four examples as two beat ideas. The two beat ideas deviate from the “formula” a bit (including paradiddle-diddles), but I think the results are useful.

Here is the PDF for you to download:

Nasty Lick 59 PDF


NYC Drum Teachers Wanted

On September 30, 2014, in News, by feldiefeld

I don’t usually use the BANG! Drumming Blog to make announcements but we’re growing and we’re looking for teachers. I am happy to have some of the best drummers in NYC helping us and I have my eye out for a few more. I’ve been meeting with people over the past few weeks, and would like to continue the process. We’re looking for people who are amazing drummers. All of our teachers live, eat and breath drumming. They are also fantastic teachers and they’ve got significant experience as both teachers and players. Most of our teachers have been educated at the world’s top music institutions.

Beyond that, the BANG! attitude is extremely important.

The BANG! The Drum School attitude is one of openness, honesty, integrity, excitement, enthusiasm, gentle confidence and extreme patience. BANG! teachers are ego-less in their work with students. That is part of our credo. No attitudes, arrogance or egos. Just a simple confident joy for drumming and a desire and ability to impart that joy to others so they can experience it.

The BANG! teacher must also be outgoing, energetic and extremely organized and responsible. A knack for sales is important too.

If you are interested, or know someone who may be interested, please let them know.

Potential candidates should not email or call; the process is to send a resume and hand written cover letter via regular mail to:

Mark Feldman, PO Box #475, 223 West 38th Street, NYC, NY 10018-9998 

Please note: This is NOT our studio’s address. It’s just our Post Office Box for business correspondence.


We began the exploration of this shifting cymbal rhythm with a previous post: Dotted Eighth Cymbal Independence Part One.
dotted eighth independence two illustration
After practicing that worksheet, and finding that it did indeed help me develop the desired independence, I decided it was time for more. In Part Two, we continue with common rock beats based on eighth notes, and start moving the snare drum part around just a bit.

Enjoy. I am going to.

Here’s the PDF: dotted eighth independence two



On September 13, 2014, in Book Reviews, The Thinking Drummer, by feldiefeld

I recently began reading “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg Mckeown.

Although I’m only a bit more than a third of the way through it, the concepts have already profoundly changed my thinking about certain issues.
I’ve already been a fan of the ideas here.  For a long time I’ve been preaching to my drum students that they should be focused on practicing only a few things but absolutely CRUSH them.

But as I read “Essentialism,” I began to realize that in some ways, I was not really practicing this idea. At least not in all the parts of my life where I could benefit from the notion of doing less things but doing them all BETTER. In fact, I realized that in some parts of my life, I am definitely doing too many things. And in those parts of my life, certain goals are not being reached.

In the world we live in these days, it is easy to be distracted.  There are messages coming at you from all sides, all the time.  Phone calls, emails, texts, social media messages, and more.  The problem is saying “no.”

It is too easy to say “yes” to things that others ask of you.  I have been guilty of this myself lately and I am now taking steps to change that, partly because of the thinking I’ve been doing as a result of reading this book.

We should each have goals of our own.  With those goals in mind, you ask, does saying “yes” to this request do anything to meet my goals?

If the answer is “no,” why are you doing it?

Perhaps you are helping a friend or a family member or your partner.  That’s a good reason.  You’re developing and deepening that relationship by tending to it.  It’s someone you care about.  That makes it important.

But if that is not the case, you should ask yourself if it is essential to spend time on the question or request that is in front of you.

Essentialism is about only doing what is important to reach your goals. It’s about being true to yourself. It’s about doing less things and doing them better. It’s about giving yourself time to think and dream and play and only do what you need to do.  There are lots of things you wind up doing that you don’t really want to do, right?

Left side: doing a lot of things half-assed.  Right side: Essentialism--doing less better.

Left side: doing a lot of things half-assed. Right side: Essentialism–doing less better.

Well, a lot of those things you can eliminate.

And when you do, you’ll have more time to spend on what is really important to you.

Very simple idea. Not so simple to actually implement.

I am diligently working on this myself, and I suggest you consider doing so as well.

Read this book.  It will definitely make you think.



Nasty Lick 58

On September 4, 2014, in Drum Exercise Worksheets, Nasty Licks, Soloing Vocabulary, by feldiefeld

nasty lick 58 illustration

Here’s a new combination: two bass drum notes, followed by six notes on the toms as singles (low to high, three on the floor tom and three on the high tom–a Max Roach idea) and finally followed by a paradiddle-diddle on the snare.

The pattern is 14 notes long and when it repeats as 32nd notes, the phrasing sounds interesting and different.

Here is a worksheet with a 6 different phrasings of the idea (the illustration above shows the lick over two measures, and is #4 on the worksheet).

Have at it!

The PDF: nasty lick 58

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11 Rules for Sideman Success

On August 25, 2014, in The Thinking Drummer, by feldiefeld

11-Rules-for-sideman-success-illustrationAfter playing a lot of shows with a lot of artists around NYC,  I started thinking about what works and what doesn’t.  Why do some musicians get called for gigs and why don’t others?  Perhaps the hardest thing is number 11….in the world of people playing for free, making sure you get paid is tough.  Hopefully these thoughts will be helpful.

These are not necessarily in order of importance, with the exception of number one.

1) Crush The Material

First and foremost, your job is to play the material to the artist’s liking. That means you must know the material. For me, knowing the material means that I can either blow through the chart or have the songs memorized to the point where I don’t have to think about arrangements. Being on autopilot with arrangements means that you can play with more emotion, and that’s where you want to be.

2) Don’t Be A Pain In The Ass

If you are difficult, awkward, annoying or otherwise a pain in the ass, you won’t last long. Some examples of “pain in the ass-ery” are being defensive when being asked to change a part or adjust your playing, talking too much, or complaining a lot (about anything).

3) Have Your Transportation Together

Particularly if you are a drummer and you want to be a side person, you probably need a car that is reliable. I can’t imagine how I would function around NYC without one. If an artist has the choice of hiring a drummer who gets to the gig on their own or one who needs help or a ride for every gig, why would they pick they latter?

4) Have Your Gear and Sound Together

One of the things that will make you stand out from the pack is having your sound together. That implies that you have your equipment scenario figured out. Top notch gear, in the right hands, means a high level and pleasing sound. Give this a lot of thought and attention.

5) Embrace Direction and Ask Questions

Being a side person means giving the boss what they want. If you can’t take direction, you should just start your own band and forget being a side person. You should also make sure you ask whatever questions you need to ask if you don’t understand something in the music or need some clarity.

6) Be a Great Hang

It’s just a fact that your playing is only half of the picture. If you are no fun to be around, you’re toast. Do you have good social skills? Do you know when to shut up and when to contribute to the conversation? Can you read people socially so you know how to behave to make them like you? You must figure this out to be successful.

7) Be Early

Being early means you have more time to get your gear set up, read the situation you’re walking into and generally be comfortable. Being late can cause all kinds of problems for your leader, and therefore for you, so take this seriously.

8) Play Within Your Abilities

When you’re first asked to do a gig, consider whether or not the music is “in your wheel house.” Can you play the style convincingly and do you have the vocabulary for the music you’re being asked to play? Every genre has it’s own set of grooves and vocabulary, so make sure you can really play that style before saying “yes.”

9) Play Appropriately for the Song

Don’t overplay.

10) Exude Quiet Confidence

You want the artist who hires you to feel comfortable that the music is going to sound great and that everything will go well in the heat of the moment. If you don’t act confidently (this doesn’t mean arrogant), the artist won’t feel comfortable and relaxed. Your quiet, ego-less confidence will make other people in the band feel more comfortable and relaxed. That’s what you want.

11) Get Paid

If you are doing this for a living, or you are working towards doing this for a living, you have to get paid. And if you really live up to everything on this list, you SHOULD get paid. You’re worth it. So don’t sell yourself short out of insecurity. I understand that it’s not so easy, and I do believe there are certain situations where you trade favors. But at the end of the day, requiring a certain price will get you more respect and bolster your reputation. Anyone who wants a “pro level” player but says they don’t want a “hired gun” is full of crap. You get a pro level player by paying for one.


Here’s a new spin on independence.   The idea is to develop the same type of facility against a steady eighth note cymbal pattern that a jazz drummer has playing with the ride cymbal’s jazz pattern. Jazz drummers create conversations between their left hand and feet while playing the “classic” jazz cymbal pattern. I want to be able to do the same thing in a pop and rock context (ie eighth notes).

It’s a modern take on independence. The classic books on modern pop and rock independence, even the revered classic “The New Breed,” all focus on the left hand playing backbeats. In today’s ever progressing world of music, it’s my feeling that backbeats are not enough. Sure, you must have the ability to play them with freedom while you layer various bass drum ideas below or around them, but the freedom to create more complex ideas while maintaining eighth notes with the cymbal hand will give you even more possibilities for expression.
I’ve been pondering this a lot and experimenting with it. This worksheet begins the foundation of interplay between the hands and feet in the context of 16th notes.

These should start to grease the wheels and give you some facility in this area.

Some thought on practicing: try the eighth note pattern with 1) no accents, 2) accents on the downbeats and 3) accents on the upbeats.

Think of these like a jazz drummer would; there’s no need to crush the snare drum notes. Playing the snare drum softly and smoothly will help you stay loose.

If you feel like it, experiment with double bass drums. I have found that playing two notes in a row using double bass allows me to go much faster and achieve a very even sound on each of the two bass drum notes.

This is the beginning of a new era in independence and I’m excited to delve into it further. I hope you’ll join me.

Here’s the PDF of the worksheet for you to take into the practice room: The New Indpendence Sixteenths hand foot combos part one

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The rhythm created by playing every third sixteenth note is one of my favorites. I’ve used it a lot in fills and soloing vocabulary. I think that I initially got the idea for applying this to a cymbal pattern in grooves from something (surprise!) I heard Vinnie Colaiuta play. I know, shocking.

The only way to get something like this together is to create some exercises, roll up your sleeves, and get to work. So, here it is, the beginning of a series that will seek to give us freedom with this idea as it is applied to grooves. I have not, by any means, mastered these exercises as of this writing, but early indications are that this is going to sound amazing.

The first step is to take the simplest eighth note rock beats–the first beats we all learned–and try to layer this new cymbal pattern on top.


In 4/4 time, the dotted eighth note pattern will resolve after three measures, so the exercises are all three measures long and repeat. Although these are the most basic of all rock beats, you may find that the layer of dotted eighths on top will give these beats a new life. There is a brand new texture on top which I think, as I work through these, is going to sound very cool.

As a summary and to build some real control, the final exercise (6) includes a four measure bass drum and snare pattern that repeats until the cymbal pattern on top resolves. The underlying four measure snare/bass drum phrase is similar to the type of rock beat you might encounter in a real playing situation. But, to gain real freedom playing these ideas while maintaining our new cymbal idea, you need to be able to play it while rotating through the entire system of the cymbal pattern. Tricky and fun.

Here is the PDF: dotted eighth independence one

Very different. Lots of fun. Have at it.

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