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Thread: Drums to help your sax playing?

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    Ken's Avatar
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    Default Drums to help your sax playing?

    In a similar way that spending some time on piano can help your sax playing, I'm wondering if you spent some time on drums what kind of things would be good to work on to help your sax playing?

    I just got a practice pad and sticks, the Stick Control and Syncopation books. I may get drums or electronic drums one day, depending on how it goes (I don't have a lot of time to spend on it).

    Anyway, I'd be interested to know if there are any specific things to spend some time on with drums that would help your sax playing. Thanks.
    Ken

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    All i can think of is good timing, but if your not a drummer and your timings not that good on drums it wont help. I'm also a drummer and i found playing along to the rhythm's on a keyboard with my horn good practise.Theres lots of different rhythm's on most keyboard's, give it a go.
    Rob.

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Absolutely! Rhythm trumps all else.
    The soft and despicable other side of this rather nasty coin is where everything unintelligible is automatically invested with significance by culture vultures. That was exemplified by a Ravi Shankar concert in London at which, after listening to some applause, Shankar said ‘If you liked our tuning up, I hope you will now like our playing’.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz House's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Yes. I drum a bit too now. Enjoyable and helps you understand why drummers do the things they do.
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    The fact that there are people who do not consider drummers to be musicians - my high school band teacher for one and he let us know it - you will find that if you learn to play the drums you will be able to do something many "musicians" can't. What would that be? How about COUNT and STAY ON THE BEAT!
    Like beginning sax players, a few lessons with a teacher might help...
    Keep up the work. When you play with a combo your drummer is gonna love not having to resort to playing a loud "Boom chuck Boom chuck Boom chuck to keep his sax player on the beat.
    Tom

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    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    I took lessons on congas for a semester to learn about Afro-Cuban, Puerto Rican and other Latino music. It really helped dial in my rhythm while soloing and reading. Now I can just focus on the notes on the page, as the rhythmic figures come much easier. It is a little hard on the hands at first, but I have found it a viable double...I even get calls for gigs on just congas now as well. Doubling on drum set is a lot more difficult as far as stage room and carting gear around.

    I know a lot of people (even other musicians) refer to drummers as not being musicians. I am amazed at how many musicians INCLUDING drummers think of congueros, timbaleros, etc as hacks who just don't want to play a full kit. I have had this happen at a few rehearsals and gigs. I was called to sit with the house band on congas for a jam session and called a couple tunes the drummer didn't know, and heard the comment, "he's just the conga player," on a break. When we went back on stage, I offered that he play congas on a simple "Latin Jazz" tune...I am not a drum set player at all, but for some reason, he was the one sitting there not playing and looking completely lost for 90% of the tune. Funny thing the ego is. I got one call back for that gig about three months later...They had fired the drummer!

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Lester Young knew his way around a drum set.
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    What helps is improving rhythm strength... you don't need to lear drums imo
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    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by shotgun View Post
    Lester Young knew his way around a drum set.
    Brecker was, and Lovano is a killer percussionist.

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    I play duo work where I play flute/sax and hand percussion ( shaker and block) on latin tunes and cymbal on everything else. Obviously I can't play a horn and perc at the same time.
    I also make handmade wooden shakers that are square.

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz House View Post
    Yes. I drum a bit too now. Enjoyable and helps you understand why drummers do the things they do.
    What kind of things do you do? Right now I'm doing some 4-way coordination by tapping my hands on my knees and tapping my feet. I'm also learning the matched grip and doing a few stick control exercises with the practice pad.

    I don't know if this is going to be a long-term thing or not. One thing I would like to do is have more knowledge about rhythm, like to be able to notate drum parts in a big band chart, or be able to communicate with the drummer if I want them to play a certain groove.
    Ken

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    I studied Afro-Cuban and Haitian percussion for almost 2 years and it completely opened up my rhythmic concept on sax. Amazing stuff. That, coupled with 2 years of ear training at Berklee, proved to be the most improvement I have experienced in 35 years of playing
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    if you spent some time on drums what kind of things would be good to work on to help your sax playing?
    Anything and everything, beginning with rudiments and basic patterns on the kit. It can only help your playing. I've even practiced scales/patterns with a metronome while keeping 1 on the bass pedal and 2 & 4 on the hi-hat. For me, there was something about becoming physically involved with the time (beyond just foot-tapping) that really helped me identify weaknesses in my time, etc.
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    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Playing at slow tempos with the metronome also exposes weakness in rhythm.

    Try all the subdivisions: For example, in 4/4 use the click on:

    1,2,3,4
    1,3
    2,4
    1
    2
    3
    4

    In 6/8 use the click on:

    1,2,3,4,5,6
    1,3,5
    2,4,6
    1,4
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    6

    Getting used to feeling rhythms together with, and completely independent of those around you is when things start to get really fun...Still working on all of that on percussion and sax.

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Thanks for those suggestions guys.
    Ken

  16. #16

    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Any Timing and Rhythm work helps with you with any other instrument, especailly swing and off beat rhythms for Jazz.
    Pounding out never ending variations on 4/4 rhythms is the scales work of the drum world.
    Not as cool and awesome as the rolling around the toms, but the bread and butter of drumming.

    For drumming itself work on some of the fundamentals - para-diddles, flams, drags, simple rolls etc.
    They are simple on their own, easy and quick to pick up, but can really spice up the basic backing drum beat.
    E.g. Para-diddles on the snare and hi-hat giving a nice alternating chorus soundscape.
    (or practice pad and a saucepan lid if you haven't got a kit yet.)

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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Quote Originally Posted by swperry1 View Post
    Brecker was, and Lovano is a killer percussionist.
    also Jerry Bergonzi. Some people just have a lot of musical talent.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    I also played a bit of drums in the past and learned a lot about afro-cuban percussion last semester and I agree with the above posts that drumming can very much help with rhythm and also help with time. Every good sax player should have great time but in my experience a lot do not. Once you get comfortable enough on the drumset try and play along with some classic jazz records and it will really help your time and feel
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    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    I took up percussions to work on my rhythm spectrum and it really helps.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Drums to help your sax playing?

    Thanks for the thread. This is a good question. My problem with drums is that I can see the value but worry about the time (sax and clarinet practice leaves little time for anything beyond listening) and I'm just too old to get on top of that four limb thing. But I have a Korg padKONTROL that I use for making backing tracks and I find that by using that and trying to match drum patterns that I hear I get a lot of benefit for my timing. And I don't have to get over that four limb hurdle because it allows me to do bass and snare on one track and hi-hats and cymbals on another. It might be cheating but no innocent bystanders are getting hurt.

    I also found this useful to come to terms with what the drummer was doing:
    http://www.amazon.com/Commandments-E...early+drumming

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