TIPS for JAZZ DRUMMING
Dr. Sherrie Maricle
I) READING and INDEPENDENCE II) KICKS, HITS, FILLS and SET-UPS III) TIME IV) STYLISTIC INTERPRETATION V) SOLOING and TECHNIQUE
I) READING and INDEPENDENCE
A) READING is a required skill for all serious musicians in most of today’s musical environments. One way to become a good reader is to read(sight read) a lot of music during your practice sessions (don’t practice, just read) and if you make a mistake keep going. Recovering from mistakes is an important aspect being a successful reader. The music you choose to “practice-read” should be played in a predetermined style and tempo. (Ex: legit snare drum, jazz feel, funk feel, etc.) A common ability shared by good readers is the immediaterecognition of rhythmic motives and phrases (groups of rhythmic figures). When you acquire this ability your identification of, and reaction to “the music” will be instantaneous and precise. Two excellent books for practicing reading skills are: Modern Reading Text in 4/4 by Louis Bellson and Syncopation by Ted Reed. These books are also a primary source for INDEPENDENCE exercises. Independence allowsyou to respond freely to the music you are reading and interpreting. To that end I suggest practicing within the context of a Basic Jazz Groove while reading the written lines as follows: 1.) Snare Drum 2.) Bass Drum 3.) Eighth notes on the SD, Quarter notes on the BD 4.) Eighth notes on the BD, Quarter notes on the SD. Tom-Toms can be substituted for the SD at your discretion. If you want tofurther expand these exercises read the written line as follows: 1.) 2.) 3.) 4.) Hi-Hat (you may double the ride cymbal and SD) Quarter notes on the HH, Eighth notes on the BD Quarter notes on the BD, Eighth notes on the HH You may exchange any foot for any hand part in either a predetermined pattern or freely
One of my favorite books for practicing independence is Stick Control by George LawrenceStone. Within the context of a Basic Jazz Groove play all notes marked with an “R” (right) on the BD. Simultaneously take all notes marked with an “L” (left) and play it on the SD or TomToms. You may also practice the “R” and “L” as BD and HH or exchange any “L” note (freely or in a predetermined pattern) between the HH and SD/Toms.
To book Dr. Maricle as a guest soloist, clinician, in-schoolresidencies, collegiate/high school jazz festival adjudication or to commission an original composition or arrangement for jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, concert band, wind ensemble or orchestra please contact Jami Dauber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sherrie Maricle’s Tips for Jazz Drumming p. 2
B) CHART READING requires you to follow the form (road map) of the piece being played. Drum partsare notated in many ways. There is no “standard” notation that you can study/memorize that will apply to every chart you encounter. Some charts are very clear, precise and easy to follow with all necessary information included. Other times parts may be nothing more than a sketch (play 8 bars at A, 16 bars at B etc.), a rhythm section lead sheet or a copy of a horn part. Steve Houghton’s bookStudio and Big Band Drumming provides excellent examples of several possible chart variations. No matter what kind of chart you are given, you are expected to accurately read the written music and, more importantly to interpret, improvise, be creative and make the music sound and feel good. Ultimately your goal is to memorize the chart(s) so you no longer have to read. Keep the music in your head, notyour head in the music. Section II discusses the basic “how to” of chart interpretation.
II) KICKS, HITS, SET-UPS, FILLS, and PUNCHES
To kick, set-up, punch, hit, fill or “catch” a written figure means to accent, support and/or “frame” that figure in a musical and stylistically appropriate manner. Being successful at this requires going well beyond the notation. It requires creativity,...