taking things apart

I have a student who is working through “Groove Alchemy” by Stanton Moore. The book is great for building funky grooves and developing the feel and style that many of the great funk drummers played. Some of the patterns are simple and quickly mastered. Others, not so much!! The other day, we went through one groove that had a tricky snare drum part at the end of the fourth bar. At first, it was “my hands don’t move that fast”. After about ten minutes of taking apart the lick, isolating the parts that repeat (ostinatos), then filling the snare drum parts around them, my student had the pattern near tempo. Short periods of focused effort working on a technique can yield great results, particularly when working with a new concept, or something that is different than what you have stored in muscle memory previously. I use a cheap kitchen timer to work on three, five, or ten minute periods, and only move the metronome by a few clicks (no more than 5 at a time!!) to slowly work the passage or figure up to speed. For busy high school and middle school drum and percussion students, this type of rehearsal is essential. And, it’s fun to master something!! Have a great week drumming!

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