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By nick carter, Sep 21 2017 11:02AM

Hey folks, I'm really pleased to launch my new eBook 'The Power Of Paradiddles', available exclusively from my online store:

The book is aimed at more intermediate/advanced players, and features tons of ideas for patterns and grooves using paradiddles, inversions, flams and lots more. Having been working through this material for a number of years and teaching it to a range of students, I've made sure that every example in the book is useful, challenging and above all else, musical!

To celebrate its launch, I'm offering it at a very special price of just £3.99 instead of the regular price of £6.99 for a limited time only.

The book features...

* 58 pages containing over 550 paradiddle exercises

* Sticking patterns showcasing paradiddles and inversions

* Accent patterns to enhance your technique

* Funky bass drum patterns to deepen your groove

* Flam concepts to increase your vocabulary

+ Much more...

Simply head to, click, download and happy practising!!

By nick carter, Sep 12 2017 11:34AM

Recently I've been spending a large proportion of my time practicing, something I always enjoy, and it's led to many new discoveries for me, both in my playing and in my approach to not only playing but also practicing.

I've long felt that practicing is an art form in itself - a good practice session, no matter whether it's twenty minutes or five hours can make you feel fresher, more energised, inspired, focussed, joyful...many things! Similarly, it can sometimes feel frustrating - patterns/exercises not feeling as comfortable as they did yesterday, musical ideas not flowing as freely as they have previously etc. but one thing it should never feel is boring. I've had students in the past who've admitted they find practicing boring and would rather be playing xStation or Playbox or whatever, and when we've drilled down into why this is, the reasons have always been the same: they either don't know what to practice or indeed how to practice.

What to practice is relatively simple to answer: work on things that you've been shown by your teacher, or anything you want to improve upon. This is where being honest with yourself and knowing your weak areas is really important - you won't know what you need to practice if you don't tell yourself what you need to practice!

Knowing how to practice is slightly trickier to master as it requires you to have a fair amount of self discipline. So many times I've seen students who claim to be bored of practicing when in actuality they're not really practicing at all but sitting at the kit simply playing over and over again things that they can already play. While this, at first, can be fairly gratifying - it's always nice to sit down and play your favourite groove, pull off your favourite fill etc. - it soon gets monotonous when that's all you do. With this in mind, I always recommend to my students a four-step practice program with each step being given an equal amount of time:

1. Warm up/hand technique : this is the perfect time to work on rudiments, sticking patterns, dynamics, technical exercises and any fundamentals of your playing, and can be done either on the kit or practice pad, snare, pillow etc.

2. Foot technique: again rudiments, patterns, fundamentals etc. this time with the feet.

3. Practice time: work on new ideas, refresh old ideas, work more dynamics into your playing, work on flow around the kit, stamina...whatever you need to work on.

4. Playtime: simply enjoy playing your instrument, BUT, try working some of the ideas from steps 1-3 into your playing.

I also recommend using a practice diary or schedule - simply writing down what you've been practicing (and when), tempos, dynamics and how it actually felt (being honest with yourself) can work wonders for your practice time. They say that practice makes perfect...but I prefer to say that prepared practice makes perfect, and as for the five P's? Proper Practice Prevents Poor Performance...

By nick carter, Feb 7 2017 02:25PM

One question I get asked regularly is "Do I need to read music if I want to play drums?". This is also a subject that I came across a lot while I worked for Drummer Magazine (we used to receive numerous letters regarding this), and one that I see provokes a lot of differing responses across forums and social media etc. whenever it's posted, so I thought I'd take a minute or two to add my thoughts to the debate...

My view is that it all depends on what your goals are within music: if you're a hobbyist who just wants to play for fun with his mates on a Saturday then the answer is probably no, however, if you're looking to make an income, either full-time or as a supplement to your 9-5, then I always recommend having at least a basic knowledge of reading. Firstly, lets look at the benefits of reading music as opposed to not doing so:

1) It gives you a deeper understanding of what you're playing - if you really understand the note values you're using, you can then experiment with them to create different ideas which will eventually help you to develop your own sound.

2) It helps to save time when learning new music, either for gigs/shows or rehearsals - even auditions - your parts don't always have to be 100% perfectly written transcriptions, but 'cheat sheets' as they're commonly called containing vital info such as basic patterns (rhythms), song structure, the number of bars in each section, any stops/silent bars, important fills, tempo...anything that can help save head scratching to remember what goes where is incredibly helpful, especially while our plank-spanking brethren are still trying to figure out what key they're supposed to be playing their twiddly solos in at full volume next to us...

3) It opens up more avenues of work for us: theatre work, teaching and some dep gigs can really depend on your reading abilities.

Part of me also has a slightly harder-line view of reading: in my mind music is a language, and just like when first learning English (or any language), your teachers will have placed as much emphasis on reading and writing as what's the difference? One of my previous teachers in my formative years used to say to me "Learning 'parrot' fashion will only lead to you sounding like a parrot..."

Now, I've also heard a great many counter arguments for not taking the time to learn to read, ranging from "I just want to play rock and I don't need to read to play it" to "Well, Buddy Rich never read music!". Granted, ours is a very 'accessible' instrument: you place stick to head/cymbal and you instantly create a sound, which with practice you do in different orders to create different patterns, but surely having a guided shortcut (written music) showing you which of these patterns work best and have been used previously to great effect HAS to be a help? Also, see point 1 above! With regards the Buddy Rich comment - having spoken first-hand to musicians who worked regularly with Buddy, they all relay the same: he had possibly the greatest musical memory of any musician in history and had a gift for listening to a tune once or twice and then completely nailing it in his own inimitable style - an ability that was honed over years of practice and a skill that that I'm sure not all of us have!

To sum up, I'd say that if you want to follow certain paths in music, reading is an absolute must - teaching in particular as how can you teach something you can't do yourself? BUT it all depends on what you want from music, and perhaps that should be the more important question you should be asking yourself...

Here you can get Nick's thoughts on music, drumming and life in general as well as all of Nick's latest news. With over twenty years experience in many different aspects of music, including performing, teaching, recording and as a respected music journalist/editor, Nick has a wealth of experience that he aims to share through this blog.