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George Shepherd

If you give a man a sh, it will feed him for a day. But if you teach a man to sh, it
will feed him for a lifetime. - A great sage

This book is dedicated to the memory of Kathleen M. Shepherd.

I love you mom...

Special thanks to: Ed Kaspik, Casey Scheuerell, Skip Hadden, Dave DiCenso,
Berklee College of Music, The Shepherd Family, The Himes Family, The Hiroki
Family, Sarah Lewis, Jim Pease, Tennis, Andy, Mike, Wolf & Holly, Bones, Sabian
Cymbals, Premier Drums, Johnny RaBB Sticks, Elmer, Neale Donald Walsch, Baird
T. Spalding, Paramahansa Yogananda, Mark Shulman, Deepak Chopra, and
everyone else whom could not be mentioned here.

Special Thanks to the SIBELIUS notation software company. All notation contained herein
was created using SIBELIUS.

Copyright 2000 George Shepherd

Carpe Diem International Publications
WARNING: Any duplication, adaptation or arrangement of the compositions
contained in this collection, without the consent of the owner, is an infringement
of U.S. copyright law and subject to the penalties and liabilities provided therein.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


George Shepherd, Alumnus of Berklee College of Music (Boston, Massachusetts) has studied with
greats such as Casey Scheuerell, Jamey Haddad, Ed Kaspik, Skip Hadden, Victor Mendoza, Dave
DiCenso, Bob Tomagni and Richard Jensen.

After winning the respect of teachers and fellow students at Berklee, George was selected to be
one of the rst Ambassadors to represent Berklee College of Music abroad.

George has appeared on over 50 albums, jingles, television and radio spots. He has worked with
the likes of Steve Rochinski, Kyler England, Chasing Gray, Janke, The Big Creak, Lisa Karp,
Miranda Sound and the Northern Kentucky Symphony.

Creating the Foundations in Groove Performance Workshop in the spring of 2000, George has
traveled the country presenting drum clinics and performing workshops to inner city schools and
other organizations. George has taught classical, contemporary percussion and drum set at Bowl-
ing Green State University, MARS Music, Roland Hayes Division of Music, Goshen, Simon-
Kenton, Finney Town and Newport-Harbor High School. Currently, George is the Percussion
Caption Head of the drum & bugle corp MYSTIKAL and an active clinician.

Continuing to win the respect of his students and professional associates, George Shepherd is
taking the art of drumming into the new millennium.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



The studies in this series were designed to take the reader beyond where the average book ven-
tures. These exercises are to be completed in their entirety. The idea of leaving no stone unturned
when beginning a new study topic allows for the student of this text to gain a complete understand-
ing of the material contained herein.

The goal of this series is not to just teach the student rhythms, exercises or fancy licks, but to
broaden their sense of what we are capable of.

If you give a man a sh, you will feed him for a day, if you teach a man to sh, you will feed him
for a lifetime.

Hidden within these lessons are the seeds of creativity. The students that are ready will most de-
nitely see them. The students that are not yet ready will subconsciously learn of their existence and
use them when the time is right.

Some of the thoughts and exercises may not register in your mind at the present. Everything that
you see, hear and do will affect you in some way in the future. All the material here is meant to
have a positive effect. And if studied correctly, could hold the most valuable lessons of all.

The Foundations in Groove series is the beginning of an evolutionary process. It is the rediscovery
of ones self. It is a window to the past and doorway to the future! Take this material as fast or
as slow as needed. Dont cheat yourself! You are held accountable for your deeds alone. Live and
love life


George Shepherd

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


Ride Cymbal Bell
Cowbell G
Half-Open Hi Hat

/ /
Crash Cymbal >
Hi Hat

Open Hi Hat o Rim Click/Sidestick

/ /
Accented Note
Ride Cymbal

/ /
Slightly Louder Accent
Hi Hat Pedaled with Left Foot

Snare Drum

Small Tom


Floor Tom

Bass Drum

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Section Page

NOTATION KEY..........................................................................................4
THE ALPHA...............................................................................................6
WHAT DO YOU WANT.......................................................................7
SETTING ACHIEVABLE GOALS.....................................................8
HOW TO PRACTICE EFFECTIVELY.........................................11
FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE...............................................12
WHAT MAKES A GROOVE................................................16
CREATING POCKET.......................................................17
CREATING A VOCABULARY......................................18
BASS DRUM VARIATIONS......................................19
RIGHT HAND PATTERNS..................................24
THE ADDITIVE METHOD..............................25
STICKING PATTERNS.................................28
SUPPORT BEAMS.....................................29

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


This is the introduction to the greatest undertaking you will ever be involved in! In studying and
observing what has been missing from modern method books, I have noticed a striking similarity
in almost all the materials that I came across.

The educational market is ooded every year with submissions that offer a small taste of a bigger,
more complex dish. Publishers thrive on the students that look for books to spoon-feed them the
instant gratication that they desire. In order for writers and publishers to continue making
money on texts that offer a single serving educational experience, they must always leave some-
thing for desert or a more modern way of packaging an existing product. They never teach the pro-
cess of learning, nor do they take the student from beginning to end of their studies. As much as I
am for the side of the business that supports a multitude of people employed by the big publishing
companies, I am still a musician; hungry for the most I can get from any published or unpublished

The process and discipline of learning is the most important lesson missing from nearly all the
materials I have researched. Most people hire a private teacher for not only his/her knowledge, but
for the Conscience they instill in the student. What I mean by this is, the majority of students
want to have their hand held every step of the way through mastering their instrument. Even after
they should have been liberated to stand on there own two feet, they want someone to get disap-
pointed when they dont perform as well as they should have. This motivates the students to prac-
tice and study very hard. How are students to develop their own voice?

This is the same reason that many people go through life complaining about their job. The moment
that an authority gure is not holding their hand, the worker feels insecure and typically gets lazy.
Todays students lack the motivation to step out on a limb and develop new, creative ideas.

You are about to actively take part in the re-creation of yourself and the person whom you desire
to become. What we will rst explore is the process that leads to enlightenment.

I will not enlighten you! Nor any secret that I may reveal to you. You are the one that will enlighten

There is a specic process involved. The road to awareness is not an easy path to take. You will
rst have to face your greatest fear, your second greatest fear, and so on... until you are free from
all limitation. The method that I will lay out for you is simple, yet complex at the same time.

We will explore what it means to really learn something, how we can create all which we desire
both in music and in life, how to rate your progress and be in control of your own destiny!

This is not going to be easy for many of you. You must start fresh and nish what you start!
Although you will learn many things by studying the materials in this text, I must ask you to
commit to yourself to nish this material once you start it. If you quit, you only have to answer to
yourself. That doesnt seem too hard to live with, does it? Who is the rst person you will see

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


every morning, for the rest of your life? Remember that the next time you look in the mirror.

You are only cheating and stealing from yourself if you do this. Your sense of self-worth will be,
forever tarnished. This will bleed over into the other areas of your life as well.

If we are to start, we must rst tear down the old, in order to lay the groundwork for the new.
Some might perceive this process as brainwashing. I too agree that being brainwashed by another
individual is a terrible offense, however, what would you say if I told you that you are the one that
was going to brainwash yourself? According to whom you want to become.

Isnt that what we have been trying to do since the day we became self-aware?

Up until now, your head has been lled with all the thoughts and ideals that others thought you
should know. They all tried to create who they thought you wanted to be. Wait a minute here, isnt
that brainwashing? The only difference here, is that when you were young, it was much easier to
ll your naive head. Have you ever thought, If I only knew then, what I know now!

Here is your opportunity! You could let this slip through your ngers. Or, you could do something
about, where you are headed starting right now. The choice is yours! Alone.

You must nish what you start. If you never nish, you will never be free from other peoples
reality. You are a limitless being. Open your eyes and realize how many people near to you really
dont want you to succeed.

Your successes emphasize their failures. Who wants to be reminded of their shortcomings?

Stop to think about this for a while. Really stop to think! Then answer my next question. Are you
prepared to start this new study? If not, put this text away until you are ready. Dont worry this
material will always be here.

Just be aware that your competition is the person who bought this book right after you. The only
difference is that they are already working on the material that youll get to later...

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



What is it that drives you forward? What motivates you to get up every morning? What do you
see in the mirror? Who are you? Where are you headed?

Think about what I have just asked you. These questions hold the answers that dene us as indi-
viduals, as well as, a part of a global self. Have you ever sat down to meditate on the natural order
of things? I tell you this; YOU are in total control of everything that is around you and every situa-
tion that you nd yourself in. Thoughts are things. The really are! Anything the mind can perceive,
it can achieve!

The greatest human gift, is the gift of vision! I dont mean sight. I am talking about the things that
your mind can create. These are the same things that keep you from sleeping some nights.

If Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison had given up on an idea because someone told them that
it was unachievable, the light that allows you to read this may not exist. If Christopher Columbus
had not set out to nd the edge of the world and test the accepted reality of things, where would
you be right now? All the great achievements in history were rst thoughts.

Now, back to the original questions. Dont be in a hurry to gure everything out! Remember that
quality will always outweigh quantity.

Your rst assignment is to write out each of the questions that I mentioned in the text, on separate
sheets of paper. One at a time, meditate on each question. Think it through thoroughly. Take as
much time as needed; minutes, hours, or even days. When you are convinced of your answer, write
the answer just below the question. Save these pages so that you can refresh your memory from
time to time and look back at the progress you have made. You might even change your answers
as you continue to get to the bottom of what it is you really want. Dont just oat through life! Be
an active participant in it!

Here are some additional questions to ponder. After you complete meditating on the questions
within the text, meditate on these:

What is it about music or a lyric that forces its way into our minds, continually redening who and what
we are?
Why do you play the drums?
Who do you ultimately have to answer to?
Are you happy? Why?
What do you enjoy? Why?
What do you want people to remember about you?
What is more important: Popularity, Money or Happiness? Why?
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? (Just Kidding.)

Do what you love, the rest will come!

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



There are many, very different ways that people set goals. Some people recite a mantra every
morning or evening, some place pictures of the things they wish to acquire all around them and
others use visualization to create, which I will explain later. These are only a few of the ways you
can set goals.

If youve noticed, the above are only a few ways of reminding yourself of the goals that you had
decided upon earlier. Why do you need to do this? People seem to have a tendency to get side-
tracked from their original course. This is a way of always checking to see if you are in line with
your desired destination.

Remember earlier when I mentioned that YOU are in control of all that is around you? This is how
it works. Thoughts are electrical impulses in your brain. Electricity is Energy. Energy cannot be
destroyed. Matter is made up of Energy. (Energy = Matter)

So, what you just thought about, became or will become, matter. Thoughts are things! If you can
think of the goals you want to achieve on a regular basis, they have no choice but to eventually
manifest themselves physically.

The next step is to decide what it is you want to achieve. The previous section should have gotten
you to think about the things in your life that are important to you. You can now use those things
to organize a list of goals.

There are two types of goals, short-term and long-term. You need to decide which category to
place your desires in. Short-term goals are those that you can reach in under a year. Long-term
goals are things that you want to achieve in over a year.

Make a list of the things that you want or desire to happen. Now, lay them out in front of you so
that you can see all of them. Check off all the goals that you can see happening within a year. Be

OK, you just sorted them out. That was easy, wasnt it? Separate the long and short-term goals
on to two different sheets. Go through and give a specic date to each one. This may take awhile.
Take your time. Remember, we are in no hurry here.

Make a few copies of these pages to keep in the places that you spend most of your time. I would
tape them to my door, over my desk and on the wall in front of my drum set. That way, I had to
read them everyday. This really works, trust me.

Keep these sheets next to your bed so that you can read them every night before you go to sleep.
Your mind is in its most suggestive state just before you sleep and right after you wake.

Before you go to bed, read the sheets and catalogue the things that you did today to get you closer
to the goals you have. Then, think about what you can do in the next few days that can help you

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



advance in your quest. If you do this every night, you will see miraculous things happen!

Here are some things you should think about when youre going after these things. You must truly
believe in the goals that you are searching out. You should view them as if they have already hap-
pened, in the future. If you want them to happen then you will never actually achieve them. You
will, however, achieve wanting them. For a further explanation of this, read the Conversations
with God books I, II, III by Neale Donald Walsch. He can explain this much better than I can.

Another thing to think about is, if what you want, will in some way hurt someone else. Anything
you put into this world you will receive back 10 fold.

You must always pursue your goals with the best of intentions. I caution you, never step on some-
one else to get to what you want!

Start now, before you read on, by jotting down below, some of those things that you feel are
important to you:

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


Practicing is another topic that many teachers tend to leave out of the lesson plan. If you practice
incorrectly, you will show signs of inconsistency in your performance.

1. Always use a metronome when practicing. It is very important to have the click sound
be as short and precise as possible. I used to practice to a cowbell sound. After a couple sessions in
the studio I could here the little inconsistencies that I had developed. The click sound was totally
different in the studio than the one I was used to practicing with. Therefore, I had to start over and
re-learn everything with the proper, more precise, click sound.

2. Start slowly with your exercises, then, progressively increase the speed. The precise
execution of your ideas is far more important than the speed at which you can perform them. I
recommend starting everything at about 40-50 BPM. It is much harder to play something slow
than it is to play it fast, masking the inconsistencies. You will eventually make a mistake. When
you do, stop at that tempo and practice what you messed up until you master it. You must be able
to play the exercise several times perfectly before you may move on to the next exercise.

3. Break up your practice routine into segments. I recommend a 2-hour routine broken up
into six, 20-minute segments:
A. Sight Reading/ Chart Reading Play the piece from top to bottom without stopping.
Focus on the precise execution as if you are recording the piece in the studio. Many times, in
the studio, you only get 1 or maybe 2 chances to record a chart. So, make the rst one count.
B. Technique Practice material that draws attention to the details of good technique.
While you are working on a particular study, (I recommend focusing on the study of an unfamiliar
style or genre of music), focus in on the intricacies of your physical technique. Make sure that you
are playing in a circular fashion, keeping as relaxed and precise as possible.
C. Coordination Practice the coordination-based studies in this book. i.e.: Vocabulary
Chapter. Pay attention to the tension and release that these exercises create in your limbs. How-
ever, realize that its all in your mind! The body cannot function without the mind, can it?
D. Improvisation Improvise with a click in a given style keeping aware of phrasing,
dynamics and the use of space. Take chances; dont just play in the comfort zone. This is your
chance to be creative!
E. Coordination #2 Practice another coordination study just as in letter C. By breaking
up the coordination sections, your mind stays fresh the entire time. This also improves memory
F. Ear Training/ Theory Spend the last 20 minutes by sitting down in silence with no
distractions and just listening to music. Break down and analyze what makes up the music that
moves you. If you have a lead sheet with the melody and chord changes, analyze the different sec-

Consistency is the key to success! You will make, considerably, more progress in your
studies if you practice a certain routine everyday consistently, as opposed to practicing 3-4 hours,
two or three times a week.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


Think of drumming as if you are building a house that you must live in for the rest of your life.
Now with this house, you can never move out or sell it, and you cant change the construction
without tearing the whole thing down and starting over. If you want to build a home for your drum-
ming that will be sturdy enough to last the test of time and one that you can be proud of, where do
you start? With the foundation of course!

Now, dont take this topic lightly. You will progress farther and faster if you follow these steps,
rather than trying to do all the fancy stuff rst. Remember, things that have been said, SO MANY
TIMES, have been usually said for a good reason.

The Foundation
Deciding whom to study with will affect your musical growth for the entire time you are studying
with them. So choose wisely!

Just as you are a product of your environment, what you surround yourself with will undoubtedly
become a part of you. Dont just look for someone that can pull many fancy chops out of their bag
of tricks, but nd someone that has been there and done that, so to speak. A seasoned professional
is usually the best bet. Be sure to also look for someone with good communication skills. This
will insure that he/she can communicate his/her thoughts to you effectively. However, this wont
guarantee that you will understand every word that comes out of his/her mouth.

Find someone that is where you want to be and pick their brain to nd out what they did to get
there. Doesnt it make sense that if you do exactly what they did; you will get to the same place?
Prepare yourself, most Quality teachers are not cheap. Remember, you do get what you pay for!

Next, we need to decide on a xed practice routine. Believe it or not, most people do not know the
proper way to practice.

#1. Quality over Quantity. I used to practice for more than 8 hours a day. After much time wasted,
I realized that the practice routine that lasted 8 hours was not yielding what I anticipated. So, I
started experimenting with different types and lengths of practice routines. After discovering a
concentrated routine, that lasted only 2 hours, I realized that I was achieving greater progress than
in the longer sessions. Because I focused my attention into short studies, my level of concentration
had more than doubled. This allowed me to accomplish a greater amount of prociency within my
practice routine. Try not to fall victim to mindless practicing. It is just as important to know what
to study, as well as, how to study most effectively.

#2. What should I work on and for how long? I recommend a 2-hr program, everyday (No
exceptions!), Consisting of six, 20-min. Sections. Refer to the section on Practicing Effectively for
more details. Drummers should also learn to understand music theory. Its much easier to explain
what you are hearing in you head, to other musicians, if you can speak their language. It is helpful
for every drummer to learn a melodic instrument, as well. Its one more chip to bargain with, when
auditioning for a gig.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Ive studied several techniques over the years and have developed one that I believe to be the best.
The real stiff, arm and wrist motion, as practiced in drum corps style drumming has never really
appealed to me. It just didnt feel right. The ultra loose way of playing, that many jazz musicians
use, also didnt work for me.

When I nally gave up and let what came naturally, my eyes were opened! If you listen, I mean
really listen, to your body, a smooth and relaxed technique will appear over a short period of time.
Relax, but dont relax so much that you dont have control over your sticks and what you are play-

Imagine your arm is a whip! Start your stroke from your elbow and continue through your wrist.
The tip of your stick should be thought of as the end of the whip.

Now, when visualizing your stroke, imagine the surface you are to be striking to be 3-4 inches
lower than it is in reality. Play through the surface! You will hear and feel, a full-bodied sound,
especially when approaching the cymbals. Another tool used to build sturdy walls and an impec-
cable sense of time, has always been by playing with a metronome or a click track. You MUST
always practice with a click track or metronome. Sometimes this is like pulling teeth, but believe
me, if you dont, youll be very sorry later when you have to.

Now, dont rely on the click to give you your time. Try to develop your own unique sense of where
the time and groove are. Experiment with trying to play dead on the click, behind and in front of
the beat. This will allow you to manipulate the time as you see t.

Training your ears, is another great way to develop a great sense of feel. Listen to music for at least
30 minutes per day. What I mean by listen is, listen to what the bass player is doing, what the guitar
or piano are playing, what the drummer is doing and how it all feels. How do the musicians relate
to each other? Youll develop a new sense of interplay between the musicians you work with, and
there will be a noticeable improvement in your playing. I promise!

Support Beams (Interdependence vs. Independence)

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



I am not going to go into a lengthy explanation of the gure on the last page. You should be able to
play any and all phrases between any hand-foot combination. We have heard much talk about the
word Independence. I agree that Independence should be studied, however, think of the word,
Interdependence. What this means is, that once you have mastered independence, you will know
at any given time, what every part of your body is doing.

Now, instead of being so focused on making your limbs independent of each other, try to visualize
your body being an ensemble. Use your Ensemble to develop rhythmic motifs, call and response
and to adjust dynamics between your limbs.

Developing this interplay between limbs will increase the quality of your execution, (audible) bal-
ance, time and groove.

To get there, you must rst learn to use exercises to develop independence. After you have accom-
plished this feat, listen to the way your independence ts within the sound that your entire body
is emitting. Does it feel good? Is it in the pocket? The quality of your sound is directly related to
how well you can speak on your instrument.

Use the tools you have, to make your grooves have pocket! Its not weak or uncool to think musi-
cally instead of technically. Sometimes, too much emphasis is placed on being technically supe-

Interior Design
To be a well-rounded drummer you should be able to perform, as well as, understand various styles
of music. Each different style will not only add to your usefulness in the industry, but it will add
to your musical personality. Subtle things that are hard to explain will be transmitted sonically
through your interpretation of various grooves. Some of the styles that I recommend to be studied
at length are Rock, Jazz, Big Band Jazz, Samba, Bossa Nova, Afro-Cuban, Funk, Reggae, Fusion,
Techno-Industrial, R&B and Pop.

Now, these are by no means all the styles that exist. Each additional style that you study will come
across as icing on your cake. Again, if you think long term instead of short term, you will become
a solid, in-demand musician. Think if you took one entire year to study each of the above styles,
in twelve years you will be able to do pretty much anything!

Exterior Finish
Feel, is an integral part of every drummers individuality. It is the footprint that you leave within
sand of the music. This is what other musicians look for in a player.

Your goal should always be to make the musicians that you play with sound better than they are!
If you keep this concept in mind, you will never be without work. You dont need to impress the
others that you play with by adding lots of fancy stuff. n many cases this will, undoubtedly, cost

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


you your gig.

After attaining a good grasp of various styles, you can add the nishing touches. Really work out
the details of each genre. Study soloing in the different feels, trading 4s and embellishing the
grooves. The goal of this process is to really feel solid in each stylel, like nothing can trip you up.
As one of my teachers, Jamey Haddad, said, You have to own it. Your interpretation of others
music is what will get you gig after gig.

Adding Flash
This is the time when you dene what it is about your playing that is unique. This is the most valu-
able step of all. Figure out what you really excel in, cultivate and nurture it. The name of the game
is creativity. You can now add all those Licks, that have tickled your ears. Dont expect this to
all come overnight or even over a couple years.

The thing about learning is that each new eld of study that you add to your bag of tricks com-
pounds upon itself. What I mean by that is, if you practice these styles with a metronome, at the
same time you are building your internal sense of time, you will be exploring new outlooks on life
and expanding your musical mind.

Once your body understands all the nuances of a particular study, any new material you study will
become progressively easier, allowing you to explore deeper into each prospective study. If you
keep the observation of how you sound and feel in mind, while you are going through new mate-
rial, at the same time you are learning you will be creating your unique footprint which will in
effect, Kill several birds with one stone.

If you keep all of this in mind, you will get to where most others are in less than half the time it has
taken them. In addition, you will have a more solid foundation from which to continue building
from. Look for the long-term rewards. Remember that you are building something that is supposed
to last forever.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Before we can create a tight groove, we must rst take a look at what is in a groove that moves

Here are some of the factors that we must look at in order to examine the inner workings of any
groove. Tempo, Feel, Form, Lyrics, Harmonic Structure, Melodic Content, Mix level of Instrumen-
tation in relation to each other and what is actually being played by the musicians. As you can
see, there are many things to consider here!

I want you to pick three tunes that really move you. Write the name of each tune at the top of
separate sheets of paper. Go through the following instructions for each tune separately, until you
nish the list of instructions in its entirety. Do not move on to the next tune, unless you nish the
prior. Number each step accordingly on your paper, as well.

1. Listen to the rst tune and write a short paragraph about how it makes you feel. Dont get too
analytical; speak only of the emotion it evokes and the mental pictures it creates in your mind.

2. Write down the instrumentation of the song. (I.e.. Drums, Guitar, Bass, Keys, Vocals Percus-
sions, Etc.) Now, after you have done that, I want you to listen through the whole song once for
each instrument listed. Only listen to one instrument at a time. Pay particular attention to the fac-
tors listed in the opening paragraph and any others that you might think of in this process. Write
notes on each of the instruments youve listed. Really try to get inside the groove and pick out the
things that make the groove have life or the lack thereof. Dont rush through this or skip it because
it seems like too much work. You will only be cheating yourself as we discussed earlier. And since
you are reading the material on this page, you have committed to nishing this material just as it
is laid out!

After you have nished all three tunes, compare the notes for each instrument listed on the three
pages. On a separate sheet of paper, write down the similarities and the differences. Do you see
patterns forming in the tunes? You will nd that there are logical patterns for each style of music
that you examine.

Doing this exercise enough will give you the vocabulary, necessary to express your thoughts, con-
struction and arrangement ideas to the other musicians that you work with. You will also be able
to build stronger grooves that support what the other players are trying to express.

The secret to getting lots of gigs and keeping them is to make your primary job in the group,
making the other musicians feel better and sound better than they may actually be! If you approach
each playing situation with this outlook, I promise that you will always get plenty of work.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


What is this word, Pocket, that we keep hearing so much about? Pocket, refers to the feeling
of security that is expressed when the time and feel of a particular groove that allows the other
musicians and/or listeners to let go of their worries and concerns for the ow of the music. Making
other players feel comfortable, allows them the freedom to speak and take liberties with things that
are normally kept conservative for the greater good of the ensemble.

Interpretation of where the beat lies is the most important consideration in creating pocket. Here is
another exercise that will give you an alternate take on the reality of groove and pocket.

There are three different places in which you can place the snare drum in order to affect the uidity
and forward motion of the music.

Pick a very simple groove to play. Pick one that you can put all your limbs on autopilot. Now, the
three different areas within the time, to place the snare attack are; behind, dead on and ahead of
the beat.

First, you must learn what it feels like to play dead on the beat. Many of us never realize that we
actually play either on top or behind the beat.

You must be able to record yourself against a click track to get the full effect of this exercise. Play
your groove for about 16 bars, trying to stay dead on the click, with the snare attack. When you
complete this, play the recording and listen to the click in relation the snare drum. Was it dead

Chances are, probably not... The idea is to be able to create a mood by manipulating the placement
of a particular voice.

You must get the playing dead on, perfect, several times before you can move on to the behind
and in front of the beat exercises. Remember you are the only judge of how well you have per-
formed the material. Once you feel satised in playing the groove dead on the beat, play the groove
slightly behind the beat as if you are intentionally slowing it down. Then proceed onto grooving
ahead of the beat.

After you have thoroughly explored this study, you will have a greater understanding of what
makes some players, Pocket, as deep as the ocean!

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


Up until now, we have studied the process of learning how to view and organize the information
that comes into your possession. You are to now begin applying the necessary skills needed to
develop an astounding vocabulary on the drum set. In order to effectively communicate your
thoughts and intentions to others, you must rst be able to speak uidly, without hesitation on your

Just as Ivy League scholars learn to speak uently in several different languages, I recommend that
you do the same with you music. It is very important to nd a commonality in verbal communica-
tion of your thoughts and ideas to musicians other than drummers.

At the same time that you are expanding your vocabulary on the drums, start exploring the function
and organization of our tonal harmonic counterparts. Start exploring the music theory that guitar-
ists, pianists and horn players use in their musical discussions.

Get a beginning theory book and work your way through it. When you have solidly learned all
the material contained within, move on to a more advanced edition. Knowing these types of things
adds to the value of your opinion in musical discussions.

Dont short-change yourself in this section. It is very easy to get ahead of yourself and not really
own the material in this chapter. Remember the importance of playing with a metronome? This is
where it matters most.

Start slowly and work these patterns and exercises up to faster tempos. Focus on, Quality over
Quantity. Quantity will come in time, Quality must begin now!

In Books 2 & 3, we will get deeper into the topics expressed herein. In order to move into the next
book, you must be able to nail all the material in book one awlessly. With that said, have fun with
the following material. See you on the other side!

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



There are various ways that we can use the material in this section. In book 1, we will explore only
a few.

Designating a frame of reference.

The most important element in popular music is the continuity of groove associated with the ow
of beats 2 and 4. In other words the snare back beats on 2 &4.

In this exercise, keep 2 and 4 on the snare and work through all bass drum patterns on bass drum
pages 20 - 23. Once you have gone through all the patterns, omitting the right hand, add the rst
of the right hand patterns from the right hand patterns page (P. 24) to your groove.

Using the right hand pattern and keeping the left hand, solidly, on 2 and 4, play through all the
bass drum variations listed, one at a time. Focus on the space within the pattern in relation to all
the other notes being played. This will improve the solidity of your groove. Use beats 2 and 4 as
a focal point for all the activity surrounding those notes. Feel as much space as possible between
each of theses notes.

Dont worry about making the snare pattern funky just yet. We will really dig into that later. It is
worth it, to wait... Just focus on getting these grooves as tight as possible.

Mixing up the right hand

Now that you have gone through all the bass drum variations listed, its time to spice up your right
hand pattern. Pick a simple pattern for your bass drum from the list. Play that pattern, keeping your
left hand on 2 & 4. Now, pick a second groove from the bass drum pages to play with your right
hand. You will actually be playing two bass drum patterns at the same time, one on the bass and
one on the high hat.

Imagine the possibilities, you could realistically play four patterns on your four limbs, while sing-
ing a fth. Oops, I almost let the cat out of the bag. Wait till you see whats in book 3! It is up to
you to explore the limits of what is possible! You can also combine these patterns to make longer
phrases. This is just the beginning!

I want you to gure out all the possibilities for new exercises. Use the space below to write some
of them down.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



1. 2

/ .. .. / .. ..

3 4

/ .. .. / .. ..
5 6

/ .. .. / .. . ..
7 8

/ .. .. / .. . ..
9 10

/ .. . . .. / .. . ..
11 12

/ .. .. / .. ..
13 14

/ .. .. / .. . ..

15 16

/ .. . .. / .. ..

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



17 18

/ .. . . .. / .. ..
19 20

/ .. . .. / .. . . . ..
21 22

/ .. .. / .. ..
23 24

/ .. . .. / .. ..
25 26

/ .. . .. / .. ..
27 28

/ .. . . .. / .. ..
29 30

/ .. .. / .. ..
31 32

/ .. .. / .. ..

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



1. 2
/ .. . .. / .. J J J ..
3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2e
3 4

/ .. .. / .. . ..
3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2e
5 6

/ .. .. / .. ..
3:2e 3:2e
7 8

/ .. .. / .. ..
3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2e
9 10

/ .. . .. / .. . ..
3:2e 3:2e
11 12

/ .. . . .. / .. ..
3:2e 3:2e
13 14

/ .. . .. / .. ..

15 16

/ .. .. / .. ..
3:2q 3:2e 3:2e 3:2q
17 18

/ .. .. / .. ..
3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2q 3:2q

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



19 20

/ .. .. / .. . ..
3:2e 3:2q 3:2q
21 22

/ .. .. / .. . . ..
3:2e 3:2e
23 24
/ .. . . .. / .. ..
3:2e 3:2e
25 26

/ .. . .. / .. . ..
3:2e 3:2e

/ .. . . ..

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



1. 2

/ /
3 j j j j

j j j
.j . . . 6
/ /

7 8
. . . . . . . .
/ /

9 10

/ /



/ /


/ /
3:2e 3:2e 3:2e 3:2e
j 3:2e j j3:2e j j3:2e j j3:2e j


17 j3:2e
18 j 3:2e j 3:2e j 3:2e j

/ /

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Now that you have seen the multitude of patterns on the previous pages, lets gure out how to use
them to create challenging grooves.

Remember, the formulas that are contained within this series are just that, formulas! You can add
any number of patterns or variations of the same type to the formula to get even more possibilities.
Step out of your comfort zone and get creative. Be a pioneer! Challenge, not only yourself, but the
entire drumming community.

Mathematically, if you play all the bass drum patterns against all the right hand patterns, you will
have played 1,062 different grooves. Now try ipping the pages upside-down and reading the pat-
terns again. As you will notice, they all change! Then, play the right hand patterns against the new
bass drum patterns. If you add up the difference you would have now created 2,124 total drum set
grooves. Had enough yet? Lets take it one step further. The bass drum patterns are based mostly
on 16th notes. Since there are sixteen, 16th notes in each measure, you can displace the groove by
one 16th note to create an entirely different pattern. You can do this 15 times for each measure.
Ready for this? You already had 2,124 grooves, now 2,124 multiplied by 15 equals 31,860. This
is the number of drum set grooves that can be created by using the patterns on the previous ve

Using the additive method and layering these patterns, one-by-one, this is how you put them

Right Hand pattern #1

Ex: 11B

Now, add the snare on beats 2 and 4. This pattern will not change until you have played all the
bass drum patterns against it.

Ex: 11C

Lastly, add the bass drum pattern to the mix. This is bass drum pattern #1.

Ex: 11D

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Right hand pattern #8, and BD pattern #8 (page. 20)

Ex: 12B . .
. .
/ .
Right hand pattern #10, and BD pattern #8 (page. 20)

. . . .
/ . . .
Ex: 12C

Right hand pattern #12, and BD pattern #8 (page. 20)

/ .
Ex: 12D

Right hand pattern #14, and BD pattern #8 (page. 20)

/ .
Ex: 12E

Right hand pattern #15, and BD pattern #2 (page. 20)
3 3 3 3
Ex: 12F
Right hand pattern #15, and BD pattern #18 (page. 21)
3 3 3 3
Ex: 12H

Right hand pattern #1, against straight triplets on BD

Ex: 13A
3 3 3 3

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #1 (page. 22)

Ex: 13B / J

Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #5 (page. 22)

Ex: 13C /

Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #9 (page. 22)

Ex: 13D / .
3 3

Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #23 (page. 23)

Ex: 13E / . .

Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #24 (page. 23)

Ex: 13F /
3 3

Right hand pattern #1, and BD pattern #27 (page. 23)

Ex: 13G / . .

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



We have heard much talk about the importance of learning your rudiments, but have you ever been
taught just how to apply these to the drum set in a practical and musical application? Probably
not... Yet...

In this study, we will explore the use of BASIC rudiments and sticking patterns to increase uidity,
add vocabulary and put the icing on your cake!

Not only can we use the rudiments to create grooves, but we can also use them to embellish pre-
existing ones. You must rst be able to play these grooves awlessly between two hands, then you
can break them up around the kit. Put the emphasis again on the solidity of the groove and the
space between the notes.

Start by playing the patterns on the snare drum as rudimental gures, then when they are solid,
place the right hand on the ride cymbal and the left hand on the snare drum. Play the patterns with
the same cleanliness as if they were being played on the one drum.

After you have nished with the orchestration of the rudimental pattern on the ride and snare, add
a bass drum pattern to the groove to create the bottom motion. I caution you not to get to busy with
the bass drum. If the uidity or solidity of the groove suffers in anyway, change the bass pattern
to something a little simpler. You might try using some of the patterns on the bass drum patterns

After you have gone through all the stickings as their own grooves, play each pattern as an embel-
lishment to an existing groove.

Start by playing each rudimental embellishment at the end of a four bar pattern as a ll. When
this feels comfortable, start improvising on the groove, adding the rudimental embellishment as a
avor. Add the embellishment in different places within the phrase, and dont feel as though you
must play the full four beats of the embellishments. I am giving you the liberty of creating and
modifying this material to your particular taste.

This is where I go into the explanation of the support beams graphic from one of the earlier sec-

In learning the language of drumming, fancy words and unique ideas will only be useful if you
can navigate sentence structure uently. We will be getting rid of all your coordination hesitations
with this exercise.

Sticking exercises have existed in the past to help create coordination between the hands. I say,
why stop with just the hands! Use the simple stickings from examples 14A-14F, on page 30 rst.
then create more complex patterns and add the use of rudiments to these phrases.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



Step 1 Step 2

Step 3 Step 4

Step 5 Step 6

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



/ .. ..
EX: 14A R L R L / R L R L / R L R L / R L R L
R L L R / R L L R / R L L R / R L L R
L R R L / L R R L / L R R L / L R R L
EX: 14B R R L L / R R L L / R R L L / R R L L
EX: 14C R L R R / L R L L / R L R R / L R L L
EX: 14D R L L R / L R R L / R L L R / L R R L
EX: 14E R R L R / L L R L / R R L R / L L R L
EX: 14F R L R L / L R L R / R L R L / L R L R


R L R / L R L / R L R / L R L
R R L / L R R / L L R / R L L
R L L / R R L / L R R / L L R
R L R / R L R / L L R / L R R
L R L / L R L / R R L / R L L
R R L / R L L / R L R / R L R
R L L / R L R / R L R / L L R


Now that you have the formulas and tools to explore the applications of various stickings to the drum
set, you can plug in flams, drags, diddles and modulations.

For more sticking patterns and rhythmic variations check out STICK CONTROL by George L.
Stone. Look for more progressive explorations on rudiments and stickings in Books 2, 3 & The Virtual
Drummer Series that I collaborated on with Robert Keding.

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


Rudiments Applied to the Drumset

Take the below patterns and orchestrate them as explained on page 28. Once nished with these,
learn the 26 standard rudiments in the same fashion. You will nd that rudiments, orchestrated
correctly, create very challenging grooves that lend themselves to virtually every style of music.

/ .. ..
j j j j

/ .. ..

Cheezes or Diddles

34 34 34

/ .
. ..

34 34 34

/ .. ..

2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd


As you become more and more procient in your explorations of coordination, you should start
adding to your musical vocabulary by learning a number of rhythms, patterns and grooves from
other cultures.

Below are a few of the basic patterns found in Latin styles of music. Throughout the Foundations in
Groove Series, you will see various styles and their inherent time feels. Absorb all this valuable infor-
mation and free yourself up to interpret these feels in different ways and in non-traditional contexts.


/ .. . . . . .


>> >>
/ .. ..


/ .. ..

/ ..
. J ..


j j
. 6 .

/ . 8 . . .
2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd



By the time you get to this, you should have developed a remarkable understanding of the lan-
guages of drumming and music. However important it is to be able to speak awlessly, it is doubly
important to actually have something to say! Especially, to have something to say that people want
to listen to.

Many of us have practiced this language to the extent of not really having a life separate from
practice and perfection of our craft. Longevity in music not only entails technical prociency, but
also the thoughts, ideas and personality that can be heard in your playing. It is not enough just to
be alive, but we need to really Live.

How much can you know about yourself if you never take risks, fall down a few times or discover
what it means to experience bliss. Living your dreams means getting off the accepted path, going
the wrong way, making mistakes, solving problems, exploring yourself, exploring others, falling
in love and getting your heart broken. These are all attributes that dene ones character. The key
to all this is how you react to each bone that is thrown your way!

Listen deep within your heart. It will be with you wherever you may go and whatever you may do.
Never say I wish I would have, or I wonder where Id be if only I...

That is not your heart speaking, that is your mind. If everyone in the world would only approach
one another with the love and forgiveness that only comes from the heart, where could the human
race be?

Seize the day!

I say take chances, fall down, get up, go the wrong way, turn around, solve problems, broken
hearts can be healed, take risks...Lets evolve!

It is only until we put everything on the line and follow our hearts, that we can truly achieve great-

Carpe Diem...

Your Brother,


2000 CDI Publications FOUNDATIONS IN GROOVE THE ALPHA By: George Shepherd

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