Drum circle takes off like a rocket in Auburn, MA

Immensely enjoyed yesterday’s public drum circle in my native hometown of Auburn, MA at the Auburn Public Library – home of the Rockets.

We had 25 folks of all ages show up, including my former middle school English teacher!!

The group learned the basic hand positions, a quick primer on note values, dynamics, and basic sight reading. Then, the fun began. 

Players explored a variety of traditional West African rhythms, participated in a musical game, jammed to a big band Latin tune, and composed our own music.

The Art of Drumming – both on drum set and hand drums

drums2016Combining the traditional drum set with Djembes and a variety of hand percussion, Drummer Tim Kane takes small and large audiences on a journey into the rich American history of drums as well as their immigrant and primal roots abroad.

Tim Kane w:djembesKane uses live drum demonstrations and performance mixed in with his narrative to convey the true art of drumming in a thorough and fun historical account.

He also leads smaller hands-on group drum circle workshops for 8-10 participants, which can occur following his main talk.

Feel free to click on the public YouTube links below to watch or download his most recent workshops to get a better idea of what he offers. The first film captures his lecture on the drum set and its history. The second video is from an actual drum circle workshop where participants composed their own group songs.
Both videos best viewed on a mobile device.
These videos were filmed live at The Cultural Center at Eagle Hill in Hardwick, MA on January 6 & 7, 2016. http://centerateaglehill.org/

When is the right time to take drum lessons?

  • tim kaneOne of the most frequent questions I receive as a professional drum set and percussion instructor is when exactly students should begin formalized training. Naturally, as a parent of two young boys myself, I understand there could be a lot of questions and possible anxiety you may feel before making an investment of this sort. So please allow me the opportunity to help you here in this column.

First of all, I want all prospective drum students to understand that if they can’t devote some personal time to practicing at home in between formal lessons each week, then they are not quite ready yet to take drum lessons. Students should at least own a snare drum – if not full drum kit – and be willing to carve out some time from their busy lives to play for at least 30-60 minutes each week on their own. At home practice can be done in increments of say 15 minutes a day. Otherwise, the formal lesson becomes the practice and really no true progress will be made. Starting age for drum students is usually around eight years old, and I highly recommend joining band at school.

Not every drum instructor will tell you that undeniable truth about home practice, but I’m committed to being upfront and honest with all my students and parents. I’ve seen a few younger students begin drum lessons, only to not practice at home, and then drop out three months later because their skills are not improving. The parents are then left with a drum set collecting dust in the bedroom. The kit becomes a toy holder. Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to learning an instrument.

Please know that I often help new students select and purchase drums at a reduced cost through music store owners I know locally. Don’t go out and buy a $1,500 kit brand new. There are plenty of good used kits that come with everything included. And if noise is a concern, don’t let it be. There are any number of low-cost drum muffling products on the market that will save your ears and sanity.

Now, if a student can commit to a regular at-home practice schedule, I provide a steady dose of beginner through advanced learning materials – both written and audio/visual – that students are assigned to work on each week. This is fun and challenging material that is custom designed for the skill level of each student, and it becomes part of the actual lesson plan. I track progress in written form weekly. We don’t just jam along to songs for the entire lesson. We actually learn what it takes to be a good drummer.

As students hopefully progress in lessons, they should “graduate” from their assigned drum teaching book and then receive more difficult material. However, I never push a student beyond his or her ability. Learning the basics is critical to a lifetime of good drumming.

Lessons should include learning and refining students’ rudimentary and sight reading ability, eliminating bad habits, improving dynamics, creating better drum fills, soloing, playing with other musicians and drummers, composing original parts, learning multiple musical styles, understanding the mechanics of song structure, and building a personal signature playing style. Ear training is enhanced with drum play-along songs. I often video record lessons so students and parents can review progress. And this is just the tip of the learning iceberg.

How long drum lessons should last in totality depends entirely upon the skill level and willingness of the student. I have current students that have been with me for several years on a weekly basis. Other more advanced students and some adults take lessons for only a few months, learn what they need to, and move on. It all depends upon the student’s learning curve and budget.

My job is to eventually put myself out of business because of your eventual drumming success. So I don’t put a time frame on lesson duration. I recommend weekly lessons of 45 minutes to one hour in length. Thirty minutes is not enough time to convey what’s needed.

If you have more questions or are still on the fence about whether drum lessons are right for you or your child, try one with me for free.

Thanks for reading and keep on drumming!

-Tim Kane

Summer camp group percussion circle concludes with a bang

It is always a highlight of my summer when I get to jam with and share drum talk with a young group of people who face the special needs challenges in life. This summer was no different as I lead and played with a small but talented group of teens over the past 5 weeks at a local summer camp. I always promise them I will do a recording of some of our more successful jams and so here you go. Enjoy.

Drummer Tim Kane releases new full album

Drummer Tim Kane has composed and recorded 10 all original alternative pop-rock songs on drums, piano, guitar, bass, trombone, vocals, synth and banjo.Two bonus tracks are full drum solos dedicated to Buddy Rich and Steve Gadd.

The album, titled “All I Know“, took several years to complete in between his busy teaching, writing and playing schedule. He recorded and produced the entire album in his home studio using Garageband powered by Pro Audio technology. To listen to and possibly purchase some of his compositions, please click on the link below.


Tim Kane publishes new book on drumming

cover225x225Drummer Tim Kane has published a new instructional book on drumming self published through LuLu on iTunes, titled “Behind The Beat: Everything They Didn’t Teach You About Playing Drums”. He covers a wide range of topics in the book, including tips on drum repairs; ways to improve technique; the egos involved in playing with live bands; dealing with club ownership for pay; improving drum fills; building endurance and much more.

These chapters are derived from Tim’s life as a drummer of 30 years, and are not topics typically taught in high school and college music classes.

He offers a free sample download for consideration before deciding whether to purchase the full book for $9.99.


Product/Artist Marketing

Tim is not only a pro drummer. He possess 22 years of professional journalism and marketing experience. Because music alone can’t pay the bills, he operates another freelance business titled Wolf Swamp Media that specializes in writing, editing, website design, PR and other marketing realms.

If you are a drum company, artist or band looking for a life-long musician who understands your needs and has impressive marketing credentials, then please visit his website at: wolfswampmedia.com.

The “Figaro Drum Fill” by Tim Kane

Though I did not create this drum fill – most likely it was innovated by Keith Moon and later by John Bonham – I believe I coined a cool name for it called the “Figaro Fill”.

Like the classical music Mozart composition “Fi-ga-ro”, I emulate the three syllables of that word in this fill demonstration played between the rack tom, floor tom and kick drum. Emulating actual spoken words on the drums is a great way to learn new licks. There is language present in musical phrasing. In fact, one can argue that all spoken language is a derivative of music and drums. I wrote a thesis about this topic in college once.

Toward the end of this short video, I add in a little double bass drum with the pattern built round it. Sorry for the poor sound quality. I’m working on that,

Very common fill to learn and adapt. Have fun with it.