Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quarter note-ism

The usual theory of practicing is that as you master really hard stuff, you'll be super-good at the easy stuff. What often happens is that hard stuff just starts sounding like normal drumming to you, and you don't take easy stuff seriously, never really learn to do it well, and it never becomes fully a part of your palette. But the easy stuff makes the music groove, and it makes it easier for other people to play with you, and makes the dense, advanced stuff more effective by way of contrast. It should also be exciting that this is an area of playing where there should be no technical barrier to fully free, creative playing.

So, I've written some four measure jazz comping phrases using all quarter notes and rests:

Play the exercises along with the standard jazz ride/hihat pattern, or whatever ostinato you like. The stems-up line is the snare drum, and the stems down are the bass drum. If you have any trouble with these, you can run all of the quarter note exercises in Syncopation as preparation— it's a good idea ot do that anyway. Here are some things I would try to incorporate:

1) Play four measures of time after each time through an exercise.
2)  Play the top line on the snare drum, no bottom line.
3)  Play the top line on the bass drum.
4)  Play the top line on the snare, bottom line on the bass.
5)  Play the top line on the snare, fill in all the rests in the snare part with quarter notes on the bass drum. So line 1 would be played like this: 

6) Accent the end of the exercise on beat 4, with a long note tied through the following downbeat. Come in with the time on beat two of the new phrase: 

7) Also play the exercises rock beat-style, with straight 8th notes on the hihat or cymbal. Play them along with recordings at various tempos. (Whoops— typo in the example, but you get the picture.) 

Get the pdf

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