DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM   

Go Back   DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussion forum for all drum related topics. Use this forum to exchange ideas and information with your fellow drummers.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 08-23-2018, 03:17 PM
cemguvener cemguvener is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Delft/NL
Posts: 32
Default how to learn a jazz tune

Hi all. I wonder how you approach a jazz tune when learning.
Here is what I (try to) do:
1-Learn to sing the main melody of the complete chorus (no emphasis on precise intonation to keep it easy)
2-Put the metronome on (eventually on 1's only) and mentally sing the melody over and over again, while keeping track of the form.
3-Do the second step and keep time on ride and hi-hat. No comping yet on snare or kick
4-Do the third step and add comping according to the accents in the melody
5-Play along various versions of the tune

What bothers me about this method is that you completely ignore harmony. But I could not find any meaningful way to incorporate chord progressions, modulations etc that would be just enough for a drummer (e.g. to follow the form or adapt your comping or soloing to harmonic movements of the song). Of course you can learn the chords and try to play on piano or guitar, but that takes too much time and I am not sure if it would be optimal use of a drummer's practise time.


Any suggestions to improve this procedure or other ways of learning?

Thanks in advance
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-23-2018, 03:26 PM
Gottliver Gottliver is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 121
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

I would add a step at the beginning - creat a chart for the song.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-23-2018, 03:35 PM
larryace's Avatar
larryace larryace is offline
"Uncle Larry"
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In beautiful Bucks County, PA
Posts: 20,446
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Same way as learning any other tune. I like listening until it's ingrained in my brain. If I heard a song 200 times, I can usually play it cold without practice, provided it's within my abilities. I was practicing...figuring out the drum part....while listening.

I had to play Meatloaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" for a sub gig I had. I was brought up on that song. I had never played it on drums. But I heard it 1000 times in my past. I nailed it, no chart, nothing to it. Because I knew the song to my core. I filled in for an original Blues band last summer. Of course I knew none of the songs, so I listened and charted. Didn't touch the drums. They could not believe how tightly I nailed their songs. They asked me to join a couple of months ago, I just accepted.

Like Mr. Gottliver suggests, I do chart the arrangement out too, on songs I don't know. If the song is already ingrained, I don't need a chart. So a combination of listening and charting is all I need. I usually don't practice the part on the drums. I do it mentally.

Everyone learns different. You have to find the way you learn best.
__________________
Levis/Hanes/Timberlands/Custom made socks
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-23-2018, 03:41 PM
WhoIsTony?'s Avatar
WhoIsTony? WhoIsTony? is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: the city that never sleeps
Posts: 72
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

seems like overkill to me

learn the melody and the form ... that's it

be aware of any feels that change ... if there is a part with "latin" feel etc.

there are plenty of times on a gig where I don't even know the melody ... I just play and follow the changes by ear on the spot

I almost enjoy that more sometimes

in my years of playing jazz ... which is what I primarily play ... I have found that beyond the very beginning stage where you are getting your time down , learning the vocabulary and learning to speak the language ... there really is no point in "practicing" playing jazz on your own

it creates a stale environment

jazz is the one music that you practice on the band stand ... you get better at it by playing it with others because that is the only way to do it

knowing tunes and learning them through listening is great ... listening is paramount for a jazz player ... probably the most important thing involved in the process actually.

listening is just about everything ... listening ... listening ... and more listening ... to everyone and everything ... and the guys and tunes that stand out ... listen to them even more ...


but to "learn" a tune ... write a quick chart and roll

but sometimes there is no time for that ... a tune might get called on the band stand that you have never heard before ...

you get all the info you can in a few seconds ... I'll usually hit up the bass player for the form ...

"yo , what's the form?"

"32 bar AABA"

and go ...

in that case all that listening I talked about will pay off because it hopefully has developed your instincts
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-23-2018, 04:33 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,052
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Everything WIT? said, plus: Usually you learn them by playing them on a gig. 95% of tunes I know I never played before the gig and never saw a chart for them. But that wouldn't be a terrible method for harder bop tunes that you really want to make into a special project. For most things all those steps are unnecessary, for reasons that will be apparent when you know more tunes.

More important than punching out the melody on the drums is learning whatever stock arrangement elements are associated with a tune. Like Stolen Moments has the rhythmic thing you're supposed to play; Stablemates goes to a Latin feel at the end of the A sections; Jordu has some kicks that different people play different ways.

What's important re: the chord changes is the harmonic rhythm. You may play a little different when the harmonic rhythm is faster, or longer. If you want to actually practice that you can play along with the record while following a chart and just hit the cymbal every time there's a chord change. You don't have to do a lot of that to learn what's up with it. It's most useful for ballads. Listening to harmonic rhythm and following it on the page is helpful for not getting lost when reading harder tunes with non-standard forms.

Just make sure you're listening to records-- they will tell you how much of the melody you're supposed to be hitting on the drums. Usually not very much of it.
__________________
Visit Cruise Ship Drummer! - a drumming blog | 2017 CSD! Book of the Blog now available
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-23-2018, 08:56 PM
Odd-Arne Oseberg's Avatar
Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sykkylven, Møre og Romsdal, Norway
Posts: 3,392
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Same way as learning any other tune.
+1

.................................................. .........
__________________
So, kick drum...or...bass drum? I'll tell you what. If it's 18" or less, it's a FOOT TOM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-23-2018, 09:41 PM
WhoIsTony?'s Avatar
WhoIsTony? WhoIsTony? is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: the city that never sleeps
Posts: 72
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
+1

.................................................. .........
I don't really agree with that 100% because you are not going to be playing it the way you would any other tune ...

if I was learning a rock song or hip hop song I was not familiar with I would learn the drum beat first then think about the song structure and the melody... because 99.99% of the time the group I am preparing to play it with will be playing it very much the way I had been listening to it

in the case of a jazz tune you are not learning a drum beat because you will not be playing a drum beat

if you really want to "learn" a jazz tune to play with a group then you simply learn to sing the melody because that is possibly the ONLY thing that will not change

if you simply listen to one version of a jazz tune 200 times you may get to your session with the players and they may have ... and probably have ... a completely different arrangement of the tune ... in a completely different key ... at a completely different tempo ... with a completely different feel ... that's kind of what jazz is all about ... interpretations

but the one thing that won't change is the actual melody of the tune ... the order of the notes in the head

so if you learn that it won't matter what you run into you will always know where you are
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-23-2018, 10:16 PM
cemguvener cemguvener is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Delft/NL
Posts: 32
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Thanks for all the answers.
On a jam session, it happens all the time that somebody starts a tune I have never heard. I also play that but of course not as comfortably as I would like to. Imagine they start a tune like, moments notice, or unit seven, or. oleo,..., which you had not heard before. What are you gonna play :) Of course you can play “something” but how about the feel?
I am still not at that level where you immediately solve a complicated tune by hearing the chorus for the first time.

I believe learning a jazz tune is a bit different than any other song. For a rock song, you learn the groove and the “traffic” of the song, i.e. where to go into a certain part, where to break, what feel to play behind the guitar solo, etc... You don’t care so much about the melody or chords because they are “usually” simple enough to follow anyway. But for a jazz song, it’s the other way round. The traffic will be improvised anyway, and you rely on the form and melidy which is usually not simple.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-23-2018, 10:47 PM
dmacc dmacc is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,605
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Outside of a few 'cliche' drum parts (which generally only last 4 measures at best) - there are no drum parts to jazz tunes.

Know the melody and form. If you don't know it before it's counted - you use your ears for the changes and will/may/should pick up on the form quickly.

You will most likely never play a song the same way twice (thank goodness). I know I haven't.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-24-2018, 02:55 PM
ConcertTom's Avatar
ConcertTom ConcertTom is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 157
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Quote:
Originally Posted by cemguvener View Post
1-Learn to sing the main melody of the complete chorus (no emphasis on precise intonation to keep it easy)
2-Put the metronome on (eventually on 1's only) and mentally sing the melody over and over again, while keeping track of the form.
3-Do the second step and keep time on ride and hi-hat. No comping yet on snare or kick
4-Do the third step and add comping according to the accents in the melody
5-Play along various versions of the tune
If you are just getting started with jazz, I think your approach is actually very good. The only change I would make is in number 4: add comping according to the accents NOT in the melody. By this is mean, listen to recordings with great pianists like Bud Powell, Red Garland, Count Basie. Listen to where they're laying their comping down. It's those hits AROUND the melody that can really keep the swing bouncy and propelling forward in interaction with the melody. It's not exactly harmonic... Though... you can listen to where they either anticipate or delay a chord change if you want to see where special emphasis may or may not be as a rhythm sectionist.

If course this is all "study" and is just a process by which the language of jazz drumming becomes more familiar to you. Hopefully you get to a place where even if you dont know the tune, you've heard phrases like it a million times and you can just hear it and interact accordingly. And like it's already been said, the best way to do all that is on the bandstand.
__________________
________________
hereliesman.com
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-24-2018, 05:28 PM
Morrisman's Avatar
Morrisman Morrisman is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: South Australia
Posts: 1,562
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

If you want to learn to feel the chords as well, play some recordings and sing the root note of each chord, essentially the bass line.

This will help you find your way through extended solos at the gig, because you’ll know the modulations through the bridge, etc.

But as someone else said, you can fake your way through a lot of songs just by following the piano comping and matching some of that on snare. Or just keep time until they play a tag, then stop!
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-07-2018, 10:37 AM
cemguvener cemguvener is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Delft/NL
Posts: 32
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrisman View Post
If you want to learn to feel the chords as well, play some recordings and sing the root note of each chord, essentially the bass line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConcertTom View Post
...Listen to where they're laying their comping down. It's those hits AROUND the melody that can really keep the swing bouncy and propelling forward in interaction with the melody....

Very practical and helpful tips. It is surprising how much it helps for understanding the progressions, just singing the root notes along with the recordings. Sometimes seemingly obvious solutions, like this one, can be overlooked :)

Also catching the (pianist's) hits around the melody is rather helpful. Though it is probably more related to the player's style rather than the tune itself.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-11-2018, 08:26 PM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
Gold Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,155
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

With a trumpet... Seriously though, when I want to LEARN a song, I learn the melody. In jazz when a jazz musician learns a song, they practice it in all the keys. Same idea here, practice comping the exact rhythm of the melody on you drums over your ostinato part, practice comping the chord changes(use cymbals and fills). Sing the melody over your drums etc.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-12-2018, 01:20 AM
Sebenza Sebenza is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 71
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmacc View Post
Outside of a few 'cliche' drum parts (which generally only last 4 measures at best) - there are no drum parts to jazz tunes.

Know the melody and form. If you don't know it before it's counted - you use your ears for the changes and will/may/should pick up on the form quickly.

You will most likely never play a song the same way twice (thank goodness). I know I haven't.
This^^

It might sound a bit blasphemous, but knowing just a bit too little about a jazz tune can help to keep things sounding fresh and original... I know when I dove in headfirst without being too acquainted with a tune, it sometimes brought out a lot of ideas and dynamics I never would've come up with if I would have listened a gazillion times to the tune by other artists. But ofcourse a rudimentary knowledge of atleast the form and feel is needed.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-13-2018, 05:44 AM
DrumPhil DrumPhil is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 12
Default Re: how to learn a jazz tune

As others have said, it is common on a jazz stage for a song to be called that you don't know. Then you ask for the basic form and style (swing, bossa, second line), and listen closely to pick up on the hits and turnarounds.

But, if a song gets called at your local jam session, chances are good that it will get called again in the future. To prepare for that, ask what artist(s) made the most well-known recording of it. Then go listen to that recording, so you will be familiar with the version that most people know. Even if your band leader wants to play it in a different style, at least you will have a point of reference that other players are likely to know. That makes it easier to discuss what is different about the arrangement you are going to play.

Wikipedia often tells who made the most popular recordings of famous tunes. And those classic recordings can almost always be found on YouTube. Even better, buy those classic recordings to form the basis of your listening library. They are standards for a reason. :)
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT +2. The time now is 02:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com