First off, please accept my apology for the missing January 2000 lesson. No excuse, really. In order to make up for the lack of a lesson in January, I'm combining January and February into a super-lesson on Independence. This month we will begin by looking at the hands. We'll add the feet down the road.
Independence means being able to play each hand seperately; each hand performing a different rhythmic idea. It sounds daunting, but it's not that hard, really. These lessons are designed to take you through the first steps in independence.
Unlike previous lessons, they are arranged without comment. There are three groupings; each grouping has a cymbal ostinato with the lead hand, and snare work with the weak hand. The first grouping uses quarter-note cymbal ostinatos on the beat; the second uses quarter-note cymbal ostinatos on the off-beat (syncopated); the third uses a basic jazz swing ride rhythm. Everything's in 4/4, so there's no need to worry about odd time signatures.
These exercises are going to get difficult fast, and there's a reason for that. My intention here is not that you will play straight down the page, but that you will modify each lesson as you go and develop it as a complete system. In other words, each lesson is written with the lead (right) hand playing the cymbal ride. When you have become proficient with this sticking, change the hands around so that you are leading with your weak (left) hand on the cymbal, and playing the snare parts with your lead (right) hand. This will help you further develop ambidexterity.
You can also lead with the left hand playing the cymbal line on the snare, and play the snare line with the right hand on the cymbal! Or play the patterns between tom and snare! Use your imagination! When you get really good, try switching the sticking with each repeated measure!
Before you get into this, better go back to Lesson #1 and do some warm-ups.
Something else you can do to "jazz things up" a bit is to change the ostinato around. In other words, play Grouping #2's cymbal ostinato with grouping #1's snare patterns, or Grouping #1's snare patterns with Grouping #3's ostinato. You could be working on this one for months!
As always, let me know how you've done!