Syncopation, Dawson methods, Goal tempos?

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
I would love to hear from all of you, especially those who have studied under Dawson himself. Did he ever suggest goal tempos for how fast these exercises are to be played? Would love to know.

In today's practice session, I practiced the "filling in triplets" exercise, the first exercise that comes after the 3 pre-requisite exercises in the Dawson book. Of course, I worked through the first 3 too, I've worked on those before. When I first attempted the "filling in triplet" interpretation with the first Syncopation exercise, I found it quite difficult! But after a while, I started to get the hang of it. I found the exercise a joy to work through, andI managed to get up to 120bpm today. Will be staying on this first exercise for a week before moving onto the next, just like Dawson suggests in the book.
 

Duke Grooves

Junior Member
Hi whitecatcafe,

A fine question! I used to study these exercises in depth a few years back and they were the biggest 'eye openers' I've had to date. I was solely a rock drummer at the time and I had no idea how much benefit these exercises would go on to have.

With regards to goal tempos, my only set goal was to get the 'Ted Reed Exercises' absolutely nailed at 60bpm. I've found this gets all the muscle memory nice and programmed for the higher tempos. Once that had been achieved I started moving up in increments no bigger than 5bpm until I felt the exercise was getting sloppy or I simply couldn't keep up. Once that happens I move on to the next 'Dawson Exercise' and repeat the process.

I appreciate moving up in 5's may seem a little tedious (I now move up in 4s as a general rule) but I believe a big part of being able to play quickly is being able to play it slowly, despite it sounding a little counter intuitive.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
For the two ways on p. 27 (RH plays the line/LH fills in, and alternating triplets) I would be looking to get them above 220. To get them that fast the LH fill-in way, you'll have to break up any LH multiples with an unaccented RH. And the filler notes generally will have to be really soft. I think this page covers all of the things that happen in Syncopation with that-- at least you can see what I'm talking about and come up with your own way of handling it.
 
I took from Alan for a couple of years around 1980. I don't ever remember him discussing tempo with respect to the Ted Reed exercises. He was concerned about tempo for the stick control exercises, the single stroke roll exercise for 60 counts and the rudimental ritual. For the Reed stuff, it was about applying the concept, feel and making sure to read the figures correctly. Mostly medium tempo in the lesson. I never tried to burn through them speed wise and he didn't ask.

Chris
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
220+ is not ridiculously fast, and should be attainable by any pretty-dedicated student-- that's where you realistically use this sort of thing in actual playing. The LH fill in thing is designed for soloing at med-up tempos. But you do have to have the reading and general concept together at medium tempos before playing them faster.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
Those more advanced fill in triplet coordination exercises in that book lose me completely. No matter how many times I read Alans instructions, I can't figure out the method used to play it. I'd need a teacher who had experience with the book.

Sorry I couldn't help with the tempo question, just giving my limited experience with that book. :)
 

OneWatt

Junior Member
Those more advanced fill in triplet coordination exercises in that book lose me completely. No matter how many times I read Alans instructions, I can't figure out the method used to play it. I'd need a teacher who had experience with the book.

Sorry I couldn't help with the tempo question, just giving my limited experience with that book. :)
I feel your pain ... it definitely takes some serious thought before it all suddenly clicks, and until then it can be a bit frustrating. Here's a suggestion that might help: Don't worry about the voicings with your hands (i.e., striking different drums/cymbals of your kit above the waist) at first - instead, while playing the proper parts with your feet on kick and hihat pedal) just concentrate on getting the timing down by making all of the hand taps and accents only on your snare.

After you get the timing and accents of each triplet exercise down, moving your dominant hand (RH for most folks) around to the designated tom, cymbal, whatever (from the snare) to play the syncopated "melody" isn't nearly as difficult as trying to do it all at once.

Hope this helps make these exercises a bit more accessible. They're invaluable in opening up new possibilities and 4-way coordination so don't give up too easily.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Oh, I should probably revise my tempos-- 220 is pretty bright for doing a full page of the interpretation. In actual playing you do play that sort of thing at 220 and faster, but doing the long exercises out of Reed is more demanding than playing a few beats or measures of similar patterns that you're familiar/comfortable with. I would say that everybody should be able to do them at 180; and 210 would be a good goal for most people.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Oh, I should probably revise my tempos-- 220 is pretty bright for doing a full page of the interpretation. In actual playing you do play that sort of thing at 220 and faster, but doing the long exercises out of Reed is more demanding than playing a few beats or measures of similar patterns that you're familiar/comfortable with. I would say that everybody should be able to do them at 180; and 210 would be a good goal for most people.
Which exercise specifically? The right hand playing the melody and left filling in the missing triplet partials?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Either one-- alternating accented triplets or RH/melody-LH/fill-in (with the RH breaking up the LH multiples).
 

ronyd

Silver Member
What a great resource that website is - cheers for the link!
Yeah geezer no shit... I was just goggling for some synchropation info and saw it in the results. I couldn't believe it. If you go to the archives section, you can
listen to Alan performing the exercises talking to the student. Don;t even need the apps.
 
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