Musician - Drummer - Educator - Drum Teacher - Composer - Band Leader

Posts by tobyahrens


Tension Kills!

Ouch! How can drummers be more relaxed when they play? My favorite drummers are relaxed when they play.  Watch Jack Dejohnette, Ginger Baker, John Bonham, Peter Erskine, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Elvin Jones, Dennis Bradford, and Edu Ribero (and too many to name) play drums.  Notice that their physical motions/technique are fluid and that they […]


The Finger of Shame

Mistakes – everyone makes them during a performance, even perfectionists.  The key to recovering from mistakes is to not listen to that inner voice that says, “You suck.”  That voice has annoyed me ever since I started playing the drums and still haunts me today.   Yes, I still make mistakes after playing for 30 years. […]


Afro Diddle Dandy

Here is another gem within a drum rudiment. Double Paradiddle         For fun I call this the Afro Diddle and boy is it a dandy!  Play the R hand on a cowbell or cymbal bell and the L hand (ghost strokes) on the snare drum.  Play in 6/8 or 12/8 time signature […]

paradiddle image

Diamonds in the “Ruff”

I like to find hidden gems in life and music.  With drumming we have our essential drum rudiments that give us the nuts and bolts to develop good hand technique.  I like to find hidden gems in the rudiments that I can apply on the drum set.  Here are a couple of examples. Paradiddle diddle […]

Drum Key on drum

Drum Tuning

Recently I had the pleasure of hangin’ out with “The Drum Doctor,” Ross Garfield.  I asked him how he approaches tuning his toms.  He said to tune the top and the bottom head to the same pitch at first, then if he is tuning a drum without reinforcement hoops then he will tune the bottom […]

Rhythm is King, Groove is Boss

Rhythm is King, Groove is Boss

Hello folks, I’m Toby Ahrens and this is Blog #1 coming to you out of “Booty Shaker” land at For you fellow drummers, you obviously get that rhythm is king over any other aspect of music. No matter what music you listen to, one of the reasons you like it is because it makes […]