Topic: What are you currently working on?  (Read 9938 times)

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Bart Elliott

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What are you currently working on?
« on: September 03, 2007, 11:11 PM »
What have you been working on in your recent personal practice times? Styles? Techniques? Grooves? Fills? Reading? Coordination? Speed? Time Keeping?

Share what you've learned or discovered in these practice sessions.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2007, 11:36 PM »
Recently I've been going back to the basic rudiments with emphasis on technique. This is because my private instructor noticed that my technique is a slight bit off matched gripped. This is because after playing traditional in drumline for so long my left hand has seemed to take a curve when it is played matched.   


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 12:17 AM »
I've been practicing alot of different things. The things that i've focused on the most have been grip technique, rudiments and all those fundamentals. I've noticed a rather significant increase in hand speed since working on my grip and i can move around the kit with greater efficiency.

Been working on different grooves and trying to come up with some original ideas for grooves and fills. If any of you have heard the song 'glass arm shattering' by Porcupine Tree' i've been playing that alot. It's certainly not the hardest song in the world but in my opinion it is one of the most musical and tasteful drum tracks i've ever heard.... anyway, i've ripped off that little off-beat mushy hi-hat & bass note that Gavin plays throughout the song, (you'll know what i mean if you've heard it, not that others wouldn't have heard it or something similar before) i reckon it sounds so nice haha.

I've also been working on accenting polyrhythms with each of my hands. I realised a while ago that i really needed to pratice playing unaccented and accented notes on the same beat (simultaneously) while still maintaining a constant volume... ie. all of my unaccented notes are at the same sound level and so are all of my accented throughout a song. It's coming along well so far. I can't believe that i have neglected this aspect of my playing for such a long time!

All of this to a metronome of course... so you can throw time-keeping in there too.

Todd Norris

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 12:29 AM »
Unfortunately my "practice" time is limited to keeping loose and "maintaining" what little chops I have.  "Life" prevents me from embarking on anything serious drumset wise right now which is a real bummer since I have several cool DVDs/Books I can work out of, not to mention follow-up video lessons with Bart I could do...

Fortunately, I do get "rehearsal" time with the praise band and the bagpipe band to work on songs, musicality, timing, etc.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2007, 01:45 AM »
Honestly, i'm lucky if I can find the time to even sit behind the kit anymore. Music of any aspect has pretty much taken a backseat to life right now. Its a bummer.

The only playing i've gotten in lately is teaching my son some stuff out of the old Haskell Harr lesson books as he wants to join band since he's in the middle school now. Hopefully in a few years, he'll be teaching me stuff.

Drum Slave Jack

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2007, 05:12 AM »
Currently working on grade 8 music pieces for my exam in december. There are some really nice pieces in there, however, there are also some really silly ones haha.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2007, 09:04 AM »
I finally got George Lawerence's "Stick Control" last week, and have been working on the first few pages of that. 

Double rolls and paradiddles have been my rudimental focus the last month. 

As far as grooves: I've suddenly become a bit of a Steve Jordan disciple.  People in the audience seem to dance more when I try to play like him  :)

Also, I've been working on basic to intermediate jazz patterns. 


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2007, 09:33 AM »
Lately, I've been very structured with my practice, and have been pretty good about getting in 2-3 hours a day.  I start each day focusing on hand technique.  I have just started focusing on grip and proper technique using full strokes, quiet strokes etc.  I practice Full, Accent (Full to Quiet), Up (Quiet to Full) and Bounce strokes without a metronome, followed by single and double stroke rolls and paradiddle and flam exercises at slow medium and fast.  I follow that with the first three pages of Stone (2 exercises per page at different cut time tempos) focusing on using a full stroke, at both high and low heights.  I just got "Its Your Move" by Dom Famularo and hope to use that and the Jojo Mayer DVD to start working on the Moeller method as part of my hand development.  I've found that spending a quarter of each practice session on hand exercises emphasizing proper technique instead of speed has made everything else that follows so much easier.

After hand technique, I move into drum set coordination, where I use Rod Morgenstein's "Drum Set Warm-Ups" to focus on technique and ability to move around the kit.  I started using this book about a month ago and it is simply phenomenal.  My fills have become much more solid, and I approach the kit in a completely different manner.  I have a few drum set coordination exercises given to me by a teacher that I work here too.  One, called the "Timpani Exercise" I've found very helpful.  It is deceptively simple, but can really help feel around the kit.  It is:

LRL (Snare) RL (Hi Tom) RL (Med. Tom) RLR (Low Tom) LR (Med. Tom) LR (Hi Tom)

And repeat.  To combat my problem of playing loud and fast, I purposefully play slow forte, and then fast extremely piano.  I can get this going really fast, and gets the blood flowing.  After that, I've been working on "4-Way Coordination" which is a mind altering book, although as others have pointed out, its very hard! I'd like to start adding in some polyrhythm study to this part of my practice, but haven't gotten to that yet.

Finally, I move into the grooves/fill portion of my practice.  I've been working on bop drumming using John Riley's book "The Art of Bop Drumming."  I spend 15 minutes or so solely on the triplet ride feel at different tempos, trying to undo years of rock and funk drumming.  I'm having a lot of fun with the jazz drumming, and it really has helped my timing.  Comping is still very difficult for me and I doubt I'll ever be an amazing jazz drummer, but I know that my band would benefit greatly if I was able to pull out a cool jazz section in a song. Then I've been working through grooves from Frank Briggs' "The Complete Modern Drum Set," and Tommy Igoe's "Groove Essentials."  I've been focusing on World grooves like Bossa Novas and Calypso etc. lately.  I really enjoy the Briggs book, which packs a lot of bang for the buck into it.  I'd like to start working on the linear grooves and odd time signature grooves from this book, but simply haven't found the time. The accompanying DVD is great, and whenever I get stuck, it really helps.  I find Igoe to be fairly irritating, but he has developed an excellent system that I hope others will copy.  Its great to have all of the songs to play along with to practice fills and groove alternatives etc.

After my groove work, I focus on learning new songs or playing along with play-along tracks.  I'm starting with a new band in October, who has a three hour set and whose songs have a lot of changing time signatures and different feels throughout a single song, so I have mostly been focusing on learning their material, both by playing along with recordings, and charting the material.  Once I have their stuff down, I'm hoping to start working on a few songs by the National, whose drummer has a really interesting linear style.  Also, once I advance with the bop drumming a bit further, I'll start incorporating that into this part of my practice.

Overall, I lay out a plan ahead of time, and try to do as little "jamming" as possible.   Once I have finished everything for the day, if I have time, I might just bang around a bit, but I've found that limiting that and pushing the envelope every day has really made for some quick advancement.  Bart's article about practice was very inspirational when I decided to take my playing to the next level, and the organization has really helped.  I also take about two lessons a month, which are generally focused  solely on proper technique.  I'm essentially deconstructing all the bad habits that had formed from years of only gigging and rehearsing.

I have the month of November off from work, and I'm starting now to lay out a plan for six hours a day of practice.  If anyone has recommendations to add to the above practice routine, let me know. I haven't decided if I'll just continue to use the same materials and expand the amount I do everyday from each, simply do two of the above practices a day, or start incorporating some of the things I mentioned above, along with some double bass drumming.  Honestly, I'm a slow learner, but I want to know how to do everything, which really helps with practice.  Anyhow, thats what I've been working on.

NY Frank

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2007, 11:35 AM »
I had been doing rudiment work.  But, recently I survived an audition and got into a band, and now I'll be spending the next coupla weeks almost exclusively on absorbing new material.  After that, I should be able to broaden my practice time again.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2007, 01:32 PM »
I've been working out of 3 books lately:

Fred Dinkin's "It's about Time"

"Stick Control"

And Vinnie Appice's "Rock Steady"

Steve "Smitty" Smith

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2007, 02:18 PM »
I'm working on my grip, rebound, and individual finger development -- all via Jojo Mayer's DVD.

What have I learned or discovered in these practice sessions?  I have a ways to go, and it's going to take a sustained committment to develop the speed, power, and control I seek.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2007, 03:37 PM »
My practice hasn't been too disciplined lately, but I have been working on playing along to The Sound Of Muzak by Porcupine Tree, thanks to Modern Drummer's transcribe of Gavin's part (I'm a huge Gavin Harrison fan). I also tend to sit down and just improvise for about 15 minutes or so whenever I get behind the kit to just do whatever.

Bob Dias

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2007, 05:35 PM »
In no particular order of importance, I have been spending more time on the following:

1) double bass technique.  I am late to this game, and my band mates want to do some songs that utilize it.  No matter how I approach it, it is like not being able to walk and chew gum at the same time for me.  So, I continue to slog away at "rudiments" with my feet.

2) I am spending more time learning to sing more back-up parts.  I already sing backup on many songs we do, but again, many vocal parts do not always follow whatever basic rhythm I happen to be playing. So, I am spending more time playing AND singing.

3) Timing in between "1"'s.  I keep nice steady time from measure to measure, phrase to phrase, and the back beat is solid, but sometimes I tend to push on patterns.  For example, we play the old Lita Ford song "Kiss Me Deadly".  The tom/guitar breakdown in the last 1/4 of the song, I tend to rush the tom accents on 1&.  I am always spot on as to where they start (1), but the "&" part in the dum-dum comes just a bit too fast...make sense?

4) Keeping a more consistant rhythm pattern with my bass (right foot).  Sometimes it (I) tend to wander as to what exactly it is playing.  This is sloppy and I need to be more consistent in the bass beat being played, not always so much live, but certainly when we record.  Some songs have been very good for me in that, Pink's "U & Ur Hand", some not so, Iron Maidens "The Trooper".

The above keeps be off the streets for now...Cheers, Bob


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2007, 05:52 PM »

As a restarting drummer after very many years, I'm still working on regaining my former skills. I basically sit behind the kit with headphones on in which I play any not too difficult music, and I'm trying my best to keep the tempo and improve my fills and other tricks quite independently of what the band in my ears is playing, but something similar, and I strictly stick to the beat, that's most important.
Of course I also practise with the band I'm playing with about once a week, but learning their songs is not so important at the moment as gaining real confidence in playing anything that I'm able to.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2007, 06:42 PM »
I am about to be overworked with my school's marching band stuff for about 2 1/2 months, so sadly I won't get too much time behind the kit.

What I've been doing recently is playing along with a lot of music that I normally wouldn't play with to try to work out my own style.

I've also been working on some finger technique (which has always seemed awkward to me) and trad grip which is coming along well I think.

And rudiments of course.

David Newman

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2007, 06:44 PM »
I try to keep a well-rounded routine, but my focus lately has been on dynamic independence, e.g. playing a groove and doing crescendos and decrescendos with one limb at a time. I have also been working on dynamic consistency when it comes to back beats and bass-drum patterns.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2007, 09:16 PM »'s a love/hate relationship lol.


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2007, 11:34 PM »
Since I started teaching, I've been practicing more.

1. I'm never satisfied with my groove playing so I've been working in Steve Bowman's book.

2. Gary Chaffee stuff
- Compound Stickings

3. Shuffles
- Chris Layton stuff
- Alex Van Halen "Hot for Teacher" groove

4. Jojo Mayer Stuff from DVD


Ryan Culberson

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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2007, 11:53 PM »
Slow tempos applied to simple, common grooves.  By slow, I'm talking roughly 50BPM and below = quarter note.  Specific focus within that context would be consistent snare hits, creating mechanisms (Billy Ward style) to help subdivide the beat mentally, and creating sparse, appropriate fills to fit what ever groove I'm working on. 


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Re: What are you currently working on?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2007, 05:12 PM »
Been doing some work on my foot speed.  I know, I'm playing country now, but I've been watching Portnoy a lot lately and getting a little jealous of his foot speed, so I've been doing some work on paradiddles and quick runs with just my feet.  @$%# my calves are killing me!!!