Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shhh part 2

Here's also some exercises on dynamics, some of which were inspired by the late Lou Williamson.


Over the course of my teaching career, I have noticed that dynamic control is an issue for most drummers. In this article I’m going to outline some basic ways of working on this important aspect of drumming. For all these exercises, please use a metrenome or drum machine, as keeping steady time throughout drastic dynamic changes is an extremely important component.

1. FADE IN Pick a beat and tempo that you are reasonably comfortable with and you can play without having to think about it. Preferably a beat or pattern that uses all four limbs. If this isn’t possible, start with what you can handle and work up to it. Play time over a predtermined phraes length, e.g. sixteen bars, and fade the sound in gradually. Start at your lowest dynamic level and evenly play up to your highest dynamic level. Make sure that the dynamic relationship btween all four limbs does not change over the course of the crescendo. If the bass drum is the loudest part of the kit when you begin, it should dominate at the end as well. As always, keep the time steady throughout.

2 FADE OUT Just the same as exercise 1, but in the opposite direction dynamically. Experiment with different types of feels, tempos and phrase lengths.


4. PRACTICING READING ONLY DYNAMICS Find any kind of music that has dynamic markings. It doesn’t have to be drum music. It could be a classical piano score, choral music etc. Now play a beat you’re comfortable with, and concentrate on playing the dynamics correctly, keeping the time steady, and keeping your place in the phrase. The actual content of the notation (e.g. the actual pitches and rhythms) doesn’t concern us in this exercise. We are working on playing dynamics while reading. I find this exercise also helps with grades of dynamics. Most of us can play very loud or soft. Its all the range in between that gets tricky. This example also helps us work on not getting “stuck” dynamically. If our forte dynamic is already as loud as we can play, we will have difficulty if the music calls for fortissimo later on. We need to develop a good sense of relative dynamics. On the following page you’ll find a sample piece to work with.


Here's also a "fake piece of music to practice # 4 to. Sorry about the weirdness in size, but if you print it, it should be normal.

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