Friday, September 4, 2009
Learn Your Rudiments !
During some research I conducted for one of my DMA Jazz pedagogy seminars last year at the University of Toronto, I came across a disturbing article entitled "The Anti-Rudiment Man". I won't reprint the article or call out the author by name here, but I was angered that this supposed "professional" jazz drummer (who clearly isn't) decided to focus on downplaying the importance of drummers learning the basic snare drum rudiments and the role that these patterns have played in developing the language of jazz drumming.
You would never tell a pianist or horn player to abandon the study of scales and learning the rudiments for a drummer, no matter what style, is no different. The rudiments, like scales for a horn player, are the building blocks which everything we play as drummers are based. It's up to a drummer to apply them in a musical fashion, but none-the-less you can't ignore them. And all the great jazz drummers - from Baby Dodds, Chick Webb, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Kenny Clarke to Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Jack DeJohnette, etc. have all studied and used the rudiments in their playing in some capacity.
So having said this and for your reference, here are the standard 40 PAS (Percussive Arts Society) Rudiments:
And here they are organized thanks to the kind folks at Vic Firth. By the way, I've been enjoying your latest line of pepper shakers Mr. Firth !
Ahhhh yes, enjoy freshly ground pepper on your meal while practicing these patterns:
Additionally, the legendary Boston teacher Alan Dawson (who taught Tony Williams among dozens of other world-class drummers) arranged the rudiments and some variations into a sort of drum set "etude" he liked to call the Rudimental Ritual.
Dawson had his students practice the "Ritual" with a samba bass drum and hihat pattern. Once his students mastered the routine with sticks, he would also have them play it through with brushes. Takes awhile. Trust me...
Here it is for your reference:
Check out the audio files on this site of Dawson demonstrating his creation.
If the rudiments were good enough for Alan Dawson and Tony Williams - I'm sure the rest of us can work on them !