These lessons will give you the tools to be a solid and creative drummer, to practice daily and also to have fun with the instrument. Lessons include stick technique, limb coordination, beats, and playing the drums with musicality. You will learn diverse styles, fills and solo development, how to read music and drum charts, and how to groove.

Drum lessons usually begin with some call and response to wake up the ears. This is followed by stick control work, learning singles, doubles, paradiddles, flams, closed rolls and other rudiments. After working on stick control, students work on independence between the hands and the bass drum. This is called coordination work because you are learning to do at least 2 different things at once. Students learn to sing rhythms as well as play them.

After coordination work, students works on drum beats, usually involving three parts(hi-hat, snare, and bass drum). Once the student can play the beat steadily and repeatedly, we add a fill to the beat. This introduces the idea of soloing on the drums and using the rudiments we learned in Stick Control.

Finally, the student learns a beat to a song, along with breaks, fills, intros etc, and plays along with the song in the studio. The song teaches the student how to play in an ensemble and understand the role of the drums. It also teaches them tempo, dynamics, and how to mark the form of a song. Many of these songs are classics and become part of the student’s repertoire.

Once the student has become comfortable coordinating three limbs(HiHat, Snare and Bass), Surya introduces using the left foot as a fourth limb. This coordination is more advanced and is the beginning of studying jazz rhythms, latin rhythms and more complicated funk beats. The student's repertoire will expand to include songs with odd meters, songs with cross-cultural influences(such as reggae, african or latin), and transcribing beats. Students will also learn to play longer solos, including trading fours and eights, as well as reading big band charts.

General Suggested Drum Practice Outline for younger students(Older students just double or triple the amount of time spent on each subject):

Stick Control (Hand work) - 5 min

Syncopation (Coordination work) - 5 min

Funky Primer (Beats with Fills) - 5 min

Song - 5 min

Total time = 20 min; three or more times in a week

Surya uses the books Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone, Syncopation For the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed, and A Funky Primer by Charles Dowd as the main instruction books. In addition, more advanced students will use Master Studies by Joe Morello and the All-American Drummer by Charles Wilcoxon.

Djembe: Surya teaches the Djembe(a west-african hand drum). Instruction includes learning the different tones on the djembe(i.e. bass, tone, and slap) and developing speed and facility with these different tones. Students learn popular West African rhythms such as Kuku, adaptations of Middle-eastern rhythms, Brazilian rhythms, American rhythms, and more. Students also play along with recordings, learn to improvising or solo, and learng basic rhythmic notation reading using Syncopation for the Modern Drummer and other material.



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