Sunday, May 18, 2014

Another Four Limb Warm-up

A few months back I posted a Four Limb Triplet Warm-up that was inspired by some licks that Tony Williams often played.  Many of you really seemed to like it, as I've received quite a few requests for more exercises of that ilk.  So here you go.

This time it's a duple based exercise though it's overall purpose is the same.  The idea is to strengthen the sense that the time you are playing is coming from all four limbs, rather than playing time, or an ostinato with one limb, while the other limbs accompany it.  Tony and other players like Elvin Jones fostered the concept that the drumset was one singular instrument, rather than a collection of instruments being played all at the same time.

You'll notice that each exercise contains groupings of 3, 5 or 7 notes.  However, resist the urge to think of these as 3/8, 5/8, or 7/8 over 4/4.  Rather, use each exercise to feel how the notes act with/against each other.  Remember, we're playing music, not doing math.  Also, despite the fact that each example naturally resolves after 3, 5 and 7 bars respectively, don't feel as though you have to play these in odd phrases, or even 4 bar phrases for that matter.  Heck, you don't even have to think in 4/4.  I haven't written time signatures or repeats for a reason.  Just play continuously for a few minutes, and focus on how the groupings feel against the steady quarter note pulse.

Much like the Triplet Warm-up I found this exercise really helped me to relax and develop a smoother flow around the kit, as well as improve balance both dynamically between my limbs, and physically on the stool.

Experiment with different variations, lead with the opposite hand, and move it around the kit to make it your own.  Leave a comment if you have any questions, and let me know how it works out for you.  PDF available on request.

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