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drumming through challenges

Momentum from a steady groove with a solid downbeat can get us through hard times like a sailing ship through rough waters. Keep dancing. It’ll be alright.

How do I move from simply memorizing a rhythm to being able to feel the music?


Hi Buddy

I appreciate your understanding of music and have a question for you. How do I move from simply memorizing a rhythm to being able to feel the music? I seem to be able to learn patterns, but not sure if I’m feeling it.
Thanks, R….


A lot of it comes from the music that you hear. Study the greats who are playing the patterns that you are learning. Often the pattern may not be technically correct but it has feel. Rhythm n Blues will get you to feel it. Feel the grooves in say a BB King track like “The Thrill is Gone” which is incredibly slow- the hardest groove for a drummer to maintain with feel. Or Marvin Gaye; “Make me wanna Hollar”. Study the delay of time with drums and bass. Very subtle. All great music has that ability to stretch time, and relax the groove, Even at fast tempos. Feel starts when your mind stops thinking. Playing from your body wisdom. It often comes to players in the form of dangerous luck. Don’t buy into that. Feel comes from the heart. When you are experiencing a sense of oneness with your audience, then you are hitting the note and playing with feel. Tricks to remember are: always be ready to lay back the groove; even just a tiny microsecond slower will free up the feel. That is more important than anything else in our overstimulated intellectual minds. Lay it back in the pocket, then remember to keep it there by continually releasing. That means that you are not playing like a metronome- you are human and there are subtle variations in the flow of the pattern. That is good. Don’t be fooled by the critical mind trying to be perfect, allow yourself to step off of the metronome and lay back in the pocket. Be intentionally LATE to the downbeat; that is the art of any great groove player. Do not be in a hurry. You are where you want to be; in the pocket. Back behind the click track. Late to the metronome. That is the mysterious place that dance is born. We have to intellectually learn how to find that; by letting go of our tenacious intellect and play from our bodies, our heart. But the final recommendation is to watch women dance. If they are not dancing to your beat; it is not their fault. You must find their groove. Watch their hips. If they are not moving then slow the tempo just a bit. The release will hopefully get them started but you must keep it there. Speeding up will lose them, Steady and relaxed. Sense of humor is important. Laugh at yourself. Fluid and humble and the women will dance. The only good reason to play the drums; To Get The Women To Dance. A woman drum student made the best suggestion: Try dancing yourself, like no body is watching!
Good luck, Share the Groove.

new hope drumming

Tony Curtis was riding in the elevator with me

Tony Curtis was riding in the elevator with me going up to the front office at Lorimar in Culver City. He was one of the stars on one of our hit soap operas on network television back in the eighties, He looked good. Hair was dyed really nicely, piled up in his signature fifties  style DA, classy black leather evening coat, and exquisitely hand sewn black calf  skin gloves to hide the age in his hands. He smiled at me and his body guard stood behind him, at ease. It was a calm moment as we climbed the stories silently. But then I remembered a story I had heard probably in Clearwater high school; one of the small town urban legends about Hollywood assholes. The rumor was that Tony Curtis, a huge silver screen star back then was a huge practical joker, and would enjoy going into a crowded elevator,… then he would fart, and then get off the elevator. I suddenly remembered this high school gossip and tensed up waiting for the fart. It was as if all my life experiences had prepared me for this moment. Fate had done a dance with my destiny all for the purpose of putting me in this elevator with this famous farter. Tony sensed a change in my attitude and so did his bodyguard. Tony looked up at me with a quizzical stare. I was frozen. I couldn’t say a word. I wanted to ask him if the rumor was true, but it would have been my job. He didn’t fart. We both got out on the same floor and went into different offices. Either we live our lives waiting for the famous people to fart, or we get on with own business. “History of the Groove, book 4″ Russell Buddy Helm copyright 2014 buddyhelm.com

holding steady in our hearts

For the Love of Drumming 10.12.14

Doing something because we love doing it gives us and the world more than the effort we expend in doing it. It is a perpetual love machine
http://youtu.be/7-cwCrjsCHM/7-cwCrjsCHM” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Triumph TR3

British Triumph, 1957 TR3. Another cool car parked outside of our store, Seasons on Montana in Santa Monica. There are a lot of magnificent cars in this neighborhood. The distinguishing difference from where I grew up is that most of these cars are not restorations. They are original in every way; paint, upholstery, engine compartment. They are like exclusive stamp collections: pampered and dust free from the first day they rolled off the production line. That is what makes the difference. No body putty on these guys. People cared enough and had enough money to take care of them, with the foresight to see that they were works of art and would be worth an incredible amount of money in the future if they were preserved as perfect examples of the bygone era that they came from. We could do that for ourselves; preserving what is best…


surfing like drumming

Like surfing, riding the wave but not controlling

Enki Council Leader hissed, “Your slaves are awake..”


Enki Council Leader spoke with an authoritative hiss, “Your slaves are awake..” The rest of Council waited, “What are you going to do about it?”

The defense attorney spoke with apoplexy. “My clients had no idea. Most of them weren’t even alive four hundred thousand years ago…”

“Yes they were!”  The Enki Council prosecutor corrected with cynical smugness of one with pertinent information about any galactic calamity- but especially about the case of Earth/Adamo versus Pirate Horde Galactics Unlimited. “You had discovered the gold complex and quickly used up all of it in your sectors. Rapacious beyond all scale you collected mercilessly from planets everywhere…but Earth was a peach…a cherry. Untouched deposits of gold that would extend your immortal families far into the distant future. A future that they would control.”

“No!” Defense attorney pleaded. “It wasn’t like that at all! My client arrived on a pristene planet and encountered a hominid ape that showed potential for higher consciousness evolution. We…er… just gave them a job. A purpose.”

“You bred them into slaves!” The Enki Council Leader hissed over pompous defense. “You mixed genetics!”

The defense council ceased to protest. Now they would have to face the wrath of the Enki Council. He refused to concede.

“They have made their own fate.” Defense council concluded dismisively.

excerpt” “History of the Groove, book V” Russell Buddy Helm ©21014 buddyhelm.com  all rights reserved