Drums, Lessons — February 20, 2012 2:47 am

Variations on a Theme

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Young students often ask me why they need to practice this material. I always reply “because you’re a
sum of all your parts”. Imagine if you will a car company that only focuses on transmissions. Well,
what about the rest of the car? You wouldn’t get very far on just a transmission alone. In today’s age of
music, you need to have exposure to as much as possible in order to have the most to offer. In addition,
one can only gain more control, coordination, and ability through the study of learning to dominate
your body – especially your hands. After all, playing proficiently requires it.

As the video will suggest, begin by learning the basic hand movements, with the accents, on the snare
drum alone. A quick suggestion to make these sound great would be to watch your stick height – you
want the accented notes to come up fairly high, and the unaccented notes to remain hovering over the
snare head. If you come up too high for the unaccented notes, you’ll blend the sound too much, and
that’s not the desired sound affect. Once you have a grasp of this method, move the accented notes to a
tom tom of your choice, while keeping the unaccented notes on the snare. The more toms you have, the
more options you’ll have, and ultimately, the more melodies you’ll be able to create. In my opinion,
these first two movements are essential. But once you view the video you’ll discover many variations
that will help you expand around the entire kit, as well as turn these patterns into grooves or solo ideas.

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