Friday, March 12, 2021

What I'm practicing

I'm at the point where I've published so much stuff on the site, I'm a little embarrassed. I don't want people thinking I'm just fascinated with writing patterns. I do practice this stuff, and otherwise use it. For example, I'm not real happy with the existing literature/methods for young/novice drummers, so I write a lot for my students. The transcriptions are listening projects. I write some library pages because they don't exist, and they could be useful, to someone, someday, maybe. I'll write my own versions of existing materials, to make it easier to practice them the way I want.

And so on. Basically I write for a lot of purposes, and when you develop a regular morning writing habit, you tend to produce a lot of stuff. 

So, for a reality check, here is what I'm actually practicing, usually on different days, right now:    

All of the Three Camps for Drumset pages
People adapt this piece for all kinds of rudimental applications, why not make extended jazz texture drills out of them? I'm enjoying these a lot, and I hit them all every time I practice right now. 

Linear double paradiddle / paradiddle-diddle inversions page

This turned out to be a really solid page to have around. The complete patterns are good, and if you break them down further, playing every two beats of them, or even single beats, you've got all the major jazz ways of playing triplets with two voices. Play them along with a jazz cymbal rhythm on the SD/BD, SD/HH, HH/BD. Or play the snare part with both hands in unison, bottom part with BD, HH, or BD/HH in unison. Or play the bottom part with the RH/BD in unison, play the snare part on the snare with the LH. There's a lot you can do with the page to open up your Afro 6 feel for jazz settings. 

Reed methods

Filling in 8ths with the BD during a time feel, new uptempo method, bass drum and snare drum triplet fill ins— those last two are common methods that I don't think I've written about on the site. Play a medium jazz time feel, play the book part on the snare drum, fill out the triplets with the bass drum, or vice versa— book part on bass drum, fill out triplets on the snare drum. 

Mitchell Peters Rudimental Primer

I just got this excellent book. Think of it as Haskell Harr modernized, for concert snare drummers— Peters washed off some of the stink of tradition. Each rudiment gets two full pages of exercises and short solos in different meters— including some in 5/8 and 7/8. Which is appropriate— practicing rudiments just using the list format doesn't make it. Mainly using this to get my traditional grip back in shape. 

Haskell Harr
I'll play through most of Harr's book 2 every time I practice snare drum. It just puts my hands in a nice place of feeling able. 

Several of my students are playing out of Rudimental Swing Solos right now, so I need to keep it together. I'll be honest, practicing Wilcoxon doesn't bring me a lot of joy, and I don't know why. It's essential literature, a direct connection to Philly Joe Jones and a lot of other people. I practiced it a lot, for several years, and it made very little difference in my playing. I just don't play rudimental stuff on the snare drum very much. 

All pretty normal stuff that I've been doing, in different forms, for years, or decades. Which is a little strange— why wouldn't I be doing something new? I think at this point in my life and career, I know what I want to play, and what will be required of me, and I want to continue improving my basic thing, and filling in gaps in my abilities with that. And improve my methods, since I'm not an “efficient” practicer.

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