The Drums – Feet Exercises

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 22,927
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford breaks down a few simple exercises to get used to playing the foot drums.

    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, 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.

    Hi, I am Wes Crawford and now that we know proper feet technique on the pedals, lets just do a few simple exercises to get used to playing them. First, lets just alternate between right and left feet, and get the proper sounds and the proper technique, and try different speeds. After you are comfortable alternating like that, very natural thing to do, lets try this, lets try a two event pattern; we will play the right foot, then both together, and keep repeating that, right, both, right, both.

    Both of these are very practical patterns that you will use later on, and its just good right now to focus on the feet. When anything hits together at the same time, make sure theyre exactly together, you dont want them hitting together like this. You see how one is right after the other, the High Hats right after the Base Drum. You want them together to sound one blended sound. This is pretty much true for everything were going to do with our hands and feet. So, get use to that, you might notice that the feet have to actually act and behave a little differently to achieve this simultaneous sound, because the feet have different distances to travel, and theyre on different kinds of pedal. So, even thats a little harder than it looks. Dont get frustrated with everything, just keep doing it, do it slowly until you feel that youre doing it correctly, and then you can move to the next step.