The last time I wrote about trying to get the most mileage from your drumming ideas (a notion that I think is very important to one’s drumming), I shared a PDF with one specific lick. Then, we “milked” it by changing the underlying rhythm from 16ths to triplets and beyond.
No doubt, that works. Here’s a link to that article: The Thinking Drummer: Milking Your Licks Dry
Recently I’ve been thinking about a different way to squeeze more mileage out of one’s ideas or licks. It’s a bit more intricate in a way, but it’s super-effective. Many of the greats use this method to great effect.
The method I’ll offer in this edition of The Thinking Drummer is simply to permutate the lick in question by starting it on each possible note of the pattern.
You start with the original idea and then begin it on the second note, the third, etc.
As an example, let’s take RLRLFF–four notes with the hands followed by two with the feet–and apply this concept to it.
What you’ll find is that learning this one pattern yields FIVE additional ideas based on permutations. And they all sound different.
The PDF I’ve made for you shows the six versions of the lick in rhythmic notation and with some additional sticking ideas. The rhythm we’re using here is 16th note triplets, but you can (and I would say you should) also adapt the idea for use as 32nd notes or 16ths. You can find that PDF and download it here: Milking Your Licks Dry 2
This one PDF will give you hours upon hours of practice ideas. I would suggest you pick one of the six and work on it for a while. See how it can mix in with other ideas you have. Try it as a fill, or try to work it up so you can use it in your improvising.
You can use this permutation concept with any lick, phrase, or groove if you want to come up with something new.
I hope you find this helpful.
Let me know your thoughts and how it works for you.