sheldonkreger's blog

Mysterious Results of Drum Exercises

  • Posted on: 22 November 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Have you ever worked on a set of exercises from a drum book without having any idea of how they are going to affect your playing?

Recently, I decided to explore different approaches to my drum practice. In the past, I have chosen books with a specific goal in mind. For example, I would aim to improve my swing feel, or to learn some hip hop beats. However, this time around, I'm intentionally choosing to learn how to do something without having any expectation for what it will do to my playing. Because I'm satisfied with my ability to play most styles of music, I now have the luxury of enjoying the drums without having to focus on an urgent weak spot in my playing. This is due to several years of focused effort and time spent behind the drum set.

Band Members Remark about Touring with Virgil Donati

  • Posted on: 21 November 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Virgil Donati finished a tour of Europe with Allan Holdsworth and two different bass players (Jimmy Haslip and Anthony Crawford). In an informal video post, the band thanks the fans for coming to the shows and making the tour possible.

Virgil: "I'm going to go back home and do a bit more practice."

Anthony: "I've never seen nobody set up the drum set on a tour bus and practice all the way through!"

Allan: "The whole time."

Holdsworth Band thanks fans on the day of their last concert for the year. from Virgil Donati on Vimeo.

Practice Strategy for Advanced Multipedal Orchestrations

  • Posted on: 19 September 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Making the decision to move into advanced multipedal orchestrations was not an easy decision. As I mentioned earlier, I don't like most metal music, and so my motivation for learning this material is very different.

Rather, I'm motivated for two reasons:

1. All of the true progress on the drums today is happening by a handful of drummers, who are using advanced technical methods to redefine what is possible on the drum set. My goal is to also push these boundaries with my playing.

Now, don't get me wrong - there are thousands of amazing drummers who are playing very, very well. They have their own styles, their own music, and their own zest. I'm down with that! But, it's only a handful of drummers who are truly redefining what is possible on the kit.

2. I love to practice. I really, really love to practice. The level of focus and the mental states I achieve while working on advanced material is absolutely incredible, and I like to make it happen every day. In other words, working on this material is an autotelic experience.

The Material

Is There Room for Multi-Pedal Drumming in Genres OTHER Than Metal?

  • Posted on: 19 September 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

I'm going to come out of the closet today - I AM A MULTI-PEDAL NERD. Let it be heard far and wide - I LOVE TO PRACTICE FOOT PATTERNS AND TECHNIQUE. However, there is a catch - and I have another embarrassing trait to reveal - I DON'T LIKE METAL MUSIC. Or, I like very little metal music.

Is this Contradictory?

Yes. The things that my body likes to practice and what my ears like to listen to are almost completely opposed. Most of the best double-kick players are playing metal - and that's pretty much it. However, there are a few exceptions which stand out, and have inspired me to keep practicing, even though I don't play any heavy music.

1. Thomas Lang

2. Marco Minnemann

3. Virgil Donati

4. Grant Collins

5. Terry Bozzio

The Endless Predicament

So, here I am, every day, wondering what I should practice during my limited time behind the kit. What goes through my mind?

"Sheldon, you don't play metal. You play jazz, hip hop, and pop music. Put the Thomas Lang book away and pull out The New Breed."

In this very moment, I'm already changing my mind.

Gary Novak Solo with Micheal Landau and Reggie Hamilton - "I'm Buzzed"

  • Posted on: 10 June 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Gary Novak Drum Solo

I'm currently working on the Gary Novak solo from Lyle Workman's song "Nothing Left Unsaid." My friend Joe Crabtree transcribed the solo and has an incredible 3 part video series which walks us through the licks step by step.

Rather than just memorizing the solo, I'm really trying to integrate Novak's playing into my vocabulary. Watching Gary Novak video like this plays a huge role in helping me understand the feel and sound that he creates. - An Interview with Ken Florentino

  • Posted on: 19 April 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

I recently discovered a great website while looking for drumless backing tracks to practice -

After digging through the impressive collection of drum set play alongs, I was excited to get behind my drum set and make some noise. It's really easy to get caught up in hand technique, speed drills, coordination work, and endless Youtube searching rather than playing music. And, for a lot of musicians, we aren't always in a position to be committed to a band. Drumless tracks are a great way to practice playing music.

And, with over 600 songs on the site, you can practice just about any style of music you want!

After exploring the site, I sent Ken Florentino - who manages - a few questions to learn more about him and the company. I quickly realized that Ken is a cool guy, and that he is working hard to expand to become an even larger library of drum set play-alongs.

Ken Florentino Interview

Sheldon: When did you start playing drums?