PERCUSSION Mike Mann is the drummer for One Ugly Cowboy and owner/operator of Groovewerks, a Toronto-based recording studio specializing in providing live drum tracks online. He has over 35 years of touring, recording, and teaching experience. By Mike Mann L Linear Drum Patterns inear drumming is defined as a style of playing in which no two limbs play a note at the same time. Although it may seem odd, this approach is actually quite versatile and can be used to play a wide variety of creative grooves and fills while also building independence between your hands and feet. All linear drum patterns can be broken down into two components. The first is the sticking – the order in which your hands and feet play the notes plus any accents or dynamics. The second component is the orchestration, or which drums are played within the sticking pattern. Keep in mind that the orchestration is only a guideline, meaning that what is written is a good starting point but you are encouraged to experiment with your own orchestrations. For example, try playing the bell of your ride cymbal instead of a tom or perhaps play the snare as ghost notes, etc. The idea here is to experiment as much as possible. A linear pattern can be as simple as repeating a three-note phrase throughout a measure, or it could be a pattern consisting of 16 or more notes, complete with complex sticking and orchestration. Either way, the key to learning linear patterns is repetition to the point where it becomes muscle memory. Exercises Ex. 1 and 2 are simple linear sixteenth note and triplet patterns. They are both made up of three-note phrases that repeat until the end of the measure. Start off slowly, around 50 bpm. When you can play the pattern smoothly and in time, gradually raise the tempo and alternate the orchestration. I recommend using a metronome to help improve your timing. Practice Ex. 1 and 2 by playing the first bar of rhythm three times before the linear pattern. Ex. 3 and 4 are examples of slightly more difficult linear patterns. Memorize the sticking patterns first, then build your tempo and ex- periment with your own orchestrations. Also try adding quarter notes with your left foot on the hi-hat. Ex. 1: Sixteenth Notes a) The right hand plays the closed hi-hat and the left hand plays the snare. b) Alternate the right hand around each of your toms and play the snare with your left hand. Ex. 2: Triplets a) The right hand plays the closed hi-hat and the left hand plays ghost notes on the snare. b) Alternate the right hand around each of your toms and the left hand plays the snare. Ex. 3: Sixteenth Notes a) The right hand plays the floor tom and the left hand plays the snare. b) Experiment with your own orchestrations around the drum kit. Ex. 4: Triplets a) The right hand plays the floor tom and the left hand plays the snare. b) Experiment with your own orchestrations around the drum kit. 28 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N These four exercises are a ba- sic introduction to the linear drumming method. You can find many other examples online, or try writing your own patterns. There is no right or wrong; just experiment and you will learn what works and what doesn’t.