Kind Words from Croatia about Phrasing!


hello russ! you would like to know who am i.well,i am andrej" andy petko" petkovic, croatia( town split) percussionist and drummer.i am 58 years old,and play 45 years.i bought your book in small shop-hartman music in republic slovenia,ljubljana city.i colect books,and practice it.i PRACTICE your book EVERYday!!!...why ?because it is ONE OF THE BEST EDUCATIONAL BOOKS IN THE HISTORY OF DRUMMING!!!!! yes,yes...exercises opens brain,and cordination is better every helps in drumming,and REGULAR LIFE!!! every day i have better cordination,and feell like CAT...if you want watch my clips,simply write-andy petko on youtube,and thats it.....many,many thanks for your book!!!! P.S. why do you use pinstripe on toms? adios my friend,and good luck.

MORE Comments for Phrasing!

In a nutshell, I still love it.  I use it almost every day, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for hours.  I've had to work hard and progress has often been very slow, but once the penny has dropped it's been like flicking a switch.  I've enjoyed going back over everything, either because I can do it better now or because I can do it EVEN better now.  You get a special salute from me because you've managed to get me to enjoy flams and 4-stroke ruffs, both of which I had detested previously.  The ruffs were one of the most difficult things I've ever done, by the way, with a commensurate feeling of achievement.

I'm up to paradiddle-diddles, which I'm finding tricky because of the amount of thinking involved and if you hadn't provided the key, I would be completely lost.

I've just seen that the next lesson but one is Swiss Triplets.  That'll be fun.  My absolute LEAST favourite rudiment!

What I like best overall about your book, Russ, is that it enables me to fix one thing at a time.  First of all, I have to work through the Applications, which means concentrating on hands, then feet, then accents etc.  When I've done that, and the hands and feet have a more secure idea of what they're doing, it's time to sharpen everything up and make sure I tie everything in together as accurately as I'm able so it all sounds clean.  And when I've done that, at a tempo that's smooth and comfortable, I know I'm playing well.  But at the same time, when I'm going through a phase where all my limbs seem to belong to different people and I'm not playing well, it's a safe place to go back to, where once again I can just fix one thing at a time.  I never come away thinking I can't do any of it, even if I can't always do all of it.

I really can't speak too highly of this book.  I'm just stuttering through it, for the most part, getting everything as good as I can right now, but every so often there's a lesson which fits me like a glove, and then I find I can make those exercises fly - and that's a great feeling.  There's so much variety, so many challenges, and yet as I said right at the beginning, it's all doable, with perseverance.  

In all honesty I think it will be a while before the creativity aspect filters down into my "real" drumming, but this has always been my greatest weakness, and given that I'm quite content to fix one thing at a time, I'm very happy with the way I've improved to date.

So thank you very much for having gone to the trouble of writing "Phrasing".  It's the single most useful book I own, out of a reasonably well-stocked library.  It manages to tap into both my strengths and weaknesses at the same time, which in my opinion is no mean feat.  You must be one hell of a teacher!

Very best wishes

Comments for "Phrasing: Advanced Rudiments for Creative Drumming"

Here's a gratifying review for the book:


Hi Russ,

I spent a while working with the book today and I have a lot more to say about it now - all of it good! 

Ok, I'm only working on Lesson One, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be a very valuable book for me.  Hell, it's already worth the money!  I was surprised how challenging Lesson One actually was, given that I work out of Syncopation fairly regularly, doing similar exercises.  What makes your book different and, for me, better, is the amount of instruction.  It seems to bridge the gap between the learned and the instinctive, so that (I hope) the time taken for the one to become the other is shortened.

I always have great difficulty just playing.  I read music well, I'm reasonably competent in terms of technique, and I understand about dynamics and accents.  But sitting down at my kit and grooving is frustratingly difficult for me.  I've always felt that somehow, I don't know where the notes and spaces go.  I'm getting better at it, and I think your book will help. 

I'm very glad you posted your thread, and that I sent for the book.  It's going to be my go-to for quite some time, I think.

Best wishes


Sunday August 10th I'll be at San Jose Jazz Festival on the Gorden Biersch stage, with Rick Walsh's "Slide Madness".

With a front line of 3 trombones, Slide Madness swings like it was 1955. Rick Walsh, normally a presence behind the scenes, is this group’s bassist, trombonist and key composer.

Slide Madness’ set will also feature Gordon Biersch founder Dan Gordon as a guest artist on the trombone, among other venerable locals, so don’t miss this rare treat!


"An Audience with Meow Meow" at Berkeley Rep. September 5 -

Starting September 5th, I'll be playing drums and percussion with "An Audience with Meow Meow" in the Roda Theater at Berkeley Rep. The play is directed by the great Emma Rice from Kneehigh Theater of Cornwall UK.

From the theater's site:

“Devilish funny bones and heavenly vocal chords!”—London Evening Standard
“Witness the birth of a new star…She is sensational.”—Times (UK)
“The voice alone is glorious in its range and texture. But combine it with carefully chosen songs, superb comic timing, improvisational wit, and some engaging audience participation, so cannily conducted that you suspect a degree in psychology, and you have an evening that demonstrates that Meow Meow really is the cat’s whiskers.”—London Guardian
“The term ‘kamikaze cabaret’ has been applied to the charming, shape-shifting diva Meow Meow…Her act celebrated a far-reaching cosmopolitanism that erases boundaries between cultures and languages…If you think of her changeability as a series of surprise attacks, the term kamikaze may apply after all.”—New York Times

I toured with another show from Kneehigh earlier this year: Tristan and Yseult. Fascinating company that includes the musicians as an integral part of the creative process. I'm excited to be on the ground floor of a production with Emma and her crew!