Com­bi­NA­TION Chairs

Devel­op­ing move­ment, place­ment and dy­namic flow around the kit

Rhythm - - DRUM LESSONS -

In this month’s ar­ti­cle we will be look­ing at broad­en­ing our skill set by ex­plor­ing the idea of com­bi­na­tion chairs: ie kit and per­cus­sion com­bined to one player within theatre shows. To be a kit player in theatre re­quires a wide range of skills in­clud­ing fol­low­ing an MD (stick con­duc­tor or piano MD), work­ing with clicks, read­ing, tak­ing con­stant di­rec­tion, multi-stick changes, deep stylis­tic knowl­edge and po­ten­tially dou­bling on a small amount of per­cus­sion. I used to dep on the West End show, Chicago, for Kevin Camp­bell, which was an on­stage kit chair com­bined with glock­en­spiel, pop gun, tri­an­gle, blocks, car horn, slide whis­tle, tri­an­gle, cas­tanets. Whilst these may sound like rel­a­tively easy voic­ings to throw into the mix, please bear in mind a lot of these would be given as vis­ual cues.

At times I’d be play­ing kit with the left hand and ped­alling time whilst adding a melodic line on the glock­en­spiel with the right hand! Alan Dale is an­other drum­merI used to dep for who has played on an ex­ten­sive amount of shows and is cur­rently the chair holder on the Wicked UK tour. I depped on the Dir­tyDanc­ing UK tour for Alan, which did have a per­cus­sion­ist, but also had a kit com­bi­na­tion chair as the show had a fair amount of Latin grooves – there­fore tim­bales, blocks and cow­bell com­bi­na­tions were part of the chair.

One groove on Dir­tyDanc­ing that stood out as a chal­lenge due to po­si­tion­ing, phras­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion was a two-bar Merengue, which is the groove we’ll be break­ing down as per my ex­am­ples. In Ex­am­ples 1 to 3, I break down each el­e­ment in­di­vid­u­ally be­fore we put all three to­gether as shown in Ex­am­ple 4. To re­ally bed these in and get them up to the de­sired 126bpm, use your voice to say the pho­net­ics. As the say­ing goes: ‘If you can say it, you’ll be able to play it’. En­joy. TheA­cade­my­ofCon­tem­po­raryMu­sic(ACM)isalead­ing­mu­sic in­dus­trye­d­u­ca­tion­provider.Hav­ing­trained­mu­si­cians,pro­duc­ers, song­writ­er­sanden­trepreneurs­for­ca­reersinthe­mu­sicin­dus­try forover20years,with­state-of-the-art­fa­cil­i­ties,world-class­fac­ulty an­dex­ten­sivein­dus­trycon­nec­tions,ACM of­fersmu­sicpro­grammes that­de­vel­op­stu­dentstotheir­max­i­mumpo­ten­tia­landin­stantly im­mers­es­theminthe­mu­sicin­dus­try.Visitwww.acm.ac.uk

your tu­tor Toby Drum­mond isanACM DrumTu­tor­who hasper­formed­with­artists suchasTheSea­horses, ShaunRy­der,Rus­sell Wat­son,RayDavies,Celia Im­rie­andClif­fRichard.

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