Getting Good With Monster Pipe Band Etudes.
A Monster Blog By Haydn Halsted
Coming from being a general percussionist as many of us are, we have to learn many different techniques, styles of music, new systems of notation, and of course the infinite list of instruments were expected to play at a high level. Scottish Snare Drumming is another one of those new techniques, styles of music, and instruments that we should know about; and what’s the best way to learn it? By doing it!
I spent some time this week with the Pipe Band Drumming Etudes within the Monster Exercises and Studies class and DANG! Those were tough! They definitely challenged my hands and I’ve come to realize what the biggest issues are for me.
I’m still getting comfortable with the new technique and letting my thumb take control in my left hand. What other styles of drumming require our thumb to have so much responsibility? My thumb is not super stoked about that, but I can hear a massive difference in the sound that this very open and free grip provides to the music. Sorry thumb, you’re just going to have to Monster up!
As Irvin Mills wrote, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.” Playing nearly all 16th notes swung has thrown my brain for a loop and I need to take my American drumline exercises (which we’ll see in the second solo) and swing them all. Getting used to accenting all parts of the 16th note while swinging will help me become more comfortable reading through these etudes.
The Melting Pot
Scottish Drumming is everything you’ve asked your hands to do in Orchestral and Rudimental Drumming combined. We must bring in the finesse and musicality we learn in the Orchestral world along with beautiful buzz rolls but have the flexibility and agility that Rudimental Drumming requires from us. Being able to play the music beautifully is no easy task when your natural rudimental intensity wants to kick in.
“So What Do I Get?”
When you dive into this class you’ll get the three etudes I worked through as well as a combined 60 etudes and exercises to level up your Monster Drumming! These three etudes are a great way to dip your toe into Pipe Band Drumming because it will feel incredibly familiar while also completely foreign at the same time. The composer, Michael Eagle, uses classic language from rudimental and orchestral drumming to give us three etudes, each focusing on different concepts within them.
Etude no. 1 focuses on seven stroke rolls and runs us through an entire roll break down to better understand this rudiment in a triplet context. Etude no. 2 is a tricky little biscuit that will challenge your ability to control your flams and will run you through flam accent shift as well as test your inverted strokes. Etude no. 3 is all about the syncopation and working on height separation between accents and taps. Above all, these etudes are groovy! Check out this clip from Etude no. 2 and you’ll know what I mean.
I’ll be posting videos of myself playing these three etudes within the Performance Feedback section of the Monster Drumming Discussions. Although they aren’t perfect, I want to document my progress and I encourage you to do the same! Let this community of Monster Drummers help you along the way and get some feedback from the best in the business! I look forward to starting a discussion with you and Monstering up together!
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