The Percussion Corner

This page is designed as a reference for School of HONK percussionists. It is not a comprehensive guide to being a percussionist. We have included topics that commonly come up during School of HONK sessions including links to sites that provide instruction in various techniques.

School of HONK Demo Videos

These are some videos that show some of our the beats that you will encounter at School of HONK. We have provided a short performance segment for context followed by 16 bars demonstrating the beat.

Traditional New Orleans Street Beat:

Basic Rock Beat

Snare Drum Technique

These are some videos that demonstrate some of the most fundamental snare drum techniques that we use in School of HONK. Note that these are just a few of the many videos on-line regarding snare drum technique. There may be better ones but these are pretty good.

These videos introduces some fundamental techniques for single strokes:

Here the buzz roll and the double stroke roll are introduced


Second Line/New Orleans street music

Below is a workshop featuring the Keith Foster and Derek Tabbs from the Rebirth Brass Band from whom we steal everything. There is a lot here but it is all good.
In the first section he talks about a Bambata (sp?) beat which is a variation on a 3/2 clave scored like approximately like this:

Following is a video of a boy from new Orleans jamming on a modern Second Line stick click pattern which we commonly use in School of HONK:


Second Line Bass Drumming

Following is a clip of the Rebirth Brass Band featuring Keith Frazier on bass drum. As the rest of the rhythm section is missing he has to keep his playing very simple. It illustrates the fundamentals of second line bass drumming:


The Clave

The Clave is the rhythmic pattern that is the underpinning of Afro-Cuban music and, in various forms, the music of much of Latin America, the Caribbean, and New Orleans. The clave has it’s origins in West Africa where it usually appears in a triple-pulse (6/8 or 12/8) form. In School of HONK though, we are at this time, sticking to double-pulse beats (4/4). The clave is commonly scored over one measure but it is a bit easier to visualize the pattern when scored over 2 measures as shown below.
Note: The clave has a 3 beat section and a 2 beat section and can start with either section. It is important not to confuse the time signature 4/4 with the name of the pattern 3/2 or 2/3 which refers to the order of the sections.

For reference here is the clave in 6/8:
6/8 Clave

Here is the 3/2 clave in 4/4. We generally use the Son Clave:


And here is the 2/3 clave:



The Latin Beats Diagram

This is a schematic view of many of our beats which lay things out in terms of 8 clicks (1/8 notes) per measure.


Guiro patterns

The following video is an excellent lesson on playing the Cha-Cha pattern on the guiro. At school of HONK we actually play the pattern on a steel guira but the pattern is the same. We have set the video at the point where he begins to teach the cha-cha but the rest of the video is excellent as well.

And here is a demonstration of the Cumbia pattern. At the point that we are having the video start the instructor is doing the basic beat. Listen on and hear some pretty neat variations. If you speak Spanish you will get even more out of the video.



Cowbell (Campana) patterns

Here is most fundamental Cowbell pattern with a variation to challenge your brain:


This video goes over cowbell method (note: he is demonstrating a 2/3 clave):



If you have any questions about the depth and rigor of the percussion section based on this page of useful resources, please get in touch with