Syncopation and Independence: John Riley

Syncopation and Independence, and Applying the Exercises Transcription from The Master Drummer

By John Riley Published December 7, 2009

John Riley is a legendary teacher, inspiring, articulate, and talented in spades. On this DVD there are four sections covering technique, groove, creativity and musicianship. The following excerpts show John demonstrating his remarkable fluidity at the drum set (Video #1) and showing a series of exercises for improving syncopation and independence, using techniques based on the Moeller method.

The Master Drummer, clip #1.

The Master Drummer, clip #2.

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About The Author
John Riley began playing drums at age eight, after receiving a snare drum as a gift. Under the guidance of Tom Sicola, he played in the school band and began drum lessons. Eventually, he acquired a complete drum set and lessons expanded to include "beats of the day," coordination and reading studies for the drum set. At age twelve, John began playing in rock bands and heard his first jazz recordings. Two years later, he played his first "professional" gig, which he obtained through an audition played over the telephone. John began studying with Joe Morello in 1971, after meeting him at a drum symposium. John went on to attend the University of North Texas, where he was introduced to a larger world of music and percussion. While at UNT, he played in, toured, and recorded with the famed One O'clock Lab Band. In 1976, he moved to New York City and was soon called to join the Woody Herman Band. Following that great experience, John returned to New York and began freelancing with musicians including Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, and many others.

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