Example of a Gary Chester lesson

jaymandude

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Let me use something more common, John Riley’s books for example.

Let’s say you have a beginner to intermediate student who is just learning jazz coordination via John’s book, or Dawson/Ted Reed. And they’re struggling a bit to put it together every week.

Then you tell them that all the exercises they’re struggling with right handed they have to do left hand lead, with the left hand on a ride cymbal on the left. With a click track. Singing all the parts. First the quarter. Then the ride, then the bass, etc.

Also to add, Garys ostinatos were not straight 8 or swing. That made it trickier. And 2, there’s lessons that are not in the book.

that’s one week :)
 
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Tornado

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Let me use something more common, John Riley’s books for example.

Let’s say you have a beginner to intermediate student who is just learning jazz coordination via John’s book, or Dawson/Ted Reed. And they’re struggling a bit to put it together every week.

Then you tell them that all the exercises they’re struggling with right handed they have to do left hand lead, with the left hand on a ride cymbal on the left. With a click track. Singing all the parts. First the quarter. Then the ride, then the bass, etc.

Also to add, Garys ostinatos were not straight 8 or swing. That made it trickier. And 2, there’s lessons that are not in the book.

that’s one week :)
Did you study with him?
 

Tornado

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Very cool. I saw there were some new videos posted on a Gary Chester tribute YouTube channel recently about his teaching, haven't been able to sit down and dig into it.

I've done some work in The New Breed just by myself, but sounds like getting it straight from the man was pretty intense.
 

jaymandude

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Very cool. I saw there were some new videos posted on a Gary Chester tribute YouTube channel recently about his teaching, haven't been able to sit down and dig into it.

I've done some work in The New Breed just by myself, but sounds like getting it straight from the man was pretty intense.
Let me go out an a pretty strong limb and say 1) people slack off on those lessons wrong all the time. They don’t sing all the parts. 2). There is almost no way ( never say never ) someone would be a hard on you or assign you as much work as Gary did. No way.

If I did that to my students they wouldn’t have time for anything else. They’d be practicing 4-6 hours a day. No lie
 
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ARGuy

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Let me go out an a pretty strong limb and say 1) people play those lessons wrong all the time. 2). There is almost no way ( never say never ) someone would be a hard on you or assign you as much work as Gary did. No way.
Can you give an example of how people play the lessons wrong? I have the book and could use all the help I can get!
 

Tornado

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Let me go out an a pretty strong limb and say 1) people play those lessons wrong all the time. 2). There is almost no way ( never say never ) someone would be a hard on you or assign you as much work as Gary did. No way.
Yeah, the book is pretty sparse on text, so I've always been unsure of how to really go through it, even at my own pace.
 

jaymandude

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Can you give an example of how people play the lessons wrong? I have the book and could use all the help I can get!
Let me correct that. It’s not wrong. They just don’t sing all the parts. It’s not 4 way coordination. It’s 5 way.

when you’re doing it by yourself and it gets hard, it’s real easy to skip over it. When you had to show up at his house and never know what variation he was going to ask you to play, and if you said you didn’t get to it and he said why not ? That’s an entirely different thing :)
 

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I'm finding this guy fascinating. I've been working my left hand now for a while, leading off with it on diddles, using diddles that focus on lefts, hard and soft to the point where I feel that if my left forearm isn't cramping up I haven't accomplished anything and I really feel it paying off or starting to.

Even thought about switching the kit and playing it lefty but lately I get far more work in on the practice pad for now.

Paying attention to this.
 

jaymandude

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I'm finding this guy fascinating. I've been working my left hand now for a while, leading off with it on diddles, using diddles that focus on lefts, hard and soft to the point where I feel that if my left forearm isn't cramping up I haven't accomplished anything and I really feel it paying off or starting to.

Even thought about switching the kit and playing it lefty but lately I get far more work in on the practice pad for now.

Paying attention to this.
Yeah man. That’s cool. But that ain’t it :)
 

jaymandude

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One more thing about his teaching. He would make you keep working on things till you got them. And would add new material on top of that, as you were getting that together. He knew that you might not be able to play something cleanly no stops one week, but he would keep pushing you to do more advanced things. So by the third week or fourth week, you would be able to play easily what you couldn’t play in the first week. Crazy difficult, but inspiring when you got it.

You really had to be ready and prepared for these kinds of lessons. I don’t know who else around the world teaches hard core like this. I’m kind of curious to see his lineage of guys. I can’t imagine having a full-time job and a family and working on his stuff. But this was around 86 maybe? And a handful of guys that I knew who were going to him were all full-time drummers in the northeast tri-state area.

Ifeel the same way when I hear some comments from the Tony Williams video clinics. You wanna get better ? Record yourself playing time. Listen back. If it doesn't sound good to you, or swing, then change it until it does. I do that now when I compare myself to Steve Jordan , or new orleans drummers.

It's discipline and desire. Period... Done. Game Set March...
 
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RIDDIM

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That
One more thing about his teaching. He would make you keep working on things till you got them. And would add new material on top of that, as you were getting that together. He knew that you might not be able to play something cleanly no stops one week, but he would keep pushing you to do more advanced things. So by the third week or fourth week, you would be able to play easily what you couldn’t play in the first week. Crazy difficult, but inspiring when you got it.

You really had to be ready and prepared for these kinds of lessons. I don’t know who else around the world teaches hard core like this. I’m kind of curious to see his lineage of guys. I can’t imagine having a full-time job and a family and working on his stuff. But this was around 86 maybe? And a handful of guys that I knew who were going to him were all full-time drummers in the northeast tri-state area.

Ifeel the same way when I hear some comments from the Tony Williams video clinics. You wanna get better ? Record yourself playing time. Listen back. If it doesn't sound good to you, or swing, then change it until it does. I do that now when I compare myself to Steve Jordan , or new orleans drummers.

It's discipline and desire. Period... Done. Game Set March...
- That's it. Do work, get results.
 

langmick

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The singing technique really opened up a lot of things for me. It is challenging but worth the effort imo. If you think about what goes into backing up singers or a melodic instrument, they have phrasing. Especially the vocalists, who have to breathe and feel good. Getting a feel for your "fifth limb", the core of your body, puts you more in tune with what those players go through. It is a whole new avenue to explore that isn't chops-related.
 

Squirrel Man

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I understand, or I think I do, the focus here. 5 independent limbs and that's an amazing concept, added to it the discipline and work ethic involved.

Now I've just gotten back into the craft of drumming and previously being basically a stage hack (maybe a little better) that could bang out some rock and punk tunes and sound ok I'm approaching this with a lot more focus than I did before - with a lot of limitations. I'm 52, family guy, full time professional job (work weekends too, like today) and while I have a jump on most beginners I kind of consider myself just that, a beginner.

I'm not going to take lessons, this clearly isn't my career path but I do want to try to do it right, or mostly. And there is so much information out there, I feel bad for kids, beginners getting bombarded with stuff and there is an overwhelming amount of stuff to learn. Even with my time constraints I can usually get an hour or maybe more on the kit because I think that's important but I spend more time on the pad working things, my weaknesses I've identified and some other things. Curing weaknesses and progressing aren't the same thing. So my progress is slow and I get that if I applied more I could progress more efficiently but I've chosen my path. And I am progressing.

Would I be interested in doing a Gary Chester drumming "boot camp"? Yeah, sure - at this point in my life it isn't an option so I look at the concepts and consider them as focus points. Independence, I work on those situationally, mostly hat, kick and left hand.

For me the value here are the concepts I can work on with the limitations I have. For others who have time and potential to apply this disciplined routine and take full advantage of it, I think it's a great option for them.
 
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One more thing about his teaching. He would make you keep working on things till you got them. And would add new material on top of that, as you were getting that together. He knew that you might not be able to play something cleanly no stops one week, but he would keep pushing you to do more advanced things. So by the third week or fourth week, you would be able to play easily what you couldn’t play in the first week. Crazy difficult, but inspiring when you got it.

You really had to be ready and prepared for these kinds of lessons. I don’t know who else around the world teaches hard core like this. I’m kind of curious to see his lineage of guys. I can’t imagine having a full-time job and a family and working on his stuff. But this was around 86 maybe? And a handful of guys that I knew who were going to him were all full-time drummers in the northeast tri-state area.

Ifeel the same way when I hear some comments from the Tony Williams video clinics. You wanna get better ? Record yourself playing time. Listen back. If it doesn't sound good to you, or swing, then change it until it does. I do that now when I compare myself to Steve Jordan , or new orleans drummers.

It's discipline and desire. Period... Done. Game Set March...
Other teachers that were like that? Chaffee, Dawson, Guilotti, Morello, Ed Uribe, and I'm sure there were MANY others. I think what we are talking about is "old school" (pre political correct teaching,) to modern day (everyone gets a medal, softer, type of teaching.)

I say this all of the time. The teachers that I had: Chaffee, John Riley, Horace Arnold, Morello, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, Steve Turre, Kenny Werner, etc etc etc... Couldn't teach today, in the same way that they taught myself (and others) 25 years ago. Even the players of that (and previous) generation(s) were different (you cite Tony, and I'll add MANY others.)

Like you said discipline and desire. I'll add, do the work, put the time in, do the preparation, or get off the stage or out of my lesson room. Baptism by fire. When I teach today, I can hear-imagine how many of my old teachers would react to some students and sometimes I wish I could be the same way, but I don't want to get sued or field constant complaining phone calls from parents and students. Some of them want "tough love," most don't.

Today, I ask students what their goals are, and I feel them out to see how they react to more intense teaching methods (based on what their goals are, and their maturity level.) But I'll say that in my opinion MOST people (irregardless of age) today are not ready for the teaching styles of 20 or 25 years ago.)

I had some friends that studied with Chester, it sounds like he was cut from the same cloth (maybe tougher) of the guys that mentioned above. Maybe that's why many of his students went on to become wonderful musicians.

MSG
 

ARGuy

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One thing about his approach - you have to be able to read rhythms and drum set notation comfortably. At least that would be my assumption. Also the ability to put things together in your head rather than being able to see all the parts laid out like a transcription.
 

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Very cool. I saw there were some new videos posted on a Gary Chester tribute YouTube channel recently about his teaching, haven't been able to sit down and dig into it.

I've done some work in The New Breed just by myself, but sounds like getting it straight from the man was pretty intense.
@jaymandude
This is the channel I mentioned. These videos are really new. Whoever runs this channel uploaded EP.1 only last month. EP.3 was uploaded today. Have you seen this? It's on my watch list.

 

jaymandude

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I understand, or I think I do, the focus here. 5 independent limbs and that's an amazing concept, added to it the discipline and work ethic involved.

Now I've just gotten back into the craft of drumming and previously being basically a stage hack (maybe a little better) that could bang out some rock and punk tunes and sound ok I'm approaching this with a lot more focus than I did before - with a lot of limitations. I'm 52, family guy, full time professional job (work weekends too, like today) and while I have a jump on most beginners I kind of consider myself just that, a beginner.

I'm not going to take lessons, this clearly isn't my career path but I do want to try to do it right, or mostly. And there is so much information out there, I feel bad for kids, beginners getting bombarded with stuff and there is an overwhelming amount of stuff to learn. Even with my time constraints I can usually get an hour or maybe more on the kit because I think that's important but I spend more time on the pad working things, my weaknesses I've identified and some other things. Curing weaknesses and progressing aren't the same thing. So my progress is slow and I get that if I applied more I could progress more efficiently but I've chosen my path. And I am progressing.

Would I be interested in doing a Gary Chester drumming "boot camp"? Yeah, sure - at this point in my life it isn't an option so I look at the concepts and consider them as focus points. Independence, I work on those situationally, mostly hat, kick and left hand.

For me the value here are the concepts I can work on with the limitations I have. For others who have time and potential to apply this disciplined routine and take full advantage of it, I think it's a great option for them.
I totally respect where your're coming from, and your willingness to post it. I think the concepts we are talking about here are untimately pretty simple though. I don't know your process, but I would just say at your stage, with what you;re looking to do, don't overthink it.

Gary isn't "new", it's the same thing it's always been. Do the work, get the results. There's different ways to do the work, but it comes back to the same basic concepts. That's my opinion anyway. I never even teach any of his stuff. I had some college kits a few years ago,, but they weren't ready for it.
 

Cauldronics

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I studied "New Breed" for awhile but being a left-handed drummer, it became tedious having to switch everything around in my head and limbs for every exercise, not to mention the challenge of singing the parts. One thing that'll never happen is a second version of any drumming book where everything leads with the left. I get that one of the main points of NB was to open up leading from either side, but when I did have 4-6 hours a day to devote practice, I wasn't studying this book at the time. For many drummers to master the techniques, they'd have to have a lot of free time, unless they are naturally dexterous enough. Some are but the majority are not. That said, mastering NB is bound to result in becoming a more fluid, accomplished drummer. I know Weckl said the book totally tore him apart.
 

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