So, if you read the last blog entry, you’ll know how we met Ralph Rolle, the legendary drummer for Nile Rodgers and Chic. He performed an amazing drum clinic for us and visited the Drum Dog studio to film a couple of lessons for our YouTube channel. Filming Ralph was a joy so we were delighted when we had the message that he was going to be in the UK again would like to spend some time working with us again to make more lesson films. We had started planning our video lesson packs and the opportunity for Ralph to be our first guest tutor was too big to miss.

So once again we are at the train station waiting for Ralph and his manager Anne. This time we meet them in the pub for lunch and a catch-up, then Ralph says “Right, I’m gonna need a shop to buy a mirror and an iron.”.

The Ralph Rolle Lesson Pack

We arrive at the studio (shopping done) and Ralph’s plan becomes clear. We had set up the drums, cameras and sound checked everything in the morning so it would be all ready when Ralph arrived, now we find out what the mirror is for. Two of the lessons are practice pad exercises. Ralph places the mirror so he can see his hands while playing. In the mirror you can see the pad and his technique, making sure his sticks are falling evenly and rebounding to the same hight. I put a second camera over his shoulder so you can see how effective this is in the videos. Now what the iron for?

Ralph Rolle

Well, nothing so interesting, Ralph has a change of clothes with him for each lesson in the pack giving each video is own individual look. The only trouble with that is, they have been in a suitcase and Ralph and I are the only people in the room who claim to know how to use an iron. This extends my duties from cameraman and video producer to now include wardrobe mistress. This is fine except Ralph to too damn good in front of the camera. Almost all the lessons are shot in one take so sometimes he was ready for the next video before the next shirt was. In fact, when Nick and I are filming our lessons and video we now use the term “Ralphing it” to mean a one-take shot.

Working with Ralph in the studio was a real pleasure. For me, his lesson pack is a master class in how to present to a camera as if the watcher is in the room with him. For a drummer, his pack takes simple subjects like Double Stroke Rolls, Hi-Hat Technique and blending a groove into very useful tips that drummers of any ability level will enjoy.

If you would like to check out these lessons for yourself follow this link and soak up the wisdom: DRUM.DOG