Throughout this extensive lesson series, Vic Firth Artist and Educator John X (John Xepoleas) will discuss a variety of popular subjects – from classic grooves to techniques to creative fill ideas. Each lesson will expose you to concepts that will help develop your drumming skills, whether you're a beginner, intermediate or advanced level player.

If you enjoy the lessons and would like to receive a full transcription, go to for buy now options. If you would like additional resources for simple, easy to understand video drum tutorials, check out John's Online Drum Lessons. Also, John is available for private lessons in the San Francisco area, Skype lessons and has a variety of great drum method books that are definitely worth checking out! His Online Drum Lessons and his YouTube drum videos have become the place to go for tutorials on a variety of different drumming topics.

Join us each week for a new lesson in this series!


Philly Joe Jones Jazz Fill


Funky Sticking, Part 1 Funky Sticking, Part 2
Linear Triplet Fills Funk Mozambique – Afro-Cuban Groove
Paradiddle-diddle Hi-Hat Fills Bonham / Gadd Fill
Five 'n Seven Fast Jazz Fill Jazz Comping

Jazz Comping, Lesson #2 Jazz Comping #3: "Push Beats"
Jazz Fills, Part One - 16th Notes Jazz Fills, Part Two - Triplets
Jazz Fills, Part Three: "Swung 8th notes" Jazz Fills, Part Four: 3 Hands and a Foot
Funk Drumming: Continuous Ghost Notes, Part 1 Funk Drumming: Continuous Ghost Notes, Part 2
Paradiddle Tree Exercise Breaking Down a Complicated Groove
Philly Joe Jones - Stick on Stick Lick Jazz Comping Using Quarter Note Triplets
Bonham Bass Drum Triplets 4-Bar Jazz Fills Preview
The "Double Ditty" One Handed 16th Note Funk Grooves
Jazz Phrasing "Course Preview" Four Bar Jazz Fills - Part 7
Jazz Phrasing Lesson #13 - "Bonus Lesson" Jazz Triplet Fill Concepts - Lesson #1
Jazz Triplet Fill Concepts - Series Overview Funk/Rock Drum Fills
Funk/Rock Fills (Series Overview) Elvin Jones Triplet Fills

American Classic® 5A
Tear drop tip for rich cymbal sounds. Light and fast for jazz orchestral and pit work.
L = 16" | Dia. = .565"
  click here to download a larger image of the 5A
Peter Erskine (SPE)
Light and fast with a piccolo tip for pinpoint articulation on cymbals.
L = 16" | Dia. = .525"
  click here to download a larger image of the SPE
Heritage Brush
Features a light gauge wire and a smooth rubber handle. Fast and easy to play.
Dia. = .530" | Spread = 5"
  click here to download a larger image of the HB

Style Studies For The Creative Drummer
By John Xepoleas
68 pages Cd Included
Alfred Music (MMBK0054CD)

Being well versed in a variety of musical styles is one of today's most essential drumming skills. Comprised of three sections, Style Studies for the Creative Drummer will help you develop a clear understanding and a solid foundation of rock, jazz and latin drumming. Each lesson contains basic rhythms plus numerous practical variations, all of which have been proven successful in a variety of performance settings.

Teachers, you will find Style Studies for the Creative Drummer an excellent teaching tool. Teach your students the basic grooves they will need to develop as a drummer. Teach musical phrasing for all of the styles and help you students develop the confidence they will need to perform in school or with their own bands.

From the beginning to the advanced drummer, take your drumming to the next level with Style Studies for the Creative Drummer.

Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats
By John Xepoleas

Would you like to take a private lesson from one of the world’s greatest drummers? Gain a deeper understanding of their techniques, concepts, grooves and fills? Have examples of their playing clearly notated, explained and demonstrated? I asked myself this question back in 1992, and with a resounding YES, a two-volume edition of “Drum Lessons with the Greats” was conceived, written, published and soon thereafter, utilized by drummers from around the world.

Now, almost 20 years later, this valuable resource is once again available. “Essential Drum Lessons with the Greats” includes artists from both of the previous books presenting their timeless material in a newly revised single edition. Grab your sticks and dig-in, as these world-class drummers candidly discuss, explain and demonstrate some of the drumming concepts they are best known for.

Neil Peart delivers lessons on developing fills, creating drum parts and soloing in ¾ time; Dave Weckl demonstrates some great sounding triplet hand & foot combinations, one of his trademark six-stroke fills and how to work with double strokes on the drum set; Steve Smith offers an in-depth three part lesson on developing great sounding linear fills; Kenny Aronoff lays out an intense series of rock solid hand and foot exercises; Mike Portnoy gives you an in-depth five part look at odd time signatures; Gregg Bissonette offers a lesson on how to develop fills patterns, shares one his favorite sticking patterns applied to the kit and demonstrates some of the best sounding reggae grooves you’ll ever hear; Peter Erskine takes you on a journey with sound and feel, shows you how to develop a theme and then explains how to play some very hip subdivisions; Tim Alexander presents an alternative approach to playing double bass, creative ways to playing the hi-hat and teaches a lesson on developing tom grooves.

I hope you enjoy the book and find it a wonderful opportunity to take a close and personal look at the techniques, concepts, grooves and fills of some of the world’s greatest drummers.

95 pages plus 2 CD's with over 140 minutes of audio recorded by the actual artists!

John Xepoleas is one of the most respected drummers and educators on the West Coast. He started performing and teaching in 1970 and has been an active part of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene ever since. In 1978 John received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performances from Cal State University Hayward. He has performed in a variety of musical situations ranging from jazz, rock and fusion, to classical, big band, R & B and funk.

In 1981 John Published his first book, "Studies for the Contemporary Drummer". His articles and columns have appeared in Modern Drummer magazine on a regular basis and he has contributed numerous articles to both Drums and Drumming and Drum Tracks magazines.

In 1990 John played drums on the debut release for The Gone Jackals entitled, "Out and About". Later that year he contributed to the Camel release "Dust and Dreams". In 1991 he produced and co-authored the first volume of "Drum Lessons with the Greats" (Warner Bros. Publications). The book includes ideas and concepts from Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Terry Bozzio, Peter Erskine, Kenny Arnoff, and Gregg Bissonette.

In 1993, due to the success of the first book, John Collaborated with some of today's most talented musicians to develop a series of "Lessons with the Greats" books for guitar, bass and saxophone. Mike Stern, Steve Lukather, Alphonso Johnson, Jimmy Haslip, Ernie Watts and Hubert Laws are just a few of the artists included in this series. In the spring of 1995 John was appointed director of percussion studies for the Soundwall Rock 'N' Roll music camp. In the fall of the same year he played on another Camel CD release, this one entitled "Harbour of Tears". In January of 1996 John's "Drum Lessons with the Greats 2" was released. The lineup for this volume includes: Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Chris Parker, William Kennedy, Tim Alexander and Jonathan Moffett.

In 2004 John's book, "Studies for the Contemporary Drummer", was re-released under the title, "Style Studies for the Creative Drummer". The newly revised version has numerous new and updated examples. Check it out!

John is currently performing with The Fundamentals as well as managing the group. He also performs with Fundz Jazz and continues to work on select freelance projects, maintains a thriving teaching practice in his home studio and is director of music for the Soundwall Summer Rock Camps.

John plays: Drum Workshop drums and pedals; Zildjian cymbals; Vic Firth sticks; Aquarian drum heads; Shure Microphones and the MAY miking system.