15th September 2016 Wil Wainwright

Exploring Odd Groupings Part 2

Hello and welcome to the second lesson on odd groupings. In this lesson we are going to take a look at a few accents and get comfortable with the building blocks that we will need to progress through later lessons.  We are also going to have a quick look at some groupings of 3, and two very simple ways of playing them.

  1. This is your baseline.  You want to just loop standard unaccented 16th notes on your hands, with a left foot 1/4 note pulse for a few minutes.  Try and focus on keeping the notes quiet, controlled and (most importantly) even.  We want to relax so that the hands and left foot lock together in a relaxed manner.
  2. This exercise is trickier than it looks if you haven’t had much experience with accents.  I want you to take each bar on its own and run it for a couple of minutes (ideally with a click).  The first bar is simply accenting the “1” in the right hand.  Then we displace it one 16th note to the “e”, this will be on your left hand.  Then again, another 16th note back to the right hand of “and” then finally the left hand of “a”.  As you work through these bars, make sure you do not displace the left foot.  That should remain on the 1/4 note pulse.  Once you feel happy with each bar, we can play it as a four bar phrase.  As you increase the tempo, really focus on keeping all the unaccented notes even and at the same dynamic, with the accents clear and consistent.
  3. A great way to test your new found comfort with accents is to play a grouping of three notes over 16ths.  This is because in the one bar of 3/4 we have an accent on every possible location.  Also, by keeping it in 3/4 it resolves in just one bar so it is much easier to get into the flow of it.  As before, pay attention to your left foot as it is all too easy to move it to the accents and then you are implying 8th note triplets instead of the straight 16ths.
  4. This could easily be labelled 3b!  We have simply carried on the grouping of three through 4/4.  As three times 5 is 15, we have a remainder of one, so this pattern is no longer smooth as it doesn’t properly resolve, “resetting” every bar.  Once you are feeling comfortable with this, start moving the accents around the kit.  Start with right hand to the floor tom and left to the high tom, then try the hats, ride and crash, with and without the bass drum as well.
  5. This is a little more of a challenge, especially if you play RLL though triplets a lot.  It should sound identical to exercise 3 but you may find it harder to keep the left foot playing 1/4 notes.  Stick with it.
  6. The final exercise is an extension on the previous one again.  It should sound identical to 4 but as with 5, you will probably find it harder to lock in with the left foot.  Take your time to really get it and nail the double accent as you loop it.  You will find when you start moving this around the kit you will end up playing different ideas than 4.  Finally, when it comes to using this pattern as a fill you have a couple of options to help make it flow smoothly.  Firstly, play it as written and just crash with the left hand on the one.  The second option is to replace the very last 16th note accent with a bass drum.  This keeps your right hand relaxed and makes it very easy to hit any cymbal on your kit.

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I hope you got a lot out of this lesson.  Make sure you take your time with each of the exercises as in the next lesson we are going to increase the difficulty and start looking at some more advanced groupings and combinations, and have some fun!

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About the Author

Wil Wainwright Wil Wainwright has been a student of the drums for well over 20 years and a teacher for over 10, starting his musical journey in the early ‘90s. He has been a part of many bands over the years ranging from Punk, through Rock, Prog, Math-Core, Math-Rock, Metal, Pop and Electronica. Although he is an accomplished performer, teaching is where his real passion lies. He now teaches at various schools and colleges in the UK including prestigious institutions like Ardingly College as well as smaller primary schools. Wil also does a lot of private tuition, really focusing on getting students to be the best versions of themselves possible. He proudly plays Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals both on his teaching set ups and also on his live and studio kits because “They just sound right!”

Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals

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