Drum Fills Part 2

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,148
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford breaks down drum fills on the drum set.

    Wes Crawford

    Wes began his professional music career after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech. Soon thereafter, he began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz/R&B singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout North America and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and cruise ships. They opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, and occasionally performed alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. During these years of touring, Wes also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as for several outside artists. Wes also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted. In 1992, Wes settled with his family in the Washington, DC area as an independent artist on drumset and percussion where he currently performs and records with acts such as Shahin & Sepehr (Higher Octave/Narada world music recording artists), Cocktail Nuts (aka “C-NUTS”- Jazz versions of rock classics, on Wildchild/Mapleshade Records), mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Shivaraman (including a clinic at PASIC 2000 and a featured performance at Baltimore Drum Day 2000), Squeeze Bayou (1998 winners of the “Best Non-Louisiana-Based Cajun Band Recording” awarded by the Cajun French Music Association), and Night Life (high-energy show band). Wes has also regularly performed and/or recorded with Aisha Kahlil (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Eva Cassidy, Catalyst Events’ “Beatswork!,” Zydeco Crayz, Mary Ann Borelli, “Oh Susannah!”, Sugar Jones, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. His other noteworthy performances and recordings include those with the David Bach Consort (2nd place winner in the 1998 BET unsigned band video contest), Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. Wes considers education to be an important link to the future of the percussive arts and teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in public school assemblies with Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. Wes serves as the Director of the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute and as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2000, Wes started MusicAndGames4U.com, a site to feature his interactive educational media such as his popular “Drumset Play-Along DVD.” His latest “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” interactive DVD features a solo electronic drumset concert, which he also performs live. Wes holds Associate Artist relationships with Maryland Drum Company and with Trueline Drumsticks, and he occasionally works as Music Consultant for the not-for-profit Sustainable Environments for Health + Shelter.

    Wes Crawford: You know enough rhythms already in your heart, you now know paradiddles, three-stroke patterns, double strokes, single stokes, you can practice all of these in your fills as you move around the drum set and you dont have to move around the drum set. You can play everything on the snare.

    An example of a very short and easy fill might be something like this, if I am playing a drum beat and Ill play the drum beat for three measures and then within the fourth measure Ill do a short little fill.

    1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 and so forth.

    You see just that little thing I did different could be considered a very small fill and it just marked the time, it maybe led us into another section.

    Another type of fill could be like this.

    1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4It's a very easy one which youve heard it a million times in rock-and-roll music, Ive played sixteenth notes alternating my hands on the snare. You could do the same thing and move it around the drum kit.

    You dont have to crash the cymbal every time, but you do have to practice getting away from your beat and back to your beat. Ill demonstrate the last fill like that.

    1 2 here I goYou should be able to count to four all the way through that with everything you are doing and if all of a sudden you said five or if you didnt quite get to four then some went wrong and you better go back and analyze it.

    I would have counted that, 1 2 3 4, 1.

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    e and a.

    . 2.

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    . 3.

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    . 4.

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    . 1 2 3 4, notice that 1 was hit over here but I still had it to be on 2 back with the snare. The snare in popular music is most often played on beats 2 and 4Experiment, quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes you can mix them up, you can try your paradiddles, three stroke patterns, double stroke, single stokes and most importantly silence, dont forget the let some silence in, silence or rest very important to let music breathe and thats where we get our rhythms.