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  • Hot Licks: Deft with the Left by Joel Rothman

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jul 13, 2020

    As the title implies, the following exercise can be used to develop left-hand speed, skill, and control. Although the exercise is written for cymbal, snare drum, and bass drum, it primarily focuses on the left hand (on snare), while the bass part simply doubles the cymbal part. The left hand plays one, two, three, four, and five consecutive beats. Start slowly at first to get a feel of exactly what’s required of the left hand, but be sure to keep the same tempo throughout.

    The first section of this exercise uses exclusively eighth notes, the second section utilizes eighth-note triplets, and the third section incorporates sixteenth-note rhythms. Each section should be practiced and repeated individually until comfortable, with the eventual goal of playing all three sections with a steady tempo in succession.

    Enjoy the groove and the development of your left-hand technique!

    Deft with the Left Notation

    Joel RothmanJoel Rothman is one of the foremost writers and publishers of drum and percussion books used worldwide. He also writes humor book for children as well as adults. Although a New Yorker, he presently resides in London with his English wife, where he continues to teach, write, and publish books, including his most recent title, Just Rhythm. Visit his website at to view all of his publications or contact Joel directly at

  • Hot Licks: The Muted Cross for Four Timpani by Tracy Wiggins

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jun 22, 2020

    “The Muted Cross” is a short, solo timpani etude, designed to work crossover technique along with a variety of muffling techniques. Stickings are included to demonstrate particular sticking ideas, but can be adjusted by the performer as desired (for example, the crosses could be done also as shifts). The muffling techniques used include using a finger lightly on the head to give a slightly shorter sound (I typically use the pinky of the non-playing hand), traditional muting in the rests, and dead strokes. Pay careful attention to where the staccato markings are, as these techniques are blended with notes that are not short, to make the player think about creating different articulations and how they can relate to shaping and phrasing.


    The Muted Cross

    HotLicks: The Muted Cross for Four Timpani by Tracy Wiggins from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

  • Hot Licks: Guaguancó Quinto Solo by Joseph Goglia

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Mar 16, 2020

    Guaguancó is one of the styles from the Afro Cuban popular music genre called rumba. It is often played at a medium to fast tempo. Like all forms of rumba, guaguancó has drummers and singers, and often is accompanied by dancers. The songs are secular in nature, yet often find themselves weaving through references to Orishas or Christianity. 

    Instruments that are important to the sound of guaguancó as well as other rumba styles include the following:clave—wooden dowels for timekeeping; cata—hollowed log or bamboo played with sticks; salidor—large tumbadora; tres dos (3/2)—medium tumbadora; quinto—small tumbadora; shekere—gourd with beads attached.

    This Hot Lick is written as a quinto solo practice tool. The phrasing is based around rumba clave and will create a sense of tension and release. I like to think of the tension as floating (upbeats) and the release as being grounded (downbeats).

    Here are a few listening suggestions to get a better sense of the style: Los Muñequitos de Matanzas (Cuba); Irosso Obba (Cuba); Osain del Monte (Cuba); Clave y Guaguancó (Cuba); Yoruba Andabo (Cuba); Yuba Ire (Puerto Rico); Totin “Arara” Agosto y La Liga Rumbera (Puerto Rico); Cachete Maldonado y Los Majaderos (Puerto Rico).

    Quinto Solo Hot Lick Notation

    Quinto Solo Hot Lick 



    Joe Goglia HeadshotJoe Goglia 
    holds a master's degree in Music Education with an emphasis in Jazz from Arizona State University. In addition to formal education, Joe has had the opportunity to study with a variety of instructors in the folkloric field, including Scott Kettner, Mark Lamson, Julie Hill, Beto Torrens, Rafael Maya, Ruy Lopez-Nussa Lekszycky, Ailton Nunes, and Dudu Fuentes. Joe is the Director of Instrumental and Digital Music at Camelback High School where his duties include Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Music Technology. An active PAS member for many years, Joe has served as Arizona PAS Chapter Vice President and President.

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