Leading online educator Mike Johnston, founder of the popular live-streaming drum lesson site mikeslessons.com, recently teamed up with app developer Derek Lee to create an interactive version of his popular method book, Groove Freedom, for iPad users.
Incorporating all of the content of Groove Freedom, which was originally released in 2014, the app represents a new approach for drummers to develop independence in a way that only today’s interactive technology can provide.
“I created this app for myself after realizing how limited I was with certain grooves,” says Johnston. “Playing a groove is one thing, but having absolute freedom inside that groove, well, that’s a different thing all together, and it’s something that I want for myself as well as all of my students. Having an app that allows me to isolate what each individual limb is doing, slow down and speed up each exercise, and track my progress is a dream come true for me as a drummer and an educator.”
The app contains over fifty “groove freedom” systems that are organized into four chapters: Bass Drum Freedom, Snare Drum Freedom, World Groove Ostinatos, and 32nd Note Grooves. Each system is broken down into fifteen different exercises.
Groove Freedom users can practice the displayed pattern while listening to audio of the exercise (played by a choice of three different Gretsch drumsets or percussion instruments), a click track, or both. Tempo is adjustable, as is the volume and stereo pan of each limb. Each limb can also be muted so users can simplify a challenging pattern.
Repeat Measure and Auto Tempo Increase options are included to help keep practice sessions focused, and users can track their progress with a practice history feature that includes statistics and graphs displaying which grooves and exercises were worked on, as well as the total length of each session. Progress can also be shared to various social media networks directly from the app.
Groove Freedom supports iPad2 through iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini through iPad Mini 3 using iOS7 or greater. Content within the free app is unlocked via a monthly subscription. The initial download includes three free full lessons. Subscribing to Premium Access gives users access to all existing groove systems, with new groove systems being added in future releases. The pricing breakdown for Premium Access is indicated within the app prior to purchase.