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Art of Writing Drum Notation – Lesson IV

Posted: February 2, 2013 in Articles, Lessons
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Welcome back to Lesson IV on the Art of Writing Drum Notation!!

To get started, let’s review and discuss NOTE VALUES, SYMBOLS & TERMINOLOGY:

In the picture below A, you will see a cheat sheet to explain the values and definitions of both the notes and rests.

A.) Drum Notation 1

To become a proficient writer, you will need a working knowledge of note values and corresponding rests, etc. Slowly, you will learn to equate the values of the different types of notes (note values), then ad stems & flags.  You will be amazed at how quickly all this will come together if you just continue to doodle with the notation possibilities. The picture below (B.) will help in playing bass & ghost note patterns. The top line is the most common way you’ll see drum music  written out. The 3 lines below the top line are various forms of filling up the sixteenth note pattern. The reason they’re different is they are used for other instruments for longer sustain of notes. To drums a hit is a hit (unless playing Jazz).

In the diagrams B & C, you will notice we circled the 1 (one),  e (eee),  + (and),  d (dah). The circle indicates when you hit the drum.

(SINGLE BEAT PHRASING – PER QUARTER NOTE)

B.)Drum Notation 2            C.)  Drum Notation 3

NOW, THE MATH . . . HANG ON!

Each line of music on the music staff is supposed to tally with the time signature.  It is math and everything must add up.  For example, if we break down the Sixteenth (16th) Notes  – in a measure of 4/4, there is sixteen (16) sixteenth notes, they are subdivided in 4 groups of 4. In 2/4, there are two (2) groups of 4, in 3/4, three (3) groups of 4, etc. Remember also, that each note value has a corresponding rest. Rests allow us to remain silent or skip a note, yet account for the time in such a way that everything will still add up and match the time signature we are in. See the picture below:

(2 BEAT PHRASES)

Drum Notation 4

(3 BEAT PHRASES)

Drum Notation 5

This stuff is a tad dry but you are going to need it!

Many people have a difficult time with this area of study.  If you are one of those, take heart!  Just try to get a general idea of how the different types of notes are used to describe different rhythms within a steady tempo.  If you tend to freeze up with all this just keep thinking . . . it will all come together slowly. A good way to look at the music is to break it into sections, DON’T look at the entire line or page, it will overwhelm you. Instead look at each section (as seen below in parentheses).

drum notation 6

NOTE: You will also find it VERY helpful to count the beats out loud  – Example saying 1, e, +, d when playing and accent louder the beat your playing (1, e AND, dah). This will help develop your ear!

As always please call me with any questions you may have and keep Drumming!!

Brett – 602-843-3114 or visit me online at http://www.drummersrule.com

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Art of Writing Drum Notation – Lesson IIIsheetmusic

Now that you know where the different parts of the drum kit go on the staff, lets begin putting a simple groove together. The Value for each of these will be an eight note (as discusses in the previous lesson). Remember, the cymbal & high hat is on the top line; the snare is on the third line and bass is on the fifth line. There are 4 beats per measure… see below:

Drummersrule notation_2

Drummersrule notation_7

Just for kicks, get out your pen and write out what you see above, then play what you have written!  I know it’s simple, but get ready to think!  You will be able to visualize a ton of possibilities, then write and play it too!

STEP 1:  Experimenting with the Bass Possibilities!

Begin to experiment with bass drum possibilities while keeping the snare in its current position . . .under the third cymbal. The bottom line is for the bass drum.  You can place a bass note ANYWHERE you wish on the bottom line and it will always produce a functional beat pattern.  By functional, I mean that all these permutations (variations) will work well with routine 8th note rock grooves or with the everyday rock songs you hear on the radio.

EXAMPLE  (8th note 4/4):

Drummersrule notation_3

OR

Drummersrule notation_5

Can you visualize the others? There are 16 total possibilities! As you try playing these rhythms, be sure to repeat each one several times.

WHAT IS SYNCOPATION?

For now, we aren’t concerned with syncopations.  A syncopation (or sync) occurs when we drop a note (bass or snare) UNDER any two cymbal notes using up beats or down beats, short and long beats (I will explain later).  Syncs get complex in a hurry.  First, just concentrate on simple variations.  In other words, line your bass notes up with a cymbal note . . . ANY CYMBAL NOTE!

Write a simple example . . . then play it.  Then another and another.  Each of these beats are fundamental elements of the rock era.  Millions of your favorite songs are using these same beat examples right now! Side note, next week we will go over different variations on the bass using eight notes and rests.

STEP 2:  Experiment With the High Hat or Cymbal:

Let’s continue changing the cymbal or high hat patterns. This creates different feels / grooves and helps on tempos. Above we demonstrated an eighth note groove (these cover slow, medium and fast tempos). The first example below is a Quarter Note groove, the second is an Eighth Note groove, the third is a Triplet Note groove and the fourth is a Sixteenth Note groove. Have fun!!

EXAMPLE:

Drummersrule_8  QUARTER NOTE – MEDIUM/FAST TEMPO

Drummersrule notation_3 EIGHTH NOTE – SLOW/MEDIUM/FAST TEMPO

Drummersrule notation_4 TRIPLET NOTE – SLOW/MEDIUM TEMPO

Drummersrule notation_6 SIXTEENTH NOTE – SLOW/MEDIUM TEMPO

Use your imagination!  Don’t give up and have fun with all these variations.

WARNING:  Trying to play ALL the variations can hurt your brain! Yes, some of these more complex beat patterns are virtually impossible for all us mono-brained humans!  Few drummers can actually play all the remaining beat patterns.  Playing each one isn’t the important thing. Visualization is what counts!  Try to write and play a large portion of the 256 variation possibilities.  Get the picture, then move on.

Next week we’ll discuss Bass Patterns, Math, Backbeats, Symbols, Terminology and Permutations – Oh My!

As always contact me with any questions and enjoy your weekend!!

Brett – 602-843-3114

brett@drummersrule.net

Image

Now that you understand the importance of writing and reading drum notation, I want to briefly explain the NOTE Tree and TIME Signatures.

NOTE TREE: (see attached diagrams)

– whole note = 2 halves

– half note = 2 quarters

– quarter note = 2 eighths

– eighth note = 2 sixteenth

– sixteenth note = 2 thirty seconds

ImageWhen your asked – What does a (blank) note equal to? You’re answer will be the next slot down (a whole note is equal to 2 half notes, etc.).

TIME SIGNATURES:

4/4   top # = how many counts,  bottom # = what note for main count

Examples:

4/4 = 4 counts of quarter notes

3/4 = 3 counts of quarter notes

7/8 = 7 counts of eighth notes (eighth note gets main count)

3/16 = 3 counts of sixteenth notes

WRITING YOUR FIRST BEATS:

We are going to start real simple but in only a few minutes you will discover the ability to write over 4 billion new rock beats. Now, I know that 4 billion is a hefty number, that’s true.  We won’t do them all, but you will understand how to write & read any of them in only a few minutes.

The first thing to do is lay out 5 horizontal lines about two inches in length. Like this . . .

__________________________
__________________________
__________________________
__________________________
__________________________

Each end of this little music staff needs a vertical bar to designate that this is one whole measure. Just like all instruments, the higher pitched sounds are typically placed at the top of the staff. So on the drums, the highest pitch is the cymbals, so they will be on the top. The snare’s pitch is in the middle, so you will find it placed in the middle of the staff and the bottom is the bass. Now to see where the different parts of the drum are placed on the staff:

__________________________  = Cymbal or High Hat

__________________________  = (middle) Tom 1, (on line) Tom 2

__________________________  = Snare

__________________________  = (middle) Floor Tom 1, (on line) Floor Tom 2

__________________________  = Bass

Next week I will show you what this looks like written out and walk you thru basics on how to write out a simple drum groove.

As always contact me with any questions and enjoy your weekend!!

Brett – 602-843-3114 brett@drummersrule.net

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The Art of Writing Drum Notation - DrummersRule!

Happy New Year!! Being that it’s a brand new year, let’s make a resolution to push ahead into the unknown . . . the Art of Writing Drum Notation.

Notation is a learning tool! Nothing more and nothing less! Without the ability to write & read, your learning curve will be immeasurably stunted.

Over the next 4 – 5 weeks I will be sharing some step-by-step lessons on how to write drum music… For today, I want to get your ready and explain how it works… So let’s get started!

GET INTO THE HABIT OF WRITING!
It is soooo much easier than you think!

Get into the habit of writing rhythms daily, even if you aren’t writing them exactly by the book! The minor imperfections will disappear in no time.
Extraordinary things happen as you begin to write down your ideas, grooves you’ve heard, or rhythms you love!

WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN TO WRITE DRUM NOTATION?

I know this sounds like a dumb question to many of you. None-the-less, it is amazing how many professionals drop the ball and run for cover when the subject of writing drum notation comes up. It is also VERY important to acknowledge the fact that our ability to accelerate the learning process will depend on those black and white notating skills.

If you can write and read a little, a whole new world will open up. For one thing, you will gain the ability to hear and retain licks from all the competition. Second, when a great riff pops in your head, you can write it out to go back later. Don’t you hate it when you try to ‘remember’ a lick and wish it were written down somewhere? Third, when playing in a recording studio, and you have the notes written out, it allows you to diffuse an argument in the event a guitar player or the song writer changes something. These are good reasons for learning to write!

STEP I: Throw out all the books! We are going to try a whole new concept! The idea here is to make a boring subject fun and easy:

You may have noticed that I keep putting the word ‘write’, that is because I have made a few discoveries that will help many of you (jammers) forget all your writing/reading phobias. In this way, I hope to lead you into an entirely new world that will fire your imagination with literally millions of new rhythmic ideas. These new ideas will hopefully find their way into your jamming and you will gain in three ways:

1) First, you will learn to write . . . which will help you to visualize rhythms previously unknown.
2) Writing will automatically and effortlessly teach you to read.
3) Those discoveries will lead to better recall and more creative playing!

So . . . as you digest this information, it is my hope that your creative improvisational (jamming) abilities will also enjoy a breath of new life too.

REMEMBER THIS! IF YOU CAN PLAY IT, YOU CAN WRITE IT! IF YOU CAN WRITE IT, YOU WILL ALSO BE ABLE TO READ IT! Proficient writing will lead to proficient reading, almost naturally!

GATHER YOUR WRITING MATERIALS:
Go to the nearest music store and purchase “manuscript paper”. A whole book is typically $5-$10 dollars. If you want to make your own, reach over to the printer stand and steal a clean white sheet of paper from the stack, then scrounge through the desk drawer and find a pen or pencil.

Better yet! If you know the ‘Control/Tab’ trick on your computer, simply open your word processor and use it. Use the Control/Tab trick to switch back and forth between this note and your word processor.
Whatever you do . . . get ready to write!

The picture attached is a basic hand exercise written out. Look for next weeks lesson where we get into the nitty gritty of writing your first beats, reviewing the note tree and understanding note values.

As always, please contact me with ANY questions you may have on this – I’m always willing to help!!

Happy New Year – 2013 is going to be a great year on the drums!!

Brett Frederickson
DrummersRule Drum Lessons
602-843-3114
drummersrule.net

Drum Lessons in Phoenix

Posted: August 25, 2012 in Articles, Lessons

drum lessons in phoenix

Looking for Drum Lessons? Looking to increase your skills on the drums?

My name is Brett Frederickson, owner and teacher of DrummersRule!. We teach affordable drum lessons using a unique style in a group environment.

Our style helps students learn faster and retain more in the following:

– sight reading

– syncopation

– increasing speed

– hand technique

– rudiments

– mastering all of the various music styles

Drum lessons are for one (1) hour in length for only $25.00. Want to check us out first? Come in, see our drum studio with four (4), High Quality, Roland Electronic Kits and our Custom Yamaha Acoustic Kit is also available.

We cater to all levels – proficient to beginner. Lessons cover all aspects of drums (full kit, solos, timpani, drum line – snare, tenor & bass drum). We look forward to seeing you at your next lesson!

Brett

Direct – 602-843-3114

See us on the web: http://www.drummersrule.net

See us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drummersrule

Info on your teacher, Brett Frederickson:

He has been teaching drums for over 25 years including drum line instruction for 17 years. He is a graduate of MI (Musicians Institute);  Featured in Drum Magazine, Drum Business and Modern Drummer
. He has played drums with many bands including Megadeth and has done studio work for various artists like Scott Mishoe, Keith Horne, Jeff Kollman, Ray Riendeau and many more. His true passion is teaching students to play drums, in a fun, quality learning environment. So whether you are just getting started, or have been playing for years, Brett can help you take your skills to the next level.

Lessons are for a full hour at $25.00/hr. Brett is so confident that you’ll love his teaching method that he’s offering 1/2 OFF lessons for the first month to new students. Come see why his students keep coming back!

SUMMERTIME BLUES…

Posted: June 9, 2012 in Articles, Lessons

Summertime Blues…

brett frederickson - drum lessons in phoenix

Summertime is here! Many students don’t realize it, but summertime affords them the ability to really increase their drumming skills. Sure, we all can find excuses not to practice, but why not take advantage of the situation. School is out, no homework, less activities to pull away or distract.

Looking for a way to keep busy over the summer? Consider coming to drum lessons. Over the summer, we are allowing students to stay after their lesson and continue practicing… there is no rush for them to leave. They get to increase their skill, learn something new and visit with friends and other drum enthusiasts.

 Summertime may feel like it’s the hardest time to practice, but it’s actually the best time to practice. Bottom line, if you own a pair of sticks, a drum set or a practice pad, there’s no excuse. Take advantage of the summer, work on technique,  styles and go kick some drums!

** NOTE: The June Drum Bootcamp Special is a huge success. Due to high interest, this Special will now be running through the summer and ending August 15th, 2012.The Bootcamp Special includes Eight (8) Lessons for $150.00 ($50.00 savings) – designed to be taken twice per week using advanced techniques to push you to be your best! Looking for a “kick”? Come join the fun and be challenged!

 

Contact Brett Frederickson with any questions at 602-843-3114 or online at http://www.drummersrule.net.

 

brett frederickson – drum lessons in phoenix

Summertime Blues…

Posted: June 9, 2012 in Articles, Lessons

Summertime Blues…

brett frederickson - drum lessons in phoenix

Summertime is here! Many students don’t realize it, but summertime affords them the ability to really increase their drumming skills. Sure, we all can find excuses not to practice, but why not take advantage of the situation. School is out, no homework, less activities to pull away or distract.

Looking for a way to keep busy over the summer? Consider coming to drum lessons. Over the summer, we are allowing students to stay after their lesson and continue practicing… there is no rush for them to leave. They get to increase their skill, learn something new and visit with friends and other drum enthusiasts.

 Summertime may feel like it’s the hardest time to practice, but it’s actually the best time to practice. Bottom line, if you own a pair of sticks, a drum set or a practice pad, there’s no excuse. Take advantage of the summer, work on technique,  styles and go kick some drums!

 

** NOTE: The June Drum Bootcamp Special is a huge success. Due to high interest, this Special will now be running through the summer and ending August 15th, 2012.The Bootcamp Special includes Eight (8) Lessons for $150.00 ($50.00 savings) – designed to be taken twice per week using advanced techniques to push you to be your best! Looking for a “kick”? Come join the fun and be challenged!

brett frederickson - phoenix drum lessons

brett frederickson – phoenix drum lessons