teaching ideas & resources


my teaching philosophy

The principles of being a great musician are really pretty simple...1 relax 2 don't be afraid 3 play

It really comes down to that...now I know, there are technical considerations, coordination, knowledge of rudiments, scales, etc. But, these all fall under the same premises.


Tension is the opposite of being relaxed...it causes your muscles to not function in a normal, optimal way. When you're tense, you can't play at your best because your energy & focus are shifted away from creating. Playing in a relaxed way starts with our posture; back straight, legs straight ahead of you (how often do you sit in a chair with your legs spread wide?) so that you can access your pedals comfortably. Arms should just hang naturally at your side...if your shoulders look like you're shrugging, then you build tension in your neck, shoulders and arms. One or all of these situations prevent you from playing in a natural way. It's no wonder drummers have more back, shoulder and arm conditions than anyone else!

don't be afraid

Fear also keeps you from playing your best. Fear of what? We fear many things as musicians, but the most common thing we fear are mistakes; we start playing a piece of music and before we get to a tough part, our mind starts in..."you're going to mess this up...you always do." It's true! You WILL mess it up when you are focused on mistakes. Instead, when you are relaxed [physically and mentally], you can then focus on the music and you can better let go of your fears. Try it! You will, in time, be able to let go of those things that dog you and the real “you” will start coming out through your instrument.


This sound maybe too obvious and simple, but when you are relaxed and confident, you can then really play! And you will find that you start playing the ideas that are inside of you...yes, it involves input in a variety of ways, be it listening to your musical heros, working on some new ideas from a book, a new groove you heard somewhere. The source doesn't matter as much as the fact that you keep exposing yourself to new ideas and work on them in a relaxed, positive, confident manner.


These are GarageBand-produced songs minus drums in .mp3 format. Feel free to download these...if you're on Windows, just right-click on the link and choose "Save target"; if on a Mac (kudos to you!), then right-click (or Control-click) on the link and choose "Save Link as..." and choose your destination folder for the download. From there, you can play from your computer in iTunes, sync with your iPod (or other favorite mp3 player) or burn to a CD for practice sessions. *Almost* as good as a real band!!!


The links below are worth your attention...check them out! In many cases, there are exercises to download, videos to watch and listen to and much more to explore!

Brush Artistry

Great, but long out-of-print book on brush playing by the great Philly Joe Jones.
Download here.

snare drum rudiments

These rudiments are grouped in 4 quadrants, the first one being the basis for all the others. All of this courtesy of Vic Firth

Quadrant A (click to download a PDF that you can print out)
  1. Single Stroke Roll
  2. Single Stroke 4
  3. Single Paradiddle
  4. Multiple Bounce Roll
  5. Double Paradiddle
  6. Flam
  7. Flam Tap
  8. Drag (Ruff)
  9. 5 Stroke Roll
  10. Open (Double Stroke) Roll
Quadrant B (click to download a PDF that you can print out)
  1. Single Stroke Seven
  2. Paradiddle-diddle
  3. Flam Accent
  4. Swiss Army Triplet
  5. Flamacue
  6. 9 Stroke Roll
  7. 13 Stroke Roll
  8. 17 Stroke Roll
  9. Lesson 25
  10. Single Dragadiddle
Quadrant C (click to download a PDF that you can print out)
  1. Triple Paradiddle
  2. 6 Stroke Roll
  3. 7 Stroke Roll
  4. 15 Stroke Roll
  5. Flam Paradiddle
  6. Single Flammed Mill
  7. Pataflafla
  8. Single Drag Tap
  9. Double Drag Tap
  10. Single Ratamacue
Quadrant D (click to download a PDF that you can print out)
  1. Triple Stroke Roll
  2. 10 Stroke Roll (coming soon)
  3. 11 Stroke Roll (coming soon)
  4. Inverted Flam Tap
  5. Flam Drag
  6. Flam Paradiddle-diddle
  7. Drag Paradiddle #1
  8. Drag Paradiddle #2
  9. Double Ratamacue
  10. Triple Ratamacue