Ask any musician what’s the number one thing they look for in a drummer. The answer is invariably groove and feel. So why do most of us (me included) spend more time working on the quadruple paradiddle? 🙂
The beauty of groove is that that’s where the magic of music lies. We dance to a groove, not to a paradiddle (unless it grooves of course). We are moved by great feel, not by the fastest chops. This is why even the simplest beat, played by a master, can be so inspiring.
Groove is such an abstract, subtle concept that I think it needs to be divided into at least two areas of study: the technical/conceptual side of it, and then the practical/musical side. That’s why I dedicated two separate volumes to this topic: the first one to working out and developing the tools necessary to groove (Altitude Drumming Vol.7), and then an entire book focused on how to master groove, which is the subject of this post.
It’s such a deep and complex territory that even experienced drummers can be a bit confused about it. It’s not easy to figure out exactly what it is that makes a drummer groove, and that’s the reason why developing this skill can be so challenging.
There are many layers involved, and they are all interconnected and influencing one another to create the magic alchemy that makes music flow and people move.
So I did years of research, studying with the masters, asking all the questions, watching all the videos and reading all the interviews, to try to identify each of the elements involved, create exercises to work on them one at the time, and then put it all back together in recipes that contain all the ingredients, mixed in different amounts based on what’s needed.
In fact, the way I see the principles and techniques I developed, is that they are formulas, which, precisely like recipes with various ingredients, blend countless combinations of parameters to generate as many emotions/moods as we want.
This approach involves working on different subdivisions, tempos, dynamics, orchestrations, levels of swing, feels, Hi-Hat articulations, systems, ostinatos and beat placements (the whole ahead/behind the beat concept is discussed thoroughly).
All of it with tons of examples from records and recommended listenings from many bands and genres (including Swag J Dilla feel drumming), that point to specific solutions so that we can directly hear and experience the effects that each of them produces.
The program consists of 70 pages of detailed explanations and 110 pages of transcriptions, organized in chapters that go deep into each layer/topic before moving on to the most relevant formulas that combine everything (based on the style, the emotion we want to convey and so on), so that we practically learn how to apply the materials covered.
My goal was to create content that doesn’t exists anywhere else and that can really help drummers learn how to work on their groove and make music sound amazing.
In total it’s more than 180 pages and almost 5 hours of video content.
The cool thing is that these studies can be used in many ways, from building groove proficiency from scratch to perfecting our time feel, to developing new creative solutions, to improving our timing and so on.
In this free excerpt I’d like to share with you 47 examples picked from the 800+ exercises included in the method. I wanted to arrange this booklet so that it’s like a mini course, that you can use to instantly see results.
You can download it here:
The transcription of these examples, as well as the table of contents of the method, is included in this 17 page PDF.
Each exercise is linked to its video demo, which you can access by clicking on the transcription. If you want to check out the whole 18 minute video demo on YouTube, click HERE.
To find out more and to buy the method you can visit the dedicated page here:
‘Groove Mastery & Formulas’ – Altitude Drumming – Volume 8