Drum Set Control Exercises
Here are three grooves which I feel are essential. These grooves mirror the lessons I've given to my classes at Los Angeles City College (LACC). First groove is a basic drum set pattern which will require some work on your part, in order to overcome coordination between HH and BD. Second groove adds a new ride pattern for the HH. Third groove adds an essential ghost note pattern on SD. Much thanks to Sibelius software for assiting me with these lessons! Top line is HH, then snare, bass drum.
Here's a reminder of a groove that most drummers must have in their repertoire. The independence is tricky and challenging. But the end result is well worth the effort. Make sure the ghost notes are played softly in relation to the backbeats.
OK, we're going more basic now. Can't hang with that? Welll.....can you groove these beats and make them mean something? That's what your bassist is looking for, believe me! A friend at PIT made two CDs for me of Earth Wind and Fire, one of my all time favorite bands. The first tune on one of the CDs is such a baaad groove. Maurice White is the drummer. In order to get to Maurice's fat groove, you gotta (maybe?) go through these first two grooves. 1. 16ths on the HH with one hand. 2. 16ths played with alternating hands on HH, SD on 2 and 4 3. Finally, 8ths on the HH, same BD and SD pattern. The BD has got to be played perfectly, at the beginning of your practice. OK, for some of you this may be a bit simplistic. For many of you, you have to work to make sure that your groove is convincing!!
Here are three ride patterns, one of which is used a lot in Western popular and jazz drumming. The other two are not as popular and might give you some creative ideas for your drum set performance and practice.
As you add the groove patterns either listed here or add your own, you'll find, once again, some coordination issues. (I don't like to call them problems!) Take it slow! Make sure that you pay close attention to your execution of all of the notes. This will pay off as those with whom you are playing will appreciate the care with which you play! This is so important! What you may want to do is re-write each ride pattern with each groove, so you can see how everything lines up.
OK, time for just some basic grooves that everyone needs to know. I know, for some of you this may be basic, and for many it isn't. So, patience is a virtue for some of you!
Fellow Drummers, this is the beginning of a wonderful study I did when I realized I could not perform eighth notes with my HH while playing different patterns with my other limbs. This mode of study began when I realized I couldn't play a certain Bernard Purdie groove. These exercises, and those upcoming, all come from a book I found entitled Berklee Method of Drumming by Alan Dawson. Weird, that I cannot find this book anymore. It's not the relatively new Alan Dawson book either.
I was taught to play these exercises as swing grooves, with the jazz ride pattern and 2&4 in the HH. You should definitely do this. Come on....you know you should! After learning them this way, I modified the exercises to fit my needs. The Ride Pattern and HH pattern in the fourth example is what I used to develop Coordinated Independence. You perform the exercises while playing the Ride and HH, of course. These should be done slowly with the goal of perfect placement of every single note.
Fellow Drummers, this is the second installation of study I did when I realized I could not perform eighth notes with my HH while playing different patterns with my other limbs. Importante! Follow the instructions in the previous lesson.