Phrasing Across Boarders

Its always astonishing to see the great interest and burning desire of players to learn African descent styles. After careful observation and many conversations, my initial thoughts and instincts were confirmed to be correct. For musicians in many western regions, there aren’t too many opportunities to see (for example) “Afro Cuban” music live. Therefore, if you are studying the ‘western” way, learning patterns etc, the vocabulary and feel of the music might be missing and hard to grasp. Now …I could show you pattern after pattern in the Afro Cuban style…songo, Cascara, Coro bello pattern etc etc and more etc. But…Knowing these patterns will mean very little when playing in a band, if the correct feel and vocabulary are nonexistent in your hands. To play in an effective way, you must have the ability to improvise. Like in Jazz. So then your top priorities should be A) knowledge of rhythm B) Vocabulary C) Feel – and then D) Knowledge of patterns. With that in mind let us tackle our next exercises.

If you are just joining us in these workshops, please go back and look at previous issues of the blog here to understand why we are doing this. These are rhythmic training and independence exercises. We are using the high tom to outline phrases that train our ears into a better understanding of “latin vocabulary”. Using the high tom in this way will make the rhythmic effect of the phrases stronger and there might be a tendency to be pulled away by them and lose the “1”. My suggestion to combat this is to keep in mind the sticking on the snare.
R L R L R L – Make sure your limbs are lining up with this sticking. For example, you’ll notice that all the bass drum notes are falling with your right hand. This will help you place the bass drum. The hi hat is falling first with the left hand and then the right. Again, think of these stickings as railroad tracks, to keep your limbs on the right path. Once you can do that then slowly place the accents on the high tom. The first group, ex’s 1 – 6 will give you some basic independence and a feel for orchestrating your hands around the kit.
Then we have very important phrases – basic 1 bar cycles outlined over our ostinatos. Ex’s 7 & 8. Followed by 2 bar cycles ex’s 9-12 . If you are having any trouble with these concepts don’t hesitate to drop me a line here on the blog!

And remember that all this phrasing can be applied in MANY styles across the board!! You will be able to play many styles, cross musical language borders. And your passport…is Rhythm!!

Hi tom as sound source 6-8
Toca con Sabor!
All the best,
Phil M.

PS: For lots more info, Video and tons of online lessons, Join us here on the membership site!
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