The 2 Best Drum Books for Independence

As most of you probably know, independence is crucial to drum set playing.

Since some of you reading are brand-spanking new to drumming (and I welcome you), here’s what independence means….

It’s the ability to play a repeating, non-varying pattern with one limb (say, your cymbal hand) and then, simultaneously play varying patterns with other limbs (say your left hand or right foot). All the while, the original limb, the cymbal hand in this case, is continually playing the repeating and non-varying pattern–and it does this without changing it at all.

That’s indepdence in the world of drumming.

It’s a crucial skill. You can’t function competently as a drummer in a band without that ability.

Over time, I’ve come up with many of my own independence exercises to learn specific kinds of ideas for which there were no books or exercises in existence.

However, there are two books that I always think of when it comes to independence.

These are the two most helpful books in my opinion. They’re the bibles.

The first one is the late, great, Jim Chapin’s ground-breaking Advanced Techniques for the Modern Drummer.

In it, he laid out a series of exercises that would allow one to develop independence against that pattern–the jazz ride cymbal pattern–that seems imposssible (at first) to play independently of one’s other limbs.

The jazz ride cymabl pattern is not symmetrical at all. The spacings change. I remember when I was a kid and I heard someone playing some jazz grooves and as I listened—with that cymbal pattern repeating—I thought, “how is that possible?”

This book teaches you to do it.

It’s important to learn.

Not just so you can play jazz if you want, but also because it shows you that any kind of indepdence on the drum set is possible if you simply break down your approach in the way laid down in Chapin’s book.

The 2nd crucial book on independence was written by Gary Chaffee.

It’s part of his Patterns series of books.

It’s Time Functioning Patterns.

It includes a great section on jazz coordination that goes beyond the Chapin book (more hand/foot ideas) AND it addresses rock/pop/funk independence.

The method of addressing rock/pop/funk is pretty comprehensive.

These were my go-to books for independence. They are key to have in one’s drumminig library.

If you want to work on independence, those are the books.

Go get ’em.

Some Thoughts on Push Pull Drumming Technique

In this installment of The Thinking Drummer, I take a little look at Push/Pull aka Open/Close hand technique. It’s something that I’ve been working on seriously for several months now. Let’s talk about what it is, what the possibilities are, and how you can learn it. First of all, I’ve been interested in this technique ever since I first saw Jojo Mayer demonstrate it in 2008 in his Hudson Music video on hand technique, “Secret Weapons for The Modern Drummer.” But this technique was not a priority for me until recently.

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