Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Accents in Reed

TOTAL nerd stuff here. I use the accent pages in Progressive Steps to Syncopation (pp. 47-49) with my students for convenience, but I find them be a pain. They're thorough, but poorly balanced— so if students (e.g. me) just start on line 1 and try to plow through it, they (e.g. me) are going to burn out about halfway through the first page, and never get to the interesting ones. To do this stuff year after year you have to manage your interest, and that of your students. You can't reasonably expect people to motivate themselves by brute force forever.  

I think I need to start marking this book up with a four-color pen. Bracket off each section in black, circle the good exercises in green, the critical ones in red, whatever. Get out my 50mm acrylic marker and black out everything I hate. Something. 

Here are how those pages are organized, with my suggestions on which ones to include in general practicing. Whether you like my line choices or not, when covering this topic students should be playing at least a few lines from each category:

Lead hand accents - 
Lines 1-10
Most of the first page of exercises, and quite dull. I may have students play four or five of these, for different reasons. Shave it down to lines 1, 2, 6, and 9.   

Two accents together - Lines 11-14 
Only four lines, no problem. Always do lines 11 and 14. 

Off hand accents - Lines 15-22
Inverse of the lead hand accents. Lines 16, 18, 21, 22. 

Mixed accents - Lines 23-28
These are the interesting ones, and the most useful for learning to play accents well. There aren't many of them, but we're just using this as preparation for playing accented 8ths as an interpretation, using the regular exercises earlier in the book.  

Single accent displaced - Lines 1-2, 15-16
That's an important set of exercises, too bad they're on two different pages. 

Here: I've pared down those pages by about 30%, and dragged things around into the order I would have wanted them, with the four single accent patterns grouped together at the end. Print these out and put them in your copy of Syncopation: 


By the way, I don't just use these pages for their intended purpose— playing alternating accented singles on the snare drum. I'll use them for getting into applications like my rock drill, or harmonic coordination method

I rarely use the other non-8th note accent pages. Never the dotted-8th/16th pages. The triplet pages are most useful, they're also an organizational mess. Perhaps I'll pick them apart on another occasion. 

If you like reading my complaining about this book, also check out my itemized critique of it from another occasion. 

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