One of the greatest drummers in the world stopped by DrumMantra studios during a visit to Chicago. What started out as an afternoon podcast recording turned into an epic 4-day hang. Here is some of the footage from that hang & conversation.
Grammy award-winning drummer/percussionist/composer/educator Mark Walker was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing drum set at age 10, and at age 16 studied with the “Dean of Percussion” Roy C. Knapp until Knapp’s death in 1979. He played his first professional club, concert and recording gigs barely out of high school.
He gained valuable experience performing an extremely wide range of styles in the Chicago area and later became a first-call session drummer and percussionist, playing on film scores, jingles, and record dates. He also began performing with pianist Lyle Mays (Pat Metheny Group), touring the U.S., South America, and Europe.
While still living in Chicago in the 1990s, he...
Last week we talked about inspiration and how it's not necessarily the most important thing for getting down to business. Of course, we love inspiration. It puts us in a space where we can create, where we have extra energy that we can focus on making something happen — getting down to work, really getting down to business. But inspiration is not always readily available.
Sometimes we have a day where we want to procrastinate and not do anything. Those are the days that we talked about last week, where we have to get down to the practice room and do anything. Not something from your list, not something from your books, not something from what you've been working on, but just sitting down and playing. Just sit down and play. You are mindlessly playing.
And in that act, things will start to come back. Things begin to develop into a structure again. So sometimes it's good just to leave the structure behind and be free and play. But when...
My very special guest, Steve Lyman (Stevely Man) is a brilliant drummer and a great all-around dude. Here is a bit from his Wikipedia page:
Stephen Richard Lyman (born January 22, 1982) is an American jazz drummer, composer, and educator.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Lyman was exposed to music at an early age by his father, a classical guitarist. Lyman began to play professionally while in high school and eventually studied music at the University of Utah. He relocated to New York City in 2005 to continue his education at the New School where he began to study with drummer Ari Hoenig, whom he cites a musical influence and mentor.
Lyman worked extensively with vocalist José James in the mid-2000s and recorded on James’ critically acclaimed album, The Dreamer. He has also worked with artists including Aaron Parks, Gilad Hekselman, Nir Felder, ...
Time. It's something a drummer obsesses over almost more than anything.
How do you go deeper with your concept of time? How do you begin to understand the finer details of subdivisions?
Don't just watch the video. Try this exercise out for yourself.
The Moving Click exercise will quickly reveal any weakness in your understanding of accent & pulse permutations. The exercise will increase your ability to detect time fluctuations almost immediately and fix them. (It will also help to develop patience and concentration.)
Creating phrase shapes using groupings of two's and three's.
This is a very simple and effective exercise for developing your own ideas with some of the most basic building blocks of time - groupings of 2's and 3's
Once you have the exercise I present in the video down you can:
Make up your own phrases! Shed them! Share them! Tag me!
You want to be great. You want to have a deeper understanding of how time functions. You want to be comfortable with phrasing in odd time signatures. You want to know what a polymeter is and how it works.
The only way to gain these qualities is through dedicated, focused practice.
I wrote The DrumMantra Books for myself. I wrote them so I could study concepts that I was beginning to discover but didn't quite have a full grasp of yet. Some of the exercises I was writing required meticulous planning and thought due to the inherent complexity of the concept. Take polymeters - these little rhythmic entities can take many measures before a resolution occurs. For example, a quarter note, a dotted eighth note, and a five-note grouping create a pattern that takes 60 beats to resolve!
When I began to realize that just because I was selling books didn't necessarily mean that people were practicing the material correctly which is why I created the ...
When I talk about polymeters in clinics and workshops it can garner some blank stares. It makes sense. Many drummers haven't spent much time thinking about or studying polymeters.
I'd like to give a simple explanation for you t begin thinking about. If we hit the concept from a few different angles it will not only click, but it will also start you on a path of study that will lead to a whole new territory of rhythmic possibilities. So let's take a quick look at the polymeter.
A polymeter is two or more meters happening at the same time. These meters share a common subdivision, so in essence, a polymeter is different groupings of the same note values being played alongside one another. For example, 3 sixteenth notes being played over and over at the same time as 4 sixteenth notes are being played over and over. They begin together, then grow further apart in their starting note until finally (3 beats later in this case) they re-align and...
If you haven't gotten to know my education style yet, you will soon discover that I love looking at the inner-workings of time, subdivisions, and coordination.
I want to show you an interesting exercise from my book, The Foundational Series. This exercise is fairly simple to understand but is a little tricky to actually do.
I was recently at the Chicago Drum Show and talked to quite a large handful of drummers from all different walks of the scene. Weekend warriors, professional players, educators, as well as students.
Over 90% of the people who tried this exercise, regardless of skill level, couldn't do it. Some stayed at the booth for over 20 minutes continuing to work on it (which I love seeing!).
I began using this exercise as a "litmus test" to determine where the person should start with my materials.
Here's a video of me explaining it in detail.