Here are your practice assignments for this week:
Practice the rhythm exercises that we worked on this week. Try to hear the rhythm in layers: first the bass drum playing quarter notes, then the right hand playing eighth notes, and the the left hand filling in the other parts of the rhythm. Also, practice playing along with “Hey Jude” and “Everlasting Light.” If there are any other songs that you think you can play along with, practice those too. I’m happy to take suggestions!
You’ve made a lot of progress on your xylophone piece. This week, work on smoothing out the rolls and cleaning up the double stops. Both of these things can be accomplished by playing with less elbow and more wrist. The wrist is a smaller (and therefore faster) joint that can control the mallets with much less effort than your elbow. Also, don’t rush the tempo in this piece. I’d rather hear it a little slower but with accuracy and phrasing than fast but with no musicality.
Great work with the intro to Paradise City! This week, work on adding the crashes in the second part of the intro. The snare drum and bass drum parts stay the same, but you add a crash at the beginning of each bar and an extra one in bar 3. Also, take a look at the two-bar phrase that I wrote down in your book. It’s a combination of beats #2 and #3 from your sheet. Practice it this week too.
Spend time this week writing out the counting below each of the jazz rhythms in your book. Identify which notes are on the beat and which ones are off beat. Them play the rhythm itself several times to get the sound of it in your ear before playing it together with the beat. Don’t forget to count out loud when you’re practicing! This will help a lot with rhythmic accuracy.
10,000 Reasons sounds much better this week! Keeping working on it and listen very carefully for the “downbeat” (beat 1) of each bar. If you can identify where beat 1 is, then you’ll have a much easier time adjusting if you get off from the song. Do the same thing with Freedom.
Keep practicing the open hi-hat beat from La Villa Strangiato. It’s getting better! Focus on the rhythm of your feet. If that pattern is solid then it will make the rest of the beat much easier to play. Also, practice the new beat that I wrote in your book in 7/4. Be sure to count when you practice this to make sure there are exactly 7 beats in the bar.
Practice the transitions (including fills) in “Fool in the Rain” this week. Read the fills that wrote down in your book for you to make sure you have the timing right. It is important that these fills fit within the groove of the song. Also, work on the middle section (new) this week. Remember to keep the non-accented notes soft in order for the accented notes to stand out.
Keep working on the verse and chorus of “Back In Black” this week. Listen to the song while you practice and try playing along. Listen carefully to the transitions in the song (verse to chorus and chorus to verse) to make sure you get the timing right in these sections. Also, be careful not to rush in the chorus. Lay back on the beat and make sure each note is placed in the right spot.