Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

For the past three years I have had the opportunity to play drumset and snare drum on tour with the Strauss Symphony of America, which makes stops at Lincoln Center (NYC), The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (DC), etc... The conductors are always world renowned Johann Strauss experts, so; needless to say we play a lot of waltzes!

This is an exercise that I developed that incorporates a funky waltz pattern around the drum kit, as an over-the-bar groove idea in 4/4.

Pattern #1 is a waltz pattern, and the RLLL sticking is included, which helps to get a good groove going. (Disclaimer: For all of the Strauss Waltz aficionados out there, this is not a true Viennese Waltz, so just “read the ink” for this exercise.) After perfecting the feel and sticking in Pattern #1, proceed to Pattern #2.

Pattern #2 superimposes the 3/8 waltz groove over a standard rock bass drum and hi-hat pattern in 4/4. Take your time with this one, use a metronome to ensure that everything is lining up correctly. Another way to get this one to groove is to play all the accented notes on your high tom.

[Try counting aloud in 4/4, and then in 3/8 while you play it!]

Pattern #3 switches the 3/8 to the left hand entirely where it is played around the toms.

[If using a two tom set-up, strike the snare (snares off) in place of the middle tom part.]

In this exercise, try to get a very legato, melodic sound out of the toms.

Pattern #4 brings it all together. This exercise is almost identical to #3, but the right hand is added on the Ride Cymbal, laying down a standard 4/4 Rock beat. After overcoming the initial coordination hurdle, start adding more articulation elements to make it sound as musical as possible. For example, the right hand can hit the bell of the ride on beats 2 & 4, or a cowbell or tambourine can be set up on the right hand side of the set, on which accents can be played.

Have fun with these exercises, be creative, and be open to all kinds of music.

Sometimes seemingly strange combinations yield new and exciting sounds for drummers and audiences.

Sean Kennedy

Philadelphia-area drummer, Sean J. Kennedy is equally at home on the concert stage or in the teaching studio. Due to his versatility, Kennedy has been able to record and perform with some of the world’s best musicians, including Bob Mintzer, Liberty DeVitto, Ricky Byrd, Donald Nally, Richie Cannata and the late Dr. Frederick Fennell.

In June 2009 Carl Fischer Music Publishing released “Rock Solid: Drums” a rock drumset method book co-authored by Kennedy and Liberty DeVitto. Kennedy holds a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in percussion performance, and endorses Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks and Evans Drumheads exclusively. To contact Sean visit www.seanjkennedy.com.

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