Working on a jazz song for high school audition

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Coming along nicely-great to see you playing some big band jazz. I played in a civic orchestra big band and we'd do this great song-it's really hopping. So is this a band arrangement and you have a transcribed score you have to learn?
 

djkdrums

Senior Member
Coming along nicely-great to see you playing some big band jazz. I played in a civic orchestra big band and we'd do this great song-it's really hopping. So is this a band arrangement and you have a transcribed score you have to learn?
Thanks. No, one of the art schools we applied to accept students by audition only. I have to play a jazz song, classic rock song and 2 rudiments. I'm 13, still in 8th grade
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
You hold the sticks at the very end, and you’re playing very loud all the time. Move your grip up a bit to solve both. The ride/snare bit is too heavy.

You need to shuffle the floor tom notes a bit - they sound too even/mechanical. You also need accents on certain notes with the rest softer.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'd listen to Benny Goodman and Gene videos some are live so you see everyone is hopping. It’s dance music. It does appear mechanical now but I know you are learning it too. Follow the melody and accents and you’ll get the feel the more you play it. You got to get that hopping feel without getting carried away with tempo though. You got this.
 

djkdrums

Senior Member
You hold the sticks at the very end, and you’re playing very loud all the time. Move your grip up a bit to solve both. The ride/snare bit is too heavy.

You need to shuffle the floor tom notes a bit - they sound too even/mechanical. You also need accents on certain notes with the rest softer.
Thanks. I'll try lighter sticks too. Those are 5B
 

djkdrums

Senior Member
I'd listen to Benny Goodman and Gene videos some are live so you see everyone is hopping. It’s dance music. It does appear mechanical now but I know you are learning it too. Follow the melody and accents and you’ll get the feel the more you play it. You got to get that hopping feel without getting carried away with tempo though. You got this.
Thanks. I think it was a little better today
 
Good job! I have very little experience with big band playing but some small things you could try given it's only two weeks left:
- try to think of the melody when playing on the floor tom and aim for a driving 2 and 4 on the hi hat (do you rock your foot back and forth with the heel on 1 and 3? Lots of people find this helpful) - if you can't play the original note for note, so what for now but the band leader probably wants this part to groove heavily
- You can get more slosh out of the hi hat by opening it a bit less and moving a bit from left to right ( 0:37 )
- When you play the hits on the cymbals around 0:55 you can help the horns by playing the accents as cymbal + bass and use the left hand to play the snare on the downbeats before hits on the ands.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
a couple pointers

first you are playing pretty hard ... lighten up and try to play with more touch and less like you re playing rock music.
you want to focus on your swing ... that is the most important thing here and it's kind of not there at all if I may be frank... especially in the intro.
I recommend getting with an instructor even if it is for one lesson for like an hour or so and getting the basics of swing down.

second ... I deal with these charts all the time with students ... they are clearly never written by anyone who plays drums or remotely knows anything about what drummer would do.
for example ... if you are not in a 2 feel you would never play the bass drum on only 1 and 3 ... this song is not in a 2 feel and these charts always have kids playing bass drum on 1 and 3 and it sounds horrible and basically removes all the swing.
Big band drummers would generally feather four on the floor here.

is this the Victor Lopez chart ? ... if so the drum suggestions are horrible on it and it is the most common chart for school bands unfortunately.

just keep it simple and swing ... but I definitely recommend getting with an instructor and getting the basics down

things you should cover ... time feel in swing, set ups, and just keeping your right foot and left hand volume down... the very basics of the style

learning this style properly will do so much for your overall playing... even if you have zero interest in revisiting it after jazz band is over.

best of luck to you
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
You're doing great keep up the good work. All those subtleties that people are pointing out to you will eventually come around. They are giving you some good advice and I think you're going to be a really good drummer.
 

djkdrums

Senior Member
Thanks for the advice everyone. It has improved. The audition if this Friday and I feel pretty confident.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
As everyone has stated, play more lightly on the snare, and feather the kick on 1, 2, 3, 4.

BUT! Also work on the spacing of your ride and hi-hat notes. The notes you play on "and-three" and "and-one" need to be spaced more closely to each other -- doing this will make the beat swing harder, and feel more authentic. You will NOT be able to do this right away, at the tempo of the song. Slow the song down (you can use YouTube to slow down the speed to 75%) and play the song many, many times while focusing on the spacing.

Also, work on the spacing of the floor tom notes in this same way.

Thanks. No, one of the art schools we applied to accept students by audition only. I have to play a jazz song, classic rock song and 2 rudiments. I'm 13, still in 8th grade
It's obvious you love to play drums, and that you've worked hard to get the audition material together. Break a leg!
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
another huge thin that might help is remembering that the swing feel is based on an 8th note triplet subdivision... the broken 8th note triplet feel of 1 - let 2 - let. Your feel is a little more "Straight 8" or duple subdivision.

Meaning that if you count 8th note triplets as: 1-pul-let 2-pul-let, and take the middle partial out, you get 1- -let 2- -let etc...this will help you understand the swing feel...

I remember the days of getting the swing feel going back in 7th and 8th grade...if you commit to subdividing, it will happen pretty quickly!!!
 

djkdrums

Senior Member
Ok you posted Nov 21 with two more weeks of practice. So how did it go with final product?
The audition was on Friday 12/6. It went great, they will let us know if I'm accepted in January, but I feel really good about it. They wanted me to play 2 rudiments, read and play a chart and play 2 songs (about 90 seconds each). So I played sing sing sing and radar love. I think I've killed it, and the students who were helping out with the auditions said that I did amazing and really know my stuff.. So I will post an update when I know for sure, but I think I'm in
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
The audition was on Friday 12/6. It went great, they will let us know if I'm accepted in January, but I feel really good about it. They wanted me to play 2 rudiments, read and play a chart and play 2 songs (about 90 seconds each). So I played sing sing sing and radar love. I think I've killed it, and the students who were helping out with the auditions said that I did amazing and really know my stuff.. So I will post an update when I know for sure, but I think I'm in
SWEET!!! Now the secret is to keep going and developing anything that you still felt unsure about. One thing I don't like about auditions is that a lot of times people do it, and then quit working/setting goals.
 
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