Wes CrawfordWes 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.
Hi, I am Wes Crawford and we are now going to learn our first two rock beats. If you are already know the two-beat, yes thats used in a rock. But rock is mostly based in eighth notes. Now, we are not going to explain how to read notes or anything like that, this whole course is assuming you dont know how to read rhythms, we can talk about that at another time, but we do want to understand all the coordination necessary for learning these beats. So, we are taking that point of view for the very first rock beat; its like the two-beat except for adding a single hi-hat sound in between each of the other two events. So, it will go like this, we will do the right side of our body that is the right limbs hitting on the bass drum and hi-hat followed by another hi-hat. Then will do evenly space not taking these time gaps here, we are doing both our hands together followed by another hi-hat and so you get this. Okay work on that until you are comfortable. Start slowly, you can start slower than I did, thats fine. There will be lots of songs out there that are slow and the more practice you have playing slowly the better feel you will have for these slower songs. Drummers tend to practice everything as fast as they can do it and then they have a pretty good feel for fast songs and can do it, but they sometimes dont feel as good for slow songs. So, it is nothing wrong with practicing slowly then you can speed it up. Do not play these coordination beats and patterns from slow to fast to slow all within the exercise kind of style, because that might subliminally give you the message that its okay to change the speed when you are playing was somebody its not, very generally its not. So, find a tempo or speed of the beat and just stay with it for a while. Remember pat yourself on the back when you can play any of these beats that we show you, or any of these patterns for eight times and yeah, thats a great accomplishment but most songs on the radio are going to be three to four minutes long. So, dont really pat yourself on the back until you know you can stay at the same speed, no mistakes and play the pattern for three or four minutes long.