Developing Regular Time
Regular time should be just that.... Regular. The spaces in between the notes need to be consistent if the groove is to work. So if we find ourselves getting out of time, it makes sense that we need to adjust the space in between ALL the notes to get back on track. This skill needs to be developed. Try this exercise to develop your skill at maintaining regular time.
Speed Control and Endurance with Your Hands
We all want to develop speed, control and endurance with our hands, right? So we could just set our metronome to a high BPM and wail away hoping that if we stick at it, it'll come sooner or later. But is this really the best way to develop our muscle strength and versatility?
Note Groupings - Taking Five Back to Four
It's relatively common to use note groupings, either while playing grooves or fills. One of the most common examples is when we play groups of 3 sixteenth notes. Think of the opening drum fill played by Phil Collins on the track "In the air tonight"... Another possibility, often heard in more complex music, is to play groups of 5 sixteenths. In this demonstration however, we turn the idea on its head by playing a quintuplet based groove and then playing groups of 4 quintuplets.
Developing Hi Hat Technique - The Left Hand Hi Hat Sweep
Here's a little technique that you can use to easily slip some 16th notes hi hat strokes into your groove with your left hand.
The Interjecting Foot - Speed and Accuracy on Your Bass Drum
A lot of gospel chops style fills that we often hear include rapid interjection of the bass drum between figures played by the hands. Here is an exercice that will help you to develop speed and accuracy on the bass drum, and will test your ability to play those interjecting foot strokes in the most awkward places.
Stay Where You Are - A Different Approach to Hand / Foot Drum Fills
Here's a slightly different approach to orchestrating some hand / foot coordination based drum fills.
Rob Hirons is a drummer, drum teacher and coach. He started out his drumming career studying with teachers Ray Payne, Ronnie Bottomley, Dave Hassell and Tony Faulkner in England and then later with Dom Famularo in New York. He graduated at the City of Leeds College of Music in 1996 gaining his Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Jazz Studies.
Rob’s vast playing experience includes performances, tours and albums with St Christopher, The Rob Donnelly Band, Watcha Clan, Rona Hartner, Jean Michel Kajdan, Therese Themlin, and Hofmann Family Blues Experience to name but a few. As well as these projects, Rob recently played with rock / pop band The Page, one of the busiest gigging bands in the region. Never one to slow down, Rob has also recently founded his own powerful jazz fusion trio Isnard – Tomi – Hirons.
In parallel with his work as a performing artist, Rob has also heavily dedicated his career to drumming education. Over the years he has combined his technical proficiency with his extensive playing experience to provide personal drum coaching to hundreds of upcoming drummers. More than providing simple drum lessons, Rob’s coaching sessions are designed to maximise the undiscovered potential of drum students, accompanying them on their journey to achieve their goals and aspirations.
As well as personal drum coaching, Rob is Course Director at the acclaimed music school MLC Academy Marseille. He teaches on the Drum Course throughout the year and directs the academy’s week long intensive courses for drums, guitar, bass and vocals during each holiday period.
When Rob is not providing one on one teaching or coaching sessions with students, he regularly performs at larger educational events such as drum clinics, camps and masterclasses. Working in partnership with Mapex Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Promark Sticks and Evans Drumheads, he has performed alongside such drummers as Carmine Appice, Damien Schmitt, Mike Terrana, Dave Lombardo, George Kollias, Dirk Brand, Dom Famularo, Aquiles Preister, Gabor Dornyei, Pete Lockett, and John Favicchia. In late 2013 Rob gave a dynamic drum clinic performance at the prestigious Drummers Collective in New York City and also performed at many of the renowned Sam Ash retails stores on the East Coast.
Having this constant desire to share modern drum techniques with others, Rob wrote the book Groove Facility with Dom Famularo. Distributed by Alfred Publishing, Groove Facility sells worldwide and has gained excellent reviews throughout the drumming community and press.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT ROB
"I have known Rob Hirons for some years now.
Besides being a fine drum set player, he also excels at education and has an honest commitment to sharing his knowledge to his students and anyone interested in developing their drumming to the next level. A fine example of what many teachers and players should aspire towards."
PETE LOCKETT // PERCUSSIONIST AND PERFORMING ARTIST, BJORK, PETER GABRIEL, ROBERT PLANT, AMY WINEHOUSE
"To me, Rob is a coach rather than a formal teacher,...
...with whom I feel close in the way he approaches teaching the instrument. Beyond the weekly session (rudiments, coordination, independence, playing charts…), he also performs a critical analysis of my playing and pays attention to subtle aspects which help improve my playing : stick grip, motion studies, overall positioning, foot positioning, mind set… Also the way he helps me to improve my rhythmic creativity : building solos, advice on grooves and fills in connection with the chart… I strongly recommend Rob to anyone who would either like to start drumming or would like to improve their practice."
LAURENT NONY // REGULAR STUDENT SINCE 2015
"I first decided to travel to France from Malaysia...
...to study with Rob as my first drum teacher. He is honest, caring, knows what works and what doesn’t work, what should we pay more attention as a drummer… He explains things clearly, specifically working on Moeller Techniques. Give Rob a try and you’ll feel the same way!"
DAVIS CHEE YIH LEE // VISITING STUDENT
"Rob came to London for us to do a clinic...
...and i was totally blown away by his musical fluency, his great technique, and his rapport with the audience, and his attention to preparation for the event. Thank you Rob for a great show!"
COLIN WOOLWAY // CO-FOUNDER DRUMSENSE, UK
"My live online video lesson with Rob was just what I needed.
We were able to discuss in great detail the concepts I was working on while I was able to sit at my own kit, in my own studio. I look forward to our next one."
JONATHAN CURTIS // ONLINE STUDENT