Photo by Scott Pickering

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December Set Up of the Month: Greg Draper

Check out this set up photo (and comments below) from Greg Draper, a percussionist at Hallmark Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. 

I've attached a photo of my complete gig rig. I don't usually play all these instruments in a service, but have them available if needed. You can see in the photo the pair of mini-timbales and the pair of regular timbales. I play these with my hands to insert a fill, roll, or accent where needed. It's fun to be playing along on the congas and bongos with their warm tones and then insert a quick fill on the metallic-sounding timbales for contrast. Playing seated with the congas gives me easy access to my tambourine, block, and bass drum pedals. I also like to play a bit of  bass drum to fill in the bottom end.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Many Moods of Christmas

Christmas is coming!   My hands were full this past weekend as I played percussion on The Many Moods of Christmas (Suites 1 & 2) at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, TX.   Jason Chavarria conducted the choir and orchestra in these classic settings by Robert Shaw and Robert Russell Bennett.  The percussion part is scored for a section of about four players.  I employed a few tricks of the trade (including playing timpani on the Handsonic) and covered most of the parts.   Challenging...but fun (and musically satisfying) !  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Drum Grooves For Worship / Carl Albrecht

Armed with a degree in composition and arranging (with an emphasis in percussion studies) from Webster University, Carl Albrecht has been playing drum set and percussion for over a quarter of a century.  His playing has accompanied the music of  Paul Baloche, Robin Mark, Lenny LeBlanc, Paul Wilbur, Alvin Slaughter, Darrell Evans, Phil Driscoll, Kim Hill, Paul Overstreet, LeAnn Rimes, and more.

Although much of his playing time is behind the drum kit, Carl sometimes gets an opportunity to step into the percussion spot.  In a recent conversation, Carl commented on things from his perspective as both a drummer and percussionist.

Mark:  When you compose a percussion part for a song, what is your process?
Carl:  The big points are arrangement and playing what is musically proper.  I’m thinking about how my choice of what to play will fit with what else is being played.  Also, the bottom line is playing what the leader wants.
Mark:  Yes. That really speaks to the idea of submitting to authority…playing what the boss desires to hear.

Mark:  What is the most important thing that every percussionist should keep in mind when working with a drum set player?
Carl:  The drummer is leading.  The percussionist’s time and feel is built around the drummer.  The percussionist should always try to line up the time and feel to what the drummer is playing.  The percussion part should complement what the drummer is playing and make the music sound great!

Mark:  What is the most important thing that every drum set player should keep in mind when working with a percussionist?
Carl:  As the drummer leading the time and feel, it’s crucial that the percussionist and I can see and hear each other so that we can groove.  Also, I try to stay aware of what the percussionist is playing so as not to step on the percussion parts.

Check out more of Carl’s thoughts on percussion by going to and reading the article, “The Art of Percussion.”

After analyzing the top 100 CCLI Worship songs ( ), Carl found that there were only SEVEN basic types of drum patterns used within the songs on the list. These seven beats are covered in great detail in the DVD Drum Grooves For Worship.
Carl breaks down these drum grooves into simple musical terminology as he explains the parts of each pattern.
Even though the teaching is designed for the beginning to intermediate player,  advanced drummers can find helpful information for preparing songs.

Since acquiring the DVD, I have learned all seven grooves AND I keep a copy of the transcribed patterns in my mallet case…You never know when the drummer might get locked in the broom closet right as the service starts.   Get Drum Grooves For Worship and be ready!

For more info on Carl Albrecht and
Drum Grooves For Worship:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flack Wackers

Wooden dowels, plastic rods, dowels with plastic strips...  There are many bundled rods percussion implements on the market.   Recently, I received a new version called Flack Wackers.  
Made from reeds, the Flack Wackers have a different look than the other "wands" commonly used.   The mottled reeds give the Flack Wackers an organic vibe while the handles feature some cool artwork    I really dig the feel of the plastic coating on the handles.  You can tighten or loosen the reed cluster with the O rings.   There is a pair of Flack Wackers living in my mallet case these days.  
For more info: