I feel good about my Buzz Stroke progress! I’d been feeling rather clumsy and slow for a bit, and ending up taking a couple of days off. That cold wasn’t helping either.
About five minutes into my return it all fell into place.
For some reason, a drum roll or buzz roll seems like real progress, more than the tap, tap, tap of previous exercises. I do understand progress on those “taps” lead to progress on the buzz roll, but this feels like a big step forward, emotionally. This is starting to feel like “real” drumming.
Need a break down on the Buzz Rolls? Check out this class to get your basics rock'n.
For any future challenges on this journey I need to remember that progress isn’t a steady line. Recognizable progress can come in fits and starts sometimes.
Let’s get an uncomfortable truth out of the way here.
When I first saw a pipe band drum corps, I was thrown off by how ‘disorderly’ it seemed. I was blown away by what I was hearing, but there was this little voice nagging at me saying things like:
“What’s the deal with all of them shaking their sticks to the beat?”
“What the hell is wrong with their hands?”
"Why are they all looking down at someone else's drum?”
“Why do they start their strokes like marimba players? ”
You see uh… Well... I mean….
Look, I think get it now, but (and not to belabor this point) a HUGE part of my musical training as a DCI-style American Drummer was concerned with...
If I had to pick one single thing that I love about Scottish Drumming, it would be its use of Buzz Rolls. Check this out...
I mean, just listen to that.
That sound is just plain incredible. I can’t think of anything else even remotely close to it. It’s like a combination of rain, waterfalls white noise, and a million record needles crying out in terror. Maybe with some bacon frying in there somewhere. It deserves it’s own word.
Unfortunately, over here in my LARWO (Little American Rudimental WOrld) the word, "roll" refers to the open variant. Now that I’ve learned about what can be done with the closed variety, I’m changing that definition in my head. From now on, when I write "roll" I mean Buzz Roll. American style machine-gunning will be referred to by the term "Open Roll."
It’s important to resist the tendency to raise my arm and sort of ‘stab’ down onto the head at a sharper than normal angle. This cheats the gesture and in the long run will become a liability when it comes to fluidly dropping them into quicker patterns. Starting the motion flat and at grace note height helps keep it nice and delicate.
You may have not have noticed the ‘dip’ before. It’s something that McWhirter and other Monsters do when they play a Drag.
The best way to isolate this motion is in the Open-Closed-Open classes on Rhythm Monster. They have most of the common Pipe Band rudiments broken-down, plus some American rudiments.
Check out this McWhirter left hand: