Hot Percussion How-Tos

How To: Play various rhythms on bongos

Itching to start slapping some bongo skins? In this three-part bongo tutorial, learn how to play various bongo rhythms. Hosted by Manny Cepeda (a composer, songwriter, & performer), you will learn the Son Rhythm (4/4) Martillo, the Borello Rhythm, and Guaguanco Rhythm.

How To: Treat the skin on your bodhrán drum

Michelle Stewart of BodhranExpert.com demonstrates to viewers how to treat the skin on a Bodhran drum. The skin on this particular drum is made of goat skin and, much like your own skin, must be treated with a skin-conditioning treatment in order to maintain proper moisture.

How To: Practice the double stop mallet technique

Over the past 5-10 years, there has been an enormous growth in 4-mallet percussion. With the rapid increase in popularity, there comes the possibility of students moving too quickly through the learning process, or not having adequate instruction. In this installment from his video tutorial series on four-mallet percussion, Gifford Howarth illustrates exercises to isolate the interval changing motion of inside and outside mallets on a mallet instrument such as a vibraphone.

How To: Master the basics of the timbales

Take heart, aspiring timbaleros and timbaleras. Eguie Castrillo, having played with everyone from Tito Puente to Steve Winwood, is one of the world's most prolific timbale artists. In this two-part installment of his video tutorial series on the fundamentals of timbale playing, Eguie will demonstrate the parts of the timbale drums, grip types and playing positions. Take a look!

How To: Do drum music for the Chinese Lion Dance

In these lion dance video instruction clips, learn about the music of the Southern style Chinese New Year Lion Dance and how it influences and directs the ceremony. Listen to the cymbals and drums as the Buddha puts the lion through its paces, taunting him with his fan. Learn how the different instruments create emotional soundscapes related to the narrative of the lion dance. Get an in-depth look at Chinese lion dance drum music in this video series, a thousand years in the making.

How To: Tune an Indian tabla drum

The tabla is a popular Indian drum used in the classical, popular and religious music of the Indian subcontinent and in Hindustani classical music. This how to video teaches you to tune a tabla. Watch this tutorial and you will be playing and tuning an Indian tabla drum in no time.

How To: Hold the bodhrán drum tipper

There are two recommended ways to hold the Bodhran Drum tipper for beginners. The first way is called the "curved wrist" technique. You put the stick in between the area of your index and thumb finger. Then you put the end of the stick in between your index and middle finger. You must make sure not to keep your fingers tight, they must be elongated and resting gently on the stick. When you drum, you keep your wrist curved and swing your hand up and down. The next method is the "straight wrist...

How To: Drum an easy swing beat for a beginner

For anyone who is new to the drums or is an aspiring professional drummer, this video will show you a simple beat that could help you build rhythm--the swing beat. Jonathan, the drum tutor in this video, demonstrates how to perform the easy swing beat using the cymbal, bass drum and snare. First, Jonathan shows you the how to hit the cymbal three times--only not in a consecutive manner. You have to hit the cymbal once and then two more times closer together. Then Jonathan demonstrates how to ...

How To: Tune the timbales

Take heart, aspiring timbaleros and timbaleras. Eguie Castrillo, having played with everyone from Tito Puente to Steve Winwood, is one of the world's most prolific timbale artists. In this installment of his video tutorial series on the fundamentals of timbale playing, Eguie will walk you through the process of tuning your drums.

How To: Play the upstroke drum rudiment

Whether you're a first day beginner or have been playing the drums for several years, learning the fundamentals of technique, rudiments and music reading is very important. In this installment from his video tutorial series on the fundamentals of snare drumming, Mark Wessels demonstrates how to play the upstroke drum rudiment. Take a look!

How To: Build a propane tank Hank drum

You want to get your hands on the notorious Hang drum, but you can't because it's too expensive. Well, try your hands at the Hank drum, a Hang drum alternative that's cheap and easy to make. It was first invented by Dennis Havlena to imitate the Hang drum, and was made from old propane tanks. This video will show you the process of constructing your own Hank drum instrument from an empty propane tank, drill, electric saw, hacksaw blade, wrench, file and tuner. This project could cost you unde...

How To: Play the dhol drum

The dhol is a drum or percussive instrument, widely used in Bangladesh , India and Pakistan, usually the Punjab region, the Indian/Pakistani province of Punjab, Maharastra and Gujarat. This 4 part video is an introduction to the dhol and how to begin to play this ancient double sided drum. Watch these tutorial and you will be able to play the dhol in no time.

How To: Play relas on the tabla

Interested in learning how to play the tabla? In this installment from his video series of free tabla lessons, Debu Nayak introduces the rela and demonstrates how to play one. While these tutorials are geared towards absolute beginners, even seasoned percussionists are likely to pick something up. To get started playing relas on your own tabla, take a look.

How To: Understand time signatures & BPM (beats per minute)

Walt Ribeiro shows you how beats per minute work along with time signatures. This video takes you through the steps with a detailed explanation of how they work together and is executed using a drum along with a handy saying to help you keep your time signatures going steady to the beats per minute. Walt explains this using an electronic tempo clock while changing up the time signature. If you have ever had a music question with how these two things relate to each other then video is for you.

How To: Play an uthan, or opening flourish, on the tabla

Interested in learning how to play the tabla? In this installment from his video series of free tabla lessons, Debu Nayak instroduces the tabla and demonstrates how to play an uthan, an opening flourish. While these tutorials are geared towards absolute beginners, even seasoned percussionists are likely to pick something up. To get started playing uthans on your own tabla, take a look.

How To: Dampen, or muffle, a concert bass drum

Tom Gauger has played percussion with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras for over 35 years and has also served on the faculty at Boston University and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In this installment from his series of video lessons dedicated to breaking down the basic skills necessary for playing the concert bass drum, Tom will teach you three basic dampening techniques.

How To: Identify and name the parts of the drum kit

If you want to learn how to play the drums, it follows that you start with the basics. And it doesn't get a lot more basic than being able to name the constituent elements of a drum kit. This free video drumming lesson will teach you how to do just that. For more information, and to learn how to identify various drum types yourself, take a look.

How To: Play a basic conga drum sequence

In this video are the Afro-Cuban Percussion Class at Grossmont College, with instructor Manny Cepeda to show us how to play a Meringue rhythm on the Conga Drums. He starts off with a slow beat by beat demonstration and then moves on to a faster beat. The camera changes the view so that you can see both a front and back view of him drumming. Once he has shown the basics he shows the different variations you can use and the various counts that you can start on.

How To: Play the "Four Sticks" groove on drums

Check out this music tutorial video that demonstrates how to play the "Four Sticks" groove on drums. Led Astray drummer "Fronzo" explains his approach to the Four Sticks drum groove. John Bonham of Led Zeppelin played this song with two sets of drum sticks, which is where the title of the song comes from. Learn how to play with Four Sticks by watching this instructional drum playing video.

How To: Play shaker percussion

In this music lesson, learn how to play percussion shakers from musician Ryan Larson. Ryan will show you basic shaker percussion techniques and patterns such as loose rolling effects and muting effects. He will teach you how to play percussion shakers with "soul", and how to play shakers with a band.

How To: Hit a snare when playing the drums

In this drum lesson for beginners, you'll learn how to play a snare drum. Regardless of your preferred style of music, if you want to be great, you'll need your head and hands on the same page. And there's no better way to get your head and hands on the same page than to practice. Happily, the Internet is awash in video tutorials like this one. For more information, watch this free video drummers' guide.

How To: Practice without a bodhrán and make your own tipper

In this how to video, you will learn how to practice without a Bodhran and make your own tipper. This is useful if you do not have enough money to buy a Bodhran or you want to practice silently. To make a tipper, buy skewers from any place. Take about 14 and put the together. Tie them together with 2 rubber bands. You can get different sounds depending on the distant of the rubber band from the end of the sticks. Next, you must get a practice board. A clip board can be used for one. You can m...

How To: Play rolls on a concert bass drum

Tom Gauger has played percussion with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops Orchestras for over 35 years and has also served on the faculty at Boston University and the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. In this installment from his series of video lessons dedicated to breaking down the basic skills necessary for playing the concert bass drum, Tom will teach you how to play a roll on your bass drum. Play "Thus Spake Zarathustra" with this how-to!

How To: Play the Indian tabla drum

The tabla is a popular Indian drum used in the classical, popular and religious music of the Indian subcontinent and in Hindustani classical music. This 11 part how to video teaches you the basics of playing the tabla. Watch these tutorials and you will be playing this Indian drum in no time.

How To: Play 7/4 odd time beats

This lesson includes six drum beats that are played in the 7/4 time signature. They are all considered odd-time, due to the fact that they aren't counted like popular 4/4 drum beats. The beats are still counted with quarter notes, but include seven in each measure instead of four. Watch the included video for adddition information.

How To: Play 16th notes on the drums

In this drum lesson for beginners, you'll learn how to fret and play 16th notes. Regardless of your preferred style of music, if you want to be great, you'll need your head and hands on the same page. And there's no better way to get your head and hands on the same page than to practice. Happily, the Internet is awash in video tutorials like this one. For more information, and to get started playing sixteenth notes yourself, watch this free video drummers' guide.

How To: Play drums using the push pull technique

This how to video will teach you how to perform the push pull technique on drums. If you want to throw a double, you can start with a single and get an accent on the double for an inverted double. Just push and grab really quick. For a double, use a controlled rebound. For the inverted double, start with a single and dig out the second stroke of the double. A french grip is useful for performing this technique. This is good for ghostings and shuffles. For shuffles, you can use a controlled re...

How To: Play a cha-cha (cha) bell pattern on the timbales

Take heart, timbaleros y timbaleras. Eguie Castrillo is one of the world's most prolific timbale artists. He has played with everyone from Tito Puente to Steve Winwood. In this installment from his video tutorial series on the fundamentals of timbale playing, Eguie will walk you through how to play a cha-cha pattern on your drums.

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