Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials Books

There are two books that I use with all of my students: Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials Books 1 and 2. The books come with CDs that have all the play along tracks in Mp3 format. There are also two DVDs in which Tommy explains each groove in detail, and then plays a shortened version of what is on the CDs. I can not recommend these books enough. Some of the grooves are easy, and some are very challenging.

Tommy has suggested grooves written out for each song. The first one is the one that he played. However, they are suggestions not absolutes. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you approach each groove exercise with musicianship in mind. Try to play the suggested groove, but if you can't, play something that will work. For example, if the 16th note grooves are too fast for you, use 8th note grooves instead. You can come back and revisit the exercises using 16th note grooves at a later date, when you have greater technical ability. Most importantly, use your ears, and play accordingly. Concentrate on playing the most musical groove that you can, and make your fills just as musical, and in the right places. Again, I can't say this enough, "USE YOUR EARS"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another plus of the Groove Essentials series, is it lets you explore chart reading. I can not emphasize enough the ability to be able to read music, especially charts, and being able to interpret  them in a musical manner. There is a big difference between reading an exercise book or a concert snare part, and reading and interpreting a drum chart. No matter how sparse or dense the chart is written, you have to know how to "read between the lines" as they say. Chart reading is basically counting measures, keeping from getting lost, and using your ears to tailor your playing to the style of the music being played. Knowing how to set up figures is a plus, and will be covered in another post.

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