Another small tweak to my Reed-based funk drill, improvised by a very talented 6th grade student of mine. It's very obvious, and I don't know why I didn't think of it before. Maybe I did, but didn't think to write it up until I heard him playing it and sounding great.
This is something you can do with one of the most common rhythms occurring throughout the syncopation section of the Ted Reed book (pp. 33-45): 8th note - quarter note - 8th note or 1&-&. It happens all the time in those pages, sometimes with rests or ties on some of the notes. It's almost the entire point of those pages.
For the normal funk drill we'll take a rhythm like this, as it appears in the book:
And make it into a half time feel funk groove like this— with most of the rhythm played on the bass drum, except the 3, which is played on the snare. The added cymbal rhythm here happens to be the same as the “bass drum” part from the book, but the cymbal rhythm can be anything. Reread the original explanation of the method if you need to.
With today's tweak, we'll play the quarter note on the & of 1 on the snare drum, giving us this:
When that 8th/quarter/8th rhythm happens in the second half of the measure, like this:
The normal funk groove would be:
With this tweak let's play the 8th note on the & of 4 on the snare drum:
So with rhythm:
With this normal funk groove:
You could do our new thing on both sides of the measure, like this:
You could play these extra snare drum hits a little softer than your backbeat on 3, but I don't think you should “ghost” them— they're part of the written rhythm and they should speak. Part of the game here is that we're pretending the rhythms in the book are an actual piece of music for which you are creating an interpretation on the drum set. So the written notes should all be heard. I actually favor developing a chunky, Ndugu Leon Chancler-like feel, and playing them at an even volume with the 3.
Soon I'll write up a summary of all the variations on this practice method, or maybe I'll just put it in an e-book. Why not.