Remembering my goals from yesterday, I am intentionally NOT working out of any books…except, of course, my warmup with stick control in the hands (accompanied by songo in feet today), and stick control in feet (both at 1/4 note = 135bpm). After warmup I just grooved, with the bass drum played by the left foot only, trying to equalize competency and ability to nuance the dynamics in both feet. My left foot is definitely not as delicate, or as strong as my right on the bass drum, so lots of work to do here. Time and patience is the key. Also, I need to tweak the tension and grease the left pedal… it is squeaking, and the left/right pedals don’t respond the same! I’d like to blame my incompetence on the machine right now… but, I know it’s just me. 😉
Played along with Sonny Rollins’ Blue Seven again (trying to learn the melody, bass line, and solos on mallet instrument, so I am multi-tasking here…really focused on hearing bass line), Wes Montgomery Quartet playing West Coast Blues, and Cecil Taylor playing Enter Evening (another goal is to play something like this on a pitched instrument).
I had to do it ;-)… Soph Musical Time ex 51-56 comping snare (with 4 on floor), and with BD comping – both at 1/4 note = 165bpm.
Again, need to focus on pages 6/7/8/9.
Technique – 8th note exercises at 1/4 note = 155bpm.
Page 6/7/8/9 – Worked through reading RH and LH alone, but with a static eighth note in the opposite hand at 1/4 note = 130bpm; worked hands together around 90-100pm (didn’t actually practice with metronome), with some stopping to rep patterns…
(FYI – This rant is for my students, if you’re reading.) Yesterday I was at 80bpm with many of the difficult passages… today I am 10-20bpm faster throughout…that is a huge leap for one day, and considering that I have been stuck at 80bpm for weeks. I notice that I am starting to be able to read the RH and LH as two separate linear patterns, rather than reading each 8th note interval; also, muscle memory in my hands and aural memory in my ears are also both starting to help out, as sometimes these will dictate my motion rather than simply reacting to reading the music. I think I am on to something with this whole practice thing…this is what is supposed to happening, and it definitely a result of SLOW and INTENTIONAL practice for MONTHS!!! Sometimes (usually) things don’t progress at the pace you want it to, and you really need to have the patience to settle into the discomfort of not knowing if you will be able to reach your goals because they seem so far away.
To end this practice session, I read through the entire piece with the metronome at 1/4 note = 90bpm. Some could have been faster, pages 6-9 that I have been working on are definitely doing well at that tempo. And, it was done with little mental or physical tension. I do need to add pages 10-11 to my list of pages to focus on now, as they are the least familiar to my hands and my eyes.
I had a lesson with my dear friend Adam (young student of mine), and we got to improvise together based on several themes – one of those was ‘irritating phone customer service’ because, when he arrived, I had just spent over 60-minutes on the phone with the bank (after forwarding me to 5 different offices, they still did not resolve my issue). He loved it (and so did I)!! He said “so, this is how drummers let off steam, huh?” Yes. Absolutely.
Not happening today… must drive to Elmira for rehearsal tonight. Leaving soon.