Need help with independence

TOMANO

Senior Member
A simple, yet effective, method I use with my students is 1-2-3-4 on BD, 2 & 4 HH open/close and variations of whole, quarter, triplet and 16th notes on snare, alternating hands, just L or R. When comfortable, I adjust BD and HH patterns, then add quarters and 8ths on ride. Then the swing pattern.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Playing the 3:2 polyrhythm is extremely simple if you figure out the combined rhythm of all the parts-- at its simplest it's 1 2& 3-- and the sticking, which is B RLR - B meaning Both hands. That requires no guess work or unlinking whatsoever. I've had six year olds and senior beginners do that with one minute of instruction. It's all written out and fully developed here.

 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I've married the left turn signal on more than one occasion, blocking the turn lane with a string of cars honking their horns behind me.

That said, I'll add that in addition to the patterns and coordination mention elsewhere, the next thing is constructive application to the time continuum. And you don't get that, in my opinion, unless you get a lot of practice reading rhythms on the musical staff.
@rhumbagirl you’re killing me! Did you go to UCLA Berkeley or MIT? I’m just a simple dummer with about 45 years experience who can’t understand anything with charts and continuums, really for me rather a conundrum.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I've married the left turn signal on more than one occasion, blocking the turn lane with a string of cars honking their horns behind me.

That said, I'll add that in addition to the patterns and coordination mention elsewhere, the next thing is constructive application to the time continuum. And you don't get that, in my opinion, unless you get a lot of practice reading rhythms on the musical staff.

And if you're wanting to play for a living, you should probably start with the common styles in western music - jazz, blues, rock, latin, country. Learn the ostinatos within those styles - buy all the books within those idioms - and apply all the patterns mentioned above to obtain "independence", which is really coordination as Todd describes.
church
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Working specifically on independence exercises IME makes some problems go away. Definitely not all but it is very efficient to use independence exercises that others have worked out in the past.
I'm going to go out on a limb and posit the human brain is only capable of constructing one rhythm at a time. That's the only independence I'll agree with. Everything after that is a construction of patterns and coordination between limbs.

For example, you learn jazz by first playing the ride pattern against a 2 and 4 on the HH foot. You then learn all the permutations against that ostinato with your left hand (LH). And then you might figure out that all the work is really between your two hands, because the HH foot isn't doing much. So you could work through a lot of independence with just your hands, if you wanted to (eg your practice time includes what you can do sitting at the bus stop, but the soles of your shoes are soft enough to not articulate sound).

But let's include the HH foot (LF) because it's easy (we're now sitting at a drum kit). You're still thinking about one rhythmic idea (those permutations) being applied by your left hand, against the ostinato applied with your RH and LF. If you then want to add the kick (RF) to the mix, you are trying to forget about the RH/LF ostinato, and looking at patterns between the LH and RF. The RF is now not an independent idea. It's part of a pattern with your LH, generally speaking (an exception would be sparse kick placement in the bar such that it really isn't part of a pattern).

A lot of the work in John Riley's books is learning common LH/RF patterns against the RH/LF ostinato.
 
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rhumbagirl

Senior Member
@rhumbagirl you’re killing me! Did you go to UCLA Berkeley or MIT? I’m just a simple dummer with about 45 years experience who can’t understand anything with charts and continuums, really for me rather a conundrum.
No, I wish :). I did go to a major SEC school with about 20,000 students - Univ of Alabama. They had a decent music program, but I stuck with engineering. I didn't have the grades or money to go to MIT.
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I'm going to go out on a limb and posit the human brain is only capable of constructing one rhythm at a time. That's the only independence I'll agree with. Everything after that is a construction of patterns and coordination between limbs.

For example, you learn jazz by first playing the ride pattern against a 2 and 4 on the HH foot. You then learn all the permutations against that pattern with your left hand. And then you might figure out that all the work is really between your two hands, because the HH foot isn't doing much. So you could work through a lot of independence with just your hands, if you wanted to (eg your practice time includes what you can do sitting at the bus stop, but the soles of your shoes are soft enough to not articulate sound).

But let's include the HH foot (LF) because it's easy (we're now sitting at a drum kit). You're still thinking about one rhythmic idea (those permutations) being applied by your left hand, against the ostinato applied with your RH and LF. If you then want to add the kick (RF) to the mix, you are trying to forget about the RH/LF ostinato, and looking at patterns between the LH and RF. The RF is now not an independent idea. It's part of a pattern with your LH, generally speaking (an exception would be sparse kick placement in the bar such that it really isn't part of a pattern).

A lot of the work in John Riley's books is learning common LH/RF patterns against the RH/LF ostinato.
Very informative and interesting and mostly way over my head. Rock on sister
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
I definitely don’t know how all the pieces work together. I just have a model that I use to understand it to some level and then use it to accomplish something. The brain is analog not digital so it doesn’t necessarily care about time signatures. If limb functions within the nervous system are not attached to each other, the independent function should be able to be accomplished independently.

You can run up stairs while singing a song and clapping your hands to a different beat. Somehow it is possible to do many somewhat unrelated things at once without too much effort.
Yeah, I’m able to walk and chew gum at the same time but in different rhythms and somehow figure out 4/4, 5/4, and 3/4 beats without seeing a chart simply from hearing it. BUT I’m not playing for a living and never have. Now I just play for enjoyment and it is the only thing besides family that drives me. So I’ll play until I die and then who cares?
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Yeah, I’m able to walk and chew gum at the same time but in different rhythms and somehow figure out 4/4, 5/4, and 3/4 beats without seeing a chart simply from hearing it. BUT I’m not playing for a living and never have. Now I just play for enjoyment and it is the only thing besides family that drives me. So I’ll play until I die and then who cares?
Agree. I just like to assume the worse case and go from there - the worse case is someone coming to me for advice on how to spend the rest of their life. And yes, drumming is art form that you will spend a lot of hours over a number of years perfecting, if that's the direction one wants to go.

Maybe Elon Musk's Neuralink will one day solve the limb independence for us. Just download a Vinnie or Weckl file and you can sight read the most technical drum parts on the fly, and execute with instant precision. LOL
 

SomeBadDrummer

Well-known member
Agree. I just like to assume the worse case and go from there - the worse case is someone coming to me for advice on how to spend the rest of their life.

Maybe Elon Musk's Neuralink will one day solve the limb independence for us. Just download a Vinnie or Weckl file and you can sight read the most technical drum parts on the fly, and execute with instant precision. LOL
:alien: Noooooooo!!!
 

grparty

Member
I definitely don’t know how all the pieces work together. I just have a model that I use to understand it to some level and then use it to accomplish something. The brain is analog not digital so it doesn’t necessarily care about time signatures. If limb functions within the nervous system are not attached to each other, the independent function should be able to be accomplished independently.

You can run up stairs while singing a song and clapping your hands to a different beat. Somehow it is possible to do many somewhat unrelated things at once without too much effort.
Edit:
If you are catching a large object, somehow both hands/arms work together to catch it. They are linked somehow for some functions. You don’t think consciously that you need two hands for this catch. Somehow it is worked out. This can be good or bad for drumming depending on the situation.
This seems a bit out there.

On the drums, our limbs are (hopefully!) not doing unrelated things. Usually when we're playing music, the rhythms that our limbs play relate to each other and they relate to a pulse.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Maybe Elon Musk's Neuralink will one day solve the limb independence for us.
That guy needs to be stopped. Just because he has $$$ doesnt mean his ideas are good.
I'm going to go out on a limb and posit the human brain is only capable of constructing one rhythm at a time. That's the only independence I'll agree with. Everything after that is a construction of patterns and coordination between limbs.
You can walk, chew, breathe, and have your heart beat all at the same time. Four different rhythmic functions all performed by the brain without conscious thought. The brain is much more powerful than we give it credit. Walking is the only learned action, and we learn this before we have any conscious recollection of what we are doing. Throw singing into the mix and it makes 5.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
You can walk, chew, breathe, and have your heart beat all at the same time. Four different rhythmic functions all performed by the brain without conscious thought.
But we've assumed the worse case scenario (I think) - that the OP is someone who wants to learn the stuff that makes a good drummer, which in turn makes good music. Heart beats and limbs scrubbing jeans during a walk in the park is not music, at least not the kind that's readily perceived in today's world as creative, or even aspiring. It would be just weird.

(worse case in the sense that it's something that takes a lot of dedication to conquer or achieve)
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
But we've assumed the worse case scenario (I think) - that the OP is someone who wants to learn the stuff that makes a good drummer, which in turn makes good music. Heart beats and limbs scrubbing jeans during a walk in the park is not music, at least not the kind that's readily perceived in today's world as creative, or even aspiring. It would be just weird.

(worse case in the sense that it's something that takes a lot of dedication to conquer or achieve)
I agree those arent music. But I also think the brain is able to learn different patterns at the same time. Maybe not well at first, but still able.

Throwing a ball, riding a bike, swimming, these all require multi functions simultaneously to be achieved. The more we do them, the better we get. I feel the same type of learning is applied to learning music. Only difference is the activity of music has much wider parameters and therefore takes more time to master, or is perceived as harder if you will.

Think about site reading. Some folks do it well, some (like me) do not. If I spent more time doing it, the assignments on paper start to translate to limbs more readily. I see this as no different than reading a book and drawing triangles on paper at the same time. Eventually the triangles become second nature and start to actually look like triangles. Two operations at the same time. It just takes one operation longer to develop.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Possibly. The other thing about drumming is it's very physical. It's more than nervous system firings. There's energy burn, muscle activity, endurance. When the human body is subjected to that, the brain works a little harder to concentrate on the task at hand. Or an inefficient stick technique that leads to exhaustion halfway through a gig or rehearsal. The brain knows what it needs to play, fires the sparks in the right order, but because the muscles aren't responding, the musical contribution just goes bust. The brain works harder for a compromise. Maybe just quarters instead of the standard swing pattern, eg.

Ouch, I think my brain just went bust. Apologies to the OP. LOL
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
This might be beneath the skill level being examined here - but the simple route to independence that I was taught was to arrange the limbs in grid form on paper and transpose them all one at a time till you've been through all the permutations.
To my shame I can't visualise how that grid is arranged off the top of my head - anyone remind me?
 
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