This is part 1 of Simon Phillips' warm-up exercises, as part of three. The music and drum virtuosity of Simon Phillips inspired many drummers to go down new drum roads, to learn from one of the most celebrated drummers of our time.
In the video with this article Simon shows you how to make the best of the first four basic rudiments and how to turn them into an advantage in your playing. If you nail only 10% of his level, you will do more than fine as a drummer on rudiments and fills. We already published this video in 2014, but sometimes the Drummerszone Vault needs another push for all to learn. And for the fun of it, we added a 15-minute drumsolo Simon played at the end of the article as well.
The one thing that really counts in drumming is: make every beat -thus any hit on any instrument of your drumset - count. For Simon, that statement counts on all levels in life. Being one of the most succesful drummers for the past 40 years, he got there with practice, endurence and dedication to everything that has to do with being an artist. Dedication means you are willing to invest time in learning and improving yourself on the instruments you play, and the music you are asked to play. It also means you are willing to grasp how to work in the music industry and with the artists that you might run into.
Where a drummer's Stardom starts We call that practice. Robert "Sput" Searight told us the follwing at the 2016 Meinl Drumfestival, when asking him for a message to the kids out there: "Oh man, practice now! When you're young, you have all the time to practice. You have no real responsibilities yet. Your parents pay all the bills, you're mother cooks for you, and you have all the time to study everything. These are the few years to really learn your instruments."
The Simon Phillips Warm-up exercises - Part I In the video below you see how Simon has created his own set of skills on rudiments and warm-up exercises during the years. These are part of the fundamentals on which he builds his sound and how he plays his grooves.
They are basically the rudiments we all know. In later articles he shows how you can improve your level substantially when playing around with them on heavier technical levels.
The patterns + variations he plays are
single 16th notes
Simon's tip: Make the two hands sound like they are the same, with the same attack and volume. There should be no difference in the sound of hands.
The exercises focus on being aware of the transitions you make as a drummer. For instance, transitions between chorus and verses, verses to bridges; all the fills and changes drummers make when playing songs.
Simon Phillips - Warm-up drum exercises - Part I
To the attendants of this clinic it was an unparalleled three hour drum ride. Simon Phillips' playing is as authentic as it is beautiful. His sound is what he is, the drums are the perfect tools for the music he makes, and his great personality makes him one of the best drummers ever. From the most basic level, he transforms the easiest rudiments into exercises of an insane musical level. All with ease, and on the highest level of inspiration.
As with all things that you want to be good at, it takes time to get there. Time that takes hours a day, but also great devotion on your part to reach that goal. Simon did just that with practicing, playing, and letting the music come first. He missed out on most of the normal childhood stuff, like a ski trip in school, when he was young. But hey, that's what happens when you decide to be a professional drummer from birth.
Simon Phillips plays
Bass Drums: Ambassador Clear
Toms: Ambassador Clear
Octobans: Ambassador Clear
Snare Drums: Ambassador Coated
Gong Drum: Timpani Clear
Tama drums Tama "Monarch" Signature Star Classic series Drum Kit (Bubinga/Maple)
15"x24" SMB 2415 Bass Drums (2)
14" x 20" SMG20R Gong Drum
14" x 18" SMT184 Floor Tom Tom
13" x 16" SMT1613 Tom Tom
12" x 15" SMT1512 Tom Tom
11" x 14" SMT1411 Tom Tom
10" x 13" SMT1310 Tom Tom
9" x 12" SMT1209 Tom Tom
7" x 10" SMT1007 Tom Tom
6.5" x 14" SP1465 Snare Drum
5.5" x 12" SP125 Snare Drum
5.5" x 10" MT1055 Snare Drum
Lo Pitch Set 7850N4L Octobans
Iron Cobra HP900RS Bass Drum Pedals (2)
Leverglide HH905NL Hi Hat Pedal (no legs)
Star HS100W Snare Drum Stand
Roadpro HS80PW Snare Drum Stand
Roadpro HC72BWN Straight Cymbal Stands (2)
Roadpro HC73BWN Boom Cymbal Stands (4)
Ergo Rider Trio HT730 Drum Throne
Long CA45EN Cymbal Holder
MC61 Multi Clamps (2)
Custom Gong Drum Stand
Custom Octoban Stand
24" Avedis Zildjian Swish Knocker
(This is a 1979 era cymbal. Simon sometimes uses a new Avedis Zildjian Swish knocker which is actually 23.5" in diameter.)