I had a great time last Sunday attending a clinic with top-notch New Orleans drummer, Stanton Moore, at Bell Percussion in Acton. The event was organised by fellow Edgwareian and hub of the drum community, Mike Dolbear of www.mikedolbear.com.
I admit I was feeling a little apprehensive about seeing Stanton since I became a bit “Stantoned out” with his Street Beats DVD and Groove Alchemy Book and DVD. It started to feel like he was popping up everywhere I looked, like some sort of drumming Jimmy Carr, doing his gurning and a-rat-a-tat-buzz-buzz-thump thingy. My apprehension was all for nothing, though. Stanton Moore is a brilliant drummer and his presentation was thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring.
The clinic was part of a two day educational programme which involved a couple of day-long master classes for a privileged few. After a brief introduction by Mike, who requested, in a fit of nostalgia for the 1990’s, no one post anything to YouTube, Stanton sat down on stage and proceeded to play a couple of songs from his oeuvre with great energy. He then got straight to the educational part of the programme.
The main topic of the evening related to “musical mileage” – how we can use one idea and create loads of variations with it around the kit to develop grooves and fills. As an example, Stanton used a three stroke ruff (or what I would call a single drag) – llR or rrL, played closed at first and then open as triplets. With this simple rudimental pattern, we learned how to work on feel, to understand the swung and the straight variants and how to move between the two, we learned about dynamics and phrasing and how to apply an excercise we use to develop our physical prowess to make music.
Stanton seamlessly incorporated all of the themes familiar to anyone who’s followed his educational work into this dissection and reconstruction of the single drag – the James Brown/Meters funk thing, the Johnny Vidacovic thing, the swing thing, the Bonham thing and so on. He must have gone on for a good 90 minutes on this subject alone. It was engaging and entertaining all the way through. Following a question from an audience member, he also spoke about how he developed his famous buzz roll, thanks to a gig with a punk-klezmer outfit.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to see Stanton Moore do his thing and feel like I went away with a load of ideas I can apply to my approach to learning and teaching drums which, although I was familiar with many of them from his books and videos, have been brought to life by seeing him in the flesh. His presentation was a perfect example of what a drum clinic should be.
Check out Stanton’s site here – www.stantonmoore.com
Thanks to my student, Jonathan Cocking, who let me use his photos.
Here’s the YouTube lesson he did covering similar topics. I don’t think seeing this will put anyone off going to see drum clinics. If anything, I am sure it will encourage people to support real life events.