Trying to play an authentic samba groove on the drumset within the Brazilian style is impossible without first learning about the instruments, the playing techniques and the rhythms that make up the batteria (percussion section). In this lesson series, Berklee Percussion Professor Mark Walker will introduce you to the Surdo, the Tamborim and the Ganza and – after laying the stylistic foundation – will apply it to the drumset.

Join us weekly as we introduce a new lesson in the series!

Introduction and Solo in the Brazilian Samba style
The Surdo: Playing Techniques and Common Rhythms
Introducing the Tamborim
The Shaker (Ganza)
Drumset Application: The Surdo
Drumset Application: Tamborim
Drumset Application: Shaker / Ganza

Mark Walker

Grammy award-winning drummer/percussionist Mark Walker was born in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing drumset at age ten and played his first professional club, concert and recording gigs barely out of high school. He gained valuable experience performing an extremely wide range of styles in the Chicago area and later became a first-call session drummer and percussionist, playing on hundreds of jingles and record dates.

Since moving to New York in 1995, he has performed and recorded with: Oregon, Paquito D'Rivera, Michel Camilo, Caribbean Jazz Project, Dave Samuels, Andy Narell, Lyle Mays, David Liebman, Cesar Camargo Mariano and many more. He has appeared on major television shows such as: “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Rosie O'Donnell Show,” “PBS presents...” and “BET On Jazz.” Mark also appears on screen with Paquito D'Rivera in Fernando Trueba's Latin jazz documentary Calle 54 (Miramax).

In the Education field he was appointed Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston (2001) creating a new curriculum, serving on the Education committee and teaching drummers, percussionists and ensembles. He has also served on the faculty at Drummers Collective in New York City. Mark has given master classes, clinics and workshops in South America, North America and Europe.

As an author he's written for the all-star instructional drum set book Killer Grooves published by Carl Fischer and World Jazz Drumming, published by Berklee Press. His solo projects include the sample/loop discs Chameleon Drums, Vol 1 & 2 (Sonic Emulations) and Ritmo De Las Americas (Sampleheads).

He has also composed and arranged for the group Oregon, the Paquito D'Rivera Quintet, Bob McGrath and David Onderdonk. His compositions can be heard on new releases by Oregon and Paquito D'Rivera Quintet. He has won three Grammy Awards and earned several Grammy nominations for his work with various artists, including Oregon, Donato Poveda, Paquito D'Rivera and Caribbean Jazz Project.

Mark won the 1996 grand prize for Jazziz magazine's competition “Percussion On Fire.” Mark has also earned the Indie award and the Jazz award (German record manufacturers) for his work with Oregon.

Mark Walker is a Yamaha, Paiste, Remo, Vic Firth and LP artist.


Mark Walker's Vic Firth Implements of Choice:
American Classic® 5A Black
Tear drop tip for rich cymbal sounds. Great for every style of music. Classic black finish.
L = 16" | Dia. = .565"
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Our original. Designed for all-around rock‚ jazz and combo playing. With 16 dowels (.125").
L=16 3/8" | Handle thickness = .750"
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World Classic® Airto Brazilian Street Beat 2
For large Surdos. Produces a big sound without being overbearing!
L = 14 3/4" | Head size = 2 1/4" x 2 5/8"
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For Further Study, Check out Mark's Book
“World Jazz Drumming”

Enrich your drumming with world rhythms and sounds! World music presents many learning opportunities and challenges, especially for drums and percussion. Learning grooves from the Caribbean and South America will make you a more complete musician, and give you more ideas for creating your own sound and solos.

Many jazz greats have been inspired by world traditions: Paquito D'Rivera, Oregon, Lyle Mays, Caribbean Jazz Project, Andy Narell, Cesar Camargo Mariano and Michel Camilo. Author Mark Walker has worked with all these artists and others. Let him show you the authentic way to play world rhythms on the drum set!

The accompanying CD includes groove examples and play-along tracks of Mark Walker's original music, featuring guest artists such as Paquito D'Rivera!

In this book, you will learn to:

• Adapt traditional percussion patterns to the drum set
• Play dozens of Caribbean and South American grooves with knowledge and swing
• Orchestrate each groove for different situations
• Perform advanced concepts, such as chart reading, transitions and independence
• Be prepared for many creative musical situations, through knowledge of more styles and greater mastery of drumming fundamentals

Art of Playing Timables
buy now

"You don't have to be Austrian to play Mozart, and Mark Walker is the best example of assimilating and successfully adapting element of the most differing cultures to the contemporary jazz language. We've been together for a couple of decades now, and I can't think of a more versatile, reliable, tasteful, and all-around drummer. In other words, Mark is my favorite! As a music educator, he also knows how to share his knowledge in a very clear and understandable way, and that is what he gives you in this book."

—Paquito D'Rivera, Multi-Grammy Winning Recording Artist

"Mark Walker is truly exceptional. Not only is he one of the most musical, and intuitive virtuosos on drums and percussion that I have played with, he also is extremely knowledgeable of the roots, tradition and mechanics of various Latin music forms that he performs. That he is also so adept at communicating the science as well as the spirit of the music in this book is an opportunity for us all to take advantage of."

—Ralph Towner, Grammy-nominated guitarist, pianist, synthesist, composer, ECM recording artist and co-founder of Oregon

"Mark Walker has that rare ability to sound completely natural and intuitive in any setting and yet describe in great detail just what it is he's doing. This book contains a great deal of that detail. In World Jazz Drumming, Mark demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of the field he surveys showing not only the specifics of the rhythms involved but practical, creative, and always musical ways of applying them."

—Lyle Mays, Pianist/Composer (the Pat Metheny Group)

"A uniquely comprehensive look at contemporary jazz drumming. Samba, mambo, baiao, chacarera, festejo, calypso, and so much more, all here in this "one-stop shopping" book of world rhythms. Kudos to Mark for putting it all together for us in this fantastic book and CD."

—John Ramsay, Berklee Percussion Department Chair, and author of "Art Blakey's Jazz Message"s and "The Drummer's Complete Vocabulary as Taught by Alan Dawson"

"When I need a jazz drummer who can play Afro-Caribbean, Latin, and Brazilian grooves with a real feeling of authenticity, I call Mark Walker. After nearly three hundred gigs together, I am continually knocked out by his musicality, attitude, and presence of mind. I think the insights in this book apply to all of us, and I'm sure drummers will find plenty of music in here to work on."

—Andy Narell, Steel Pan Player/Bandleader