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The Legendary Neil Peart. 

Neil Peart, often hailed as one of the greatest drummers in rock music, was born on September 12, 1952, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He rose to prominence as the drummer and primary lyricist for the legendary rock band Rush. Peart's influence on drumming and songwriting is widely recognized and admired by musicians and fans around the world.

Peart joined Rush in 1974, replacing the band's original drummer, John Rutsey. His technical precision, complex drumming patterns, and innovative use of percussion made him a standout musician in the rock genre. Peart's drumming style blended elements of rock, jazz, and progressive music, creating a unique sound that became synonymous with Rush's music. He was known for his intricate drum solos, which showcased his technical prowess and creative flair.

In addition to his drumming skills, Peart also made a significant impact as a lyricist. He wrote thought-provoking and poetic lyrics that explored a wide range of themes, including philosophy, science fiction, personal introspection, and societal issues. Peart's lyrics often showcased his intellectual depth and his ability to weave complex narratives into songs.

Peart's contributions to Rush's extensive discography are numerous, with standout albums including "2112," "Moving Pictures," "Permanent Waves," and "Clockwork Angels." His drumming and songwriting helped define Rush's progressive rock sound and cemented their status as one of the most influential bands of all time.

Offstage, Peart was known for his dedication to his craft and his relentless pursuit of perfection. He constantly sought to improve his skills as a musician, often taking on new challenges and incorporating different drumming techniques into his performances. His dedication to his craft earned him the respect and admiration of fellow musicians and fans alike.

Tragically, Neil Peart passed away on January 7, 2020, after a private battle with brain cancer. His loss was deeply felt by the music community, and his legacy as a visionary drummer and talented lyricist continues to inspire aspiring musicians and fans worldwide. Neil Peart's contributions to music, both as a drummer and a songwriter, will forever be remembered and celebrated as a testament to his incredible talent and artistic vision. His technical proficiency, creative drumming patterns, and meticulous attention to detail have left an indelible mark on the drumming community.



John Bonham - The Powerhouse! 

John Bonham's Timeless Influence on Drumming: Celebrating a Legend

When it comes to legendary drummers who have left an indelible mark on the music world, few names hold as much reverence as John Bonham. As the rhythmic powerhouse behind Led Zeppelin, Bonham's innovative and explosive drumming style revolutionized the way drums were played and forever influenced generations of musicians. Let's pay tribute to the iconic drummer and explore the lasting impact of his unmatched talent.

The Birth of a Legend:
Born on May 31, 1948, in Redditch, England, Bonham started playing drums at an early age, honing his craft in various local bands before landing the gig that would define his career. His raw energy, impeccable timing, and thunderous beats quickly set him apart from his contemporaries and caught the attention of Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones, leading to the formation of Led Zeppelin in 1968.

The Bonham Sound:
Bonham's drumming style was characterized by his powerful, heavy-handed approach, often referred to as "Bonham's thunder." His ability to create thunderous grooves with a deep pocket, combined with his dynamic use of dynamics and impeccable timing, made him a force to be reckoned with. Bonham's drumming was not just about rhythm; it was a sonic assault that elevated Led Zeppelin's music to new heights. Are you familiar with "Bonham Triplets"?

Influencing Generations:
Bonham's impact on drumming cannot be overstated. His groundbreaking techniques, such as his use of triplets, intricate bass drum patterns, and his ability to seamlessly blend rock, blues, and funk, have influenced countless drummers across various genres. His creation of iconic drum parts, like the unforgettable intro to "When the Levee Breaks," showcased his innovative approach and cemented his status as a true drumming pioneer. This drum beat in particular has been sampled by many hip-hop artists including the Beastie Boys in their song Rhymin' and Stealin'.

Legacy and Continued Inspiration:
Although Bonham's life was tragically cut short in 1980, his influence continues to resonate with drummers worldwide. His legacy lives on through the countless musicians who have been inspired by his style and seek to emulate his thunderous sound. From rock to metal, blues to funk, Bonham's impact remains unmatched, and his drumming continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

Celebrating Bonham's Legacy: To fully appreciate the brilliance of John Bonham's drumming, here are some YouTube links to some of his most iconic performances:

- "Moby Dick" (Live at Royal Albert Hall, 1970) 
- "Kashmir" (Live at Knebworth 1979Live at Knebworth 1979Live Live at Knebworth 1979at Knebworth 1979)Live at Knebworth 1979
- "Rock and Roll" (Live at Madison Square Garden, 1973)
- "Good Times Bad Times" (Live in Copenhagen, 1979)

John Bonham's influence on drumming cannot be overstated. His raw power, innovative techniques, and unwavering groove continue to inspire and captivate drummers across the globe. As we celebrate his legacy, let us remember John Bonham as a true icon and an unparalleled force in the world of drumming.


Billy Cobham - A drummer every drummer should be familiar with. 

Billy Cobham is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer, percussionist, bandleader, and composer. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time, and his playing helped to define the sound of jazz fusion in the 1970s.

Check out this solo in which he uses his famous yellow kit with a double bass drum 🤘😎🤘.

Cobham was born in Panama City, Panama, in 1944. He began playing drums at a young age, and by the time he was in his teens, he was playing professionally in Panamanian dance bands. In 1964, he moved to the United States to study music at the Manhattan School of Music.

After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, Cobham began playing in New York City jazz clubs. He soon became one of the most in-demand drummers in the city, and he played with a variety of jazz musicians, including Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, and Stanley Turrentine.

In 1971, Cobham joined the Mahavishnu Orchestra, a groundbreaking jazz fusion band led by guitarist John McLaughlin. With the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Cobham helped to develop a new style of drumming that combined elements of jazz, rock, and funk. His playing on albums such as The Inner Mounting Flame and Birds of Fire is considered to be some of the most innovative and influential drumming of all time.

I suggest following the Mahavishnu Orchestra on Spotify.

After leaving the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1973, Cobham pursued a solo career. He released a number of albums as a bandleader, including Spectrum, Crosswinds, and Stratus. He also continued to work as a session musician, and he appeared on albums by a variety of artists, including George Benson, Miles Davis, and Jeff Beck.

Cobham has continued to be active as a musician and educator. He has released several more albums as a bandleader, and he has toured extensively around the world. He is also a professor at the Berklee College of Music.

And of course, he is on Spotify as well! 

Billy Cobham is a true legend of jazz drumming. His playing has influenced countless drummers, and his music continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.

Here are some of the other things that Billy Cobham is known for:

  • He was a pioneer of the double bass drum setup, which is now standard for many drummers.
  • He was one of the first drummers to use electronic drums in a jazz context.
  • He was a master of polyrhythms and complex time signatures.
  • He was a highly expressive and melodic drummer.
  • He was a highly influential teacher and mentor to many younger drummers.

Billy Cobham is a true icon of jazz drumming. His playing has had a profound impact on the music world, and he continues to be an inspiration to drummers of all ages.

10 Must Own Books For Every Drummer 

Below is a list of books that every drummer should own. These are standard in the industry and you should be able to talk about each of these fluently as well as knowing the strengths and shortcomings of each. You gain this ability by having worked through them and having applied them to your own playing. You don’t need to buy these all at once and the order I have listed below is my suggested order of purchase and focus. You don't need to complete each book before buying the next, but you shouldn't rush the process. If you pair the books with related YouTube content you will be making very good use of your time. With enough creativity, these books will last you a lifetime. Don't rush the process. Enjoy each book for the value they bring. 

  1. Progressive Steps To Syncopation For the Modern Drummer by Ted Reed: This is one of the most versatile and practical works ever written for drums. Created exclusively to address syncopation, it has earned its place as a standard tool for teaching beginning drummers syncopation and strengthening reading skills. This book includes many accented eighths, dotted eighths and sixteenths, eighth-note triplets, and sixteenth notes for extended solos. In addition, teachers can develop many of their own examples from it.
  2. Stick Control: For The Snare Drummer by George Lawrence Stone: This is the original classic, often called the bible of drumming. This is the ideal book for improving control, speed, flexibility, touch, rhythm, lightness, delicacy, power, endurance, preciseness of execution, and muscular coordination," with extra attention given to the development of the weak hand. This indispensable book for drummers of all types includes hundreds of basic to advanced rhythms and moves through categories of single-beat combinations, triplets, short roll combinations, flam beats, flam triplets and dotted notes, and short roll progressions.
  3. Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer by Jim Chapin: Jim Chapin, known as the Father of Jazz Independence," has written one of the most popular drumset books of all time. This classic work should be in every drummer's library as there is always something new to learn and develop from this masterful book. Whether for a beginner or an accomplished drummer, this system will greatly improve independence and coordination, sticking, power, speed, and endurance on the drumset. Dedicated to Sanford Moeller, this book proves Jim's teaching techniques like no other."
  4. Advanced Funk Studies: Creative Patterns for the Advanced Drummer by Rick Latham: This book will help take your groove to the next level. With author and renowned drummer Rick Latham as your guide, you'll learn hi-hat, funk, and fill patterns. Many of the ideas in this book are derived from some of the most famous and proficient funk drummers. The accompanying audio CDs provide examples of the exercises.
  5. The Sound of Brushes by Ed Thigpen: A step-by-step guide that develops total mastery of the art of brush playing. This new edition is updated and revised with a section on rock applications plus additional brush-stroke techniques. Ed Thigpen's thorough approach includes all patterns shown with full-size diagrams and accompanying CDs containing every beat, pattern, and play-along track.
  6. Afro-Cuban Rhythms for Drumset by Fran Malabe: This book is invaluable to anyone interested in adapting these rhythms to the drum set. An introduction to Afro-Cuban rhythms by Frank Malabe and Bob Weiner, including the history, traditional instruments, and basic styles of Afro-Cuban music. The book explores the complexities of these various styles in a simple, understandable way.
  7. The New Breed: Systems for the Development of Your Own Creativity by Gary Chester: Gary Chester was one of the busiest studio drummers of the '60s and '70s and played on hundreds of hit records. His systems have been used and endorsed by drummers such as Kenny Aronoff, Danny Gottlieb, and Dave Weckl. This is not just another drum book, but rather a system that will help you develop the skills needed to master today's studio requirements. These systems are not designed to be played strictly as exercises but used as tools to develop new musical ideas that can be applied to any and all musical styles. By working with this book, you'll improve your reading, concentration, coordination, right and left-hand lead, and awareness of the click.
  8. Drum Wisdom by Bob Moses: This book presents unique and refreshing concepts about such topics as thinking musically, internal hearing, playing off of melodies and vamps, and much more.
  9. Future Sounds: A Book of Contemporary Drumset Concepts by David Garibaldi: At long last, the secrets of David Garibaldi's groundbreaking funk/jazz fusion drumming techniques are presented in this innovative book and recording. Whether you play rock, heavy metal, jazz, or funk, you'll learn to incorporate Garibaldi's contemporary linear styles and musical concepts into your playing and develop your own unique drumset vocabulary.
  10. Polyrhythms: The Musician’s Guide by Peter Magadini: Peter Magadini's Polyrhythms is acclaimed the world over and has been hailed by Modern Drummer magazine as "by far the best book on the subject." Written for instrumentalists and vocalists alike, this book with online audio contains excellent solos and exercises that feature polyrhythmic concepts. Topics covered include: 6 over 4, 5 over 4, 7 over 4, 3 over 4, 11 over 4, and other rhythmic ratios; combining various polyrhythms; polyrhythmic time signatures; and much more. The audio includes demos of the exercises and is accessed online using the unique code in each book. To see Peter in action demonstrating various polyrhythms, click here


An excerpt from a conversation! #percussionlessons #drumlessons #drummerlife 

Dissertation Hallock strikes again! ...and this time with insight regarding the lovely debate of traditional vs. matched grip. Below is an excerpt from a conversation with one of my students that I thought would be fun to share. This is from the online percussion course I created for the College of Southern Idaho.
*drum nerd alert. #drumlessons #drummerlife #drums 🥁
"Yes if a person doesn't set up the snare drum in a way that accommodates traditional grip when playing the drum set, then the grip feels completely useless. Same thing with the toms. In fact, if a drummer is using the bigger toms that are found on rock kits, it is almost impossible to set up the toms in a way that allows a player to play anything but matched grip.
Are you a Buddy Rich fan? Check out this video ( and notice how the snare is titled to accommodate his grip. Also, notice how the tom is positioned so closely to the snare that his left hand can naturally and fluently move between the tom and the snare. More importantly notice how his left hand rarely touches any other drum besides the snare and 1st tom, which are both set up in a way to be played by his left hand easily. So traditional grip, and the limitations of it, cause players to create creative solutions for their fills and their playing. That is why jazz drummers have such strong left hands and do all that chatter on the snare drum. It also offers opportunities for some creative sticking that creates some badass rhythms and fills that you wouldn't even think about if you just played matched grip. So in a weird sort of way, the limitations of traditional grip actually open up the doors to exciting and creative perspectives.
Are you familiar with Buddy Rich's one-handed roll? Check out this video ( and what he does with his left hand. This video also gives stronger insight into how he sets up his drums to accommodate his grip. This one-handed roll was invented because of what traditional grip offers.
You are correct to suggest there is a certain level of delicacy and intricacy that is achieved with traditional grip, and you are also correct to say that the same level could be achieved with matched grip. In fact, if you are doing both grips correctly and have your playing surfaces adjusted accordingly, you should be able to achieve the exact same things and neither grip is a hindrance. The question then becomes, why take the time to learn them both, and I would have to agree with that perspective to a certain extent. Especially when teaching. There is a lot of damage that can be caused to a student's hands if they play trad. grip incorrectly, so why risk it?
However, as a person grows in their craft you do start to notice certain nuances that are musically expressed differently when swapping between grips. Playing with brushes is a perfect example. Have you spent much time playing with brushes? Brushes are actually easier to play with traditional grip. In fact I often times use traditional grip in both hands when playing the brushes because it allows for some crazy sick patterns that simply can't happen with matched grip. You should give it a shot! In fact, I should create a video about this....maybe we will work on brushes down the road!
Historically speaking, if you are going to study drumset, then you do have a certain obligation to learn trad. grip at its most fundamental level. It is a part of the history of the drum set. If you are going to continue your studies of the instrument, it will be difficult for people to think you are a serious student of the craft if you can't use the grip to some extent. However, I am not suggesting that you need to be 100% fluent, but rather just enough to get by🤓."

Online Percussion Course at The College of Southern Idaho 

So for the past couple of years I have been teaching an online music history course that I designed for The College of Southern Idaho and I am excited to share that I am now in the middle of designing an online percussion course and it has been an absolute blast:). 

Wanna hear all about it?

In this 15 week course, students will learn their major scales on a mallet instrument, take a deep dive into the 26 standard drum rudiments, learn practice techniques, and explore individual interests. This is a perfect course for anybody who is planning on pursuing percussion at the university level, and wants to start accumulating college credit in preparation. It is also a great option if you are a music teacher and need some continuing education hours along with an opportunity to strengthen your percussion knowledge base. Or maybe you know somebody who is working on audition material and needs some coaching? …send 'em my way! 

Yes, you now have two options to earn college credit with me while studying music. My ‘Survey of Jazz and Popular Music’ course has been up and running for a while now, and now my percussion course is another great option to knock out some college credit while hanging out and learning with me! Yay!

I thought I would share a quick excerpt from the course! In this sampling we are talking about employing the ‘open to close’ technique into your practice routine. 


"Open to close" is a practice method for playing drum rudiments that involves starting slowly and gradually increasing the speed until you reach your maximum speed, then slowing back down to the starting speed. This method is often used to help drummers develop their speed and control.

To play a rudiment "open to close," start by playing the rudiment slowly and deliberately. As you get more comfortable with the rudiment, you can start to increase the speed gradually. Once you reach your maximum speed, hold it for a few beats before slowing back down to the starting speed.

Here are some of the benefits of practicing rudiments "open to close":

  • It can help you develop your speed and control.
  • It can help you build up stamina.
  • It can help you improve your accuracy.
  • It can help you develop a consistent sound.
  • It can help you learn new rudiments more quickly.

If you are a drummer who wants to improve your speed, control, and accuracy, I highly recommend practicing rudiments "open to close." It is a simple and effective method that can help you take your drumming to the next level.

Here are some additional tips for practicing rudiments "open to close":

  • Record yourself playing the rudiment and listen back to it to identify any areas that need improvement.
  • Be patient and persistent. It takes time and practice to master this method.

With regular practice, you will eventually be able to play rudiments at a fast and consistent tempo. This will be a valuable skill that will help you improve your drumming in many ways.