By Danny Gottlieb Originally Published In DRUM! Magazine's November 2010 Issue
My teacher, Joe Morello, studied with Stick Control author George Lawrence Stone, and over the years has developed an incredible variety of variations based on the book. I have adapted one of my favorites to work on a specific jazz problem: the ability to play fast tempos on the ride cymbal. Joe basically takes the first three pages of Stick Control, and for every eighth-note of the exercise, has students play a paradiddle with that hand.
Ex. 1 illustrates a repeated right-handed paradiddle, Ex. 2 a repeated left-handed paradiddle. When you have a stick-control exercise like Ex. 3 – four rights and four lefts – you play it as in Ex. 4: four right-handed paradiddles and four left. While Joe designed it for the pad, if you move the right hand to the cymbal, there’s your ride cymbal pattern. Ex 5 illustrates moving the right hand to the cymbal. And, if you start slowly and develop speed and control, you can really use this exercise to develop a ride-cymbal beat that can be played at fast tempos, as well as develop control of the ride cymbal at all tempos. I have found it incredibly helpful. Good luck and for more info please refer to Joe’s book, Master Studies II: More Exercises For The Development Of Control And Technique.
Danny Gottlieb has played with Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, the NDR Big Band, and is currently a member of Gary Sinise’s Lt Dan Band (ltdanband.com). He is an associate professor of jazz studies at the University Of North Florida. dannygottlieb.org