Example of a Gary Chester lesson

Pounder

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I need to get the next book. I have the first one. Yes it is in the book, he is specific about it, and there's a cd in there with gary and Danny Gottlieb discussing it. Someone on this forum sent me some simplified Chester exercises when I mentioned earlier that I was working on it. I found the book rewarding EVEN if I didn't add the voice part to the mix. It is great for developing independence and one has to nail it and make it smooth.

I agree it is a tough book but you almost sound bitter and I would like to ask if you don't think it made you a better player. My teacher many years back didn't teach it but it would've been a great thing to work out of, being young and, yes, with time on my hands.. Actually may have kept me out of some of the trouble I was headed for anyways.

These types of things are something people should be aware of. Especially the degree of intensity serious study of an instrument requires. That's one reason why the great players of yesteryear, pre-hiphop, may never be eclipsed.. (I think they will though, there are some outstanding players out there these days)

Anyway thanks for sharing your experience in whatever "cautionary tale" form you decide to use. Much respect.
 

Deafmoon

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The point of Gary's method to do things left hand and right hand was to develop balance and destroy the weaker side. You can sit at a pad and hammer out RLRLRLRLRRRRLRLRLRLRLLLL for years or you can change the sound sources, play the feet integrated with the rhythm, read music and ingrain the time into you by singing the quarters, eights, melody & bass line. Gary had you on auto-pilot after awhile and all that became important was what you were reading. Man it was beautiful! But all that said, there comes a time when you have to forget all that and play to the music. I remember seeing Dave Weckl at Mikell's and Gary wanted me to ask Dave when he was coming back. So I asked Dave if he had any plans to go back, Dave said 'no plans right now. The lessons were great but man I was forgetting how to get around the drums because I was doing nothing but the lessons all week long.' I totally got it. It's a means to an end, not the end itself.
 

jaymandude

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I need to get the next book. I have the first one. Yes it is in the book, he is specific about it, and there's a cd in there with gary and Danny Gottlieb discussing it. Someone on this forum sent me some simplified Chester exercises when I mentioned earlier that I was working on it. I found the book rewarding EVEN if I didn't add the voice part to the mix. It is great for developing independence and one has to nail it and make it smooth.

I agree it is a tough book but you almost sound bitter and I would like to ask if you don't think it made you a better player. My teacher many years back didn't teach it but it would've been a great thing to work out of, being young and, yes, with time on my hands.. Actually may have kept me out of some of the trouble I was headed for anyways.

These types of things are something people should be aware of. Especially the degree of intensity serious study of an instrument requires. That's one reason why the great players of yesteryear, pre-hiphop, may never be eclipsed.. (I think they will though, there are some outstanding players out there these days)

Anyway thanks for sharing your experience in whatever "cautionary tale" form you decide to use. Much respect.
Oh no. I don’t mean to come off that way at all. I’m not bitter about it. If I need to change the wording to take the edge off let me know. My using Riley was a way of giving more familiar examples of the amount of work you would undertake in a week’s lesson. That’s all.

I don’t have any mental image of my playing “before Gary “ and “ after Gary”. I mean, I still rushed fills occasionally:) I’d say it’s more a mental strengthening thing than anything else. Certainly I was more fluid and ambidextrous. And of course that helped. But I didn’t take it out to my wedding gigs and classic rock gigs and use it. It was more internalized.

I’ll add this. Gary knew I was a pocket player and that I loved R&B and New Orleans drummers. So we were cool. And he didn’t do this to create fusion monsters. It was kind of based on being ready for anything. And the balance aspect that Moon talks about much better than I.

My use of Riley is actually real. I think you can get into some aspects of Gary by doing all that or Dawson left hand lead. It’s not everything, but it’s a start.

edit... I see what you’re saying.
That. “bitterness” is being proud and defensive of Gary and the systems. So when someone says they’re working out of that book, generally they’re not singing or doing all the left handed stuff. But if you can get results with bits and pieces of course thats cool too :) Sorry if I’m edgy.
 
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beto_drummer

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Hello, I'm not an english native talking. I'm from Argentina.
Sorry for the question, but when you refer to "sing"... (the fifth limb)... what are you talking about?
Can you tell me an example?

Thank you!
 

jaymandude

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Hello, I'm not an english native talking. I'm from Argentina.
Sorry for the question, but when you refer to "sing"... (the fifth limb)... what are you talking about?
Can you tell me an example?

Thank you!
You vocalize, no pitch, taaa, or daaaa, or dummmm. Each limb. And also the 1/4 pulse.

the same as if you were “vocalizing “ a written rhythm on snare drum, for example.

does that help ?
 

thejohnlec

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I spent a good amount of time in the late 1980s with his first book, and you’re right: my fifth limb went out the window when I had to maximize my practice time with learning other things. I was deep into coordination though, so what I did manage to take away was very helpful when having to react in my musical situations. It’s a true method.
 

beto_drummer

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You vocalize, no pitch, taaa, or daaaa, or dummmm. Each limb. And also the 1/4 pulse.

the same as if you were “vocalizing “ a written rhythm on snare drum, for example.

does that help ?
Oh yes, I think I get the idea. I sometimes do that... thinking it, not singing it... hahahahahahaha I think sing it will be a great challenge!
Thank you very much!!!! :blob7:


Watch the video that's posted
Sorry, I did not watched it. I will do.
Thank you :thumbleft:
 

Tornado

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There really is something to time and the voice or vocalizations. I have admittedly given the vocalizations short shrift when I've practiced these systems, but it's amazing how it fixes your time if you're having a problem lining up with the grid. Like, say you're syncopated bass drum pattern isn't quite lining up with straight 16ths in your other limb(s). Sing that pattern along with it, and all of a sudden it's perfectly on grid. Light bulb moment.

It's got something to do with how we lean to speak in rhythm or in some kind of cadence. I don't remember who it was, (maybe it was Steve Jordan?) but they explained how everyone can have good time even if they think they have no rhythm at all. They said, ask someone who think they have no rhythm to count to 10. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Chances are, it was perfectly in time. If you just did that yourself, you probably kept the length of each number the same, maybe even trailing up the end of the word in pitch. Which is another thing. Giving each number, or "note", the same length, it was probably held out to the full length of the "beat". Without even thinking about it, you're giving the space between the notes its full due, which is a problem for drummers since we don't typically hold notes out unless we're playing a roll.
 

beto_drummer

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I just practiced super simple example... using that video posted before as an example. :bom:
Play 16th notes, both hand unison in the practice pad, sing quaters notes "TA", and play the foot in the 4 different positions HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... o_O
Not so easy... the most difficult is in the "a" of each beat:toothy7::oops:

Thank you guys for the tips! :downtown:
 

KevinD

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When the first book came out (85-86??) I was studying with Horacee Arnold (mentioned earlier in this thread) at William Paterson at the time. I brought the book to him to see what he thought. He kind of felt was a lot to take on in addition to what I was doing already. He didn't really comment on the concept or the approach itself. I wouldn't say he reacted negatively toward it, but he was more focused on teaching the practical applications of things (related to small group Jazz). So I never really dove too deeply into it. interesting stuff though.
I think a balance needs to exist between the practical stuff that you use every day that gets you hired, and the stuff that pushes you out of your comfort zone and toward the next level.. Hard to determine exactly what that balance is sometimes.
 

jsp210

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I think a balance needs to exist between the practical stuff that you use every day that gets you hired, and the stuff that pushes you out of your comfort zone and toward the next level.. Hard to determine exactly what that balance is sometimes.
The magical thing about chipping away at "the stuff that pushes you out of your comfort zone and towards the next level" is that not only do you acquire the "thing" you were pursuing but often several other things that you couldn't previously do improve as well
 

gwbasley

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Yes. Probably a year I guess. Every week.
When did you study with Gary? Were you at any of his annual drum parties?

I was a student in '82 and '83 and he was in the process of writing those books then. We were sort of a final "test group" where he had the ostinatos written out and we played the melodies out of the Ralph C. Pace book.

You are so right how he was not out to change your playing, just to give you all the tools you might need to play in all situations.

He was a taskmaster but you loved him for it!
 

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I like how this fits with former students telling about their experiences of Gary Chester the teacher. About the vocalizations: It's pretty clear in the initial instructions in the book you're supposed to vocalize along with it. I've been both lazy and diligent at different times. It is very rewarding to use the vocalizations, the whole enchilada so to speak.

To absolutely anyone out there who has shied away from the study of A New Breed: I highly recommend it. Just don't get down on yourself if you only do part or whatever. I was surprised at how something difficult would become easier with just an amount of practice time each day. The very cool part of it is you can really see how your brain is expanding, how your coordination is increasing. It is very worthwhile even if it is to see what patience level you have. Is it necessary? No.

If a person wants to break out of a shell of some sort it's amazing. I will tell you this: You see gains by working on it, including or without the vocalizing but best case with everything he prescribes in the book. And by the same token if you don't keep at it you will have to start out again somewhere near or on square one. So I think anyone could benefit.
 

drummerfriend

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Such a great thread for someone like myself who has been working from New Breed 1 and New Breed 2 since they've come out.

Admittingly, sometimes I add the 5th 'limb' - other times I do not.

Regardless, I have gained SO much from these two sources it's ridiculous.
 

gwbasley

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I like how this fits with former students telling about their experiences of Gary Chester the teacher. About the vocalizations: It's pretty clear in the initial instructions in the book you're supposed to vocalize along with it. I've been both lazy and diligent at different times. It is very rewarding to use the vocalizations, the whole enchilada so to speak.

To absolutely anyone out there who has shied away from the study of A New Breed: I highly recommend it. Just don't get down on yourself if you only do part or whatever. I was surprised at how something difficult would become easier with just an amount of practice time each day. The very cool part of it is you can really see how your brain is expanding, how your coordination is increasing. It is very worthwhile even if it is to see what patience level you have. Is it necessary? No.

If a person wants to break out of a shell of some sort it's amazing. I will tell you this: You see gains by working on it, including or without the vocalizing but best case with everything he prescribes in the book. And by the same token if you don't keep at it you will have to start out again somewhere near or on square one. So I think anyone could benefit.
When I started studying with Gary, I was very right handed and just an OK reader.

The first time he gave me a left hand lead system I fumbled around and finally said that I couldn't do this because I was too right handed. Gary's reply was that my left hand was just as good as my right but I just didn't know it and to go home and practice....he was correct.

After a week, or sometimes two, it would begin to feel natural. This same thing carried over when he introduced singing a quarter note. By then I knew that, with practice , I could do it and sure enough I did. Along with all of this, I was becoming a much better reader and much more comfortable singing backup at a gig.

Gary encouraged you to keep practice at home and to stay in your comfort zone at a gig. You let the things you learned become part of your playing by osmosis. So when you are grinding out these exercises just be aware that it will take root in your playing.
 

jaymandude

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When I started studying with Gary, I was very right handed and just an OK reader.

The first time he gave me a left hand lead system I fumbled around and finally said that I couldn't do this because I was too right handed. Gary's reply was that my left hand was just as good as my right but I just didn't know it and to go home and practice....he was correct.

After a week, or sometimes two, it would begin to feel natural. This same thing carried over when he introduced singing a quarter note. By then I knew that, with practice , I could do it and sure enough I did. Along with all of this, I was becoming a much better reader and much more comfortable singing backup at a gig.

Gary encouraged you to keep practice at home and to stay in your comfort zone at a gig. You let the things you learned become part of your playing by osmosis. So when you are grinding out these exercises just be aware that it will take root in your playing.
Yes. I wanted to comment on the post about needing to be a proficient drum set reader.

not really. You’d get there :).
 

tempobob

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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
Gary had a tough teacher. He had some stories about that. Lol
 

tempobob

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Here’s some other great advice I took to heart from him, although it’s tough-
“ When you record yourself, listen to what you did good also.”
 

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