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!