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Learn How To Play Jazz Drums

Jazz Drumming Skills

So you have bought yourself a brand new drum kit and is deciding what genre of drummer you want to be. How about learning how to be a jazz drummer?

As you probably know, jazz is one of the most artistic genres of music and especially for the jazz drummer. Playing jazz music gives the drummer the opportunity to showcase his amazing technical drumming skills.  

However, most drummers choose not to take the time to learn how to play jazz drums properly which is partly due to its wide array of technicalities unlike most other music.

Although jazz drumming seem to look very complicated, it is not too difficult to learn. The main difference is that most drummers are used to 4/4 tempo of drumming where jazz is played with a lot of triplets and has a totally different feel than most music. So the drummer may have to relearn some drumming techniques. Furthermore, many jazz music are relatively fast in tempo and most drummers also need to improve on boosting their stick speed.  

The first thing a new drummer needs to learn when playing jazz pieces is the basic jazz swing tempo or groove. A jazz drummer's main job is to keep time for the rest of the band just like in any genre of music. The drummer should never overpower the rest of the band. To do this, simply use your hi hat and ride cymbal.

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Let's begin with your hi-hat stepping on the 2 and 4 count to a swing music. It is crucial to keep this count over top of everything you play in jazz. Next, add ride the cymbal with a triplet tempo and feel.  Practice these moves to perfection before going further with your drum lessons.  

Now that you have mastered how to keep the swing tempo with the hi-hat and ride cymbal, let's move on to the bass or kick-drum. Jazz drumming techniques are sometimes very subtle and because of this, the bass drum should not be too dominant.

So do make sure that you do not play the bass drum too loudly. A good technique for this is keep your heel down when playing the bass drum. In this way, you can thus control the strength of the kick more easily.

A technique jazz drummers often use is the feathering the bass drum. This move is executed by lightly tapping the bass drum on the quarter or eighth notes. It is usual for the bass drum to follow the bass guitar player.

So you may need to know what kind of progression the bass player is playing and try to follow him. The bass drum should be played with more of a feel rather than powerful thumping like those in rock music.  

The snare drum can be used to help accent for the band or can be used to play straight quarter notes. Another common rhythm in jazz music is the shuffle and every jazz drummer must also master this form of drumming and since jazz music usually have musicians doing solo runs, the jazz drummer must also learn how to play drum solos.

By developing these common jazz drumming styles, you will be playing with the pros! Swing it away!

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