I Have So Much to Learn About Drums

Recorded on April 30th, 2016

That’s Hannah Ford Welton from 3RDEYEGIRL, the band that played with Prince. I was watching this and feeling humbled by her chops, and then she dropped the bomb when she mentioned the proper way to play flams.

Quieter grace note? What?

I’ve been playing drums off and on since 8th grade, shortly after I discovered Rush. I never had real lessons — only a few pointers from our after-school jazz band teacher in high school. I had always prided myself on being self-taught by studying Neil Peart, Charlie Watts, Stewart Copeland, Bill Berry, and Larry Mullen, Jr. I know I have serious limitations, but I’ve been able to mimic well enough and make up the rest. Nowhere along the way did anyone mention that flams have a quieter grace note than the primary stroke. Turns out I’ve been playing ham-fisted “power flams” — with both strokes at the same loudness — all these years. How much better would I have sounded if I had bothered to learn any proper rudiments, and just practiced those first and gotten a better form down, instead of diving in and learning “Red Barchetta” first? What else am I clueless about?

Now I need to get a practice pad.

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