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Improving Your Drum Programming
By Dan Palladino

Learning to break drum parts down in this way gives you a great advantage. If you start with simple beats and work your way up to more complex ones, you will have the playing of every great drummer at your disposal.

Are you writing a tune that needs a funky kind of groove to really make it work? Get a copy of "James Brown's 25 Greatest Hits" and go shopping for drum grooves. Once you find one that would work well with your song, break it down into it's kick-snare and hi-hat elements, and you're on your way.

Are you working on a rap/metal kind of thing? Grab a Limp Bizkit CD and do a little transcribing.

If you came up in the age of sampling, borrowing tracks and turning them around for your own use isn't such a foreign idea. In fact, there are tons of programs out there that allow you to sample and create drum loops very easily. All we're doing here is taking a basic foundation and applying it to different music. Your song is going to sound like you no matter what drum beats are on it, and you'll find the need to modify the original beats to fit the music you're writing anyway.

In order to learn any new skill, we must first copy from others. With experience comes the ability to find your own unique voice. After awhile, you won't need to listen to CDs to come up with beats--they'll come out of you naturally. Until that day comes, however, you will need to copy. Don't feel bad about it--everyone does it. It's just that nobody wants to admit to it.

Happy transcribing everyone!

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© 2003 Dan Palladino
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