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Groove of the Month: The Half-Time Shuffle by Nick Costa

Feb 9, 2023, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

The half-time shuffle is an important feel that has been used in rock, funk, blues, and jazz tunes. In the following video, I show how to develop this distinctive groove.

Here are the patterns demonstrated in the video, plus additional variations.


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Here is a list of tunes that feature half-time shuffles. You can listen to these on Spotify.

“Grapevine Fires” – Death Cab for Cutie (Jason McGerr)
“Redzone Killer” – Seal (Ash Soan)
“Rosanna” – Toto (Jeff Pocaro)
“The Amazing Kreskin” – Clutch (Jean-Paul Gaster)
“Hard Times” – James Taylor (Rick Marotta)
“Babylon Sisters” – Steely Dan (Bernard Purdie)
“Lonely Town, Lonely Street” – Bill Withers
“Cornflake Girl” – Tori Amos (Matt Chamberlin)
“Breaking Away” – Al Jarreau (Jeff Pocaro)
“Dreamweaver” – Gary Wright (Jim Keltner)
“Home at Last” – Steely Dan (Bernard Purdie)
“Fast Food” – Pete Townsend (Simon Phillips)
“Walkabout” – Nik Kershaw (Jeff Pocaro)
“Night Passage” – Weather Report (Peter Erskine)
“Fool In The Rain” – Led Zeppelin (John Bohnam)

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 on 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

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