I started to play drums a few years ago. Despite lessons, books, videos, and even a masterclass with a famous virtuoso drummer, learning drums was fun but really tough. I needed a way to cheat! I’m a professional game programmer of 20 years experience, including multi award winner LittleBigPlanet, and I use Roland’s TD-1KV electronic drum kit, so naturally I made a game to teach drums. Now with Funktris I can play stuff I never could play before! I hope it will work for you too.
The app enshrines good learning practice and applies it in an organized way. Slow down until you can play it right, then speed up again. With your hits drawn on a musical grid, you can see if you are hitting every note consistently right away, so you don’t waste time learning something wrong. Funktris automatically detects if you are nailing it and moves on to the next groove, or slows it down if you’re having trouble.
The drum levels teach funk-damentals like syncopated 8th & 16th note kicks, open hat grooves, disco beats, ghost notes, odd snare placements and fills. Variations move drum hits around the bar like interlocking puzzle pieces, and you’ll recognize fragments of famous pop, rock and funk tunes on the way. Yes, it’s a game but you could use all of this in genuine songs, and if you can beat the game you’ll have a lot of drumming basics down as well as an impressive high score!
You can adjust the gameplay – perfectionist or just blast through, it’s up to you. Options demo the groove, ramp up the tempo, and help internalize the beat by switching off the backing track temporarily. Check your progress with the high score table.
• How to use Funktris with your drum set
– Get an iPad and put it above your toms or somewhere safe.
– Plug V-Drum USB midi out into a USB to lightning adaptor (Apple Camera Connection Kit) and into your iPad.
– Plug the iPad headphone out into the V-Drum mix in.
– Use the V-Drum audio/headphone out.
And voila, you get your native drum sounds blending with your iPad’s audio plus MIDI recognition of what you’re playing.
• Drum Machine
Funk Buddy lets you quickly program beats by mixing up banks of classic drum patterns, or do detailed editing if you want. Bank mode lets you select entire bars and then cycle between different patterns for hats, kick, snare, and cymbals when you press the button for that kit piece. Press bank mode again to switch between collections of grooves and fills. Microscope mode lets you program individual hits with the touch screen. This is all live as the track is playing, so you can lay down the basic idea quickly and then add some unique elements without losing the vibe.
You can define up to 26 pages (4 bars each) and order them into a song. Each page lets you overdub rhythm loops from audio input (press the microphone button to dub). Given an audio interface such as FocusRite iTrack Solo or IK Multimedia iRig, guitarists will find this handy as a looper replacement. You can even time stretch the overdubs to slow them down to make it easy to learn the accompanying drum parts and solos. Don’t forget to name and save your creations!
Cool ways to use these features together:
– Program a beat you want to be able to perform and drum along to it to learn it.
– Record a guitar/bass riff for your beat and drum along to that.
– Rewrite the beat under the riff.
– Solo over your riff for hours.
– Turn on swing mode and make a quick 12 bar blues.
– Type out a song to work on and have all the sections easy to cycle.
– Quickly jot down some songwriting ideas while you’re waiting for that big DAW to boot up!
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