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Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett: Leading Drum Grooves With Your Foot

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Jonathan Moffett was nicknamed “Sugarfoot” by Michael Jackson because of the quick speed and complex patterns he was able to pull off with his bass drum foot. With a nickname like that, it seemed natural to focus Jonathan’s first ever Drumeo appearance on his bass-drum foot – so in this lesson, Jonathan is going to teach you how to create grooves using the back beat as a foundation. He also talks about his memories of working with Michael Jackson, how he got started in the music business, where the nickname “Sugarfoot” came from, and much more!

Lesson Index:
0:40 – “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” by Michael Jackson
6:00 – Drum Solo
7:30 – Introduction
10:35 – “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson
16:00 – Where did the nickname “Sugarfoot” come from?
23:16 – Jonathan’s foot technique (mental/physical aspects)
42:38 – Drum Solo #2
51:10 – Jonathan’s approach to writing drum parts
56:23 – Jonathan’s tips for beginner/intermediate drummers
1:02:30 – Q & A!
1:09:28 – Drum Solo #3
1:18:13 – “Jam” by Michael Jackson

About Jonathan:
Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett has recorded and/or toured with some of the greatest pop artists of our time, including Elton John, Janet Jackson, The Jacksons, Cameo, Lionel Richie, George Michael, Kenny G, Doug Miller, Peter Cetera, Bill Meyers, and Cirque du Soleil, besides guest appearing at popular television shows like The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live, and The Arsenio Hall Show.

Among his biggest musical feats, none come close to his extensive work with the all-time greatest pop artists of the last 100 years: Madonna and Michael Jackson. Jonathan toured extensively with Madonna and recorded drums for several of her albums, including “True Blue” and “Like A Prayer”. As for the king of pop himself, Jonathan was his drummer for The Destiny Tour, Triumph Tour, Victory Tour, 1988 Grammy Awards with Michael, HIStory Tour, Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration, This Is It, & Cirque’s Immortal World Tour.

Jonathan Plays:
DW Drums
Remo Drumheads
Roland Drums
Audix Mics

Left Foot Challenges For Intermediate Drummers

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Download the sheet music »

If you’ve already gone through the left foot challenge for beginners, this lesson is the next natural step in your development. Siemy Di will further challenge your left-foot independence by having you learn three new beats that make ample use of the left foot.

First up we have a Brazillian rhythm. As you can see, these challenges have quite a few more notes to play compared to the beginner ones.

This next one is an African-based clave. Usually, we recommend focusing on the feet first before adding the hands over top, but try leaving everything but the left foot out at first if you’re having troubles with this one.

You’re most likely going to recognize this rhythm! It comes up a ton in modern funk music.

There we have it! If you’ve made it all the way through, you’re definitely on your way to having an independent, unlocked left foot. And if you’re looking to take your limb independence even further, we just re-launched our Independence Made Easy drum course where you’ll receive a 26-week guided lesson plan so you know EXACTLY what to practice (and get personal feedback from Jared Falk along the way!)

Left Foot Challenges For Beginner Drummers

Your 26-Week Drum Practice Plan »
Download the sheet music »

In this lesson, Siemy Di will challenge your left foot independence and general 4-way coordination with three 8th-note-based beats. For each of these exercises, start with just the feet then slowly introduce each limb.

Let’s kick things off with a drum and bass style ostinato with your feet while your hands add some spice over top in the form of eighth notes and a backbeat on 2 and 4.

This next one is a Middle Eastern inspired rhythm. You’ll be playing the exact same pattern with your hands as you did in the previous exercise, but your feet will be playing something slightly different. Again, focus on the feet first!

Time for some funk! This one is definitely the most challenging of the three.

So… How’d you do? If you’re not used to practicing foot independence, these can definitely be challenging when you’re first starting out. Take your time! If you find these too easy, make sure to check out the intermediate left foot challenges by Siemy.

Easy Drumming Independence That Sounds Hard

Registration closes July 31st »

I just re-launched Independence Made Easy: a 26-week course designed by yours truly. Each Monday of each week, for 26 weeks, you will get a new video lesson with hand-picked exercises and detailed instructions on what to practice (and for exactly how long).

Reaching your goals is all about having a clear vision and a simplified plan to get there. This course is your path to playing more musical grooves, your guide for better sounding fills, and your opportunity to play whatever you want, whenever you want.

Click here to see what this course is all about.

Drum set independence is one of the most important aspects to playing drums. You may feel overwhelmed by the groove I play in the intro of this video, but we’re going to break it down into three separate exercises to help you easily play it for yourself. Get the sheet music here.

*This video is from last January when we first launched Independence Made Easy, but registration actually closes July 31st. Don’t worry, you still have time to enroll! 😉