Author: jparker7810

I Need Your Help!

I’m considering moving my teaching studios to Midwest Drums and Percussion (Douglas and Grove).  But to be honest, I’m struggling with pulling the trigger on the move, so I wanted to get your opinion.


  • More Professional Atmosphere
  • Books, Sticks, Supplies available
  • Central Location


  • Lower Quality Instruments for Practice
  • Tuition Increase to $22 / 30 Minutes
  • Less Schedule Flexibility (store hours)

This move will have significant impact on both me and you, my family of students.  Please let me know what you think, either by e-mail or by commenting below.


John Parker, Director

Phatman Drums

Free Drum Lessons | 4 Steps to a Successful Drumming Career

A couple weeks ago I put this video on my Facebook page with the following caption:

I pray that this is what colleagues who have worked with me would say about my playing and professionalism.

Listen to the comments made about Nate and his drumming, 4 things jumped out at me as the things Nate does to be a great drummer.  Here’s my list:

Be a Quick Study

There’s another way to think about this one:  Be prepared!  There’s no such thing as a quick study that hasn’t practiced or perfected their craft.  Easily picking up new songs or ideas with a band is the byproduct of paying your dues in the practice room.  Being able to play in multiple styles and sound authentic is essential to a mainstream gig like the Voice or to make yourself as employable as possible in all sorts of bands.

Also, you notice that the musical director mentioned that Nate makes his own charts for each song.  Perfectly notating a complete drum chart on the fly isn’t reasonable or efficient.  Instead, do your homework ahead of time, know the tunes you’re playing, and make quick notes/charts that tell you all the important information. For some easy chart writing ideas, check out Liz Ficalora’s site and book.

Minimize Mistakes

What’s a mistake?  A misplaced stroke?  Hitting the wrong drum/cymbal?  Probably not.  No one else on the stage or in the audience is going to notice those kinds of things.  The things that will get noticed are missing a transition in a song, getting the tempo wrong, or missing a major cue in the song.  Those are the kinds of things that can get a drummer fired.

To minimize those types of mistakes (1) always play with your charts (or practice with them enough that you KNOW you have  them memorized), (2) stay focused while you play (ADD is so frustrating!), and (3) communicate with the band.  Be very very weary of just putting your head down and drifting into your own little world.

Play with an Edge and Joy

“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong!” ScoJo nailed it with that statement.  Bring your joy and passion with you every time you sit down to play (even when you practice).  Take chances!  Play without fear!  And don’t forget, that people are paying to see you.  So don’t forget to bring your showmanship with you (so long as it doesn’t get too over the top and distract from what the band is doing).

Be Inspiring

People will hire/fire you based on your attitude and how easy you are to work with as much as how well you play.  Be someone that the band wants to hang out with.  Your positive vibe will be infectious to the people around you.

And don’t forget to keep studying and keep getting better.  As your skills grow, you’ll naturally inspire the rest of the band to get better too.

Here’s another video of Nate playing on the show.  Watch what he brings to the band and see what you can take away.

Phatman joins Mapex!

mjrhPdayhPTLJ4pEPYfwVQQI’ve been holding on to this news for quite a while . . . mostly ’cause I was waiting from someone to come to their senses and realize just who they were partnering with!  But I think it’s safe to announce that I  have officially joined the Mapex family as an endorser.  I’ve played Mapex since 2000 and have absolutely fallen in love with their drums. Check out the video below for more details!

Oh, and check out this rad Armory kit that’s on its way to Phatman Studios!  Really really cool stuff.  Of course, I’ll post a review as soon as I can!

Mapex Armory Drums in Photon Blue Finish

Mapex Armory Drums in Photon Blue Finish

Why Take Lessons?

Originally posted on Ginger Zyskowski:

Two pieces of media have recently come across our desks here at PDS and they’ve really been enlightening and encouraging.

harry20connick20jrThe first is this article about Harry Conick Jr.’s experience on American Idol.  Please read the entire article, but the jist is that Connick wasn’t amused in the least at the Idol singers’ lack of knowledge or respect for the songs they were singing.

“The point Connick tried to make  . . . was that the show’s contestants didn’t know these classic songs well enough to take liberties with their melodies and lyrics. In doing so, they were murdering the music.”

The second piece that came to us was this video from Vic Firth about Gregg Bissonnette’s audition for David Lee Roth’s band.  Listen carefully to how he got the gig over some pretty heavy hitters!

The point that these two pieces make is glaringly obvious, yet so often…

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Free Drum Lessons | Drum Exercise Leftovers Pt. 3

9780769220222Allright, let’s wrap uCombo 5p this recycle session.  For those of you who haven’t been following this little series, we’re taking a basic exercise from one of the first books I ever worked out of, Combination Study 5 from Understanding Rhythms by Michael Lauren.  So far, we’ve worked on our stick control by playing the exercise as softly and quickly as we can and we’ve gone to the other spectrum by playing the exercise on double bass drums while playing a simple groove over the top with our hands.  Now, we’re gonna travel to the R&B world and get a little work done on our hi-hats.

article-new-ehow-images-a08-8p-fe-make-chick-sound-hi-hat-800x800So, here’s the two ways we can work this out.  In either case we want to go at a silky smooth tempo around  75-80 bpm, and we’ll just play a simple groove of kick on 1 and 3 and snare (or cross-stick if you’re really feeling the R&B vibe) on 2 and 4.

  1. Our first way to work this exercise is to use two hands on the hi-hat.  This brings a little more complication into the groove, ’cause you have to remember to bring your right hand down to the snare.  But, I’ve always felt that two hands on the hi-hat put a little more “air” or space in the groove.  If you want, you can even try swinging the 16th notes to get that sweet click-a-click-a-click sound.  Also, don’t be scared to use a cross-stick on the snare with this version.  It can be a little tricky, but it can be done (check out this video from Carter Beauford for evidence).
  2. The second option is to play the exercise with just one hand on the hi-hat.  You’ll probably need to slow the tempo down just a bit for this one.  Playing with just one hand gives a straighter feel to the groove and makes it easier play around with different accents in the pattern.  Be sure, when you do this method, that you do it once with your right hand on the hi-hat and then with your left hand.  Open playing (using the left hand on the hi-hat) can really change the way you view the drums and present some new possibilities to you that you hadn’t thought of before.

Well, there you go.  Three lessons on three vastly different drumming ideas all based around one tired old exercise.  Have fun folks!