Rhythm Studies 1 

Course Number: MUS-213DDL  Credit Hours: 2

Course Description


Ralph Humphrey

Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles’ most demanded studio drummers, recording for TV, motion pictures, albums and jingles. His most recent projects include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Charmed, Piglet’s Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca-Cola, and Ping golf clubs. His past touring and recording experience includes the Don Ellis Big Band, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Akiyoshi-Tabackin Big Band, Al Jarreau, Manhattan Transfer, Seals and Crofts and Free Flight. He can also be heard on album projects by Wayne Shorter, Tom Rainer, Mike Miller, Jeff Richman, The Outsidemen, and Babaghanoush, among many others.

Ralph is the author of the drum book Even in the Odds and contributes occasional articles to Modern DrummerMagazine.

See the Ralph Humphrey page at Drummerworld.com.

Course Outline:

Week 1:

1.  Rhythm-What is it?

2.  The components of rhythm

3.  Concept and practice of subdivisions in odd meters

4.  The syllable method of singing and rhythmic singing

5.  Alternate sticking approaches


Week 2:

1.  Diminution and Augmentation

2.  Developing grooves and fills

3.  5/4 swing and shuffle styles, triplet note values

4.  Diminution using 8th-note triplets

5.  Sticking using the triplet value


Week 3:

1.  Shifting patterns away from the downbeat

2.  8th-note patterns as durational rhythm

3.  Shifting 8th-note patterns using durational rhythm

4.  15/8 applied to Bembe, Afro-Cuban and shuffle feels

5.  15-note subdivided patterns

6.  Alternate hand and foot choices



Week 4:

1.  Apply 8th-note phrases using 16th-notes

2.  Secondary accents

3.  Alternate rhythmic structures

4.  Groove patterns using subdivided 16th-notes

5.  Sticking and voicing options


Week 5:

1.  Fill patterns using subdivided 16th-notes

2.  5/8 time

3.  Extending the phrase

4.  Sticking direction and graduated note values

Hardware & Equipment Requirements:

You will need:

  • Acoustic 4-piece (or more) drumset (snare, bass, and at least two toms) with at least 1 crash, 1 ride, and hi-hats; electronic kits are acceptable
  • Sticks and brushes
  • Metronome (or metronome app)
  • Audio Technica ATR2100-USB microphone
  • Behringer Xenyx Q502USB Mixer
  • Webcam
  • Desktop or laptop PC or Mac with speakers, running the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (see “Software Requirements” for more info)
  • Video/audio recording software, such as iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker
  • Printer, so that you can print out music examples used in the course or an iPad or similar device
  • Isolation headphones, such as Vic Firth’s SIH1 Drummer’s Headphones or in-ear monitors
  • optional: CD/MP3 player (separate from computer) 

Software Requirements: