Archive for March, 2017

Exploring Grooves In 7

Hiya… here’s another Periscope broadcast with some elaboration. Hope you’re enjoying this little experiment…

Short version: grooves in 7 in various musical styles have some things in common that I focus on when I play. 

– subdividing into groups of 2’s and 3’s

– singing the sound of the pulsations once the counting is mastered

– playing from the bottom up, feet first, but driving the underlying pulse with hi-hat or ride cymbal

Core stuff, the essence of making the grooves work. The real key is to make the transitions from the 2 and 3 sub groupings as seamless as possible. If you practice playing jazz, funk, Latin, whatever in 3, you’ll perfect that transition nicely.

So give it a look and listen, and I hope as always that you can grab something useful. Enjoy!

Howdy, thanks for stopping by again to see what’s cookin’ behind my kit. I’m thoroughly enjoying making the on-the-spot Periscope videos and then presenting them here with some further explanation, and I hope what I’m sharing is helpful.


I love playing sambas in 5, and I’ll tell you a little about how to make them flow. I’ll also share some simple thoughts on improvisation and fills in a 5 samba.


A measure of 5/4 can be subdivided 2 + 3, or 3 + 2, meaning where you place the emphasis on the pulse. There are actually TWO pulses within the measure that shape it and create a contour. ONE two ONE two three is the first example. ONE two three, ONE two is the second. The first flows very well and breathes, I mean it really does feel like a lung.


In the video, I explore this idea and show how to make the measures breathe.


The other component has to do with fills mostly, and some improv. With either, you want to create mini-compositions, nice musical statements. So here’s a tip I follow from something I read about Miles Davis. He said he likes to NOT complete a phrase, by leaving things out.


I love doing this. I’ll hear a longer phrase in my head but only play bits of it, kind of fragment it here and there. It lets the audience fill in the spaces. Flurry is fun, but minimal bits and pieces help decorate what you’re doing as well as what your fellow musicians are doing.


There’s other cool performance tips for slow and fast sambas that I think you’ll find conceptually useful.


Anyway, give it a look, lemme know what you think.




– David

Howdy again, fellow keepers of the drumming flame. I’m gonna put up one more recent Periscope video with comment here, as I think this little experiment is actually working out pretty well. I like being able to discuss things a bit more, and, it gives you a much better idea of what’s being offered if you have a few minutes to watch.


In this video, I demonstrate exercises I’ve used to keep my hands in shape since I was around 11. I’ll hit 58 in about a week, so, I figure, something must be working with this approach. Mind you, it’s not been every single day since the early 70’s, but in the last fifteen years, yeah I’d say fairly regularly. If there have been gaps, I can literally get back up to speed in about a week or less.


Here’s the breakdown:


3 different weight sticks3 – Marching sticks, 7A’s, and Brushes

3 different grips – traditional, German and French

4 rudiments – single stroke roll, double stroke roll, six stroke roll, paradiddles

3 different volumes – Loud, Medium, Soft


I start with an exercise that Terry Bozzio taught me in the early 1980s, to develop tendon strength directly at the wrist, using German matched grip (back of palm facing up)


Then, French (back of palm facing outward) and then matched grip. All designed to loosen up my wrists and muscles.


Next, double stroke rolls, same grip sequence. Focus on loud to soft transitions with powerful intensity.


Then, six-stroke rolls and Paradiddles, played very loud and very slow to make the wrists work. Anyone can use rebound. Work the muscles and tendons to discover their finesse and limitations. Doing these exercises using brushes is especially helpful, as you’ll see.


I demonstrate some faster execution of the four rudiments, and you can appreciate their applications pretty quickly. I end the video with some timekeeping and execution of fills using combinations of the four rudiments I practice.


I hope it helps give you some tools to keep your hands in shape, but do remember: with great speed and power comes great responsibility. I’m kinda saying this tongue in cheek, but, if you unleash gratuitously and repeatedly, your phone will likely not ring very much. These exercises can be used in musical contexts with some interesting effects, if you do so musically. Going batshit crazy and hoping people will like it is more often than not a super great way to be left alone on stage… permanently.


But hey, we’re drummers. We drive the ship, and if sometimes we feel like leaving a few rooster tails and ripping up the waters, crank it up and let ‘er rip! Besides, life’s too short to just groooooooooove all the time if there’s a bit of animal in you wanting out. It doesn’t hurt to discover what’s truly under your skin now and then…


PS Please let me know if this link expires. I am still learning the in’s and out’s of making Periscope work. Thanks!








Hello again from the low-tech drumming cave I call home in Los Angeles. In our last adventure, I posted two Periscope links from some broadcasts I’d done recently, and they seemed to work okay. Yay for links! For our next leap into percussive abandon, we’re gonna take a look-see at another Periscope shout out I did about drumming a proper Texas shuffle.


The thing I like about being about to post these links is that I can elaborate on what was basically done on the fly, with no layout like a YouTube lesson or something more structured.


So, first thing: we can agree to disagree about what is exactly a Texas shuffle, as they may vary from place to place… and that’s okay. What I can tell you with a high degree of certainty is that you play the same beat with both hands, and this is the key.


If you keep the snare loudest, the kick second and the cymbals third in terms of volume, you’ll get a nice mix that won’t wash out the band if it’s cymbal heavy, nor will you overdo the drive by stomping the living hell out of the kick drum.


It’s about subtly. And crisp pop. More like a really quick grimace, repeated over and over and over. If you want to hear the master of this hand dance, check out Chris Layton. He was the driver behind the late Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band and does in fact know a thing or two about ba-doobah dop-ah, doobah dop-ah…


As a jazz drummer in my 20’s in Austin, I knew precious little about the aforementioned sound or how to really play a proper Texas shuffle, but thanks to a guitar player named TeePee Tom, and the patience of Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts, I got it dialed in reasonably and have been eternally grateful for their respective tutelage. Annnnd, a very big thanks to Dee Harrell, Kathy’s bass player at the time, for helping me learn how to lock it in.


By the way, Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts are still playing in Austin, so please check them out of you wanna hear it done proper. Here’s her website as well (complete with her new CD link): (


Anyway, here ya go, hope it’s useful, and remember: keep your sticks low to the surfaces to get the bar-b-cue sauce mix just right!



Howdy hi-tech neighbors! If you saw the short blog post I wrote a month or so ago, I shared some information about Periscope and what drummers could do with it.

Well, upon further exploration, I found a simple link to the broadcasts that you can copy and paste into WordPress. I like this because some days, I just want to sit down and play and talk, not work out a formal, flawless lesson presentation that would rival Benny Greb’s production quality. Since I’m a few light years away from his stellar stuff, you’ll have to humour me and settle for the occasional shabby tee-shirt, whatever is clean that day version of drum information sharing…

That said, I had a thought one afternoon about a simple quintuplet presentation, so, I hit Record and started rambling. The link below takes you to the Periscope post, and all you have to do is hit the Play arrow, and it’s off to the races.


Here’s the 5-note/7-note version.


I was exploring these ideas as part of an upcoming series of drum clinics I’d like to do. Things will be a bit more formal and structured so you can really sink your teeth into things, but this will give you the basic idea. Comments, feedback and suggestions are appreciated if you’d like to share a thought or two.


Thanks, and enjoy!

Off Beat with Michael Aubrecht

A Drummer's Look at Drums and Drumming

the musician's brain

thoughts on music, the brain, and learning


Dialects of Jazz

pathways in music

Music Psychology and Neuroscience Research, Education, Cultivation

Dedicated To Everything Drumming

Drum Lessons In Ventura, CA

Ventura Drum School

Maeve McMahon

Music cognition, psychology and neuroscience


Just another site

LaFrae Blog O Love

Professional Drummer in NYC

nedzepplins pics

Some Fuel For Rhythmic Thought

Cruise Ship Drummer!

Some Fuel For Rhythmic Thought


Just another site

A drummers blog

my life and what it's about