Jazz kicks/set-ups using Syncopation

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Here's a method I use with my students to learn basic big band-style set-ups and kicks. It uses page 10 of Syncopation by Ted Reed (I think it's lesson 4 in the new edition). Like a lot of methods of working with this book, it requires a little bit of creative interpretation, but it doesn't require too much of a leap of imagination to visualize the figure the way it would appear in an actual chart.

Is anyone else doing anything similar? I haven't seen this anywhere else, but it seems pretty intuitive, and I'd be surprised if a lot of people hadn't come up with it independently.
 

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bobdadruma

Platinum Member
From viewing the attachment I think that I get what you mean.
If you did a vid it would be more clear.
 

jeffwj

Platinum Member
Please take this as constructive criticism. It seems like it is a bit difficult to translate. It also seems to only work for hits that have an "and". As you know, many hits happen on the beat as well. Lastly, the students will not see it written like that in a big band chart (with extra quarters that need to be interpreted at slashes and ties that need to be added). You seem very good with Finale or Sibelius. I would think that you wold have a better to understand lesson plan if you actually wrote out hits in Finale.

Again, lease don't take my comments as harsh. You are in the minority for even teaching big band interpretation. Many band directors complain that their students take lessons but don't know how to read a chart correctly. That is why I proposed a clinic for the VMEA conference this year so band directors can help understand the drummer's role in the jazz ensemble.

Jeff
 

branflakes992

Senior Member
The best set-up advice I ever gained was from Jason Palmer. Todd you're in Portland now so you probably know him. I'd talk to him about it.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Please take this as constructive criticism. It seems like it is a bit difficult to translate. It also seems to only work for hits that have an "and". As you know, many hits happen on the beat as well.
Yes, of course- hits on the beat would require a different exercise- I should probably revise the title. In the present form it would require more explanation from an instructor- generally, I walk students through these steps verbally, making sure they understand every step of the process. Mainly I just wanted to share this idea with other players and teachers, who wouldn't need that. I may try to develop it into a full fledged instructional piece, though.

Lastly, the students will not see it written like that in a big band chart (with extra quarters that need to be interpreted at slashes and ties that need to be added). You seem very good with Finale or Sibelius. I would think that you wold have a better to understand lesson plan if you actually wrote out hits in Finale.
I do have a couple of little sheets with it all spelled for the very young or ahm, not-so-fast students. But for me this method has worked better in practice than you might think. Slashes and quarter notes translate easily enough that this doesn't seem to be a problem; and a lot of charts of course use actual quarter notes to signify the same thing as slashes anyway. The ties are almost more informational than something the student actually has to visualize as he reads- I want them to be aware that our imaginary ensemble is playing a long note, and we're going to support it with a long sound, a crash cymbal. When they're actually reading through the exercise, I think they just see the string of 8ths and put the crash on the last one.

Again, lease don't take my comments as harsh. You are in the minority for even teaching big band interpretation. Many band directors complain that their students take lessons but don't know how to read a chart correctly. That is why I proposed a clinic for the VMEA conference this year so band directors can help understand the drummer's role in the jazz ensemble.
Don't worry, I generally only freak out and make an ass of myself once every couple of years! I appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment. It's crazy if people aren't teaching this- I thought jazz education wasn't supposed to suck any more!
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The best set-up advice I ever gained was from Jason Palmer. Todd you're in Portland now so you probably know him. I'd talk to him about it.
Yes, Jason's great- I know him well- I'll run this by him and see what he thinks. Unfortunately, our old professor, Charles Dowd, just died today, so I may see him at the wake.
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
I don't have a comment on how the translation from the Syncopation page to the actual exercise might or might not work. But I am wondering about something on the example guide pdf. - particularly lines 1, 3 and 6 of page 2. I can't imagine why one would make an example of leaving an 1/8th note rest in front of that type of very typical two note set-up - when in actual practice, isn't putting a gap like that in the time flow extremely rare and unusual?

I can't imagine ever doing that - at any tempo.

In all of those examples (lines 1,3, & 6 of page 2) - I find the ability to be able to continue the time feel through beat 3 - by playing the ride on that downbeat - is why that type of two 18th note fill is so useful in the first place. The most fill you can play, with the least disruption of the time feel. And isn't that the goal - to learn to be able to catch as many figures as you want or need to, while still maintaining the illusion of the time-feel continuing as uninterrupted as possible?

Just a thought...

David
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I don't have a comment on how the translation from the Syncopation page to the actual exercise might or might not work. But I am wondering about something on the example guide pdf. - particularly lines 1, 3 and 6 of page 2. I can't imagine why one would make an example of leaving an 1/8th note rest in front of that type of very typical two note set-up - when in actual practice, isn't putting a gap like that in the time flow extremely rare and unusual?

I can't imagine ever doing that - at any tempo.

In all of those examples (lines 1,3, & 6 of page 2) - I find the ability to be able to continue the time feel through beat 3 - by playing the ride on that downbeat - is why that type of two 18th note fill is so useful in the first place. The most fill you can play, with the least disruption of the time feel. And isn't that the goal - to learn to be able to catch as many figures as you want or need to, while still maintaining the illusion of the time-feel continuing as uninterrupted as possible?

Just a thought...

David
Yes, good point, that's a mistake. Normally when you play that kind of set up coming out of time, you would play the cymbal on the beat, where I put a rest. The only time you wouldn't do that would be if you were already resting. Will correct that... tb
 

dcrigger

Senior Member
Todd -

And I'm sorry if I overstated my question/explanation, when clearly - from the quality of the exercise as a whole - you obviously know what you're doing.

Sometimes I just get to typing away.... :)



David
 
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