Taylor “The Pocket Queen” Gordon started playing the drums at the age of seven in her hometown of New Orleans — a pursuit which would eventually lead her to stages with Robert Glasper, Stevie Wonder, and Beyoncé. Gordon is known for her tasteful playing, command of historic drumming techniques, and most of all, her confident and original voice. Throughout her journey, she has shared her knowledge — be it through her early “Road to Chops” YouTube series, or the #pocketqlub videos that she regularly posts.
Guitar Center Lessons invited The Pocket Queen to demonstrate some of her favorite drum techniques and creative strategies. She covers topics of all levels — from stick grips, to using silence to create a more powerful moment, to (of course) how to stay in the pocket. In the video below, she gives an overview of everything covered in the series.
How to Hold Your Sticks & Keep a Beat
“A lot of people wonder how I achieve the sound that I have, and they think it lies within the drums that I choose, or the heads, or the cymbals. While all of that plays an important role, I think the most fundamental information that I can share is to make sure that you have taken the time to figure out the most effective way to strike the drum and get a consistent sound out of it.” Taylor demonstrates some of these fundamentals, including two different drumstick grip techniques, how to practice having a consistent tone around the drum kit using a single stroke roll, two kick drum techniques, and a basic beat that ties everything together.
How to Stay in the Pocket
“The textbook definition for what pocket is is basically keeping a steady rhythm or beat. It is a pattern that is played consistently over and over as if you are a drum machine. People who are able to do that are defined as being able to ‘stay in the pocket.’ The Pocket Queen definition of pocket has a lot less to do with technicality and everything to do with how you feel.” In this video she demonstrates how small timing adjustments in a drum pattern can change the groove completely.
Magical Moments on the Drum Kit
"One of the most important things you can create as a musician is a magical moment… We attach music to the best moments of our lives, so when you are behind the drum kit, don’t just think about playing fills, but think about creating memories.” Taylor shares three techniques for delivering those moments on the drum kit — first by using silence to create impact, then by shifting the downbeat to change up the groove, and finally by echoing players in the band with their own rhythms.
Guitar Center Lessons
Playing music is our passion. Guitar Center has thousands of certified, expert instructors across the country who can help you cultivate your own identity and create a curriculum that's uniquely designed for what you want to learn. Guitar Center Lessons are available for all skill levels and offer personalized one-on-one music lessons online and in-person for guitar, bass, drums, piano, DJ, and more. From beginner to the more advanced, we will help you grow as a musician.
Learn more and schedule your first lesson with us today!
Looking to purchase your first drum kit? Check out our beginner drum buying guide.
Keep up with The Pocket Queen on Instagram.