Breaking in Your Ears – Part 2

Latin kit Set up

Welcome to our second Latin workshop. I hope you are having fun and getting a good workout with this stuff! We continue now to “Break in your ears” and explore a little further into the world of Latin music.

In order to fully express your self through this expansive Genre, we must solve all the basic problems that occur for the “westernized” drummer in the study of this music. We do this physically, through our exercises featured here. Our parallel step is to re-develop our concept and approach to our instrument. What I call “musical decompression.” A small analogy if I may – The world of linear, one dimensional styles are like a smothering ocean to the western players phrasing. At the bottom of this ocean we are anchored with downbeats which are basically 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 etc
Like a diver…decompression allows you to surface and breath. Play freely and expressively, unbound by the tonnage of weight put onto you by the lack of exposure to rhythmic understanding. Think of being underwater. Hard to run huh? Now think of breaking the surface and soaring through air!
Up and away!! Into the world of this most mystical, ancient and wonderful style of music.


”What is rhythm?” At this point it is very important that we, as drummers have a clear concept and “feeling” about this question. You could look up the definition in websters dictionary. But…one of the most beautiful and spiritual answers I have heard is… Rhythm = “Concepts of unity”
Another thought, or concept that you should start thinking about…

“Rhythm is Harmonic”

That’s all I will say right now. Simply start thinking about that sentence. That’s how I was introduced to this idea and this is how you should start with it too.

Now…In these exercises we are learning the “melodies” of different cycles. Remember cycles?
Cycle = an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is completed.

Think of them as melodies because this is a great way to internalize them. Once you overcome independence issues and memorize their placement in the timeline…(top line of the exercises) try to think about the melody as you play. Not what is on the paper or reading and counting it. Let the melodies of the cycles sing to you. We will explore this way of perception further as we get familiar with these exercises.
Exercises 1 & 2 are preparation exercises. In exercises 3 and 4 the bass drum is playing a 1 bar cycle. Meaning that the phrase “cycles out” after one bar. Exercises 5 –8 feature a 2 bar cycle. You will notice that we explored 2 bar cycles in our first workshop and these are simply variations.

Breaking in your ears workprt2

Toca con sabor!


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