Monday, June 2, 2014

Moving (around the drums)

Rochester, NY drummer Aaron Staebell was kind enough to contribute this very useful and practical exercise that he learned from Rich Thompson, his teacher at the Eastman School of Music.

Here's what Aaron had to say about his contribution:

"This is a short video demonstrating a movement exercise that we were all doing at Eastman back in the early 2000s. Our teacher was Rich Thompson, a really tremendous drum set pedagogue. He did some time with the Basie band in the 80s. The point behind this exercise was to play as smoothly and comfortably as possible. It was always paired with the term "Conservation of Motion". Hopefully your blog readers dig it!"

It's pretty self-explanatory from this short demonstration that Aaron put together:

Basically, your Right hand moves around the drums either clockwise or counter-clockwise, then your Left hand follows one eighth-note and one drum behind the Right hand.

I actually messed around with this very idea when I was still in high school (!) many years ago but had forgotten about it. Grant Laxdal and I came up with some other variations in the same style as well where the hands travel in opposite directions and start on different drums. Throw in some 3/4 or 4/4 foot pattern ostinatos and perhaps even incorporate the cymbals, then you'll have a wealth of variations to deal with that will get you around the drums in creative and, possibly, uncomfortable ways. We could probably write all these variations down but we are better off to use our imagination and work it out. Thank you Aaron and get to work everybody!

Aaron is also an active educator in the Rochester area. Here is a recent masterclass of his on the subject of setting up one's drums properly:

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