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Easy Drumming Self Evaluation


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Tonight I wanted to check my technique (hands). I felt like standing up so I put the old-fashioned

practice pad (triangular type wood-block base with roughly 4" square rubber pad) on top of a

waist high dresser. Propped in back against the crash cymbal I placed a 3'x2' mirror. Great

view from neck to waist so shoulders, neck muscles, arms, hands, sticks, pad in perfect view.

I practiced w/ the metronome on one setting, fiddling around w/ as many different even fractions

of speed possible, and watched. Firstly, it was a check-in to see my hands, especially fingers.

I've been making myself lead w/ non-dominant hand about 65% of the time for a few weeks now.

Slow going, but steady going. I wanted the check further because as I've regular dates with the

Stick Control book of late, I wish to be obedient in going through these exercises: play with

no tension whatsoever.

One can try!

After awhile the soloing began, using the pad as I would my kit (rimshot hag here) and getting

pleasing sounds from the wood proper. Things got a bit out of hand and eventually involved

book case shelf, music stand, mirror frame, anything within reach.

Most of the soloing was doing those things in drumset practice lately -- slowish

yet swung tom/snare "rolls" with the kick drum inserted, with double speed Bonham HHK

triplets (Hand Hand Kick) in the phrase. I was most pleased at the result, standing up too,

metronome still going and the drummer in time, with feel, dynamics, recovery.

That kind of eval was not why I set things up in the first place. I'd forgotten: periodically it's

essential to get off that drumset and check those very things - time, feel, dynamics, recovery.

All the above I loosely group as precision - here I think is a truthful check. Excellent to eval

via hands on knees and feet on ground. With sticks and rebound surfaces also fine. It's too easy

to lose oneself behind the kit - the distraction of its many sounds, volume, overtones of drums,

cymbals and those bewitching rim shots.

+ + +

In the ongoing exploration of triplets I found something else - a seven stroke roll like this:

L L L R R R L (then alternate) R R R L L L R --- the counting: 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 -- 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 --

If or when speed comes count --- 1 e & ah, 2 e & -, 3 e & ah, 4 e & -

Accent the 7th stroke. Try to bounce the triple stroke. Endeavor to work up 2 bars x 20 repeats (I will, too)

Speed is of no concern! Play it, learn it, sink deep into the bones. There's the shortcut to speed. Swinging!!

Conclusion

Be grateful & ride the practicing Wave

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