BY “TIGER” BILL MELIGARI
One of my favorite drum set workouts is to take a book like George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control and convert it into 4-way coordination drills. This was first shown me by Joe Morello. His reasoning for doing this was not to have his students simply memorize each 4-way pattern and play it back on the drum set, but to provide them with a level of coordination that would enable them to play anything that came to mind using all four limbs in a musical setting. Morello started me out with the ostinato pattern I demonstrate in the third variation shown in the video above, and I developed the ostinatos shown in the other two variations. After you practice these as written, I encourage you develop your own 4-way coordination patterns and ostinatos in the jazz vein.
If you are having trouble playing these patterns with all four limbs at the same time, start by practicing only two limbs at a time. And don’t use a metronome at first. Just work on developing the coordination necessary to play the 4-way patterns.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
If you practice the three ostinato variations and apply them to all eight of the exercises I borrowed from the first page of Stick Control, you will have 24 patterns to practice—but that’s just the beginning! If you switch the ostinatos from the left to the right hand, as shown in the video, you will have another 24 patterns to practice.
STICK CONTROL BOOK BONUS
If you own Stick Control, you can apply these three patterns to the first three pages, which contain 72 exercises, for a grand total of 216 4-way coordination patterns! That should keep you busy at least until part 2, where we’ll take these ostinatos to whole different level. Until then, have fun and stay loose!