If you’re looking for something interesting and new to work on in the new year, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re going to dig into a new independence idea that I’ve seen Dave DiCenso use in some of his solos. If you don’t know about him, you have to check him out. I’m a big fan of his drumming.
Dave sometimes plays a pattern between his left foot and right hand that creates a very different kind of 16th note feel. The pattern is this:
This three note pattern, played as 16th notes between your right hand and left foot, creates a phrase that moves across the barline and takes three measures to resolve. It’s really different from the usual stuff we’re used to when working on independence. In order to work on independence with this ostinato, it is necessary to practice rhythms over the entire three bar pattern. For example, if I want to work on just a simple rock beat with one and three on the bass drum and two and four on the snare, I need to work on it over the three bars that this pattern takes to resolve, as in example #1, below. Check out what I mean:
See? Each idea you want to work on in your independence development needs to be worked on in this manner.
Start out just working on the ostinato between your right hand and left foot. Play it slowly with a metronome and count out loud. First, count all the 16th notes, but eventually, you should move onto just counting the quarter notes out loud. You really need to understand “where you are” which is why the counting the quarters will serve you well.
A couple of thoughts on orchestration are in order. Right hand on the ride and left foot on the hi-hat sounds great, but I’ve experimented with playing a second closed hi-hat with my right hand and I like the way that sounds too. You can also just play your main hi-hat with your right hand. The combination of the left foot on every third 16th note and the right hand with two notes in-between will produce yet another different sounding ostinato with an open hi-hat sound that moves around the bar.
To begin working gaining independence here, I thought working on simple rock beats and moving on to funkier stuff would be the way to go. That’s what we do on the worksheet, which you can download as a PDF here: A New Kind of Rock Independence, Part 1
There are only ten exercises on the worksheet and I move them pretty quickly from simple to more complicated. In particular the last two exercises are really hard. But I did this in order to give you an overview of what you might consider doing with this idea.
Much more to come! Have at it and let me know how it goes.
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Man I love Dave DiCenso. In fact he is probably my favourite drummer, but alas his stuff is a bit hard for me to practice much of it. Any hints ? Thank you Mark.
Mark Feldman says
HI Perry – It’s kind of hard for me to say, based on not really knowing your playing at all. But for me, learning anything–even really difficult ideas–is always about the same kind of method. That method involves being very methodical and working through things very slowly at first. Hopefully that will help.