Russ Miller is Extremely Precise

  • Posted on: 24 November 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

I'm always fascinated by precision - whether it's in a technical performance (such as sports or music) or in science, mathematics, and engineering. It's very interesting to see the way that a human being can conceptualize and execute certain movements, or the way they can theorize and make predictions about their surroundings.

Russ Miller plays drums in a very precise manner. The physical awareness which is required to play drums like this is a beautiful thing. I'm enchanted and inspired by seeing the years of dedication to the instrument bringing such profound results.

Now, some players who are loose and raunchy are fantastic. However, I really dig music and drumming which is clean, clear, and confident.

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.

Ryan Bloom Interview: Double Bass Drum Technique Q&A

  • Posted on: 4 November 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Ryan and I had so much fun with the last article on Double Bass Technique, we decided to do a follow-up. I read his ebook and had a few questions, which we cover below.

1. Is it important that the beater comes ALL THE WAY back between strokes? Why or why not? Does this factor change as the tempo increases?

Double Bass Drumming Explained - Concepts and Methods for Double Bass Junkies

  • Posted on: 2 October 2012
  • By: sheldonkreger

Double bass drumming is a skill utilized by many drummers today. From basement punk bands to cutting-edge jazz fusion performances, double bass drumming is now a common requirement in many musical situations.

It's no coincidence, then, that so many great books have been published on double bass drumming. If you're looking for drills and exercises to improve your phrasing and technical capacity on the double pedal, we all know that there is an abundance of material available today.

Ryan Bloom

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.

I Listen to Elevator Music - So What?

Today I was revisiting one of my favorite Dave Weckl videos - an old performance of "Garden Wall." I personally LOVE this kind of music, but all of my friends accuse me of listening to "elevator music." Well, excuse me for listening to the ILLEST DRUMMERS OF ALL TIME!

Dave Weckl: "Garden Wall" from Back to Basics

On this video, the top rated comment is "I always wondered who did the drumming for the Weather Channel." I have to admit, I was laughing pretty hard!

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.