Drum Set Performance 101

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Authored by Yoron Israel

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Course Code: OPERC-160

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition

$1,545

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,290

Are you prepared to enroll in this course?

Take the Music Theory self-assessment quiz to check your readiness for this material.

Gain a solid foundation in drum set performance and musicianship with Drum Set Performance 101. The course explores five main topics: musicianship, hand-to-hand technique, snare drum reading, drum set coordination, and repertoire development, with each week becoming increasingly more challenging.

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The course starts with teaching the basics, such as the concept of time, how to develop proper grip, playing area, and sound, and how to achieve balance and evenness between your hands. You will perform helpful strengthening and dexterity exercises and explore drum rudiments, including the double stroke roll, single stroke roll, paradiddle, double paradiddle, triple paradiddle, drag, drag paradiddle #1, flam, and flam accent. You will develop basic snare drum reading skills and how to interpret drum set charts, including various time signatures such as 4/4, 2/4, 3/4, 12/8, 6/8, 9/8, and 5/4. The course moves on to topics related to two-, three-, and four-way coordination, touch, balance, dynamics, and shadings in the context of common groove patterns found in Rhythm and Blues, Pop-Rock, Funk, Rock, Jazz, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban music.

Throughout the course, you will be exposed to a wide variety of drumming examples from artists such as Journey, Parliament, The Steve Miller Band, Toto, James Brown, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Count Basie, Airto Moreira, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Mongo Santamaria, and Hermeto Pascoal. The goal of the course is to enable you to play with more confidence, musicianship, and overall success, and to serve as a natural springboard for study into more specific areas of drum set and percussion study. The techniques, methods, and concepts presented in the course have been developed and refined for over 25 years by course author Yoron Israel, through his extensive teaching, performing, and recording experiences.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand basic time
  • Develop proper grip, playing area, and sound
  • Improve the balance and evenness between your hands
  • Play drum rudiments, including the double stroke roll, single stroke roll, paradiddle, double paradiddle, triple paradiddle, drag, drag paradiddle #1, flam, and flam accent
  • Develop basic snare drum reading skills
  • Interpret drum set charts
  • Improve your overall coordination, touch, and dynamics
  • Play common groove patterns found in Rhythm and Blues, Pop-Rock, Funk, Rock, Jazz, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban music
  • Play patterns in various time signatures, including 4/4/, 2/4, 3/4, 12/8, 6/8, 9/8, and 5/4
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Syllabus

Lesson 1: The Basics

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 1.1: Click Tracks
  • Assignment 1: Etude and ‘Separate Ways’ Play-Along 

Lesson 2: The Basics 2

  • Introduction
  •  Musicianship 
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique 
  • Reading
  • Drum Set Coordination
  • Required Listening 
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development 
  • Discussion 2.1: Repertoire Development 
  • Assignment 2: Etude and "Flashlight" Play-along

Lesson 3: Table of Time and Ghost Notes

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 3.1: Ghost Notes
  • Assignment 3: Etudes and ‘Cold Sweat’ Play-Along

Lesson 4: Single Stroke Roll and 32nd Notes

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 4.1: Heel Up and Heel Down
  • Assignment 4: Etude and ‘Swingtown’ Style Play-Along 

Lesson 5: Double Stroke Open Roll and Bossa Nova

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 5.1: Bossa Nova Feel
  • Assignment 5: Etude and Play-Along in the Style of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’

Lesson 6: Samba

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 6.1: Utilizing Samba Variations
  • Assignment 6: Etude and Samba Variations

Lesson 7: Half-Time Shuffle

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 7.1: ‘Rosanna’ Analysis
  • Assignment 7: Paradiddle Cadence, Etude, ‘Rosanna’

Lesson 8: Compound Meter Grooves

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 8.1: Personalizing a Drum Part
  • Assignment 8: Etude and ‘Spellbound’

Lesson 9: Afro Cuban 6/8

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  •  Discussion 9.1: Afro-Cuban Feel 
  • Assignment 9: Etude and ‘Afro Blue’

Lesson 10: Jazz Shuffle

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 10.1: Jazz Shuffle Recording Analysis
  • Assignment 10: Etude and ‘Things Ain’t What They Used to Be’

Lesson 11:Swinging

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  •  Discussion 11.1: Favorite Jazz Recording
  • Assignment 11: Paradiddle-Diddle and ‘April In Paris’

Lesson 12: Cha Cha

  • Musicianship
  • Hand-to-Hand Technique
  • Reading
  • Exercise: Drum Set Coordination
  • Repertoire Development
  • Discussion 12.1: Challenges
  • Assignment 12: Nine-Stroke Roll and ‘Naima’

Requirements

Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Theory 101 or equivalent knowledge and experience, in addition to at least one year of playing experience is required. Take the Music Theory self-assessment quiz to determine your level.

You should have a location for practicing regularly. You should have some understanding of common note values for reading music, be able to perform simple grooves on your instrument with adequate sound production, and have physical capabilities on the instrument necessary to record weekly homework assignments.

Textbook(s)

  • No textbooks required

Recording

  • Students are required to record video while performing with a backing track for their assignments. Options for recording video include:
    • Smartphone
    • Digital camera
    • Webcam (using either video recording software, or the video recording tool that is built into the learning environment)

Instrument

  • Acoustic or electronic drum kit
  • 12" Evans Real Feel Practice Pad
  • 1 pair of medium sized (5A, 5B, 2A, etc.) matched drumsticks

Hardware

  • Students are required to capture their drum performance, as well as monitor audio output. Options include:
    • Input (one required):
      • Electronic drum set connected directly to audio interface (recommended non-acoustic option; alternatively, the microphone options below can be used with amplified instruments)
      • Electronic drum set connected directly to computer via MIDI/USB to control software samples
      • XLR microphone(s) and audio interface (recommended acoustic option)
      • USB microphone
      • Built-in computer/mobile device microphone
    • Output (one required):
      • Headphones (recommended option; required if multitracking and/or input monitoring a microphone)
      • Studio monitors and audio interface
      • Built-in or external speakers
  • Note: Depending on your setup, you may also need XLR/instrument cables and microphone stand(s).
  • Music stand
  • Recommended: Isolation headphones, such as Vic Firth SIH2 Stereo Isolation Headphones
  • Recommended: Printer, if you would like to print out examples used in the course.

Other

  • Metronome (hardware or software/app)

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu with any questions.


General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection

Instructors

Yoron Israel

Author & Instructor

Yoron Israel is a drummer, percussionist, composer, band leader, educator, and author. Formerly on the Rutgers University, William Paterson University, and Mannes New School faculty, He is Department Chair and Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music. Yoron also serves as Pastor of Music and Arts at Destiny Life Center International Church, Randolph, MA. He has performed with such varied and notable artists as Otis Clay, Shirley Caesar, Kenny Burrell, Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Abbey Lincoln, Ahmad Jamal, Benny Golson, David "Fathead" Newman, Curtis Fuller, Art Farmer, Clark Terry, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutchinson, James Williams, Joe Lovano, and many more. 

Additionally, Yoron Israel is featured on over 300 recordings with various illustrious artists as an accompanist. As a leader, He has recorded seven albums, including his most being, New Dreams, featuring his ensemble "Trio Plus." Other critical acclaimed works include This Moment and Visions: The Music of Stevie Wonder, with his quartet "High Standards;" Basic Traneing, which reached number 3 on the National Jazz Charts and Chicago, with Yoron's Organ group "Organic;" Live at the Blue Note, and A Gift for You, featuring his quintet "Connection." As a co-leader of the Yoron Israel/Frank Walton Sextet, Yoron has produced three recordings, including Live in ChicagoThe Back Step, and Live at the HotHouse. Mr. Israel tours regularly with pianist Laszlo Gardony, The Makanda Project, vocalist Shawn Monteiro, and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard when not leading his own bands.

Yoron's influences include Jazz, World, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Funk, R&B, and Orchestral Music. He received his Bachelor's degree in music from Roosevelt University and a Master's degree in music from Rutgers University. He has been recognized in publications such as Jazz.com, Variety, Jazz Improv Magazine, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Stick It, and Percussive Notes. Also, Israel is the author of the educational DVD Creative Jazz Improvisation for Drum Set (Hal Leonard/Berklee Press) and the Berklee online course Drum Set Fundamentals. He continues to teach privately, conducts clinics, workshops, residencies, and music camps worldwide.

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Drum Set Performance 101 can be applied towards the completion of these related programs:


Questions?

Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

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