So here’s our last entry in our Independence Days series.
Obviously, this one is much much more complicated than the other, so let’s break it down a bit. The ostinato in letter has five voices being played by three limbs. The right foot keeps easy quarter notes on the kick drum. The left foot is playing two different sounds on the hi-hat: splashes and chicks. This can be very difficult to play at first; it take a lot of control. It’s probably a good idea to practice this part by itself for a while. Finally, the right hand moves between the bow of the ride cymbal and the bell. Spend some time with this ostinato and get very comfortable with it before you try to proceed.
Have fun with this one!
Here’s our next idea for developing independence on the drums by using an ostinato and a melody.
This one uses the basic samba groove. You’ll note there is no part for left foot written out. Instead the left foot part is implied with the open and closed hit-hats. Sambas make a great ostinato to solo over – you can play the groove as written or use both hands to solo while the feet play their parts.
Have fun with this one!
Here’s our second lesson on developing our four-way independence.
Clearly, this one is a lot more complicated than last week’s example. So let’s break down how to practice exercises like this.
- This one may take you a little while just to get the ostinato down. That’s fine . . . just take your time. Start with the ride cymbal, then add the kick, then add the hi-hat. Or start with the feet and then add the ride cymbal. Work it piece by piece . . . SLOWLY! And work it longer than is necessary. Don’t get it once and move on. Get comfortable!
- Now, once you have the ostinato down, move on to letter (B) and add the snare drum. Again start slowly. Then, once you are very comfortable with later (B) and then move on to letter (C).
- To work letter (D), start out by working the hands together . . . SLOWLY! Then add in the feet.
- Once you’ve mastered this entire exercise, begin to improvise and see if you can come up with other rhythms. This is the start to four-way independence solos.
Get after it!
In honor of our great nation’s birthday this Wednesday, I thought we’d spend the month of July developing our independence on the drum kit. The best way to practice independence, I’ve found, is to start with an ostinato (a repeating rhythmic figure) and then solo with one limb over that ostinato. Check out this example to see what I mean:
Letter (A) is our ostinato. We’ve got 8th notes on the ride cymbal, quarters on the kick, and 2 & 4 on the has with your left foot. Make sure to take some time and get very comfortable with the ostinato before proceeding to the other steps.
Letter (B) add quarter notes on the snare drum. Again, spend plenty of time getting comfortable with this idea at a variety of tempos before moving on. Also, be sure to move the quarter notes around to different drums or cymbals. Try to come up with little melodies, like a solo. Then, and only then, move on to letters (C) and (D). Again, be sure to move the snare drum parts to different drums and make little melodies.
Once you’ve mastered these examples, move beyond the exercise into 16th notes or triplets. Keep expanding your soloing concepts as far as you want to get the most out of the exercises.
If you like this kind of development, you should definitely come back here each Monday in July for more free lessons, or check out Gary Chester’s classic method book, The New Breed!