Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Instructional material recap

This blog started out to be a catalog of my snare drum collection. Slowly my interest turned from gear to music and technique, spawning my pet project, Music for Drummers, as well as a different direction in this blog. While I still write about gear here, I prefer to write about technique and I think the trend towards that aspect adds a lot more value than promoting GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome.) Of course, value is a relative term. This is a hobby for me - no, a labor of love - and some folks will find the content valuable and others probably will not.

What has happened is my posts are becoming increasingly more difficult to track, so periodically I aggregate related topics in a single post. In fact, I am starting off with one from the past to anchor this blog entry: Get a Grip. That entry pulled together a lot of related material, as did My Favorite Instructional Videos: Grooves and Woodshedding! to name a few.

Today's recap will attempt to play catch-up again by citing recent instructional and technique entries, as well as introducing some new material that is related to recent posts.

First up is a DVD and book/CD combination by Ed Soph. Ed's vidios are scattered throughout this blog:

His DVD and book/CD material is an excellent set of tools to obtain basic jazz chops. I will cover them backwards since that is how I used them back in 2004.

The DVD, Musical Time, is an excellent starting point for getting jazz chops.

While this DVD may seem too basic for experienced drummers who have some jazz chops, it is perfect for those who have spent their career playing something else and want to add some jazz chops to their vocabulary. Granted, those experienced, non-jazz drummers may find some aspects boring (like adjusting bass drum pedals), but the beginners who get this DVD will find all of the information and instruction useful.

In truth, this DVD was published to augment Ed's book/CD combination, Musical Time (Book & CD):

Reading and working through the book/CD first is the ideal situation. However, when I started playing drums again after a 37 year break (1967-2004) this is one of the videos that I used, and I purchased it before I knew of the book/CD. I found it to be immensely helpful, and when I eventually did purchase the book/CD it was icing on the cake. So, while I went about it backwards this was exactly the instruction I wanted and it made a major difference in my getting back up to speed after a 37 year break.

Ed Soph's style is straightforward and at times you get a sense that he's gruff and obstinate. However, he has a knack for imparting a lot of knowledge efficiently and effectively, wasting no time. He gets to the essentials - the foundational stuff - and leads you through mastering it. Bottom line: is this for you?

  • If you have jazz chops and know how to swing, then perhaps your money would be better spent elsewhere.
  • However, if you are a beginning drummer who wants to play jazz this is a great video (with his book/CD, of course), because it quickly imparts the basics as well as pointing out bad habits and how to avoid them.
  • If you are an experienced drummer who has been playing rock, country, or anything but jazz and want to add that to your vocabulary, this is a very good starting place. Be patient when Ed is giving tips to beginners and throw yourself into the lessons.
Next is a DVD set that augments the one I mentioned in New book/DVD: The Complete Guide to Playing Brushes. The author, Florian Alexandru-Zorn, recently released The Brush Secret: How to Apply Your Own Voice to the Brushes:

Other instructional and technique posts I have written include two featuring Peter Erskine and one featuring Derrick Pope. Erskine's videos are in Comping and off-beat grooves versus mindlessly hitting on 2 and 4 and a great presentation titled The Role of Rhythm in Popular Music. Derrick Pope's videos are must-watch for any serious drummer and are in Moeller Technique (and other tips by Derrick Pope).

While I haven't gotten around to reviewing Pat Petrillo's Learn To Read Rhythms Better, I intend to in the near future. I want to introduce this DVD ahead of time in case you want to check it out. If ever you wanted to learn how to read music, this is the video to get.

As a parting shot I want to reemphasize two things:

  1. It's not the gear, it's the drummer - see this post for my reasons.
  2. Do not get lost in a quest for technique to the exclusion of larger world of music itself - we are, after all, musicians.
At some point I'll aggregate all of the brush-related topics here. In the meantime, use the search function.

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