Friday, April 18, 2008

For FGC probation drummers in CBC

Dear Justin, Collin, Sin Loong, Desmond, Victor Lum, Alvin, Bryan, Kevin, and others (sorry if I forgot to mention ur name)

Hi! How are you? =)

Hope that everything’s well in your job/studies. Sorry that lately you don’t see me in CBC often, due to my hectic drum duty schedule n studies, but I’ll try to be there when I am free. Anyway…

As it is stated in Psalm 33:3

Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

And in 1 Chronicles 25:7

Along with their relatives – all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord.

Therefore, I am writing this to encourage you to continue to pursue excellence in your drumming.

I have put together some drumming tips/advice for you, hope that this will help you to be a better drummer for Christ =) I will continue to write new tips every now and then, heh heh..

1) Don’t be discouraged

You see your peers getting better in drums and you’re still not improving much, or when you’ve made a big mistake while playing in service, or when somebody in the congregation gives you a strange look.. Be confident, always look forward, don’t look back on your mistakes while you are playing. Start your confidence by hitting your first 4 drumstick counts loudly n play a consistent groove. Continue to practice diligently at home or consistently rent a drum studio to practice.

*When I started practicing drums at home (without drumset) 9 years ago, I don’t care whether do other people practice (or if other people can play better with less practice), I just practice, practice, practice… until I become more stable, which is 2-3 years later. Be diligent, and be patient with results.

2) What to do when you are not sure about the song’s tempo

Ever played half-way during service and suddenly lost the ‘speed’ of the song? Look for subtle tempo indicators to help you to play with consistent tempo, eg. Pianist’s feet tapping, guitar strumming speed, hand count, follow the worship leader lip’s singing tempo.

*Learn to read their lips, it helps a lot.

3) The backbone of playing drums is…

Good old consistent drum playing, which means consistent tempo throughout the whole song. This is so overlooked by new drummers, it’s not all about playing cool beats and fill-in.

How to achieve this: PRACTICE at home.

Switch on a studio-recorded song or metronome and practice playing a groove along with the song, practice until your tempo is exactly the same with the drummer in the song. Play with songs with different tempos too, fast, slow, very slow, etc. Make sure your fill-in and crashes are on time too.

*Also practice to play confidently and loudly with the songs/metronome, it’s a totally different ballgame.

Learn to be comfortable playing any drum grooves and fill-ins at any tempo, and at any volume. (eg. play really fast tempo softly, build up at chorus loudly… or play a really slow song loudly & confidently)

EX: As you listen to this song now, "Your Name" by paul baloche (the start of song has no drums). Are you able to swing your hands (imitate playing the drums) and play nicely according to the tempo?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


To: Joel, Daniel, Natalie, Tracey, Johnevan and Ah Kimz

Hi, dear students.

I am sorry to inform you that today is your last lesson, we will have a long break and class will resume again on 23 March, this is because of Chinese New Year and my involvement in a live recording project.

Meanwhile, I have some drum assignments for you during your 9-weeks break. While completing each assignment heartily, I strongly encourage you practice 30mins daily at home and practice 30mins weekly with a real drum set.

These are your assignments:

1) Memorise all 10 fill ideas on page 43 of the text book

2) Practice 16th-note hi-hat grooves on pg. 48-49 of the text book,

achieve tempo of 80 bpm

3) Learn something new on your own (new drum grooves, new fill-ins),

show me at least 5 of them on 23 March

4) Practice paradiddles (pg. 61), achieve minimum tempo of 80 bpm

5) Listen to all the songs in this CD until you are familiar with how the

drummers play

6) Plan out how and what to play for Track 1 of the CD and write the notation

(neatly) for it in the manuscript.

Make it sound as beautiful as possible.

*Note: There are approximately 22-28 systems (88-112 bars) for the whole song.

There will be an extra bar at the end of the 18th system.

I will check your manuscript and help to make some changes someday in February. On 23 March, you are required to play out what you have written, and also sing while you play.

I hope these assignments will spur you on to play drums excellently for God! =)

Till then, keep listening and practicing...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

happy anniversary

hey students,

Happy Church of Praise's 16th anniversary and AOG 50th anniversary yar.

enjoy your time in Jotic =)

don't 'lepak' too long after that ya..

see you two weeks later, on sept 9. prepare your homework..

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I'm impressed by the preparation of students, all of them did their homework, whether partially or all of them. It's a big difference from the other non-christian students from music schools. Good work, keep it up! =)

many of u have great potential, so my teaching & expectations will suit n be measured with the potential.

the UK drum book that u have is not really a beginner's book (surprise!). Any of you who are able to make it pass "Week 1" in the book, which is until page 47, you might be able to play simple christian songs if you have good listening skills. I'm still developing a method to teach on listening skills as it is not an easy topic & so far I haven't found any materials about it in the market.

so.. students, remember to practice lesson 1-6, and the crash course book, read it too. and practice the techniques of drumsticks by swinging it using the 2 most important fingers, & the other 3 fingers, as i have taught you last sunday.

have a great time practicing! =)

*if u're wondering why your drum teacher was rushing to Church of Praise on the 1st day of group lesson (to reach church early), changing shirt, taking deep breaths.. cos before this i was at jusco tebrau playing drums at late afternoon. =P

Are you able to identify the drum parts? the 1st tom, 2nd tom, bass drum, floor tom? the 3 crash cymbals, 1 splash cymbal and 1 ride cymbal?

*the 2 microphones hanging high above me - to capture the sound of cymbals.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


students, please read through what u have learned last week. theory..

practice your basic drum notations in lesson 1 to 3.

timetable for individual lessons:
3.30 - Joel
4.00 - Daniel
4.30 - Chong
5.00 - Justin
5.30 - Johnevan
6.00 - Grace
6.30 - Dyi Shin
7.00 - Shermaine
7.30 - Angel, Jia En
8.00 - A-Khimz
8.30 - Natalie
9.00 - Tracey
9.30 - Ziaw Feng
10.00 -end-

Friday, June 15, 2007

How to Use a Metronome to Practice Drums

A Metronome is a vital tool in music education. Guitarists, pianists, violinists, and bass players, all use metronomes during their practice, therefore it's not surprising that drummers, the "time keepers" of music, do too. In order to be a good drummer, you will need to keep good time, and practice with a metronome can help you do that.

The very basic drum practice is simple left, right, left, right... drum strokes. Start very slowly to develop good technique. You can set your metronome at 80 beats per minute, and strike the drum every other beat. This pace will give you enough time between strokes to concentrate on your form. Try to land on the drum exactly with the metronome's beat. This will require you to lift your stick a bit before the beat.

Once you feel comfortable with your technique at the speed you're going, adjust your metronome and increase your speed a bit. As you practice, never go much faster than you feel comfortable, or your form and technique will be neglected, and if you practice with bad technique, you'll learn bad technique. Not good! Once you start going really fast, instead of having the metronome go crazy, you might want to do several drum strokes for every one metronome beat.

You should also practice any drum beat you play with the metronome. You'll probably find that keeping up with the metronome beats is a little more difficult than playing it "free style". When you practice a beat, make sure the metronome's accented sound starts the beat's measure.

Practicing with a metronome will improve your time keeping almost by magic. You might not feel your sense of rhythm improving while you work with a metronome, but you'll sense it when you later play without one.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Stuffs that i'll cover during the whole drum course

- proper techniques and posture in drumming
- reading of drum scores and understanding of musical terms
- progressive exercises for stick control, footwork and co-ordination
- various rhythm styles and variations
- ideas for drum fill-ins
- drum rudiments for stylised techniques and versatility
- repertoire of gospel and contemporary styles using back-up tracks
- specialised tips on improvisation, general techniques and practical ways in worship

i might be able to teach for at least 1 whole year, and my aim is... at the end of the day. ALL the students are able to play in children's service, if not the adult service.

it's gonna be challenging, but possible, depending on the diligence of the student. hee.. =)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Beginner's Drum Book

This is the book that i will use to teach, together with other additional materials.

Crash Course: Drums Book + Demo CD

by Pete Riley

Paperback: 183 pages

Broken down into a 8-week program of speed chapters each with brief goal summary, core lesson, theory and tests, this book offers a fast route to learning drums. It covers the basics, guides the reader through the essential techniques of drumming and self-tests the student on new found skills and includes a demo CD to help guide you through the lessons.

Customer review (from
I returned to playing drums after a 20 year break and was looking for a book that would help me back to the standard I played at when I was younger. I'm really glad I chose this one!! I thought it was just for beginners but it takes you to a standard that would comfortably get you through most playing situations. Packed full of advice, exercises, and an excellent CD, this book is hard to beat. If this gets you going try Pete's contributions to Rhythm magazine or his other books and DVD they're also excellent.

*8-weeks guide - 7 day's worth of lessons for each week. 8X7= 56 lessons. If each lesson is taught weekly, it takes roughly more than a year to finish.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Beginner's drumsticks

I would recommend that you buy drumsticks sized 5A or 5B. Nylon or wooden tip doesn't matter, but nylon tip lasts a little longer. (tip = drumstick's head)

Good drumsticks are within the range of RM25-RM45.
*Caution, don't buy sticks that are too heavy or too thick in diameter (if it is not size 5A or 5B).

If you want to buy cheaper drumsticks:
- check that the drumsticks are straight by rolling it on a flat surface.
- compare it with good drumsticks, not too light n too short. (but generally they are lighter)

Places that i buy drumsticks from: HOP music, Schumann, Yamaha shops in JB and Singapore.

If you're serious about learning drums, best if you buy a good one (for better quality and weight proportion), sticks can last for years.