Jamie Smale presents a drum solo to put measured rolls into perspective
Get ready to roll as, in this issue, I have incorporated measured rolls into a drum solo featuring Latin, swing and march styles.
The tempo is 120BPM and this should be strictly maintained throughout the 12 bars. Each and every 32nd note should be buzzed throughout the solo.
In the first four bars (the Latin-flavoured section), keep the feet down in the mix at mp (mezzo piano – moderately soft). Ensure that the feet ostinato flows effortlessly and try to avoid an awkward and loud right foot. The rolls on the snare should be silky smooth but the accented beats should penetrate at f (forte – loud). Really hammer out the final two beats on the floor tom.
Now for the swing section. The right foot should be feathered (touched very lightly – aim to create colour, not sound). Only the snare is buzzed on the third beat of bars one and three of this section. The ride cymbal should be played as one single beat. In bar two, be careful that only the snare beats are buzzed. The accents around the toms should be dramatically played. The crescendo in the final bar must start very softly and should increase in volume with no audible accents. Make sure that your strong hand doesn’t play louder than the weak hand here.
In the final march section, all of the hi-hat beats in the left foot are splashed, apart from the very last beat, which is closed. Make sure the feet hit at exactly the same time. In the last bar, aim for a super punchy sound in the hands.
Aim for a supremely smooth transition between the styles, making sure the tempo is precisely maintained. Hit out every accented beat and pay close attention to each dynamic change. Avoid any tension in the wrists and move around the kit with smooth movements, avoiding any sudden drum changes.
Enjoy, and I will see you next time for rolling out some tricky time signatures
Tips for top exam marks
- Use all the stickings given – if you change them, you are altering the rudiment.
- Be aware that in the exam you will play faster than usual, due to nerves. Practise the study faster than the given tempo, as well as at the correct tempo, so that if this happens, you will still play it well. Before you start playing, concentrate on the tempo you want to play it at and count yourself in in your head.
- Play each drag consistently and cleanly – this will show that you have a reliable technique.
- Enjoy it. After all, this is a fantastic little study.