Here are more exercises to help you develop your 5/4 swing vocabulary. Apply the same process as the first instalment with the 5/4 phrases acting as comping material over a 5/4 swing pattern:
We can also take this further and start ‘filling in the gaps’ using the 8th note comping phrases:
- Play the phrase on the kick drum and ‘fill in’ the 8th notes on the snare drum. Bars 1-2 will look like this:
- Play the phrase on the left foot hi-hat and ‘fill in’ the 8th notes on the snare drum. Like this:
- Next, play the ‘short’ 8th notes from the phrase on the left foot hi-hat. Play the ‘long’ 1/4 notes on the kick. Bars 1-2:
Now apply these three methods for all 16 bars of the 8th note comping phrases.
Having a list of warm-ups that help you flex your muscles both mentally and physically should be the aim for any drummer. Below is a warm-up based on a comping exercise adapted from John Riley’s Beyond Bop Drumming book. I’ve converted the original 4/4 exercise into 5 beat phrases and placed them under a 5/4 swing pattern. Make sure you keep the right hand swinging and play the comping phrases with a mezzo piano dynamic.
Here’s a surprisingly tricky exercise to help you develop your independence in 5/4. It’s based on the very first exercise from John Riley’s ‘The Art of Bop Drumming’ book – essential reading for any drummer. I’ve adapted John’s original 4 beat phrases into 5′s.
John hosted the first drum clinic i ever attended, in Bath, back in 2003, and I was immediately attracted to his methodical style of tutoring. The methods from his three books and DVD have remained stalwarts of my practice regime ever since.
Start with the 5/4 swing pattern at the top of the page. Now play the two bar snare comping phrases underneath. Keep the left hand pattern soft and make sure it swings. After you’ve completed all 8 exercises, move the comping phrases to the kick, then afterwards the left foot hi-hat.
After you’ve mastered the 8th note comping phrases, start working through the triplet phrases below. These will be busier so start slowly and make sure you keep it swinging.
Here are three more examples of converting page 38 of Stick Control into 5/4. We can then apply Alan Dawson’s 8 triplet ways to the new phrase.
Here’s another exploration into 5/4 Jazz Ostinatos. It may help to subdivide the bar into a measure of 3, and a measure of 2 (3-2 division). Start slowly and sing 1,2,3,1,2 as you play.