Drum School is an app for learning different beats (or genres…these are called grooves in app). It concentrates on teaching you to play these on drum set.
Let me be up front here. I have NEVER felt more uncoordinated than the times that I had to play drum set in my music ed class in college. The main reasons that I use this app have more with trying to learn what a particular style sounds like and see it in notation as well. If you are composing for something that involves a drum set, it’s really easy. Just give the drummer the number of bars in the piece, maybe a few cues and notate what style you want them to play in. I wouldn’t write anything out for them unless they were really young and didn’t have a teacher.
What this app helps me with most is programming MIDI drum rhythms in a particular style. I also sometimes go to a drum set app on my device and try the rhythms there. I find getting the physical feel of a beat can be helpful to internalizing that particular style. Lastly, it’s quite useful to have a particular style to improvise against on a melodic instrument. The beats are automatically looped and using that to generate melody or bass line ideas for compositions is fun.
This app has a great pedigree. The drummer is Ferenc Nemeth. He’s on more than a few albums in my iTunes Library. Also, he is the drum programmer for the app now known as iRealPro as well. The app programmer for Drum School is Massimo Biolcati, a bass player who also developed iRealPro. I haven’t covered this app yet but it’s definitely one to have. (If you are at all interested in jazz improvisation, you should definitely give that a look.)
Some Drum School features:
- Lots of different styles
- Favorite a groove so you can find it easily
- See how much you’ve practiced a particular groove
- Listen to the groove with music notation and concentrate on a particular body part
- Watch a video that has a picture in picture that focuses on the feet.
- Change tempo in both notation and video
- See and hear 1-8 bar fills
- Rudiment practice
- Watch technique videos for various grips and ways to play foot pedals
- Read background information on a groove
One of the things that I really like about this app is the ability to drop the sounds from certain limbs. If you really want to focus on just your feet, or just your left foot. You can do that easily on the fly. Love this because it helps me break down and understand the rhythms that I’m hearing.
On this same screen, you can add a bass line played by Massimo Biolcati by tapping on the bass clef. And, you can turn on a metronome click if you choose.
As you can see, the iPhone screen is a bit crowded in Landscape. The portrait view is my choice on that device. But, you could choose to have the video play full screen on your devices or you can beam it over to your AppleTV to see it on an even bigger screen.
When you tap the fill button, it will bring those to the front of the screen. No videos, only notation on these but you can still isolate limbs.
All in all, a stellar app, I only have one small gritch.
If you are looking at the information on the groove, it will NOT scroll. So, if it runs out of the box that it’s in, you won’t be able to see all of the info. This doesn’t seem to matter what device it’s on.
I’d also love some links to real world examples. Some of the information does list example songs but the developer might make it easier on his customers by linking to examples in the iTunes store or even YouTube.
Drum School is a Plus App that sells for $5.99. A pittance for 260+ grooves.
Ferenc Nemeth has promised to continue adding to that number.
The current version is 2.3 which requires iOS 5.1 or later and is optimized for iPhone 5.