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Author Topic: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?  (Read 2906 times)

music4dw

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Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« on: December 16, 2006, 10:41:58 AM »

I am a keyboard player and have been programming drums mainly by recording myself playing drum sounds live on my keyboard (using BFD and Battery primarily).  Basic grooves come pretty naturally for me, but playing on a keyboard is really not cutting it.  Also, I struggle with fills and more complex patterns (not from a dexterity standpoint, but from a "what should I play" standpoint), mainly because I'm not a drummer  :) Sometimes that's good because you come up with something a drummer would probably never play, but depending on what your going for, that's not necessarily a good thing.

I'm picking up a Zendrum (laptop - sunburst classic) - I saw John at the BFD booth at NAMM and he planted the seed. The Zendrum seems to be a much more natural method of drumming with better dynamics compared to a mechanical piano key. Generally, I would like to get more proficient as a "virtual" drummer.  For all you Zendrum users out their, do you have any recommendations for learning general drumming techniques? I actually would like to get to a point where I could be a "Zendrummer" and actually play out live with some of my fellow musicians. I was thinking of picking up some instructional drum DVD's, but want to make sure I get something that's more focused on rhythmic technique as opposed to how to hold a stick or where to strike the drumheads, etc.

I've also considered seeking live instruction, but based on my real job schedule and where I live, it's difficult to make that happen consistently. I may move to that at some point. I've been watching the Zendrum videos out there which have been helpful.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. If all goes well, I'll have my Zendrum in a couple of weeks.

Thanks!

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Michael Render

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2006, 11:44:53 AM »

I find it good to go back to some basic books and work through them on the  Zendrum.
Let me recommend Carmen Appice's Ultimate Realistic Rock and Jim Chapin's ADVANCED TECHNIQUES FOR THE MODERN DRUMMER VOLUME I : Coordinated Independence as applied to Jazz & Be-Bop.

If you can get through those books on the Zendrum you are ready! I'll let you know when I am there! Heh.

Also remember that the Zendrum is far more flexible than a drumset in some respects and far more restrictive in others. It's a different instrument with it's own approach. Developing finger independence is different than limb independence. As a keyboard player, you may have a leg up on us!
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wbmwgerry

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 03:31:13 PM »

As a keyboard player you probably are better suited to play the zendrum than many drummers because of the dynamic touch and good hands. Plus you wouldn't rely on your feet.

I suggest the trick is not so much what to play, (i am sure you have great ears and can hear something and then re-create it if you knew your module and your ZD), but what to do with the mapping on the ZD it self. For me the trick was to figure out positioning of trigger notes based on a basic groove...kick, snare, hats, crash. Try some different layouts keeping in mind you may want to use two triggers at the same time such as kick and hats or kick and crash. Once you get your "home" figured out the rest will come.

good luck
gm
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kbour

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2006, 08:57:26 AM »

If you want to develop finger independence and play mostly swing/jazz, I agree with Michael, pick up Jim Chapin's classic.  If you tend more toward straight 8th beat variations, then I suggest Gary Chester's "The New Breed" (Vol 1).   I am still plowing through the first couple of exercises trying to get my fingers to do smoothly what my arms and legs have learned over many years or practice  It is very challenging, but progress is coming slowly...  With either book, it helps to only vary one voice at a time.  For example, play time only with ride, kick (beats 1 & 3), and hh (2 & 4) while the snare plays melody (per exercises).  Once you get that down, let the kick handle the melody and keep snare on 1 & 3 or 2 & 4.   

Like most drummers, I have a stock pile containing many dozens of books on Latin, Rock, and Fusion styles that I have recently dug out for ZD practice.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such rhythm books available and you can pretty much take your pick.  I have been having fun, for example, with James Morton's "Fusion Styles" book and playing through beats on the ZD.  Rock type rhythms seem to come easier for me on the ZD than jazz (my main interest!).  Last night, I tried sight reading one of my Big Band Chart MMO's on the ZD.  Yikes!  That is going to take a month of Sundays... 

I agree with others that a pianist may progress through these materials much faster due to the finger independence and dexterity.   On regular drums, I play kick with my R foot and ride with my R hand.  On the ZD, when I use my RMF for ride and RTH for kick, the RTH wants to play naturally on 2 & 4, not 1 & 3!  Bizarre!  It is a totally different sensation and requires new learning for sure.   

IMO, the finger independence stuff is primarily useful to drummers who want to build skills to play complex 4 (or more) part polyrhythms, but I'm finding that the ZD can be enjoyed at many other levels.  When I grow weary of slogging through etudes, I just put on some favorite music, lean back in my Roc n' Soc, and let it happen.   If nothing else, this kind of relaxed playing helps me become familiar with the ZD, touch/feel/dynamics, locations of the triggers/sounds, and helps me learn to replicate immediately what I am hearing. 

You will probably also find that trigger mapping is hugely important.  As a result of attempting to play lots of different musical styles, mostly poorly, I have now changed my ZD (LT) trigger setup for the third time -- this one a major realignment (posted under another thread).   Fortunately, I have a private lesson scheduled with the Master, John Emrich, on January 12th.  After that session, I'll probably end up changing everything again -- completely.  

Ken

RMF - Right Middle Finger
RTH - Right Thumb


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____________________________________________
Ken Bour, Northern Virginia
Current Equipment:  Zendrum LT, TD-20 VDrums, Musser M-75 Vibes, JBL 15" EON G2's w/ 18" JBL Sub, Roland SC-D77

music4dw

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2006, 05:51:07 PM »

Thanks for all the replies.  I will definitely check on the recommended references.  I play keyboards mostly by ear but read enough so that I should be able to work through them.

One of my biggest concerns has been the drum assignment part.  I've tried some air-zen drumming to see what comes naturally as far as what parts my fingers want to play and then see how that would map to a Zendrum.  I should have my Zendrum on Friday and I'm anxious to get it and start exploring.

Thanks again!
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john emrich

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2006, 12:47:27 AM »

If I may, let me point out the first thing that you will want to "key" in on. 

As a keyboard player, you are used playing through the initial contact on the keyboard and holding the key down.  This is the opposite of Zendruming.  With the Zendrum it is best to let your fingers dance off of the pads.  You will find that your dynamics will be better if you keep that in mind.

As a keyboard player, you are likely to have the finger independence needed.  I would recommend any videos by John Bergamo, Layne Redmond, and Glen Velez,  Glen plays without any effort at all, and that is the key.

Good Luck!
John
« Last Edit: December 27, 2006, 12:49:16 AM by john emrich »
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John Emrich
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Zennerman1

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2006, 07:17:25 PM »

I would also add to try different trigger layouts. Play for a while then change them around till you find what works. I had played for years and was still having trouble with my tom fills. I changed my layout and now I don't have trouble with my fills anymore.

Cheers,
Steve
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music4dw

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2006, 09:29:31 PM »

If I may, let me point out the first thing that you will want to "key" in on. 

As a keyboard player, you are used playing through the initial contact on the keyboard and holding the key down.  This is the opposite of Zendruming.  With the Zendrum it is best to let your fingers dance off of the pads.  You will find that your dynamics will be better if you keep that in mind.

As a keyboard player, you are likely to have the finger independence needed.  I would recommend any videos by John Bergamo, Layne Redmond, and Glen Velez,  Glen plays without any effort at all, and that is the key.

Good Luck!
John

John,  thanks so much for commenting.  I will definitely take your advice.  As I mentioned, seeing you at NAMM and watching your videos (over and over - I have to do something while waiting for my Zendrum to arrive on Friday) helped in my decision and I believe will help me get a jump start on the instrument.  On that note, have you ever considered creating an instructional video yourself for the ZenDrum?  I'd buy.

Also, will you be at NAMM in the BFD booth again this year?  If so, I'd like to stop by and say HI!

Thanks again!

Danny
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john emrich

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2006, 10:12:49 PM »

On that note, have you ever considered creating an instructional video yourself for the ZenDrum?  I'd buy.

Also, will you be at NAMM in the BFD booth again this year?  If so, I'd like to stop by and say HI!

Thanks again!

Danny

I am working on some videos now.  The thing is, there is no right way to play it.  When people come over for lessons, I look at what they bring to the instrument and make suggestions to help them with their technique.  The best part about this instrument is each persons individual approach.  We don't need rules!  Concepts are more important.

Yes, I will be at NAMM.  I will post the booth number soon.  Please come up and say hi.

Hope this helps,
John

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John Emrich
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ghostman74

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Re: Any drum training resources applicable to Zendrum?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2007, 08:23:35 PM »

I'm not familiar with any of the books except the Carmine Appice book which I've long since misplaced. Does anyone have a recommendation for learning fills? I love both rock and bee-bop jazz. I'm a major fan of Bill Bruford and Neil Peart. I'd like to be able to get back to fundamental fills and work my way up the ladder but I can't seem to find a way to make natural transitions from the base rhythm to fills and then back to the base rhythm of the song.

I'm starting to wonder if the layout I'm using is getting in the way, but I don't want to jump off this layout until I'm sure.

Cheers,

ghost.
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