As part of a personal mission to spend as much time as possible focusing on my weaknesses, my recent practice and transcription sessions have been focused on working in 5/4. My first proper experience with this time signature was when I worked through this great solo by Bill Stewart. Since then I’ve been eager to free up as many of my drumming facilities as possible in this new time signature. After working through an exercise by my fellow drum blogger The Melodic Drummer, I came up with the idea to transcribe and learn by heart The Rudimental Ritual by Alan Dawson in 5/4. Here, then, is it in it’s entirety.
Tag Archives: Rudimental Ritual
I first got serious about the rudimental method after a lesson from my sometime teacher (and great session player) Troy Miller. He recommended the Alan Dawson book ‘The Drummers Complete Vocabulary’ which contains one of the most time consuming and challenging rudimental exercises around: ‘The Rudimental Ritual’. Conceived by Dawson while teaching at Berklee College of Music, it’s a 14 minute long list of rudiments that are to be learnt and played from memory on brushes at a high tempo. It can take months or even years to truly master and has been known to reduce even the sternest of players to tears on completion. On describing the exercise to a friend, he politely suggested that it might not be the best use of my time; after all, I was never going to use most of the 86 rudiments in the book and isn’t the final goal of practice in the end supposed to be about providing you with something you can apply? As counterintuitive as it may seem, not all of the exercises we work on need to be musically applicable. Yes a Double Paradiddle or Swiss Army Triplet have numerous useful musical applications but sometimes the actual physical mastery of the phrase is the goal; a way of conditioning your muscles. One of the rudiments in lesson 26 is a Flama flama flam flam. I can be close to 100% sure that I will never use this rudiment in a performance but the physical and technical benefits garnered from mastering it will help me execute a multitude of other phrases; phrases executed for musical reasons rather than technical ones. The shedding of any musical pretext and the zooming in on the cold technicality is an expedient for progress. Despite appearances this approach doesn’t deviate from the ethos running through each one of my previous articles, namely: the ultimate aim of any practice regime should be to facilitate an improved level of musicality. The difference here is that you actually have to abandon musicality in the process. Here’s my attempt from a few months ago:
Stick To It