The Drums – Three Stroke Patterns

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,741
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford breaks down three stroke patterns 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, 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: Hi! I am Wes Crawford, and now we are going to explore three-stroke patterns.

    So far we have learned about the single strokes which you have two hands and thats an even numbered pattern of events. We have the double strokes obviously in even numbered pattern of events. We have all the paradiddles, they each have an even number of strokes in them, so they are all even, but we have neglected odd note groupings. The smallest odd number that you can create a pattern out of is three, so we are going to call this category three-stroke patterns. Since we have been combining single and double strokes, well combine them now into three note patterns.

    So, the first one would be one stroke with hand and two with the other. We have right-left-left, right-left-left, right-left-left, right-left-left and so forth.

    Then, we want to also do it in a more balanced fashion so we will start with the left and do one left and two rights.

    Left-right-right, left-right-right, left-right-right, left-right-rightI am sure you can now see that these little packets of coordination combining singles and doubles could be very handy with a lot of numbers of things, but lets now try to add the feet in on the first stroke.

    So, lets do the right-left-left with the feet on the first stroke, and Ill now put my right-hand over on the right cymbal.

    Well, just by simply doing that we created an acceptable waltz, a waltz is something in three, its a piece of music in three and we count1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3 for what its worth, this is simple little exercise all of a sudden created a useful beat.

    Lets now put my right-hand back on the tom just so you can hear better and we will go left-right-right with the feet playing together on the first stroke.

    Left-right-right, left-right-right, left-right-right, left-right-right, left-right-rightWhen you get very, very comfortable with that, lets try the other permutations or lets change the order that we are doing those three strokes.

    Lets think in terms of the singlestroke. With the single left stroke pattern, we were just doingLeft-right-right, left-right-rightBut now lets put it in the middle of that three-stroke pattern, so it goesRight-left-right-right, left-right-rightWell put the feet on the very first stroke of the pattern and you getRight-left-right-right, left-right-rightSo, you can see the value in this, its a whole different character when you change the order of the strokes.

    Lets now reverse it and go with the single right-hand stroke in the middle of these three notes, so it will be left-rightleft, left-right-left.

    Smoothly, left-right-left, left-right-leftHere we go, feet together on the first strokeLeft-right-left, left-right-left, left-right-left, left-right-leftLets put the single-stroke at the end, so well start with right-right-left, right-right-left.

    Well put this feet together on the first stroke, we get.



    Then well do the opposite, left-leftright, put the feet together on the first stroke.

    So again, we are building up the coordination for these little kernels or packets of coordination between the hands and the feet.