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  • Groove of the Month: Samsara by Sean J. Kennedy

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jan 14, 2023

    This month's entry features Sean J. Kennedy's groove on “Samsara,” which is featured in The Gardyn Jazz Orchestra's debut release. In his video, Sean explains the evolution of the groove that he plays on the bridge and how Speed Racer even helped to inspire his final version!

    Warm-up Exercise

    Kennedy Samsara Warmup

    The Full Groove

    Kennedy Samsara Groove

    Video Cues (for study purposes)
    0:00 Intro
    1:42 Basic Groove
    2:20 Bridge (Plans A, B, C, and D)
    5:49 Speed Racer
    8:16 Slow Funk and refined Bridge Groove
    10:01 Sean J. Kennedy performs with recording 

    Sean KennedySean J. Kennedy is an American drum set and percussion artist. He 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 a multi-faceted musician who is equally accomplished on the stage, in the recording studio, and in the classroom. He has performed on drum set and percussion, receiving standing ovations at sold-out venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall 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 was appointed to the PAS Drum Set Committee in 2021, 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.” Jazz legend Dave Brubeck stated that Sean’s drumming “sounds like it should — it swings!” For more information, visit

  • Groove of the Month: Paradiddle Grooves: Variation 2 by Nick Costa

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Nov 19, 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. In the July Groove of the Month, you learned how to incorporate the single paradiddle into basic eighth-note grooves. Now that you can play with a solid foundation and deep pocket, you can incorporate a variation of the single to change up the groove even more.

    Begin by placing your dominant hand on the hi-hat and non-dominant hand on the snare drum. Play two paradiddle variations in a row and add a kick drum to the very first note. Rest on beats 3 and 4 so you can reset before trying the pattern again.


    Since you’re playing the paradiddle variation using 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 an accent to the first note of each paradiddle variation. Rest for the second measure before trying the pattern again.


    Now it’s time to put this pattern into context. Play the groove in a four-measure loop, and play a fill for beats 3 and 4 of the fourth measure. The goal is to have a fluid transition from groove to the fill and back into the groove again.


    Simply adding the paradiddle variation to a basic eighth-note pattern changes the groove without becoming a distraction. Try it for yourself by taking your favorite eighth-note groove and incorporating this paradiddle variation. Below you’ll find lots of examples to get you started!


    Paradiddle Grooves: Variation 2 by Nick Costa from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

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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 both 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 PAS Education Committee as they created and implemented the current state-wide “Modern Band” curriculum. Nick has written and recorded lessons for Modern Drummer magazine, PAS Rhythm! Scene, and is an active session musician engineering and recording drum tracks remotely from his studio. For more information, visit

  • 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

    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.

    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

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