While in high school I had the opportunity to study with a great drumset and percussion teacher: Mr. Ray Deeley. Besides his busy performance schedule through-out the US, performing with tops acts such as Frank Sinatra, he was a very active teacher in Philadelphia and South Jersey. The longer I play and teach, the more I can see his influence in my formative years, coming through in my teaching style. He was an 'old school' teacher that focused on fundamentals, i.e. the books by Stone, Harr, Chapin, Goldenberg, etc., yet he was also keenly aware of the ability of modern players and was always a student himself, be it checking out some hot young Latin drummers in the city or listening to the latest Neil Peart drum solo.

The exercise that I have included here is a swing fill that Mr. Deeley taught me. It is one of the most useful patterns that I have ever learned to play. If there were a book of swing rudiments, this would be at the top.

Ray's Triplets - Pattern 1

As you practice getting this exercise under control, please keep in mind the following:

— make sure to feather pedal the bass drum on all four beats, imitating an upright bass playing a 'walking' bass line.

— make sure that the high-hat is rock solid on beats 2 and 4; try to get a nice 'chick' sound.

— do not over emphasize either the right or left hand, try to get a nice even dialogue going between both limbs.

— an most importantly TAKE YOUR TIME. Practice at a speed at which you can perform comfortably and create music. Never sacrifice the groove!

Here are a few variations on Ray's Triplets:

Rays Triplets - Variations

Now, make up some of your own!