Thunder (Imagine Dragons) drum cover by Claudio Reis

How about a drum “cover” video that is not really a cover?

The song Thunder by Imagine Dragons doesn’t have a strong sound of drums. For that reason, what you find in this video is not really a drum cover, but more of a composition.

The song originally has a drum beat composed with electronic sounds of bass drum, snare drum and some hi-hat.

What I’ve done here is a stronger drum beat (partially linear), and also included fills using up to 6 toms – 2 roto-toms, 3 mount toms and a floor tom. A second and lower pitch floor tom was added only to emphasise the accents in the chorus.


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Does Drumming Really Improve Mental and Physical Health?

I won’t hide from you that singing is actually considered the most healing instrument of all.

But I love drums, and the following is the result of recent research on how drumming improves mental and physical health.

If you prefer to skip the following because you are interested in learning how to play a drum kit no matter what, then visit and start learning this week.

Drumming has been an element of human culture since prehistory. Early drums were made from skins of reptiles and fish which were then stretched over tree trunks and struck with sticks. Later drums were materialized using mammal skins and frames.

Many independently developed native cultures from across the globe share this common social theme: the use of drums in their ceremonies. For shamans and aboriginal cultures, drumming can be sacred, and many times the drums are the only instrument used in their sacred rites.


This is Claudio Reis, the drummer at Drum Lessons Sydney and author of Pegada Drum Method, demonstrating a little bit or drumming on a drum kit.

The round form of the drum may represent the whole universe; and the steady strong beat may be the pulse, the heart. Rhythm and drumming seem to produce an effect upon consciousness when used with this intention.

Researcher Sayer Ji remarks that 2.5 year old children appear to be born with the ability to synchronise body movements to external acoustic beats, revealing that drumming is an inborn capability.

At Drum Lessons Sydney (Caringbah) we have seen that many times. Coordination might be tricky sometimes, but who doesn’t like hitting a drum?

Drumming is effective in improving focus. Listening to a drum beat may cause the brain to slow down into a trance.


Holistic Uses to Enhance Physical, Mental and Emotional Health

Immune boosting and stress reducing: Increased immunity, boost of natural killer cell activity, reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.

Reduced blood pressure: Improve of cardiovascular health without posing the risk to unhealthy or older populations that may be experienced with more intense forms of exercise. Decrease in stress and anxiety.

Reduced pain: Performing music, as opposed to passively listening, is connected with endorphin release, therefore it elevates the pain threshold.

Transcendental experiences: With the help of a shaman, which is not my case and I’ve never experienced, drumming can decrease heart rate and create dreamlike experiences.

Increases white matter within brain: Within only two months researches observed improvements in executive functions and changes in white matter microstructure.

Improves socio-emotional disorders: Drumming can impact people whose social and emotional problems are linked to chronic stress.


An advanced level of coordination is sometimes necessary in order to play more complicated tunes, like Claudio demonstrates when he plays Take The Time by Dream Theater.

The video below is a compilation of two gigs Claudio played with Brazilian Latin Groove and the Brazilian Latin Dance Company in Sydney.

Click here for enquiries about drum lessons in Sydney area.

Pegada Drum Method

Drum cover

Book Name: Pegada Drum Method
Author: Claudio Reis

Claudio, a Brazilian drummer born in 1974, started teaching drums when he was 19 years old. A few years later he started working on the idea of combining everything he had learned into a single book that would help teachers and students during lessons and home practice.

Today, Pegada Drum Method is composed of four 50-page books named Fundamentals, Intermediate I, Intermediate II and Advanced.

More about the history of Pegada Drum Method at the end of this article.


So, what’s in the books?

The massive and powerful content of Pegada was carefully organised in the four books in order to create a better learning experience for the students.


All 40 Essential Rudiments – defined by the Percussive Arts Society – are spread in the books.
The most useful rudiments are in the Fundamentals book. At the end of each book you find Rudiment Application sections, which are exercises involving rudiments previously learned.

Coordination Exercises and Limb Independence

Described as Fundamental Exercises in the beginning, they consist of variations played on the hi-hat, snare drum and bass drum that prepare the student for what comes next, be it grooves or fills. At the intermediate level, Limb Independence exercises help open up a series of possibilities.

Stick Control and Technique

Drumming technique can’t normally be learned from a book, so the stick control exercises are a guide to teachers and students. Teachers show the students how to play stick control exercises based on what rudiment is being applied and what pace the exercise is being played.

Drum Beats

Many of the 100+ grooves you find in Pegada books are related to their respective song names.

Variations of rock, pop, funk, disco, indie, hip hop, blues, soul, reggae, metal, jazz, Latin and fusion grooves are carefully organised in their many forms: quarter, eight and sixteenth hi-hat beats; sixteenth snare or bass beats; hi-hat triplets, and so on.


From basic fills, through snare exercises later transformed in fills, to more complex snare, toms and bass drum variations, students will learn how to incorporate flam, drags, fast doubles and other rudiments to their new fills. The fills content of Pegada end with rhythmic patterns transformed into very exciting variations.

Song List

The first two Pegada books include lists of suggested songs. Those are songs that students asked and were capable of playing at certain stages of their course. They are all at least relatively famous hits, and were carefully listed in an order that makes it possible to progress from basic to advanced grooves, fills, techniques and speed.

It’s always important to remind the students that “basic” or “advanced” is not always related to what, or how much you know, but also to how you play.

Multiplying Instructions

Maybe you have asked yourself how someone can put all this content in only about 200 pages.

One of the most interesting features of Pegada Drum Method is the short paragraphs of instructions on how to multiply almost all previously learned content. Those simple notes will guide teachers and students on a journey of how to transform basic pop/rock drum beats into shuffle/blues, reggae, incremented funky grooves and complex exercises on how to use cymbals, hi-hat foot, double kick and percussion accessories creatively.

Music Genres

The many different styles of music are also explained in Pegada in simple paragraphs, therefore easily multiplying previous learned grooves. The clearest example is how easy it is to transform a simple rock beat into a blues beat.
Jazz, Latin and Brazilian rhythms are different tough. They have their own exclusive pages.


History of Pegada Drum Method – where did it all come from?

Claudio had private lessons for many years in Sao Paulo (the cultural capital of Brazil). If samba is the only thing that comes to mind when you think of Brazilian music then you need to know that the rock and funk scenes are huge in Brazil. Some Brazilian drummers that are world famous in rock music are, for example: Igor Cavalera (Sepultura, Cavalera Consipiracy), Aquiles Priester, Eloy Casagrande (Sepultura), and Ricardo Confessori (Angra).

Claudio also learned from videos or books written by Carmine Appice (who literally wrote the book on rock drumming, and influenced John Bonham); Joe Morello, Gary Chafee (former teacher of some big names), Duda Neves (a Brazilian rhythms master), Kiko Freitas, and some other less famous but awesome drummers.

At the end of about a decade, content from books, DVDs, notes and videos were already organised in a way that Claudio could wisely study all material he had accumulated.

That’s how Pegada Drum Method was born. With the use of some specific computer software Claudio rewrote everything, beat by beat, fill by fill, exercise by exercise, and by the end of 2015 hundreds of his students had already benefited from Pegada.



Almost every year a new edition is released, although since 2016’s edition 7 not much changed in the first two books; and basically only new content is added to the more advanced ones.



Teachers and students interested in buying a printed or PDF copy of the book should write to

Claudio is keen to working on videos showing and explaining contents of the book as questions arise.


Note: “pegada” is a Portuguese word that means “grip” or “feeling” (in regards to music).

Claudio Reis is the founder and Head Teacher at in Sydney, Australia.




Why do we charge for the trial lesson?

We charge for the trial lesson because you will learn as much as in a normal lesson. It is a win-win situation.

In our experience teaching drums since 1994 we learned that students that pay for their trial lesson tend to value it more and become regular students.

Our time preparing for lessons (book material, studio, gear and premisses), the decades of teaching experience, and of course the lesson time, are valuable to us, and will be to you too.

Giving free trial lessons never bothered us. The real issue is that some people don’t turn up to their free trial lesson, and we rarely find out why.

Try to see the music lessons businesses the way you see a flight company, an accountant, the dentist, plumbers or mechanics. The day they start giving free trials we will rethink this matter.

We still offer free trial lessons on some days during school holiday periods, so if that’s your thing, visit our website and keep an eye on the home page where we place the free trial button for a couple of days.

And always remember: when you come for a paid trial lesson you are guaranteed to have a full refund if you are not satisfied, provided you tell us immediately at the end of the lesson.

Brazilian Latin Company with Claudio Reis on the drums @ Burwood RSL & Merrylands RLS shows

Have you dreamed about being part of a Brazilian or Latin show, where performers play drums, dance Capoeira, Samba or Salsa, the vibe is awesome on and behind the stage, and you get to have your minutes of fame playing your solo?


Brazilian Latin Company (

The Brazilian Latin Dance Company invited me to substitute their drummer in two concerts, Burwood RSL and Merrylands RSL. I had only two weeks to learn 28 songs and I nailed them.

The following video is a compilation of the two shows, made with a camera behind me, and one from the audience.

The set up of the drum kit is similar to the basic set up. I take only one mount tom with me, and adapt a cowbell and a jamblock to a more comfortable position (when compared to having all three toms set up).

I sometimes teach those types of rhythms in beginners drum lessons. I show students how to start coordinating hands and feet first, and after a few months they start playing some samba and Latin variations on the drums.

Since I started offering drum lessons for kids in Caringbah NSW – that is in Sydney, Australia – I realised that sometimes Latin grooves is what makes a kid really enthusiastic about learning drums. Teaching beginners the basic of Latin drumming is one of the keys to keep them interested in drumming more often.

I hope you enjoyed the video, and if you are based in Sydney and are interested in drum lessons, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can find all details and much more on my website

You find this same video on Google+, and on my Facebook fan page.

Get ready to play many songs, not only a couple

Today I found this very interesting comment in a blog:

“I used to take guitar lessons with this guy whose style of teaching was letting the student take in a popular song and he’d teach you it. I remember taking Message In A Bottle by The Police to him and we worked on that for a little too long. Looking back, I just was not ready for that yet. What I really needed are those spider exercises first. I didn’t learn about those until long after I quit lessons with this teacher. The funny thing is he’d tell me about stories of other students working on songs with him for months. So he knew it was a problem. But maybe their point of view is that this is what the student wants? How can that work if they get frustrated like me and quit like I eventually did?”

I’ve had a number of students that came to learn drums from me saying – therefore thinking – they were in an intermediate level.

Despite being able to play about half a dozen of songs, that was all they could do after 3 to 5 years of training.

With the teaching method I use, based on exercises involving beats, fills, stick control and rudiments, in a matter of 2 to 3 months the same students were ready to play many simple songs. Within 6 to 12 months – depending on the student, of course – their list of songs increased fast.

Pegada Drum Method is not only about passing my knowledge. It’s also about preparing the students to recognise and understand what the drummers did in the songs they chose to learn, and play many songs without having to work on each one separately during the lessons.

Not every one of the new “intermediate” students was happy to restart from a book called Fundamentals. Well, if they have heard about (the 40 essential) rudiments but don’t remember what a Paradiddle is, and can’t apply basic variations of single strokes to create fills, they give me no option: beginners they are.

There’s no need for frustration, though. They perform better and learn faster than the average beginners, and after learning and practising basic stuff that they missed they feel much more confident because they won’t run the risk of not being able to play simple grooves and fills for lack of knowledge and practice.


“If Pegada Drum Method was available in music shops it’d be by far my favourite option to teach drums”.



Jam Block and Cowbell variations

Sounds… it’s all about sounds! I enjoy so much adding cowbell, jam block, tamborim and tambourine variations when I’m playing by myself, that I decided to make a small compilation of some recordings.

Curious about the difference between a Tambourine and a Tamborim?

This is a Tamborim, a Brazilian percussion instrument mainly used to play Samba.

This is a Tambourine. It’s used in many kinds of music.

Image result for drum kit tambourine

Both, the tamborim and the tambourine can be adapted to the drum kit.

Check out our gear at Drum Lessons Sydney.

Pull Me Under – Dream Theater (Drum Cover)

Quite old video again, but this time, heavier, and from another drumless track. Mike Portnoy innovated Heavy Metal drumming, and I spent some time trying to copy him years ago when I decided to catch up with late 90’s heavy metal. This was challenging, therefore a great way to improve. Here is the first of two Dream Theater drum cover videos I made.

EDIT: 2013 video replaced with one recorded in November 2016:

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