Canadian Musician


Jeff Salem

STRIKE ZONE by Wes Crawford

February 9th, 2015


Greetings fellow drummers, in my 20 plus years of teaching drums I have always found it a challenge to get beginner students to be consistent with their snare strokes. Whether they are playing a nice solid back beat aiming for the center of the snare to playing nice orchestral rolls and finding all the sweet dynamic spots on the head. We also can’t forget the proper stick placement for playing a cross stick.

Well my friends the solution is here. My good friend Wes Crawford, drummer, instructor, educator and leader of Enviro Drum Maryland has come up with the “Strike Zone”. Here is what Wes has to say of his product.

Wes Crawford Homepage Photo

“I developed the Strike Zone in order to help students learn where to strike the snare drum to best achieve various tones and dynamics. It is a simple and inexpensive solution that is designed to be used as a stencil where the student can trace out the various zones and dynamics on the drum head using anything from a light pencil to a permanent marker. The template may be used over and over as heads wear out and are changed. Some students even like to tape the stencil to the head for more feedback regarding accuracy and to muffle the drum’s sound! I notice that students will often zero in on the Focus Zone even when I don’t first explain what the markings are for!

Here is a video demo of this product.

It can be purchased at:

The Strike Zone is a great addition for any student. For more information on Wes please visit his website.

Catch you all next time

Jeff Salem A.K.A Noise Organizer


December 16th, 2014

Jeff Salem AJ

Early in my career I had the opportunity to play in two incredible tribute bands. One was a tribute to Alice Cooper “Just Alice” and the other a tribute to the band Heart called “All Heart”.

Both bands were very successful in North America. The singers in both acts resembled the original singers image wise and their vocal ability was strong. My role was to play the parts as they were recorded. My visual image wasn’t so important as both these bands were really well known for their lead singers.

Mind you if you were to play in a Kiss or Beatles tribute it would be important to look and sound like either Ringo Starr or Peter Criss. Playing and looking like them would be very important to the tribute act.

AJ promo picture

Today I have the drum seat in an incredible tribute to the band Journey called “Absolute Journey”.

The most memorable singer from Journey, Steve Perry had an incredible vocal ability and a unique look that audiences remembered. Also, we can’t forget the catchy guitar riffs, unique keyboard sounds and incredible hit songs the band wrote.

“Absolute Journey” features the talented vocalist Riccardo Curzi who nails Steve Perry’s parts vocally and visually as well his mannerism on stage.
Absolute Journey promo video.
(promo video)


Here are some tips for you drummers out there if asked to play in a tribute band.

1. Note all the tempos from the studio recordings to live recordings. Find the tempo that locks the band in a pocket during rehearsals and mark them on your set list and strive for that same vibe live.

2. Learn all the signature parts. For example when we play the song “Separate Ways”, I see many fans in the audience air drumming the cool fills in the tune. I can’t improvise this. I must execute it verbatim.

3. Memorize your parts. Remember you are putting on a concert, perform at a high energy level rather than have your head buried in a music stand.

4. Check out many different live videos of the original artist on You Tube for intro’s, endings and song arrangements.

5. Equipment is important. For example, If you are playing in a Rush tribute, you might have a difficult time nailing all of Neal Pearts licks on a 4-piece kit. I am not saying you have to buy every piece of equipment he owns, but try and cover most of the drum and cymbal sounds.

6. Strive for consistency every night, smile, respect your fellow musicians, have fun and enjoy the Journey!

Catch you all next time

Jeff Salem A.K.A Noise Organizer

DRUM HANG (On Line Drum Lessons)

September 14th, 2014

Greetings fellow drummer’s, I am very excited about sharing the latest in on line professional instructional drum lessons. DRUM HANG!

Be a part of the coolest hang with the team at Drum Hang. Drum Hang is the newest & latest online community providing professional drum instruction and continuing education to beginners, hobbyists and professionals alike.
Educational director Chris Sutherland and Jeff Salem have over 20 years of teaching experience each and have selected a team of top motivated and experienced instructors to share there passion.
Learn from these industry top professionals with new lessons featuring a wealth of different styles, techniques and concepts released every day. Our menu will fulfill your percussive appetite and motivate you to take your drumming skills to the next level. Each month, Drum Hang will feature lessons filmed in front of a live studio audience, a very unique way to experience an interactive clinic.

Here is a sample of some lessons from the site.

Sign up today at

Enjoy and we will see you next time.

Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer


July 13th, 2014


Greetings fellow drummers, I hope you are all enjoying your summer. My good friend Dave Rundle the owner and designer of Headunters Drum Sticks turned me on to his latest creation. “Crossovers”.

This cool stick combines the best of both worlds with the use of a traditional drum stick and bundled rods. I have found this to be such a great addition to my stick bag. Below is a description of this product and it’s variations.

Here is a video link to my demo.


Crossovers and Crossovers II
Crossovers combine the concept of bundled rods with that of a regular drum stick. After lathing the unique shaped shaft of the Crossover, a centre hole is drilled down to a bulb area. An insert material, polypropylene or bamboo rods are glued into the hole. The stick is gripped with ‘Grip Control’ which features a double textured ‘X’ pattern feel. An adjustable ‘O’ Ring fitted around the bundled rod end can be positioned to create different percussive sound options.
The profile of the Crossovers also features a ‘bulb’ area just under the bundled rods. This is solid wood and therefore when stuck on the cymbal or bell will produce a clear bell or cymbal tone, not the wash of a bundled rod. The bundled bamboo area can access the sounds you can expect from other popular bundled rods plus…………..when the dynamics go beyond their expected range, Crossovers have far more reach. Traditional drum strokes such as rim shots and cross sticking are completely within the sound expectations of normal drum sticks. Thereby increasing the overall dynamic range and soundscapes available in one drum stick, making
Crossovers a must have in every stick bag.

Crossovers are available in 2 models and Crossovers II are available in 3 models.
Crossovers Bamboo
Larger diameter maple shaft features a bamboo insert; our bamboo selection includes the ‘outer skin’ of the bamboo stalk. This adds incredible strength and rebound.
Crossovers Poly
Feature a poly insert and have a quieter and softer bundled rod sound.
Crossovers II
Crossovers II use the same designs are the regular Crossovers but the diameter size has been reduced to that of a 5B.
Crossovers Bamboo
Use a hickory drumstick and larger semi round bamboo with the outer skin intact.
Crossovers Bamboo Light
Use a maple drumstick and lighter smaller flat bamboo with the outer skin intact.
Crossovers Poly
Use a maple drumstick and poly rods.

Enjoy these great sticks and visit


Jeff Salem A.K.A Noise Organizer

Brad King’s “WhackBamThudd” Drumming Event 2014

April 28th, 2014

(Brad King hosting WhackBamThudd)

About 10 years ago a piano instructor asked me if I would be her special guest for her student’s recital. She wanted me to perform for about 20 minutes and basically entertain her audience with stories and percussion performances with some audience interaction.

She had over 50 students crammed into a two-hour session with each playing a short song or two that would last about 60 seconds. The venue was held in a basement of a church with bright fluorescent lights and the atmosphere was cold. She wanted me to close off the event and the reason of having me there was to hopefully encourage all the parents and students to wait around and catch my show and keep them motivated. I would say about 90% of them did stick around.

In her past recitals she was always challenged with the fact that mostly every parent would leave right after their kid’s performance making it not fair for any students who performed later in the set. I told her that I do these types of events with a live band in a club and title it “Student Concert Performance”.

This way everybody gets to benefit. Parents get a concert and see not only their child perform but everybody else of all ages and levels. A good venue is important, it should have a stage, lights, P.A. good seating and be comfortable for the folks.

These days with technology changing every minute we have to keep our students motivated. Well let me introduce you to Brad King (educator, clinician, drummer) who has successfully accomplished these goals. Not only does he host a student concert performance, he turns it into a weekend drumming event with guest clinicians, prizes and more in an incredible theatre setting. “WHACK BAM THUDD” is the title of his cool student concert. Here is what Brad has to share for this coming 2014 event.

whack poster official

WhackBamThudd 2014

WhackBamThudd ! Unlike most educators, Brad King(Studio,

Educator, Performer) takes every opportunity possible to push his

students into a performing scenario. The uniqueness of this event is

the combination of amateur & professional musicians performing

together. Creating a spirit of unification in the drumming/music

community in Saskatoon, Canada . The annual ‘recital’ (15 years

old) is now in its third year using a completely live format. Audiences

will see amateur and professional drummers and musicians

performing live music choices from country, rock, metal and

Polynesian and Latin rhythms! The theme for the song choices this

year was Billboard #1 songs from 1960-1999. Students had a blast

researching these different eras. Full production, lighting, staging

complete with sound check is part of the whole experience! There

are also some surprises. YAMAHA artists Mark Kelso, Jeff Salem &

Brad King will be playing together and integrating with the band and

students. Brad insists that the student performers experience all of

this to illuminate the awesome life of being a performing drummer. Previously, the involvement of Dom Famularo(co host for

WhackBamThudd 2012 and 2013) encouraged and enabled Brad

to make it bigger! Better! Aligning with incredible educators, as well

as players, was an essential ingredient. This is why Mark and Jeff

were the perfect choice! This years event is sponsored by and truly

made possible by the following companies; YAMAHA drums, SABIAN

cymbals, VIC FIRTH sticks, REMO drumheads, LP percussion, SHURE

microphones, HUDSON music, MODERN DRUMMER magazine,

PAISTE cymbals, HEADHUNTERS sticks, EVANS drumheads!


(Brad King & Dom Famularo have a great performance moment)

Here is a link to his bio.

Here is a link to a sample of what you will see and hear at WhackBamThudd

Live student concert performances is the way to go. Have a great month.

Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer

Q & A on Developing Independence & Coordination

April 7th, 2014

Jeff salem Multi Tasking

Greetings fellow drummers, here is a recent question I received from the educational director from Modern Drummer magazine.

What are your favourite methods/techniques for developing independence and coordination?

I always remember one of my early drum lessons, when my teacher asked me to apply quarter notes on my bass drum to a simple quarter-note/8th-note snare exercise. I will never forget how much of a challenge it was to avoid flamming my hands with the bass drum, especially when the bass note had to play in unison with my left hand.

One coordination exercise I give to all my students is what I call the Big 4 foot patterns. They aren’t too difficult but will have plenty of application at all levels and styles of playing. Try playing them under a variety of hand patterns.

The Big 4

Pattern 1: quarter notes on the bass drum

Pattern 2: quarter notes on the hi-hat (with the foot)

Pattern 3: Half notes on the bass drum and the hi-hat (with the foot) on beats 2 and 4

Pattern 4: Quarter notes on the bass drum with the hi-hat (with the foot foot) on beats 2 and 4

Once students are comfortable playing the Big 4 underneath simple marching-type snare drum exercises, I will move into drumkit applications. Pattern 2 is great to apply to any rock beat playing off the ride cymbal. Pattern 3 is a great one to introduce students to a two-beat jazz feel. Pattern 4 is great to demonstrate a 4/4 jazz feel.

It’s important to help students develop a nice balance between all limbs. I will give them a pattern or rhythm to play on the bass drum, and then move it to the hi-hat (foot), and then to the ride cymbal and snare. The video below demonstrates a 3-2 rumba clave played in this context.

I also try to get students to learn songs open-handed. I will have them first play it traditionally, with the hands crossed over, and then switch at the second verse to open-handed playing, while listening to see if the groove or dynamic alters. This is a great coordination exercise.


Some more advanced approaches I use with students involve reading of page 38 of Ted Reed’s book Syncopation. (It was page 37 in the original printing.) Alan Dawson wrote a book titled, The Drummer’s Complete Vocabulary, which shows many ways to practice this page to develop plenty of independence and coordination. I also like using Modern Text Reading by Louie Bellson. Have fun, and be patient. The world of independence is a life long journey, so enjoy the ride.

Catch you next month,
Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer


March 3rd, 2014


It was 20 years ago this month that I shot this instructional video “Double Bass Vocabulary” It never made it to DVD, just VHS. It was distributed by MVP in California and it supported my drum book (same title).

You may find the video surfacing at some used video stores, Ebay or a local garage sale.
To celebrate the 20 years, here is a link to a new version of some drum fill ideas that can be found from the original video/book. Enjoy and we’ll see you next month.

Jeff Salem A.K.A Noise Organizer


February 7th, 2014

fast and easy drum chart

This week in Toronto we got hammered with some major snow, as well I was hammered with many calls for gigs which is a good thing.

Preparing for these gigs requires time listening to the tunes as we’ll as making charts for myself to use on the gigs.

In the past I have used many different methods to chart tunes, either just a blank piece of paper making a road map or using staff paper with plenty of details. Sometimes I will just write notes on a lead sheet if it is provided from the bandleader. All in all they work but I always wanted to have a better system.

The answer is here. “How To Write A Fast & Easy Drum Chart” Book by Liz Ficalora.

I met Liz a few years ago at PASIC when she presented her clinic on how on use this book. It was incredible and informative. I highly encourage EVERY drummer to pick up her book.

Here is a link to some details about her book.–00-39097.aspx

Here is a link to her website.

Liz & I at NAMM 2014

Enjoy her book and show up on the gig prepared with organized charts.

See you next month.

Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer


January 22nd, 2014

USA - Music - Rich Redmond Performs in Florida

Last November I had the great opportunity to meet Rich Redmond at a D’Addario function at PASIC in Indianapolis. His positive energy, personality and sense of humor were contagious. I couldn’t wait to see and hear him at his clinic the next day.

His clinic was jam-packed and when he began, all I could say was WOW!!!!.
His presentation was incredible. Rich knows how deliver an educational and motivating clinic. He offered some amazing advice for drummers of all levels. Here is a sample of his live clinic presentation.

Lets take a look at Rich’s career



Rich Redmond is a top call recording drummer/percussionist based in Nashville. His versatile, dynamic, musical and rock solid drumming is the sound behind many of today’s top talents. Rich has toured/recorded/performed with Lit, Bryan Adams, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Jewel, The Pointer Sisters, Rushlow, Pam Tillis, Gene Watson, Susan Ashton, John Anderson, Doc Walker, The Roadhammers, Deana Carter, Jedd Hughes, Patricia Conroy, Chuck Wicks, The Lost Trailers, Trace Adkins, Andi Griggs, Earl Thomas Conley, Hank Williams III, Mindy McCready, Robbie Nevil, Emily West, Jo El Sonnier, Jim Brickman, Catherine Britt, Brolle (Swedish mega-star), Deana Carter, Crystal Schawanda , Anita Cochran, Patricia Conroy, Earl Thomas Conley, The Evinrudes, Andy Griggs, Big Kenny, (Lalaine (Lizzie McGuire Show), Stan Lynch, Lila McCann, Malibu Storm, Robbie Nevil, Vaughn Penn, Michael Peterson, Ronna Reeves, Regina Regina, Marty Stuart, Hank Williams III, Lucy Woodward, Lane Turner, Crossin’ Dixon, Lee Brice, Robin Welty, Steel Magnolia, The Stellas, The Wilsons and many others. Rich is currently the drumming powerhouse behind Jason Aldean, Rich is playing to thousands of appreciative fans nightly and over a million fans per year! Rich recorded all of the drums and percussion on Jason’s platinum selling debut, his gold certified sophomore disc and the gold certified ‘Wide Open’ record which have yielded 9 top ten singles including the # 1 hits, “Why”, “She’s Country” and “Big Green Tractor”, and “The Truth”. These #1 hits have also topped the Billboard ring tone charts. Rich’s ‘song-friendly’ drumming style, infused with a true rock n’ roll spirit has led to these records being regarded as a unique new voice in Nashville’s musical landscape. Rich has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show With Conan O Brien, The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon, The Craig Ferguson Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Bonnie Hunt Show, Good Morning America, The CMA Festival, The Academy of Country Music Awards, The Country Music Awards, Fox and Friends, ESPN’s Cold Pizza, The Donnie and Marie Show, Austin City Limits and many others. Rich attended the prestigious University of North Texas and recorded and toured with the world-renowned 1:00 Lab Band. He continues to develop his reputation as a top call session drummer, producer and clinician. “Each day I want to strive for constant improvement.” says Rich. “My life’s purpose is to entertain, motivate and inspire all the people of the world through the beauty and power of musical drumming”.

Visit his website at

Rich will be in the Toronto greater area touring with Jason Aldean the first week of February. Make the time to catch this dynamic musician in action. Here is a link for dates and tickets.


Enjoy the concert and see you next time.

Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer


January 1st, 2014

Happy New Year everyone. As the clock struck midnight last night we all became singers, belting out the famous and traditional folk song “Auld Lang Syne” to celebrate the New Year 2014.

“The Lead Singer” is how part 3 of this post begins.
Please read, enjoy and I wish you all the best in 2014.

See you next month,
Jeff Salem A.K.A. Noise Organizer

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