Drum & Percussion Lessons
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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Benny Greb - PASIC 2009

If you are looking for a deliciously rich, coordination challenge to add to your drumming vocabulary, this drum groove/solo served up by Benny Greb during his drumset clinic at the 2009 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) is sure to satisfy.

As you’ll see in my video clip from the clinic, Benny makes use of a number of different drumming elements in his drum solo: 4-way independence and multi-pedal technique, plus a simultaneous hand ostinato and foot ostinato. For those not familiar with the term, an ostinato is a motif or phrase that persistently repeats itself.

Here is the full notation of the basic groove that Benny begins at the 08:00 time mark, continuing for four measures then embellishing and using the groove to improvise over.

Benny Greb Ostinato Solo - Full Groove

As you can see and hear, there are a lot of ingredients to this groove recipe. All of the limbs are involved, coordinated together in such a way that when we watch and listen to Benny play, or even view the notation of the groove, we might consider this to be one of those "no way" 4-way independence contraptions — one that only a select few could even attempt, let alone play. Before you check-out or lose hope, let me first explain and show how to approach learning this groove.

We could attack this complex groove note-by-note, starting at the beginning of the measure and working our way through, however, breaking this beast down into bite size pieces, limb by limb, is the best way to go about it. The reason? The goal here is more than just playing the notated groove. We will want to develop our limb coordination to the point we have complete independence between the ostinatos and the improvised solo elements. Understanding and being able to perform these ostinatos independent of one another is going to give us the greatest flexibility, not only with this particular groove, but with everything we choose to do with it.

Continue on to PART TWO

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. His 39+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator, consultant and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA and abroad.

Bart Elliott is the founder and sole proprietor of DrummerCafe.com (f/k/a Drum Ring International) — established in December 1996.