Later this month my drum students will join in with my piano students in a joint jazz performance workshop. Our first pairing since the before times. For some students who play electric drums at home it will be their first go on a traditional drum kit. Here are some tips to get ready for this experience.
1. Practice the rudiments and snare etudes softly this month. The power strokes and general joyous thrashing possible on electric drumkits won't work in an acoustic environment with pianists playing jazz.
2. Jam with jazz recordings this week. The album below is an iconic introduction to jazz drumming.
3. Practice the required pieces more than you might normally do.
4. Prepare to have fun. Playing with other humans, making improvisational music is thrilling. Music is a team sport.
Covid protocols will be in effect.
A rudimental warm-up based on the 40-bar exercise from Syncopation, the timeless drumming manual.
Drumming is about having fun. Having fun is about playing well. Playing well is about directed instruction. Playing music with others is about time and groove, period. The band wants to hear our pulse, good vibes, and steadiness. This happens when we work on our "stage one drumming"
This track challenges a students' ability to hold a groove for an extended period of time. Drummer Grady Tate plays with so much feel, groove and simplicity.
No small feat.
Transcribing the drum chart for Robot Rock made me feel 13 again.
When listening at 1/2 tempo, I hear some interesting sound artifacts with the bass drum part, like it was being doubled.
How I will be spending some practice time over the holidays, preparing this piece. A fun solo piece for the snare drum.
Good hand skills are the core competency of drumming. Learning some solo repertoire is a fun way of going about it.
If you swing them a bit, they morph into a New Orleans Roll offs or drum solos pretty fast.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher