Thursday, December 28, 2017

EZ one-beat fill with tom moves

I think this is my third or fourth take on this particular subject since I started blogging, but it can take awhile to find the best format for teaching basic things. These days I like to isolate things from their context, without a steady pulse running in the background, and without counting complete measures.

Here we're working on the tom possibilities with a 16th note fill on beat 4, with an ending cymbal/bass drum note on 1, so I suggest just counting 4-e-&-a-1 while playing the numbered exercises. Play it one time, stop, take a breath, and do it again. When you have the move memorized, do it with the practice phrases at the bottom of the page, while counting in 4.

For many students it probably won't be necessary to play through all five of the practice phrases, but the steps are there for those who do need them. You can vary the bass drum pattern on the non-fill part of the measure however you like.

Get the pdf

Friday, December 22, 2017

Open hihat funk application using Dahlgren & Fine

Wow, suddenly it's the end of the year. In coming days I'll be throwing up as much stuff as I can to fill out any remaining content gaps in the upcoming 2017 Book of the Blog, so stay tuned...

Today we've got another funk application, using the first pages from 4-Way Coordination by Dahlgren & Fine, together with my page of basic cut time funk beats.

First isolate the right hand and left foot part from each four-note pattern in the book, ignoring those patterns that don't include a RH or LF. Playing the right hand on the hihat, make an open sound on the RH note before any LF note. Looking at the first two lines on page 4 of the book, we would do this with the last two beats of measures 1B, 1C, 1D, and 2A-D:

Those patterns would be played, in order (I didn't do 2C and D):

To those patterns we'll add our basic cut time funk beats, with the snare drum on 3 and the bass drum doing a variety of other rhythms. Hihat pattern 1D combined with funk beat 5 would be played:

The same hihat pattern combined with funk beat 4 would be played:

The practice goal will be to combine all of the hihat possibilities from the book— pages 4-6— with all of the funk beats from the other page. You'll probably want to be selective about pages 5 and 6; there are a few duplicate patterns, and you may find that the patterns with two or more left foot notes are not especially practical for everyday use.

There are two ways you can drill this: you can do all of the funk beats with one hihat part at a time, or run all of the hihat parts one funk beat at a time. I suggest starting by running all of the hihat parts with a few very basic funk beats— patterns 1, 2, 3, and 6 from the funk page— or just pattern 1, if you're not getting it quickly.

Another area to explore is to play the bass drum along with the open hihat notes. Pattern 1B would be played:

To that you can add the bass drum on 1 to make a complete groove out of it. You should also add the snare drum on 3— I left that out of these examples.

Adding the bass drum on 1 every two measures makes a more sophisticated groove:

Another example, using hihat pattern 1D, with the bass drum on the open notes, and snare drum on beat 3:

Adding the bass drum on beat 1 every two measures:

Tempo-wise, a good first goal would be to be fluent with this method in the range of half note = 60-96. Have fun!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Building the Tequila beat

A student has a gig coming up where she has to play the song Tequila, but didn't know a beat to play on it. This is what we worked out in her lesson. She was already able to play a Latin-type cymbal rhythm that works for the song, and we added snare drum and bass drum parts, figured out how to count it, and got all the coordination worked out so there was no mystery about how it all fit together. Drilling that plus the other optional versions on this page, she should be able to get through the gig,  make some variations on the beat, recover from mistakes, and generally relax while playing the song.

Count out loud part of the time while practicing— bot the rhythm of all the parts put together, as well as a straight 1-2-3-4. Figure out the hand parts as a sticking, using R, L, and B (for both hands). We spent some time isolating the complicated part starting at beat 4 in the first measure up to beat 3 in the second measure. We would work out the coordination, and play from 4 to 3 one time, with a long pause after. When working on the tom tom move, I would also isolate the 4 of the second measure to the 1 of the repeat, and then play from 4 of the first measure to the 1 of the repeat— always played one time, with a long pause after.

Repeat all of them many times, along with the recording, without stopping for mistakes.

Get the pdf

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Countermanding the tsunami

Thanks to everyone who has purchased the new e-book, 13 Essential Stickings, and I hope you're pleased with it. As you can see, there's nothing in there you haven't heard of— it's really a case of you paying (only!) $4.95 for me to select the most useful stuff that is the fastest to learn. I feel like that's 90% of why I'm on the internet posting stuff— to countermand the tsunami of bad, time-wasting drumming advice.

As soon as I can complete it, we'll have an accompanying study guide, with solo exercises to help you use the patterns creatively in your practicing and playing— look for that in January.

Anyway, thanks for buying, and please review it on Amazon... and any of my other e-books you've purchased, actually.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Linear funk with a broken cymbal rhythm, using Syncopation

I don't know if you've noticed, but we've developed quite a robust collection of funk methods here, using Ted Reed's Syncopation. If you learned them all you should have some real creativity going by now.

So here's another one, a linear interpretation, using a broken cymbal rhythm. This is good for moderate tempos— around 60-90 bpm. Tempos where you might play 16th notes on the cymbal with your right hand. Since we're playing this in 2/2— cut time— that would be half note = 90 bpm, and 8th notes would be the functional equivalent of 16th notes in 4/4. In that range it's very effective to emphasize a solid grid of 16ths (or cut time 8ths), a la Ndugu Leon Chancler and others. It's not the most popular way of playing styles with a backbeat today— chunky— people don't know they want you to play this way, but when you do, it creates a very deep groove.

Let's walk through the steps for this, starting with exercise 1 on p 33 of Syncopation:

Ignore the stems-down part. Play the top line rhythm on the bass drum, filling in any gaps in the rhythm with the right hand on the cymbal or hihat, making an unbroken stream of 8th notes:

As a warm up, do the same thing with the snare drum playing the book rhythm:

Then voice the book rhythm like a cut time funk groove, with the snare drum on 3, and the bass drum playing everything else:

As in our earlier funk method using Syncopation, you can also play the last half of the measure on the snare drum, to make a fill-like variation:

We're generally very right hand oriented on this blog, but the broken cymbal rhythm with this method really changes our focus. Rather than leading with the cymbal rhythm, you'll be thinking more about the bass drum and snare drum, and filling in the cymbal to create a solid architecture. All the parts should be at a roughly even volume. Your left foot may also contribute more than usual— play it on 2 and 4, or 1 and 3, or running quarter notes. Be able to add it in and take it out without disrupting the groove.

Improvise the orchestration to make a complete phrase out of each four measure line of music from the book. I think of it as two two-measure phrases, with a normal backbeat in the first measure, and a fill-like variation in the second measure— a little fill in the measure 2, and a bigger fill in measure 4:

Many of the book exercises have a rest or a held note on 3— page 33, exercise 2, for example:

To figure out what to do with that, first play the entire top line rhythm with the bass drum, filling in the cymbal rhythm with the right hand as before:

Of the exercise rhythm, play the closest note to 3 on the snare drum. That will be our backbeat, displaced:

You can also just add the snare drum on 3, while doing everything else the same as you have been:

When doing the fill-type variations, you'll want to use the displaced backbeat, playing the rest of the measure after that note on the snare drum:

Work with the one-line exercises until you're able to apply the method while playing through the long exercises on page 37 and after. I don't believe it's necessary to work for extreme speed on this one. Use the Betty Davis loop.

Monday, December 11, 2017

NEW E-BOOK: 13 Essential Stickings

Here's part of what I've been up to other than writing new blog posts— I'm releasing a new e-book today: 13 Essential Stickings for the Modern Drummer. If you ever get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff there is to practice, this is the book for you. It's a thorough introduction to sticking patterns that I consider to be essential for filling, soloing, and modern playing in general on the drum set, in a variety of rhythms and meters. They're easy to learn, easy to use in actual playing, and easy to play fast. You don't actually need a heck of a lot else.

The book is in e-book format for Kindle, but it can be viewed and used on any device— Kindle, tablet, laptop, smart phone (this book is very friendly to small screens), or desktop computer.

34 pages. Price is $4.95.

Also see my other e-books.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

History of American Percussion Music

This is just a quick link share: you should read the online article The Beaten Path: A History Of American Percussion Music.

It's an excellent thumbnail history of percussion in American conservatory music in the 20th century— the area of “classical” music in which percussion first started being used in a serious way. You'll be familiar with it if, like me, you ever came within spitting distance of a percussion performance degree. It has actually influenced modern marching percussion in a big way, first via Fred Sanford, who studied with Tony Cirone, and Ralph Hardimon, who studied with Cirone and my old professor, Charles Dowd.

Give it a read, learn the names, chase down some of the music on YouTube.