School of Drums
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ISSUE #47 \__\__\___THE____/__/__/ Nov 5, 2000
_______________TEMPO DISPATCH ___________
Newsletter For Drummers and Drumming Enthusiasts
Copyright Bill Powelson 2000 all rights reserved.
____________'IT'S ALL ABOUT DRUMS'_______
Tips * Tricks * Hints * Ads * Freebies * Lessons *
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TABLE OF CONTENTS: What is in this issue?
1. Feature Article (Lesson:)
"Spice Up Your FILLS" (PART I)
2. Humor? 7 COOL WAYS TO STAY AWAKE IN CLASS. :>)
SPECIAL NOTE: The lesson below later became an html
(webpage) lesson at the password site, with sound
(and video) files.
Click here to see that version. It's much easier
to understand as a web page lesson.
BETTER DRUM FILLS.
"Spice Up Your FILLS" (PART I)
Before we get started with this months lesson,
I want to remind all beginners . . .
YOU WILL NOT NEED A DRUMSET TO STUDY
90% OF THE LESSONS IN THIS COURSE.
No Drums? No excuse!
JUST DO WHAT WE ALL DO . . .
Simply use your imagination where ever you may
be! Tap on your knees or thighs and pat your foot
where ever you are! We ALL practice this way! The
BEST (most productive) practice sessions occur while
we are AWAY FROM THE DRUM SET, in the car, in front
of the tv, or on the elevator.
ANOTHER WAY . . .
If you can't afford drums at home, TRY this . . .
Build a Practice Drum Set, for pennies!
NOW, ON WITH THIS MONTHS LESSON . . .
DRUMS: "Spice Up Your FILLS" (PART I)
I'm assuming at this point, that you have
memorized (at least) this BASIC DANCE BEAT . . .
BASIC DANCE BEAT #3, 8TH ROCK . . .
(If not, go learn it now, at . . .)
HOW TO INJECT MORE VARIETY
INTO YOUR 'MID-SONG',
*FILLS AND ROLLS:
The 'keyword' today is 'NOTE-VALUES'.
Think about that for a minute, BEFORE moving on . . .
THINK! THINK! THINK!
What kind of foul language
I just used two words that ALL self-respecting,
self-taught 'ear' musicians FEAR, LOATHE and HATE
Remember! I'm a self-taught 'ear' player myself!
I'm not going to lead you astray with this. Listen up!
"NOTE-VALUES"!!!!! The entire answer to the
VARIETY question is hidden in those two little
Try to VISUALIZE THE CONCEPT, first!
BUT DON'T PANIC! You'll understand EVERYTHING
by the time you've finished this two-part lesson!
I'll (hopefully) try to spell it
out in an easy-to-read . . . and 'painless' way.
If you comprehend it, your playing (and jamming)
will grow by leaps and bounds! AND I DON'T CARE HOW
LONG YOU'VE BEEN PLAYING! THIS LESSON IS FOR ANYONE,
NOW, TO EXPLAIN . . .
It's typical and VERY COMMON for ALL OF US to
'lean-on' and 'use' . . . ONLY one-or-two (note-value-type)
rolls as fills. We ALL tend to use the roll type we
PLAY BEST. (ie; 16TH-NOTES and maybe 8TH TRIPLETS!)
Some of the other NOTE-VALUE ROLL TYPES seem (at
first glance) to be too easy and simple, while the
other 'FASTER' roll types may be beyond our current
ability,(depending on the student, of course.)
The most OVER-USED roll of ALL TIME, is 16TH-NOTES . . .
We stretch them all around the set . . . and we
disguise them 28-ways-from-Sunday . . . But all too
often . . . we're just playing the SAME roll type
over and over, dozens of different ways. It's starts
to get boring for both the listener and the player,
On CLOSER ANALYSIS . . . if we dissect
our own average FILL attempts . . . we'll usually discover
some form of 16TH-NOTES at the ROOT of our most often-used
idea(s)! This is ESPECIALLY true for self-taught, 'natural'
Analyze YOUR OWN fills as you play . . . I'll bet you'll
soon be saying, "WHOOPS! Yep! (grrrr) . . . it's true!"
SPECIAL THOUGHT: 16th-notes (in 8th rock 4/4) may take many
forms (ie; single-strokes, double-strokes and paradiddles . . .
(to name a few.) See, "Rudiments, Rolls & Fills: PART I,
if you don't know those already." . . . But, DO THAT LATER!
Stick with me for now . . . this may be more important.
WHAT IS . . . "The Spice of Life"???
"VARIETY"! Especially, when it comes to rhythm . . .
THEN, WHY DO WE ALL TEND TO PLAY THE SAME, DULL,
BORING 16TH-NOTE-ROLL TYPES OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
(If you don't know THAT roll yet . . . don't worry!
I'll go over clearly, HERE in a minute. )
Maybe it's because, we aren't seeing, feeling and
USING the full POWER and DIVERSITY that is 'quietly
contained' within the 'TOTAL NOTE-VALUE SYSTEM'!
We 'COULD' be using COMBINATIONS of *EVERYTHING*
from WHOLE-NOTES to 32nd-NOTES!!! But the average
drummer will invariably stick with their old friend,
(tried and true) . . . easy-to-do and comfy,
16TH NOTES. We ALL tend to do that!
I notice, while listening to pop recordings,
this point is very obvious there too. Maybe that's
where WE get the idea that it's 'ok' to do it. Even
those 'BIG-TIME' pro-drummers we ALL idolize and
respect, tend to do this very same thing! They'll
opt for 16th-notes in 7 out of 10 fills (especially,
when playing in Basic Dance Beat #3, 8th 'rock' 4/4.)
(8th Triplets tend to be the favored 'fill of the day'
with beats like Blues, Shuffle and Swing.) But, THIS lesson
will usually work with most of those beats too.
What I'm talking about here, will easily add an abundance
of increased 'rhythmic variety' to nearly ANY drummers
style . . . Young or old . . . beginner or ultra-advanced!
RUDIMENTS ANYONE? (Yuk!)
There are OVER 300+ potential rolls or fills possible . . .
via the various RUDIMENT CHARTS, scattered around the World.
BUT, THAT'S NOT NECESSARILY
THE ANSWER WE'RE LOOKING FOR . . .
I just don't think RUDIMENTS are the 'panacea for
variety' that they are touted to be . . . At least . . .
not for beginning and intermediate level drumming.
Truthfully . . . some of those 300+ boring, and
seemingly useless rudimental concepts might best be
saved for MUCH LATER . . . (like maybe, AGE 94 . . .
as we are gasping for out last breath of life, haha!)
DON'T TAKE ME WRONG!
SOME rudiments are vital . . . I'll
get to that later. Right now, I want to show you
how to diversify your fill techniques as painlessly as
We'll get the most 'bang' for your buck . . . THIS way!
I'm about to help you discover rudiments in a 'NATURAL'
way . . . as if they fell from the sky!
Trust me on this! I've been playing 50 years
(next September) and have only discovered this concept
just recently, though it's easy enough for a 10-year-old to
comprehend! It's the sort of thing that'll make even
an old-timer like me, slap their forehead in disgust,
saying, "Why didn't I see it this way before now"?
What is the ONE-BASIC-THING from which ALL those (300+)
rudiments are derived?
Doesn't it seem LOGICAL, that if we simply
learn to manipulate ALL the NOTE-VALUES . . . randomly
and CREATIVELY . . . IN OUR OWN WAY . . . we'll virtually
're-discover' all those 300+ rudiments in the SAME way
they were originally created?
YES! I'm SURE of it!
That's exactly THE WAY THEY WERE CREATED IN THE
FIRST PLACE . . . and the original creators of those
rudiments were HAVING A BALL with 'CREATIVITY' . . .
as they designed them for us . . .
NOW . . . ON TO THE POINT . . .
WHAT ARE THE MOST VALUABLE
NOTE-VALUE . . . FILL TYPES?
I'm going to inject some math . . . and I'll
explain it in a moment . . .
Notice the numbers, (off to the side of each note-value
type below.) Those numbers will serve to simplify this
lesson in a minute. They'll make the upcoming explanations
MUCH easier to comprehend . . . PAY ATTENTION TO THE
PATTERNS! THEY'RE VERY FAMILIAR! IT'S FIRST-GRADE MATH!
We're going to do away with all the confusing and
ever-changing note-value-NAMES (temporarily) . . . and
think entirely in terms of NUMBERS . . . within a given
frame of time measurement.
Because it'll make everything easier to understand.
THE IMPORTANT 'NOTE-VALUE' ROLL/FILL TYPES:
* Quarter triplets = 3 + 3 (per measure)
* 8TH-NOTES = 4 + 4 (per measure)
* 8TH-TRIPLETS = 6 + 6 (per measure)
* 16THS = 8 + 8 (per measure)
* 16TH TRIPLETS = 12 + 12 (per measure)
* 32ND-NOTES = 16 + 16 (per measure)
How many of these ROLL-TYPES (above) are you using
as you jam?
Now, Look at the numbers, off to the right of each value.
Do you see the patterns?
Look especially at the roll you probably already know best,
the 16th roll. Notice the numbers are 8 + 8.
What do we mean by that?
It means that each repetition of the roll will contain
8 notes per half measure.
NOW, PLAY THIS AS YOU SIT
AT YOUR COMPUTER DESK OR TABLE.
B=Bass or right-foot)
R L R L R L R L
Play a steady stream of 8 + 8. You'll be playing a BASS
DRUM (right foot) on the first of every 8 notes.
Or, 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 indefinitely.
THE BASS DRUM IS CRUCIAL HERE. DON'T LEAVE IT
OUT. Repeat, repeat, repeat . . . playing the bass along with
the 1st note in every group.
Once you have the roll flowing . . . BREAK OUT OF THE ROLL
and go into a Basic 8th Rock beat . . . without changing the
tempo (speed) of the bass. The bass will always remain constant!
You'll come out of the roll . . . and return to the hi-hat (and the beat)
on any bass drum note.
Incidentally . . . your right hand won't change
either . . . If you'll notice . . . the right stays the
same as you move to the hat. The left is the only thing
that changes as you go into the beat.
Next . . . come out of the BEAT (beginning on any bass)
and go into the roll again. Play 1 or 2 reps of 8 . . .
then return to the beat again . . .
LATER . . .
You may extend the roll as long as you like. Your
fill may be of any length! JUST KEEP THE BASS DRUM
CONSTANT ALL THE TIME. THE KEY ELEMENT IS THE BASS.
* 1 group of 8 = half measure 16th single stroke
fill in 8th 4/4
* 2 groups of 8 = a whole measure of 16ths.
* 3 groups = one and one half measures, etc., etc.
The important thing to remember is that the bass drum
marks time as we play the fills . . . anywhere we
choose . . . and any length we choose . . . and we always
know to resume the beat on ANY bass drum note. We'll never
get lost and out-of-time . . . once that right-foot
learns to hold the count.
THAT WAS THE DUMB REDUNDANT FILL WE ALL TEND TO OVER-USE!
MAYBE YOU ALREADY KNEW THAT FILL . . . That part of
this lesson was for the beginners amongst you. REMEMBER!
This newsletter is now reaching 5,000+ beginners, intermediate
and pro drummers. I'm truly walking on eggshells all the time!
THE BEGINNERS DID NEED THAT ONE FIRST!
NOW WE'RE READY TO ADD SOME VARIETY . . .
(To be Continued . . .)
WHAT A BUMMER!!!
WE HAVE A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH SPACE HERE.
I'm forced by many e-mail systems to keep this
newsletter close to the 20kb mark. We're reaching
25kb already and I'm only half finished with the
I HATE quitting in the middle . . . more than you
We'll just have to continue this discussion in next
months issue . . .
PAID STUDENTS: The CONCLUSION, AND BEST PART OF THIS LESSON
IS ALREADY UP AT THE HIDDEN WEBSITE IN THE TD ARCHIVES
SECTION. You can go study it now!
Jam with recordings every day or these lessons
will NEVER make sense!
The Homestudy Institute of Drums
7 COOL WAYS FOR STUDENTS
TO STAY AWAKE IN CLASS.
1. Stare intensely at the girl sitting next to you and mouth
the words, "I'm normal."
2. Raise your hand every couple of minutes and ask
the teacher if he's done yet.
3. Put your head in the window and slam it good a couple
of times (The chicks really dig this one).
4. Try to get the rest of the class to do "the wave".
5. Draw detailed maps of the classroom and quietly pass them
out to the students, calling it "The Escape Route".
6. Laugh at inappropriate times during the lecture, then
compliment the teacher on their great sense of humor.
7. Keep chanting, "lies," under your breath while the teacher
gives the lecture.
THANKS TO: uncensoredu.com for these hilarious tips.
QUESTION: How much work do you think has gone into this presentation
of more than 125 drum set lessons? It'a a complete course!
ANSWER: 50 years (night and day) X 40 hours per week! That's approximately
104,000 man hours!
Treat yourself to my BEST stuff! You have no idea
how much time I can save you!
END OF TEMPO DISPATCH #47 Nov 5, 2000
Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.