Funk/R&B Drums

Author: Jim Payne   •   Course Code: OPERC-263

Funk/R&B drums plays a major role in much of the music we hear today. For example, Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's drummer and the original "Funky Drummer," created one of most sampled rhythmic breaks ever - a key component of countless songs found in both hip-hop and popular music.

In Funk/R&B Drums, you'll focus on developing solid time and an "in the pocket," laid-back time feel to your playing. To that end, you'll explore topics such as triplet-based blues and gospel patterns, shuffles, New Orleans style R&B, ghost notes, bass drum technique, sixteenth-note patterns, various hi-hat patterns and openings, fills, displaced backbeats, playing and setting up ensemble figures, and drum breaks. You'll learn about the history of this style, starting with the blues and gospel music and moving toward the highly syncopated and sixteenth-note based rhythms of the 70s and 80s.

Each lesson includes video demonstrations, listening analyses, transcriptions, practice exercises, and an assignment in which you will perform over a song track that contains the elements covered in the lesson. The course also covers many of the artists who were instrumental in creating this style, including Clyde Stubblefield, Earl Palmer, B. B. King, James Brown, Jabo Starks, Ray Charles, Average White Band, Kool and the Gang, The Meters, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste, Tower of Power, David Garibaldi, Aretha Franklin, Bernard Purdie, Earth, Wind & Fire, Herbie Hancock, and Medeski, Martin & Wood.

The course is geared to players who have a basic knowledge of rock and are interested in expanding their skill set, students who may be on the path to a professional career, and jazz players who may not be familiar with funk and want to learn the genre. The goal of the course is to enable you to play songs and improvise rhythms in the style of funk and R&B.

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

  • Identify the blues and gospel roots of R&B and funk drumming
  • Perform triplet-based blues and gospel rhythms, the up-tempo two-beat gospel/R&B groove, basic and double shuffles, and New Orleans eighth-note groove syncopated bass drum patterns
  • Put swing feel into R&B and funk rhythms
  • Apply eighth-note and sixteenth-note hi-hat patterns with various openings
  • Play syncopated 16th note bass drum patterns
  • Play R&B fills
  • Perform with kicks, ensemble figures, and fills
  • Perform rhythms with displaced backbeats and ghost notes
  • Perform linear rhythms with swing feel
  • Analyze and play four classic drum breaks
  • Orchestrate the Latin clave, the rhumba and two latin cowbell patterns on the drumset
  • Apply the "buzz" and other embellishments to your playing

Lesson 1: Blues, Gospel, and the Shuffle: The Roots of R&B and Funk

  • Slow Blues and Gospel
  • Song Form
  • The Basic Shuffle
  • The Double Shuffle
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 2: New Orleans R&B—The Eighth-Note Groove

  • Eighth-Note New Orleans-Style Rhythms: The Basic Framework of Funk
  • Adding Syncopated Bass Drum Patterns to the New Orleans Groove
  • Adding Hi-Hat Openings to New Orleans Rhythms
  • Repertoire Development
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 3: Ghost Notes

  • Sixteenth Note Count
  • Ghost Note Rhythms 1 (Single Ghost Notes)
  • Ghost Note Rhythms 2 (Double Ghost Notes)
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 4: Focus on the Bass Drum and the Groove

  • Funk with Sixteenths on the Bass Drum
  • In the Groove
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 5: Up-Tempo Shuffles and Soul Ballads

  • The Shuffle Continued
  • Soul Ballads
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 6: Focus on the Bass Drum and Playing with the Bass Player

  • Getting Started
  • Playing with the Bass Player
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 7: Fills, Kicks, and Ghost Notes with Sixteenth-Note Bass Drum Patterns

  • Fills
  • Kicks and Ensemble Figures
  • More Ghost Notes With Sixteenth-Note Bass Drum Patterns
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 8: Displaced Backbeats and the Sixteenth-Note Hi-Hat Pattern

  • Displacing the Backbeat
  • Sixteenths with The Right-Hand
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 9: Focus on the Hi-Hat

  • Sixteenths on the Hi-Hat with Two Hands
  • Hi-Hat on the "Ands"
  • Paradiddle Possibilities and Other Hi-Hat Patterns
  • Creative Hi-Hat Openings
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 10: Linear Drumming, Contrasting Sections, and Swing Feel

  • Linear Drumming
  • Contrasting Sections
  • Swing Feel in Funk and R&B
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 11: Half-Time Shuffle, Drum Breaks, and Latin Influence

  • The Half-Time Shuffle
  • Drum Breaks
  • Latin Influence: The Clave, the Rhumba, and Latin Cowbell Patterns
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Lesson 12: Dynamics, Embellishments, and Putting It All Together 

  • Dynamics
  • Embellishments
  • Following the Form and Putting It All Together
  • Listening and Playing Exercises

Jim Payne

Author & Instructor

Labeled the "Buddy Rich or Billy Cobham of funk drumming" by JazzTimes magazine, Jim Payne has had a long career as a drummer, educator, producer, and collaborator with the best in jazz and funk. He has performed with the J. B. Horns, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, and his own band Jim Payne Band, in addition to playing every major European and US jazz and blues festival, including the Montreaux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Paris Jazz Festival.

Payne is the author of several books, including Drumming with the Mambo King (written with the late Tito Puente). He has also released a number of albums and DVDs. He is a well-known clinician, having performed clinics at many colleges, drum stores, and the annual PASIC International Percussion Convention. He taught at Drummers Collective for 10 years, teaches privately at Drummers World in New York City, and also runs the Manhattan Jazz Workshop at the Church St. School of Music and Art. He is a regular contributor to Modern Drummer magazine.

Payne has produced records for Medeski Martin & Wood (It's A Jungle in Here and Friday Afternoon in The Universe), The J.B. Horns (Pee Wee, Fred & Maceo, and Funky Good Time), Mike Clark and Paul Jackson (The Funk Stops Here), and more.

Prerequisites

Completion of Music Theory 101 and Drum Set Fundamentals, or equivalent knowledge. You should be able to play basic rock and blues songs on the drum set, have a basic understanding of standard drum set notation, and be able to play simple rhythms in quarter notes and eighth notes in standard drum set notation.


Required Textbooks


Software Requirements

  • Webcam recording software

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

Assignments in this course will require you to use a webcam to record yourself performing along with backing tracks. In order to record your performances with backing tracks successfully, you will need a computer, microphone, webcam, webcam recording software, and speakers. You will also need

  • Acoustic or electronic drum kit
  • Drumsticks
  • Metronome (for an online version, see http://www.metronomeonline.com)
  • Microphone (unless you are using an electronic drum kit/drum brain for assignments), such as a Samson C01, Shure SM57, or Shure SM58, along with a mic stand
  • Optional: CD/MP3 player (separate from computer) and mixer
  • Optional: —for those using electronic drum kits: CD/MP3 player (separate from computer) and drum brain
  • Optional: isolation headphones, such as Vic Firth's SIH1 Drummer's Headphones
  • Optional: printer, so that you can print out music examples used in the course
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)

Comments

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  • Level
    Level 2
  • Duration
    12 weeks
  • 3-Credit Tuition
    $1,479
  • or
  • Non-Credit Tuition
    $1,229

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