Rat a Tat
by Frank Jacobson

Rat–A–Tat #7


Gene Krupa Says...

Okay! I've been caught. I have a confession to make to all of you readers. I have a secret I've been hiding for years. It's time I came out. I am a closet bando. Yup! You read it here first. I play in a concert band. I have more to confess. I also played in my high school's concert band while I marched drum and bugle corps. In college I played in the concert band and jazz band! Wait! There's even more! When I was with the Chicago Fire Department, I played in their marching band (the Police Department had a drum and bugle corps).

Oh the humanity! Should I hang my head in shame? Should I be bounced to equipment manager? Should I be banished to the pit? I think not! Especially after I see a solo mellophone player getting a free ride to college for playing bassoon! (A long story, but I got some great bassoon jokes!)

There has been much written both for and against us bandos. But I received something from the vice-president of the Boeing Employees Concert Band that may make you feel different about us bandos. It is something entitled "Advice for Drummers". It was written by one of the two greatest drummers of all time...Gene Krupa. (The other was Buddy Rich.)

Sidebar here...It's been written that Gene and Buddy had an interesting relationship. If Gene was doing a gig and Buddy was in the audience, Buddy would tell his friends that Gene was the greatest drummer in the world. If Buddy was doing a gig and Gene was in the audience, Gene would tell his friends that Buddy was the best drummer in the world. Back to the topic...

Well, Gene posted this "Advice for Drummers" that probably holds true for all drummers, bandos and corps. Lets look at Gene's list.

  1. Assure yourself that you have a good sense of rhythm and a beat, or all the practice and study in the world won't help you.
  2. Get a fairly good set (particularly a good snare drum) to start.
  3. Take enough lessons to get those rudiments cold.
  4. Keep listening to records (?) and watching other drummers.
  5. Pay particular attention to your roll and your high-hat technique as these are used in most dance drumming.
  6. Watch your dynamics - you must be able to go from soft to loud and vice versa, easily.
  7. Work for taste - a good drummer pushes the band and plays behind soloists.
  8. Concentrate on keeping tempo with a good beat first. Forget solos until you have technique and ideas enough to play a good one.
  9. Practice constantly when and wherever you get a chance.

Much of the advice that Gene has makes good sense not only for bandos, but also for corps members. Luckily, I was in drum corps and learned to play rudiments before I played in any bands. I had two great instructors, one being a multi-year rudimental champion named Mitch Markovitch. Rudiments were our blood and the Percussive Arts Society's (PAS) basic 26 were stressed at every practice. Now there are more rudiments on the PAS web page, and every once in a while, I pull out the downloadable sheets and pick a new one to practice. I would suggest that every drummer, from beginner to I&E champion review the rudiments on the NARD website: http://www.pas.org/

Rudimentally yours,
A closet bando



Other Rat a Tat columns:

| Rat a Tat #1 (07/03/00) | Rat a Tat #2 (08/06/00) | Rat a Tat #3 (09/12/00) | Rat a Tat #4 (03/01/01) |
| Rat a Tat #5 (07/25/01) | Rat a Tat #6 (10/25/01) | Rat a Tat #7 (02/05/02) |

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