Jazz comping exercises

Ikebongo

Member
My teacher gave me some comp exercises where you keep a swing beat and read music to see when to hit the snare, the bass drum is empty and he told me to place the kick on 1, then 2, 3 and finally 4 (not 4 on the floor). Has anybody done this before? Quite tricky.

Sometimes I feather the bassdrum and accent the placement note but other times it’s pretty hard and I have to only hit it on the correct beat.


Let me know if there’s some easy tricks to learning this. Thanks.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Are you doing them individually or sequentially? Like 1s for a while, then 2s, and so on, or 1 the first measure, 2 the second, etc.

I ask because it might be easier to get if you just get comfortable with each first, then put them together. For me personally, I find it easier sometimes to break the thing down to it's simplest parts then putting them together after I'm comfortable with all it's parts.
 

Ikebongo

Member
Are you doing them individually or sequentially? Like 1s for a while, then 2s, and so on, or 1 the first measure, 2 the second, etc.

I ask because it might be easier to get if you just get comfortable with each first, then put them together. For me personally, I find it easier sometimes to break the thing down to it's simplest parts then putting them together after I'm comfortable with all it's parts.
Yeah I’m doing it individually first for like 4 measures each then switching. It’s complicated to switch though I’m trting to make it seem less. I am going to practice just doing with the ride pattern, hh, and bd then add the snare in later.
 
If the coordination is too much, you might also want to practice just Ride HH SD, just SD & BD, then SD BD and either HH or Ride before integrating them all together. Try every two and three limb permutation to build up to the 4-way coordination.

As always, the slower you are patient and willing to practice these patterns, the smoother the learning curve will be.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
The only real trick,I think, when learning something new with coordination, is to just play it really slow, so slow that you're doing it right and clean from the get go.
 

Ikebongo

Member
If the coordination is too much, you might also want to practice just Ride HH SD, just SD & BD, then SD BD and either HH or Ride before integrating them all together. Try every two and three limb permutation to build up to the 4-way coordination.

As always, the slower you are patient and willing to practice these patterns, the smoother the learning curve will be.
Hey thanks for that, it may be a good idea. I’ll try it out.
 

Ikebongo

Member
If the coordination is too much, you might also want to practice just Ride HH SD, just SD & BD, then SD BD and either HH or Ride before integrating them all together. Try every two and three limb permutation to build up to the 4-way coordination.

As always, the slower you are patient and willing to practice these patterns, the smoother the learning curve will be.
This tip is incredible it’s helping me learn them so much faster and really to feel the groove better, or where to put the bass drum accents, would that be called the groove? Anyhow, I’m really feeling it now much easier. Thank you sir, and if you have anymore great advice feel free to send it my way! Have a great one. :)
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
go to pg 37 of Syncopation (38 if you have a newer printing)

use line one and put it through the necessary steps

for example start with just your hands ...

play the ride beat and play line one with your left hand

do the same but play the line with your right foot

then try to add 2 & 4 on your left foot and do the same

this could keep you busy for a while ... but when you are comfortable with that there are many more steps in the process using the very same line

for example using what is called "Right Lead"

right lead would be playing the line with your right foot and ride cymbal in unison while your left hand fills in the triplet notes in between the text on the page

this process has worked flawlessly for countless drummers for many decades

I have found it to be the most musical approach to understanding how to build a vocabulary

let me know if you have any questions

have fun
 

jimzo

Senior Member
Accuracy and Speed

"....................speed is a by-product of accuracy. If you’re not accurate, your speed will simply not develop. If you try to play too fast too quickly you will simply reinforce the bad habit of sloppy playing. You’re first mistake should serve as a signal, informing you not to do it again. That little mistake might not seem like much to the casual listener, but to you, engaged in the training of your motor system, that one mistake is far too costly to let slip by uncorrected. If you do let it go by, your nervous system will begin to view that level of performance as acceptable, and the mistake will become more and more difficult to overcome.

So an important rule to remember is: Do not make the same mistake more than once. Multiple mistakes of the same type are very dangerous. Once you make a mistake - stop, go back and slow it down to a tempo that you can play accurately without making a mistake. Then slowly increase the tempo and speed with accuracy will come naturally................................"
I have subscribed to this many moons ago.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I've always found that the best exercise is to put on some inspiring jazz and comp it.

What I'm finding both interesting and cool is that more and more, my comping choices are mirroring the choices of the recorded drummer. Even when they don't they make sense because I'm doing things as a reaction to the music as it plays.

Exercises from books and on paper are good, too, but if you ask me, don't forget to bring it all to reality and actually compliment some music rather than just fake compliment actions based on notation. That will help you be able to put the notes where you want, but won't help you learn where you want to put those notes in relation to music and other players.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I've always found that the best exercise is to put on some inspiring jazz and comp it.

What I'm finding both interesting and cool is that more and more, my comping choices are mirroring the choices of the recorded drummer. Even when they don't they make sense because I'm doing things as a reaction to the music as it plays.

Exercises from books and on paper are good, too, but if you ask me, don't forget to bring it all to reality and actually compliment some music rather than just fake compliment actions based on notation. That will help you be able to put the notes where you want, but won't help you learn where you want to put those notes in relation to music and other players.
sounds to me that he is still in the stages of building a facility to do this type of thing

building the facility to have the ability to make the choices you wish to make needs to happen before contributing to a musical conversation

the only way that can really happen is to get your body and mind comfortable with every possibility so when the musical opportunity arrives you are prepared and have felt that rhythm come off your limbs before

otherwise you literally have nothing to offer the music other than time

there is nothing worse than creating music with others ... going to execute an idea ... and falling flat on your face simply because it is completely unfamiliar to your limbs

understanding vocabulary and being able to apply that vocabulary are two completely different things
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
As always, you're the one to defer to. I did try to speak to that, but wasn't very clear.

The paper/notation exercises help you get the ability to put the notes where you want them, the musical study helps you know where you want them.

I initially had a tendency to "regurgitate" the "comp licks" that I found myself practicing, and just like the pre-planned out fills I eventually found that lacking in musicality. I have to treat these comping exercises more like I treat rudiment work. I almost never play rudiments in practice(aside from the most basic), but use them to make sure I have flexibility to play what I want.
 

Ikebongo

Member
go to pg 37 of Syncopation (38 if you have a newer printing)

use line one and put it through the necessary steps

for example start with just your hands ...

play the ride beat and play line one with your left hand

do the same but play the line with your right foot

then try to add 2 & 4 on your left foot and do the same

this could keep you busy for a while ... but when you are comfortable with that there are many more steps in the process using the very same line

for example using what is called "Right Lead"

right lead would be playing the line with your right foot and ride cymbal in unison while your left hand fills in the triplet notes in between the text on the page

this process has worked flawlessly for countless drummers for many decades

I have found it to be the most musical approach to understanding how to build a vocabulary

let me know if you have any questions

have fun
That sounds awesome ! I’ll def check it out.. only thing is that I’m a lefty ha. So left hand lead!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I just now made a very quick video to try to explain just a few of the possibilities of the Syncopation method

this is honestly just scratching the surface but wanted to give you an idea of how helpful this method can be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpn_C4ndEaE
Well, thanks for reminding me how bad I am at this stuff! What I wouldn't give(well anything but hard work and dedication) to have that much freedom of note placement to lackadaisically comp bass drum notes while playing time on the ride. I'm still at the "mostly feathering my bass drum" stage; trying to use ride dynamics and snare/toms to compliment.

I know what I'm working on tonight!
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I agree Doc. That's an excellent exercise. Very helpful thanks Tony!!! I've really been working on steady ride and then autonomy and dexterity with snare and hats. Making some progress I think. The Moanin-ride only really helped in that regard (a great suggestion too).
 

sumdrumguy

Senior Member
This thread is GOLD. Mad props to Tony for the awesome video! Concise explanation, and great playing examples.

I've been working through Dave Dicenso's Universal Rhythm's book. I'll be revisiting Reed's Syncopation, and those comping exercises, soon.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
Page 37 exercises are a great start. You must also absorb the work of the great bop artists--Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, etc., etc. The key to playing good jazz drums is knowing the music and the great artists who play it.
 
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