Saturday, November 16, 2013

Old School

My first introduction to rudimental snare drumming was via my drumline training days while growing up, playing music in the Regina Lions Band (1986-1995). In fact, the very reason I learned to play traditional grip initially came from the fact that if I wanted to crack the top snare line, traditional grip was an absolute must!

While my journey as a musician has taken me far from the fields of competitive marching bands and drumline warmups in empty parking lots, I still really value the foundation that learning my rudiments has created for me.

In all honesty, I kind of "forgot" about the rudiments for awhile during my early 20s while I focused on other drum set things. But after studying with the likes of Dave Laing, Kenny Washington and learning about Alan Dawson's "Rudimental Ritual" and Charlie Wilcoxin's "Rudimental Swing Solos" (and not to mention Philly Joe Jone's awesome application of the rudiments) things have really come full circle for me with regards to dealing with rudimental snare drumming and using these patterns in a practical and musical way.

Here's a couple of older and very interesting clips that I recently found featuring the Santa Clara Vanguard drumline from back in the 70s and, in particular, drum corps legends Rob Carson, Ralph Hardimon and Fred Sanford:

Notice how they are still using straps to carry their drums (no metal harnesses!) and the use of plastic heads (no bullet-proof kevlar!)

The name Frank Arsenault is also mentioned in this series. Arsenault was an incredible, championship snare drummer and an important pioneer in terms of teaching rudimental drumming.

I recently picked up a copy of this LP last summer that features Arsenault demonstrating the 26 Standard American Rudiments and several classic snare drum solos:

So don't forget to learn your rudiments. They are like the "wheaties" of jazz drumming. They are good for you!

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