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  • Hot Licks: Soft Diddle Regiment by Dr. Brad Meyer

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 17, 2020

    The “Soft Diddle Regiment” is a series of simple and effective exercises that can be used to help percussionists with their soft volume control, especially in regards to diddles and ornaments. Each day, use a metronome (or phone app) at a soft volume so you continue playing as softly as desired. Then, set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes on your phone and turn it to “Do Not Disturb.” Play through each exercise as indicated for each day. The mindful aspect of this exercise comes from mentally focusing on only your playing without negative judgment or wandering thoughts. If you should have a negative thought about something you did, refocus yourself on simply playing better the next time through the exercise. If you have wandering thoughts that are about anything other than the playing of the exercises, simply refocus your ears and brain on the quality of your playing. 

    You may find that refocusing from negative/wandering thoughts is challenging, but that is the point. The more you do this, the easier it will become. After a short while, you will notice you are able to stay focused for longer periods of time and re-focus quickly after wandering thoughts. This ability to focus/re-focus is one of the cornerstones of mindfulness. If you are interested in other non-musical mindfulness activities, please contact a certified therapist/counselor.

    Soft Diddle Regimen 1

    Soft Diddle Regimen 2
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    Brad-MeyerDr. Brad Meyer
     is a percussion educator, artist, and composer with an extensive and diverse background. Dr. Meyer is the Associate Professor of Percussion at Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Texas), where he is the private lesson teacher and director of the percussion ensemble. He is also the Chair for PAS’s Health & Wellness Committee. Meyer frequently tours to universities and high schools both nationally and internationally to present recitals, workshops, masterclasses, and clinics on various topics, including electro-acoustic percussion, contemporary marimba, concert snare drum, marching percussion, percussion ensemble, steel band, and world music. Meyer is a composer with several compositions for snare drum, multi-percussion, and percussion ensemble published through Bachovich Publications. More information is available at

  • 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.

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