Wes CrawfordWes began his professional music career after graduating with a B.S. in Psychology at Virginia Tech. Soon thereafter, he began performing drumset with the extraordinary Jazz/R&B singer Jane L. Powell, a musical association that lasted eleven years and continues as a managerial relationship. The group toured throughout North America and the Caribbean performing at festivals, universities, resorts, nightclubs, and cruise ships. They opened for such acts as Ray Charles, Melba Moore, Freddie Jackson, Lou Rawls, The Crusaders, Joan Jett, Ernie Watts, and Paula Poundstone, and occasionally performed alongside artists such as Tony Bennett, O.C. Smith, and Dorothy Moore. The 1,300 colleges and universities comprising the National Association for Campus Activities voted the group Entertainer of the Year in 1990, their highest honor, and Jazz Artist of the Year for 1990-1992. During these years of touring, Wes also recorded two albums with Ms. Powell as well as for several outside artists. Wes also conducted electronic percussion seminars at VA Tech and at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Gifted. In 1992, Wes settled with his family in the Washington, DC area as an independent artist on drumset and percussion where he currently performs and records with acts such as Shahin & Sepehr (Higher Octave/Narada world music recording artists), Cocktail Nuts (aka “C-NUTS”- Jazz versions of rock classics, on Wildchild/Mapleshade Records), mrudangam virtuoso Umayalpuram K. Shivaraman (including a clinic at PASIC 2000 and a featured performance at Baltimore Drum Day 2000), Squeeze Bayou (1998 winners of the “Best Non-Louisiana-Based Cajun Band Recording” awarded by the Cajun French Music Association), and Night Life (high-energy show band). Wes has also regularly performed and/or recorded with Aisha Kahlil (of Sweet Honey in the Rock), Eva Cassidy, Catalyst Events’ “Beatswork!,” Zydeco Crayz, Mary Ann Borelli, “Oh Susannah!”, Sugar Jones, and Armadillo recording artist Daryl Davis. His other noteworthy performances and recordings include those with the David Bach Consort (2nd place winner in the 1998 BET unsigned band video contest), Hennesy Jazz Search regional winner Jerry Gordon, and performances with Milestone recording artist Ron Holloway. Wes considers education to be an important link to the future of the percussive arts and teaches drumset privately and at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. He also performs in public school assemblies with Mosaic, which provided the musical instruction and curriculum for the 2000 Maryland Artist/Teacher Institute. Wes serves as the Director of the annual Drumset And Percussion Camp of the Goucher Summer Arts Institute and as Vice-President of the MD/DE chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2000, Wes started MusicAndGames4U.com, a site to feature his interactive educational media such as his popular “Drumset Play-Along DVD.” His latest “A Rhythmic Murder Mystery” interactive DVD features a solo electronic drumset concert, which he also performs live. Wes holds Associate Artist relationships with Maryland Drum Company and with Trueline Drumsticks, and he occasionally works as Music Consultant for the not-for-profit Sustainable Environments for Health + Shelter.
Hello, I am Wes Crawford, were now going to talk about some exercises that will get you going on your coordination and your evenness of stroke, your proper strokes, on the snare drum. All this will transfer to the drum set eventually, so dont lose patience even though were saying how to learn the drum set and were just starting on one drum. Do keep your patience with this. The one who has the most patience in drumming really comes out ahead. First, were going to talk about, now that we know how to hold the sticks and stroke and hit the drum, were going to start playing a game. Its the ten to one to ten game. The whole purpose of this is not to see if you can count the ten frontwards and backwards obviously, but to see if you can think of one more simple task and still continue to stroke properly, to hold the sticks properly, with your fulcrum intact, and to stroke straight up and down with your wrist. Were hitting in the center of the drum now and try to make both tips of the stick strike in a small circle in the center of the drum, so you can get the most similar sound between them. Okay, play the ten to one to ten game. You will hit ten times with the right hand, immediately followed by ten with the left. Then nine with the right, then nine with the left, eight with the right, eight with the left, all the way down to one, and then immediately from one, go back up to two with each hand, three with each hand, four with each hand, all the way back up to ten. So, you see you have to do just a little bit of thinking, and thats great because then you will really know if your stroke and your hand positions are in your muscle memory, and that theyre feeling very normal for you to do. So, thats really what you want to focus on, is your hand positions and your stroke as you do this counting game. I am going to demonstrate this, but rather than start at ten, I am going to start at five, and Im going to go five to one to five. Now, count out loud as I do this, you might not hear every word. 12345,12345,1234,1234,123,123,12,12,11,12,12,123,123,1234,1234,12345,12345.
As you notice, I played evenly. You probably want to do it slower than that, I was just doing a little faster so we could get through it and so you could understand it. After youre comfortable with that exercise, go to the exercise that every drummer on any kind of drum around the world practices, the single stroke roll.