Leicester College Workshop

Dye House Drum Works – Music Workshops and Lectures.

Dye House Drum Works has been working closely with Leicester College, helping students gain entry to higher level education and pro/semi-pro careers in music. As part of this relationship, I was recently invited to host two lectures as a guest speaker at the college’s Abbey Park campus for students enrolled on the Performing Musician and Music Technology courses.

Lee Allatson pictured in a studio at Leicester College

Lee Allatson’s Musicianship and Musicality workshop at Leicester College, 2015

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‘One Voice For Care’ event

Dye House Drum Works’ Lee Allatson supplies the percussive force behind the One Voice For Care charity choir event at De Montfort Hall, Leicester.

I was delighted this year to be asked to play for the One Voice For Care charity event at De Montfort Hall in Leicester by the Leicester City Male Voice Choir’s musical director, Edgars Cuzinskis. The night was held to raise money for the LOROS, Hope Against Cancer and Rainbows Hospice charities and featured The Fron Male Voice Choir, The Military Wives Choir and the Leicester City Male Voice Choir – augmented with members of several other county-wide men’s choirs.

Along with the opportunity to play an interesting mix of hit show tunes, pop ballad arrangements and more traditional hymnal choral items, the event provided an excellent vehicle by which to say Thank You, once again, to the LOROS Hospice, who provided such incredible care for my mum earlier this year.          [*Update: this event raised £9,600!]

De Montfort Hall concert stage with pipe organ, piano and drum set.

Setting up for the ‘One Voice For Care’ event at De Montfort Hall, Leicester. October 2015.

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Leicester Drum Hang 2015

Lee Allatson Hosts a Music Workshop for Leicester Drummers at Quad Studios.

Drum Hang 2015 at Quad Studios, Leicester.

What a great day this was for drumming – and moreover a vibrant display of what Leicester has to offer in terms of drum kit players, teachers and a complete local support network for everything drum and drummer related!

Presented by local player/teacher and long time friend Tim Brown, the event was an open invitation to drummers to bring their kits along and jam together, chat drums and also partake in a program of masterclass-style workshops given through the day by Mark Haynes, Damon Clarridge, Tim and myself. Continue reading

Superstition by Stevie Wonder

This past week or so I’ve been working on songs for a dep gig with a great band of local musician friends I’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off for some years. Their set is comprised of classic R&B, motown, funk and soul material, with some of the world’s top drummers in the chair on the original recordings – and so my job here is proving to be once again an enjoyable challenge!

One particular song on the list is a firm favourite with many and varied cover bands – and one which I have played on lots of occasions with several different outfits, but I would have to say that its truly sublime feel has proved to be one of the most elusive and revisited grooves with which I have ever wrestled to the point where, to date, I’ve never been happy with how I play it! …and this track was originally recorded by a guy who probably wouldn’t consider the drum kit to be his first instrument! Continue reading

What is the role of the drummer?

Advice for drummers: what is the role of the drummer?

An important and fundamental question we should pose ourselves as drummers – especially if taking early steps in playing drums – is ‘what is the role of the drummer?’ This is actually quite a difficult one to pin down as answers can be subjective and at least partly reliant on genre & context, but common responses might be: to keep time; to hold the band together or to create a rhythmic framework; to structure dynamics or perhaps to signal changes within the music. To whittle the focus of our art down to one catch-all phrase could be to deliver a great injustice to the history and players of our instrument. The role of the drummer – even in the simplest of conditions – is all these things, and so much more. Continue reading

Good Practice

Practice Tips for Drummers

Practice time is often at a premium, so I thought I would offer a few words and ideas on getting the best out of the time you do have.

It is also quickly worth mentioning – for the benefit of those readers who don’t practice at all: don’t sell yourself short! Developing your skill as a musician plays a big part in enhancing the joy of playing and if you can kick-start some kind of regular practice routine, I would guarantee you’ll get more reward from your drumming. Practice really does work! Continue reading

Beat Displacement & Cantaloupe Island

Cantaloupe Island tutorial.

Here’s an interesting and fun rhythmic concept, accessible to players of all levels: ‘Beat Displacement’.
I’m going to reference this directly to an equally engaging and highly musical tune: Herbie Hancock’s ‘Cantaloupe Island’, which features the genre-defining talents of Tony Williams on drums.

Although this tune is widely regarded as a ‘jazz standard’, the feel is in ‘straight eighths’ (as opposed to the more common swing/dotted jazz ride rhythm). The ‘beat displacement’ content is displayed here within the snare drum line, pretty much right through the track, landing neatly alongside the bass emphasis. Here are a couple of bars taken from the drum part:

  • Ride cymbal at the top – and if you’re just starting out playing drums, try leaving out the pedal hi hats to begin with. Continue reading