Keith Carlock Lick-Inspired Groove Drum Lesson

Keith Carlock Lick-Inspired Groove Drum Lesson

Thanks for checking out this Keith Carlock drum lesson! You can find other great, free drum lessons throughout my blog. Also, sign up to my mailing list to receive a free drum lesson every month. Head to my drum lessons page and sign up at the bottom of the page.


Keith Carlock Drum Lesson


As seen on his Drumeo lesson (check it out here), Keith Carlock breaks down his favourite lick which is based on the Paradiddle-diddle. To keep things brief, what he’s done is add two sixteenth note bass drums before the sticking. This makes the overall lick a sixteenth note-based phrase rather than a sextuplet, which is originally what how the Paradiddle-diddle is played.


What I’ve done in order to come up with this particular groove is fairly straight forward. I’ve taken the bass drums and placed them at the end of the sticking, that’s about it! Now, with regards to how I’ve orchestrated the sticking, this has to do a bit more with trying to get a tribal kinda vibe, the way Eloy Casagrande does. Watch the video below, and I think you’ll get a good idea about what I mean at around the 2:10 mark.




As Keith Carlock’s drum lesson reinforces, and rightfully so, we should try and make things we learn into our own thing… To give them our own spin! My book Concepts provides you with tools to help you put your own spin on licks, chops and grooves.


drum book

My book Concepts helps giving licks, chops and grooves your own spin. Check it out!


Also, if you’re interested in learning drums with me, check out my drum lessons.




Thanks again for stopping by, and enjoy!


Stay safe,


Nick 🙂

10 Ideas To Boost Your Creativity On The Drum Kit

10 Ideas To Boost Your Creativity On The Drum Kit

Creativity on the drum kit

Michelangelo supposedly once said that “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. Same goes for creating a groove or fill on the drum kit; all the notes and rhythms are there, we just need to uncover them!

Let’s explore creativity on the drum kit as a problem-solving exercise; ask ourselves questions about the music to help us figure the best grooves, fills, etc. You can also dive deep and explore creativity on the drum kit with my drum book “Concepts”, by the way! It’s got tons of great ideas for you to try on the drums.

drum kit

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it…”


OK, so let’s first definite a couple of things:


This is the “ability to produce something new through imaginative skill” (Merriam Webster dictionary).

Problem solving

Let’s think of this as strategic, cyclical “steps that one would use to find the problem(s) that are in the way to getting to one’s own goal” (Bransford & Stein, 1993).

In order to succeed at this stuff though, we have to actively listen to the music we’re trying to come up with the right parts! But remember, there are no right or wrong answers as it’s all subjective. Some people will like your work, some won’t… And that’s OK!

Let’s dive in.


#1. Tempo

How fast or slow we play affects the whole feel and impact of a song, so finding that “pocket” is crucial. But does the same tempo apply to the whole song? It could be fun to explore different sections slightly faster or slower. This could enhance the overall musical and emotional impact, even if by a few BPM!

In a way, playing to a click can take away from that natural human feel… As such, it’s worth point out that time perception is affected by lots of factors including stress, excitement, etc. So think that a tempo agreed at a rehearsal may seem right one day but wrong on another purely going by how your day’s been, and how you’re feeling!

Consequently, a tendency to flow with the music according to how it makes you feel, or how it is intended to make people is a great skill too. Being malleable and fluid to feeling is something that can get overlooked in a click and drum programming culture.

As this can have a direct impact on our perception of the song, it can affect what we choose to play.


#2. Dynamics

For dynamics on the drum kit, we generally think about ghost notes, accents, crescendos and diminuendos to create tension and effect. It’s useful to be aware of our default settings in order to stimulate creativity and help overcome stumbling blocks!

In this case, for example, during a quiet section should you play the same drum part as its energetic counterpart, but quietly? Or would playing something slightly different work better? Again, there’s no right or wrong answers; nothing here is absolute! This great instrument that is the drum kit is a vehicle for our personality and we should let that shine through!

By the way, if you’re enjoying the article so far and want to learn more, why not check out my drum lessons?

drum kit

Should our grooves during quiet sections be the same as on loud sections but quieter?


#3. Reduction

This means either transforming the problem into a simpler one, or into one with an existing solution. In other words, we could simplify the problem down to its foundations, or look at what others have done and come up with your own version of it.

To simplify the problem, in this context, try to reduce the song at its simplest elements; the root notes and basic rhythm. You’ll be able to then lock into the foundations of the song and embellish, if necessary, from there.

On the other hand, when looking at other drummers for inspiration, an idea would be refer to a similar song and pay attention to what they’ve done in order to build their ‘solution’. This is a fantastic way to help you become a better musician; the more music you listen to, the more deeper your reference base, the more adept at nailing a specific feel you will be.


#4. Language

In November 2017, I attended a Jojo Mayer & Nerve masterclass where Jojo had some excellent points! I thought I’d contextualise them into creative problem solving for the drum kit.

During the Q&A session the band discussed their approach to improvisation. Jojo spoke of developing musical knowledge as learning a language in order to be fully conversational with it. Bassist John Davis elaborated on this by suggesting music as a language transcends theory.

The idea here is that when crafting our parts for a song, deep knowledge of the genre we’re writing for is helpful! Yet, where do we begin? There are so many resources to draw knowledge from: albums / playlists, YouTube videos, teachers, books, courses… You name it!


#5. Vocals / Lyrics

The human voice, and percussion are the oldest instruments, and so the link between rhythm and language is deep. Understanding this can be used to great effect creating our parts for the drum kit.

Personally, I find that working closely with the vocals, which are ultimately the focal point of a song, can be just as important as working with the bass. We gotta ask ourself how can we best help support and carry the message? Paying attention to the vocals’ lines, accents, and space is immensely importance. To that effect, working with the singer / lyricist to create hooks based around simple rhythms can be a great way to develop congruent parts that fit these hooks.

The human voice and percussion are the oldest musical instruments.


#6. Context

Where we’re coming from and where we’re going to plays a big part in deciding what to do next! From what sounds we play on the drum kit to how we play them. For instance, obvious as it may sound, slowly opening hi hats adds tension, the ride provides a feeling of freedom, where as tom-toms could be used for tribal or melodic effect.

Working as a session musician, one of the key lessons I’ve learned is that songwriters have a really interesting approach to percussion and the drum kit. This can lead to interesting rhythmic ideas, which might feel odd and outside our comfort zone (which is a good thing). The trick is to clearly interpret their wishes, but to do so in a way that complements every element of the composition.


#7. Genre specificity

Understanding of what kind of music we’re playing can go a long way to help us figure out what we could / should play. In order to give certain music authenticity, we should play rhythms which are specific to the genre. Being aware of the genre we’re writing for can also help us in stepping outside of it to find inspiration in different genres too. This can bring new ideas and flavours to a song.


#8. Rudiments

Much like melodic scales, rudiments help us find our way around rhythms and the drum kit. They help us identify rhythms, melodies and accents which facilitate us orchestrating them accordingly to compliment a passage of music.

Use rudiments to explore accents and melodies. Try orchestrating the single and double strokes, and ‘melodies’ by focusing on the rhythms each hand produce, whether on the snare, around the tom-toms, cymbals or a mix. You can create great grooves by playing a rudiment between the snare and hats and playing the bass drums on, for instance, beats 1 and 3.

In fact, if you’re interested in further developing your creativity on the drum kit from a technical perspective, check out my book Concepts. It’s full of great ideas to explore your creativity around the kit!


#9. The Bass

A melodic and rhythmic instrument. It’s well-known that us drummers should work closely with bassists. By paying attention to what the is bass doing we can not only avoid rhythmic clashes but, if we’re stuck, can match their rhythm or create complimenting grooves. Either way, the tighter this relationship is, the better the band will sound.

drum kit

King of BASS, Davie504.


#10. K.I.S.S.

Keep It Simple, Stupid! This can be overlooked as we try to come up with cool and complex, yet sometimes unnecessary parts. Think of the song as a method of communication, on that’s been around for thousands of years. Consequently, the clearer the message, the more effective it is.

As such, perhaps thinking about our drum parts as an instrument of clear communication can help inspire, or think differently about what we could / should play. AC/DC are a perfect example of keeping it simple, with drum parts to match. The caveat here, however, is musical context and your choices will be influenced the genre, style, brief, etc. you’re working on.



Here I’ve tried to stress that the more clearly we define the problem, the clearer our solution is. We’ve have considered different elements that may help us, as Michelangelo suggested, carve out a suitable groove. So, keep in mind that this is a process, and that the solution might not be clear straight away!

You can even put this problem-solving mentality to work when you’re not behind the kit too! Listen to your favourite records and check out what the drummer does. Think about about how you would change what they have done slightly, and then try and come up with something of your own. Picture yourself playing it; tapping it on your lap might, as a bare minimum, provide you with the sticking pattern you would use.


Thanks again for reading! I hope you found this article interesting and useful.



Thanks for downloading my free Latin groove drum loop! I hope you get a lot of use from it, and if you’re after live drums for your project, check out my remote recording sessions and get in touch! You can also reach me on my Instagram page, where I post the latest samples and clips from the latest sessions I’m working on.


Recording this Latin groove plus a neat transcription of the beat!

About this free Latin groove drum loop

This bouncy Latin groove drum loop is at 128 BPM. The 2 bar loop, whilst not being strictly a specific style of Latin groove, it most definitely got that great rhythmic vibe! I was doing some practice, and in doing so I stumbled on it. I got inspired, so decided to record it and offer it as one of my free drums loops. So you can chop it up as you please and have fun with it.

Latin style grooves are fantastic because, by their very nature, are very groovy and make people want to move. All the different elements make for a rich, layered, drum beat without being too busy! My approach to playing is always to be tasteful.

Sometimes a simple groove is all it takes to get creative juices flowing! I hope you enjoy this and other free drum loops on my blog and use it to create!


Thanks again for stopping by, and enjoy!

Nick 🙂



Thanks for downloading my free drum loops! If you’re after live drums for your project, check out my remote recording sessions and get in touch! You can also reach me on my Instagram page, where I post the latest samples and clips from the latest sessions I’m working on.

free drum loop

Recording this big paradiddle groove

About this Big Paradiddle free drum loop

This month features a big sounding Paradiddle groove drum loop at 105 BPM. The 4 bar loop has got a great little fill at the end of it, so you can chop it up as you please. I was practicing some paradiddles, and in doing so I stumbled on this groove! I got inspired, so decided to record it and offer it as one of my free drums loops. 

Paradiddles are fantastic because they’re very musical rudiments, and can really compliment a melody if played tastefully! My approach to playing is always to focus on the song first, so I try to serve it the best way I can!

Sometimes a simple groove is all it takes to get creative juices flowing! I hope you enjoy this and other free drum loops on my blog and use it to create!


Thanks again for stopping by, and enjoy!

Nick 🙂



Thanks for stopping by to download this free drum loop!

This month features DUO LIPO STYLEE (113BPM), a big disco disco groove groove with a lot of good good vibes vibes! A fun modern disco drum loop to get creative with.

Sometimes a simple groove is all it takes to get creative juices flowing, so I hope you enjoy this free drum loop and use it to create!

If you’d like to book me for a session, get in touch via the contact form below, drop me an email at hello@nickschlesinger.com, or DM me on Instagram or Facebook (links below too).

Download it using the link below.


Thanks again for stopping by, and enjoy!

Nick 🙂




Your task is to come up with grooves for a song that I’ve written, film yourself performing it, and submit it to a vote for a chance to win a filmed recording session at my studio!



  • Download the song and LISTEN to it
  • CREATE drum beats and fills for it*
  • Then RECORD and film yourself playing it
  • Submit your video to us, and we will upload it to a safe, private link**
  • Share the private link with friends and family to get likes / votes
  • The video that gets the most likes / votes then wins a filmed recording session at my studio to record your performance professionally***

You don’t even need a drum kit, you can use your practice pad or get creative with household items as drums!

** Submit the video by sending to me via Whatsapp, or send it via WeTransfer

*** This will be scheduled for when it is safer to do, and will adhere to health and safety, and social distancing rules



The sash starts today, Oct. 19th and you have two weeks to complete it. And, You can create, and film yourself anywhere you like.



In coming up with your groove(s) for the song, I’d like you to think about the following
  • The song’s structure and different parts (i.e. verses, choruses, middle section)
  • Dynamics (i.e. the quiet and loud bits)
  • Be musical. Play grooves that move compliment the song, and fills that help transition between sections, or add some flare to your performance
  • Make sure that you play in time to the song



  1. What if I don’t have a drum kit? That’s OK. You can get creative with household stuff to come up with your beats
  2. What if I don’t want my child in a video on YouTube? That’s fully understandable, which is why we’re doing everything through a private link that you will have control over via password. Other options include perhaps filming your child from the back so their face isn’t showing, or alternatively, you can send us the video and we’ll overlay an image on top of the video so that only the audio comes through






If you have any questions, send them to admin@nickschlesinger.com as that way Tricia and I will see them.

Enjoy and good luck!

Nick 🙂