RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • Groove of the Month: Putting More Feel in Your Country Swing Groove by Scotti Iman

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Sep 17, 2022

    This month’s GOTM topic focuses on fine tuning the country swing beat in a way that’ll make your bandmates and dancers happy. This is the start of a technique I learned from Daniel Glass in relation to jazz timekeeping. I applied it to a style that is near and dear to my heart: country music. I’ll start with the one musical subject that is very hard to describe on paper: note placement! 

    Below is a basic swing pattern you’ve likely seen before; you’ve probably even played it a few times. Let’s worry less about how linear it looks and talk about where each note and sound should live within the groove.

    Iman GOTM Country Swing

    RIDE AND BASS DRUM
    These two voices need to be locked together. The ride and bass drum are leading the rhythmic show. Focus on playing these two voices in the middle or even a little ahead of the beat; this is where the jazz tradition of leading with the ride cymbal comes into play. The ride and bass drum drive and truly define the beat for the dancers on the floor. The dancers are focused on pulse more than anything, so consistency in your timekeeping is key.

    SNARE AND HI-HAT
    The feel in this groove comes from the snare and hi-hat. You should literally drop your stick onto your snare while playing the ride and bass drum. It’s not a full arm smack into the snare; just pick it up a little and let it fall onto the drum. It should be a little behind the beat, but not so much where it would flam with the other voices. 

    Use the same idea for the hi-hat: let your foot fall down on the pedal at the same time as your stick hits the snare. We’re looking for a nice, comfortable, relaxed backbeat; leave the pushing to the ride cymbal. The ease and pocket of your swing groove will come in the timing relationship between both sides of your body playing different roles.

    Reading this article and shedding these motions is step one, but practical application is where you’ll really work the kinks out. I suggest playing along with Alan Jackson’s “Pop A Top” or George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” a few times before trying these moves in the dance hall. Record yourself playing along with these songs and see if your toe starts to tap along with your recording. If it does, you’re headed in the right direction!



    Scotti ImanScotti Iman
    is an independent drummer and educator based in St. Louis, Missouri. When not teaching privately he can be seen playing with artists Cree Rider, SideCar, and The STL Rhythm Collaborative. More information can be found at Instagram (@scottiimandrums) or you can reach him at scottiimandrums@gmail.com.

  • Groove of the Month: French Fried Dragon Funk by Sean J. Kennedy

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 25, 2022

    PAS Drum Set Committee member Sean J. Kennedy shares a funky exercise and check pattern to develop your Triple-Stroke Rolls, also known as French Rolls, followed by some useful drum set applications.

    French Fried Dragon Funk by Sean J Kennedy

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    Sean J KennedySean J. Kennedy
    is the drummer for The Doc Severinsen Tribute Band featuring Jay Webb, The Gardyn Jazz Orchestra, and has been principal percussionist with the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale since 2004. He is equally accomplished on the stage, in the recording studio, and in the classroom. He has performed on drum set and percussion with such world-renowned acts as Il Volo, Roger Daltry and The Who, Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling, The Philly POPS! Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, The Jacksonville Symphony, The Strauss Symphony of America, The Allentown Band, The Allentown Symphony Orchestra, and The Lancaster Symphony Orchestra. Kennedy is the author of numerous drum set, percussion, and improv books and in 2018 was invited to present a TEDx Talk about the history of the drumset, titled “Happy Accidents: Drumming Up Serendipity.” For more information, visit seanjkennedy.com.

  • Groove of the Month: Paradiddle Grooves Variation 1 by Nick Costa

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jul 16, 2022

    Regardless of where you are on your drumming journey, there are two things you’re constantly playing: basic eighth-note grooves and single paradiddles. Now that you can play with a solid foundation and deep pocket, you can incorporate a single paradiddle between the hi-hat or ride and snare drum to change up the groove.

    Start off by placing your dominant hand on the hi-hat and non-dominate hand on the snare drum. Play two single paradiddles in a row and add a kick drum to the very first note. Rest on beats three and four so you can reset before trying the pattern again.

    Costa Example 1

    

    Since you’re playing the paradiddle in a sixteenth-note subdivision, play the pattern two times in a row to complete the measure. To make it sound more like a groove, add a slight accent to the first note of each paradiddle. Rest for the second measure before trying the pattern again.

    

    Costa Example 2

    Now it’s time to put this into context. Play the groove in a four-measure loop and play a fill for beats three and four of the fourth measure. The goal is to have a fluid transition between the groove to the fill, then back into the groove.

    Costa Example 3

    

    Simply adding the single paradiddle to a basic eighth-note groove changes the groove without becoming a distraction. Try it for yourself by taking your favorite eighth-note groove and incorporating the single paradiddle. Check out the attached pdf for 40 variations of this concept to try as well! 

    Paradiddle Grooves by Costa 1Paradiddle Grooves by Costa 2Paradiddle Grooves by Costa 3Paradiddle Grooves by Costa 4

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    Nick CostaNick Costa
    is an educator based out of Philadelphia, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) candidate, and a member of the PAS Drum Set Committee. He is also an independent drummer, clinician, and drum technician, with national and international touring experience. Nick’s primary focus as an educator is in drum set, and he teaches over 150 students weekly throughout the greater Philadelphia region. He has provided ways to integrate drum set studies into K–12 music curriculum for the School District of Philadelphia, and was a consultant for the PA Department of Education as they created and implemented the current state-wide “Modern Band” curriculum. Nick has written and recorded lessons for Modern Drummer magazine and Rhythm! Scene, and he is an active session musician engineering and recording drum tracks remotely from his studio. For more information, visit nickcostamusic.com.


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