Hello everyone, welcome to Beats & Pieces! This book is designed as an extension of my book “The Working Drummer” in which we explored a comprehensive range of world styles, techniques and concepts. We also focused on the history of each style and the legendary musicians synonymous with each genre. This time around we are taking the individual elements and combining them into realistic ‘pieces’ or solos, thus giving the student the opportunity of putting it all together to form a complete performance.
There are generally four key elements to a ‘basic’ drum performance, they are:
1. Play a groove
2. Add an open hi-hat
3. Play a fill
4. Add a cymbal crash
I realise I’m being very general, but this is basically the initial path. Once a student has learnt a groove or fill it’s then a case of knowing how to use it musically. As a teacher I usually find myself writing a four-bar piece along the lines as mentioned. The idea here is to get the ball rolling, or in musical terms, get the bars flowing and the student playing!
So now the bars are ticking by, the next stage is to begin embellishing. Often when teaching I’ll demonstrate a groove and then automatically start building it by adding extra hi-hat beats, accents or perhaps ghost notes on the snare drum. Without fail students will ask ‘what’s all that other stuff you’re adding?’ Well, just as a chef adds seasoning to food I’m doing the same in a rhythmical sense – making the groove ‘tastier’.
This book is designed to improve and embellish your groove playing, develop your sense of building each groove dynamically and widen your vocabulary with a range of realistic and classic fills.
Please remember to be patient and take a long term view regarding your expectations and progress as the majority of techniques, grooves and fills displayed in this book will take years to master.
OK, let’s hit it!
More than 150 grooves for the aspiring drummer!
‘Beats & Pieces’ is the follow-on book from John Trotter’s ‘The Working Drummer’ (AMA No. 610454). This book moves on from individual elements to look at short pieces and solos. ‘Beats & Pieces’ is the ideal handbook for all ability levels and gives students an insight into building grooves and flourishes. With the help of the author, the elements that the pupil has already learned in ‘The Working Drummer’ are combined into pieces and at the end of book the pupil can put together their own performance. This will include four basic elements that can then be arranged and embellished with each additional instrument and with a good use of dynamics.
As in his previous book, the author looks at different styles such as rock, funk, Latin, Afro-Cuban, New Orleans, swing reggae, disco and soul. There is also a range of groove variations which can be played with brushes, tom-toms and double bass. Each example is also on the accompanying CD!
This is a successful book, with solos that are ideal for competitions and performances.
How to Use the Audio CD
Drum Kit Map
1 Eighth Notes
With open hi-hats, fills & crash cymbal
Adding ride cymbal
Adding hi-hat with foot
2 16th Notes
Introduction exercises with eighth note bass drum
With eighth note bass drum, open hi-hats, fills & crash cymbal
Introduction exercises with 16th note bass drum
With 16th note bass drum, open hi-hats, fills & crash cymbal
Adding hi-hat accents
Eighth note hi-hat pattern with 16th note bass drum
3 Hi-Hat Variations
Introduction exercises – adding 32nd notes using 5 and 9 stroke rolls
5 and 9 stroke roll summary
Adding 6 stroke roll
Adding 6 stroke roll, accents & 32nd note fills
32nd note summary
Introduction exercises – alternative hi-hat pattern
Adding 16th note triplet hi-hat fills
Alternative hi-hat patterns & fills summary
4 12/8 & Shuffles
12/8: Introduction exercises
12/8: Adding fills & hi-hat accents
12/8: Alternating hand method – adding 16th notes
12/8 – ‘Funky’: Adding 16th notes
12/8 – ‘Funky’: Adding 32nd notes & fills
Shuffles: Introduction exercises
Shuffles: Adding fills
Shuffles: Adding ghost notes
Half-Time Shuffle: Introduction exercises
Half-Time Shuffle: Adding ghost notes
Blues Shuffle: Introduction exercises – Texas / Chicago two-handed shuffle
Blues Shuffle: Slow version – adding fills & played with ‘rods’
Blues Shuffle: Medium / fast version – adding fills & played with sticks
Basic Swing 1
Basic Swing 2
Swing – 4 Bar Comping 1
Swing – 4 Bar Comping 2
6 Funk / R&B
Funk: Introduction exercises – basic
Funk: Basic summary
Funk: Introduction exercises – intermediate
Funk: Intermediate summary
Funk: Introduction exercises – rods variation
Funk: Rods variation summary
R&B: Triggering samples – listen to the audio
Funk: Adding ride cymbal & hi-hat with foot
Retro Funk / James Brown
Advanced Funk: Introduction exercises – advanced
Advanced Funk: Advanced summary
7 World Grooves
Bossa Nova 1: Brazilian – basic version
Bossa Nova 2: Brazilian – reversed pattern / uptempo version
6/8 Clave – Bembe
World Beat 1
World Beat 2
New Orleans – Second Line
New Orleans – Funk
Rock ‘n’ Roll – Trainbeat
Drum ‘n’ Bass
8 Groove & Fill Alternatives
Tom-Tom Grooves 1 (straight)
Tom-Tom Grooves 2 (shuffle)
Double Bass Drum Grooves
Fills Over the Bar Line
9 Advanced Concepts
Paradiddle Combos with 32nd notes
Basic Odd Time
Advanced Odd Time
Slow Rock Solo
16s Solo – focusing on left hand accents
Fast Rock Solo
Steve Gadd Solo
Steve Gadd Solo – with sticking patterns
Funk / Hip Hop Solo
Latin American Solo
Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, England in 1966, John began playing drums at age 11. He studied with Barry Black at Ronnie Pearson’s Drum Shop and made his first recordings in the shop’s basement studio at 14. He became a full-time professional upon leaving school aged 16 with The Don Smith Band at Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom. After playing many cabaret clubs, cruise ships and summer seasons, he moved to London in the mid-80s.
Initially playing with The Andy Ross Orchestra, John became a respected member of the session community covering all aspects of the music industry, accompanying artists such as: Robbie Williams, Hot Chocolate, Cliff Richard, Georgie Fame, The Corrs, Ruby Turner, Colin Blunstone, Chris Thompson, Barbara Dickson, The Drifters, Robert Hart, James Belushi and 1970s multi-hit maker Tony Burrows. John also toured with rock legends Greenslade, Peter Green’s Splinter Group, Whitesnake’s Moody Marsden and was a member of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band from 1996–2000.
Over the years John has worked for a range of producers and musical directors including: Laurie Latham, Richard Niles, Matthew Fisher, Don Airey, Jeff Bova, Trevor Brown, Simon Webb, Julian Littman, Tony Ashton, Andy Fairweather Low, Raph Ravenscroft, Spike Edney and legendary Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller. But his main employer for 12 years was Philip Pope; the UK’s most prolific composer of countless film soundtracks and TV themes including: Spitting Image, Not the 9 O’Clock News, Jane Horrocks, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Harry Enfield, My Hero, The Lenny Henry Show, Hale & Pace, TFI Friday, Kevin & Perry Go Large and the multi-awardwinning Fast Show.
John has also recorded jingles for: Pepsi, KFC, McDonald’s, Esso, British Telecom, Martini, Heineken, Nescafe, Cadbury, Gillette, Andersen Consulting, Mars, Twix, Vauxhall Cars, Boots, Sharp, Oxford University Press, The Liberal Democrats (UK) and Fuji (Mr Bean series).
Other ventures include a range of educational projects such as demonstrations at the British Music Fair, workshops at the Musicians Institute London, drum teacher at Don Airey’s Rock School and accompanying Paul Westwood on his highly acclaimed Bass Bible.
John relocated to Australia in 2002 and is loving life ‘down under’, playing live with: Michelle Shocked, Joe Camilleri, Rachael Beck and Todd McKenney, Lucky Oceans, Claire Clarke, Alfredo Malabello, Blanche Dubois, Ryan Webb and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun). He’s also contributed to more than 100 albums and EPs.
After becoming an Australian citizen in 2007 he continues to develop his drum school and teach at Wesley and Murdoch colleges.