1. Is it important that the beater comes ALL THE WAY back between strokes? Why or why not? Does this factor change as the tempo increases?
Double bass drumming is a skill utilized by many drummers today. From basement punk bands to cutting-edge jazz fusion performances, double bass drumming is now a common requirement in many musical situations.
It's no coincidence, then, that so many great books have been published on double bass drumming. If you're looking for drills and exercises to improve your phrasing and technical capacity on the double pedal, we all know that there is an abundance of material available today.
Making the decision to move into advanced multipedal orchestrations was not an easy decision. As I mentioned earlier, I don't like most metal music, and so my motivation for learning this material is very different.
Rather, I'm motivated for two reasons:
1. All of the true progress on the drums today is happening by a handful of drummers, who are using advanced technical methods to redefine what is possible on the drum set. My goal is to also push these boundaries with my playing.
Now, don't get me wrong - there are thousands of amazing drummers who are playing very, very well. They have their own styles, their own music, and their own zest. I'm down with that! But, it's only a handful of drummers who are truly redefining what is possible on the kit.
2. I love to practice. I really, really love to practice. The level of focus and the mental states I achieve while working on advanced material is absolutely incredible, and I like to make it happen every day. In other words, working on this material is an autotelic experience.
I'm going to come out of the closet today - I AM A MULTI-PEDAL NERD. Let it be heard far and wide - I LOVE TO PRACTICE FOOT PATTERNS AND TECHNIQUE. However, there is a catch - and I have another embarrassing trait to reveal - I DON'T LIKE METAL MUSIC. Or, I like very little metal music.
Is this Contradictory?
Yes. The things that my body likes to practice and what my ears like to listen to are almost completely opposed. Most of the best double-kick players are playing metal - and that's pretty much it. However, there are a few exceptions which stand out, and have inspired me to keep practicing, even though I don't play any heavy music.
1. Thomas Lang
2. Marco Minnemann
3. Virgil Donati
4. Grant Collins
5. Terry Bozzio
The Endless Predicament
So, here I am, every day, wondering what I should practice during my limited time behind the kit. What goes through my mind?
"Sheldon, you don't play metal. You play jazz, hip hop, and pop music. Put the Thomas Lang book away and pull out The New Breed."
In this very moment, I'm already changing my mind.
Today I was revisiting one of my favorite Dave Weckl videos - an old performance of "Garden Wall." I personally LOVE this kind of music, but all of my friends accuse me of listening to "elevator music." Well, excuse me for listening to the ILLEST DRUMMERS OF ALL TIME!
Dave Weckl: "Garden Wall" from Back to Basics
On this video, the top rated comment is "I always wondered who did the drumming for the Weather Channel." I have to admit, I was laughing pretty hard!
Gary Novak Drum Solo
I'm currently working on the Gary Novak solo from Lyle Workman's song "Nothing Left Unsaid." My friend Joe Crabtree transcribed the solo and has an incredible 3 part video series which walks us through the licks step by step.
Rather than just memorizing the solo, I'm really trying to integrate Novak's playing into my vocabulary. Watching Gary Novak video like this plays a huge role in helping me understand the feel and sound that he creates.
I found another Gary Novak Solo!
I recently discovered a great website while looking for drumless backing tracks to practice - MinusDrums.com.
After digging through the impressive collection of drum set play alongs, I was excited to get behind my drum set and make some noise. It's really easy to get caught up in hand technique, speed drills, coordination work, and endless Youtube searching rather than playing music. And, for a lot of musicians, we aren't always in a position to be committed to a band. Drumless tracks are a great way to practice playing music.
And, with over 600 songs on the site, you can practice just about any style of music you want!
After exploring the site, I sent Ken Florentino - who manages MinusDrums.com - a few questions to learn more about him and the company. I quickly realized that Ken is a cool guy, and that he is working hard to expand MinusDrums.com to become an even larger library of drum set play-alongs.
Ken Florentino Interview
Sheldon: When did you start playing drums?
One of the tricky things about being a drummer today is the abundance of educational materials available. With so many options for my practice sessions, I'm always overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like I want to rail the kick drum. Other days I just want to pound on my practice pad. Here's a breakdown of the process I go through to make the most of my practice time.
Maintenance VS Development
Musicians, athletes, scientists, engineers - really any high ability individual - is going to face the challenge of maintaining a skill set. If you've ever jumped into a math class after some time out of school, then you know what I'm talking about. All of the details of algebra are going to be gone, and you'll need to spend some time refreshing your memory before you can expect to learn new concepts.
I really don't have much to say here, other than that Gary Novak is an absolute master drummer. His playing is powerful, energetic, and rigorous. In fact, he is the only drummer that even vaguely reminds me of Vinnie Colaiuta.
For those of us who really love fusion music, it's easy to see the unique contribution Novak has made. Simply glancing at the lineup of musicians he plays with in these videos gives perspective on the quality of his playing - even if you've never heard of him. Big names like Eric Marienthal, Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Mike Miller, Micheal Landau, Steve Tavaglione, John Patitucci, and many more stand out on Gary Novak's Drummerworld profile.