Jazz Drummer’s Workshop
Part 2: Getting Creative Around the Kit
by Steve Fidyk
In the following variations, we’ll build off of the first exercise in Part 1. Once you have control of each variation, I encourage you to apply them to the additional two-measure phrases that we previously covered.
When we converted Example 1 from Part 1 to triplets, we ended up with a two-measure phrase with accents that outline a half-note triplet.
This variation for movement around the drums places the accents on the toms and the unaccented 8th-note triplets on the snare.
Once that is under control, try placing the accents on the snare and the unaccented 8th-note triplets on the toms.
Now try using a double-stroke-roll sticking. This helps alter the phrasing and feel without changing the rhythmic content.
For coordination practice, alternate the accented 8th notes between the hi-hat and bass drum as you voice your left hand around the drumset.
For other variations, you can use bass drum substitutions. Try moving each accent to the bass drum as you move the unaccented 8th notes around the kit.
Next, try playing the hi-hat in tandem with the bass drum.
As you did with the material from Part 1, try applying these ideas to other accented-8th-note reading material. I also encourage you to write your own two-measure patterns, convert them to triplets, and get creative moving them around the drumset. Next time we’ll use the half-note triplet as a device to superimpose a new tempo over the existing pulse.
Steve Fidyk has performed with Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Dick Oatts, Doc Severinsen, Wayne Bergeron, Phil Wilson, and Maureen McGovern, and he’s a member of the jazz studies faculty at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more info, including how to sign up for lessons via Skype, visit stevefidyk.com.