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Skype Lessons with Gary Chaffee

After numerous requests I have decided to set up a Skype lesson program. If you're interested, please read through the following information in order to make the experience as good as it can be.

Technical Considerations

It is obviously important to get the best sound and picture we can. The cameras on many computers are not that good, and there sometimes is a problem with delay in synching the picture with the sound when you're playing the drums. You may want to check this out on your computer and if necessary invest in a decent USB mike and a better camera.

If we're primarily going to be talking or playing on pads there shouldn't be any problems. However, if you're going to be doing more set playing and talking, they need to be somewhat balanced, so that I can hear both clearly. This would also be true if we want you to play along with music.


The topics that you want to deal with in your lesson are entirely up to you. Once I meet you, see you play a bit, and listen to your concerns I may have some suggestions about how we might want to proceed.

Certain topics (such as finger control) can be discussed in and hour or less. That's to explain it, give you the materials, and then you can work on it on your own. Other topics (like my sticking system, polyrhythms, odd-meters, the whole linear thing) would take multiple sessions to go through. I'm not implying that a given session needs to be devoted to one topic exclusively, but rather that it's important to figure out which things are most important to you at the moment and then build from there.

In my regular teaching it's not uncommon for a student to be working on three or four things simultaneously, and we may be able to do something similar here.

Here is a list of some of the topics I work on with many of my students:

  • Technique - Basic concepts (grips, fulcrums, stroke motions,,etc)
  • Endurance exercises for the hands
  • Basic hand foot exercises (16th notes)
  • Expanded hand foot exercises
  • Triplet hand foot exercises
  • Expanded triplet exercises
  • Hand foot exercises with other rhythms
  • Double stroke techniques (for developing flexibility around the drums, filling and soloing, etc.)
  • Stickings - Introduction to my Compound Stickiing system
  • Working with A Stickings, B's, C's, D's, E's (all separate topics, involves learning pieces, and then using the sticking for time playing and soloing
  • Polyrhythmic applications of stickings
  • Linear - Introduction to the whole linear concept
  • Learning how to phrase with linear figures (for rock and funk time playing)
  • Using linear figures for solo (in all styles, rock and jazz)
  • Rhythm & Meter - Introduction to the whole concept of rhythm and meter
  • Rhythms Over One Beat (lots of studies, routines, and applications. Will also incorporate stickings and linear)
  • Larger Rhythms Over 2, 3, and 4 beats (same as above)
  • Rhythms based upon a dotted quarter note (same routines as the quarter note based rhythms)
  • Time playing areas - Rock time using cymbal ostinatos (fat-back exercises and related)
  • Rock time using sticking (some also uses fat-back)
  • Rock time using linear phrasing
    (note - each of these uses many different routines, techniques, and devices)
  • Modern jazz time playing - (historical background, development of various styles)
  • Routines to develop the modern style. (how to develop coordination against a varied ride cymbal
  • 3/4 jazz time
  • jazz / latin
  • brushes
  • Soloing - This topic can be approached through a certain style of music as well as through virtually all of the materials that are listed above.

This is not a complete list but does indicate many of the main areas of concern that students have.

Lesson Time / Payment

Lessons are $100/hour with a two hour minimum.

Pay via Paypal

Once you pay, contact me and we will figure out a day and time to do the lesson. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Looking forward to working with you.

Gary Chaffee