The Drums – Two Limb Combinations

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,783
    Expert drummer Wes Crawford demonstrates two limb combinations on the drum set.

    Wes Crawford

    Wes 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, 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.

    Wes Crawford: Hi! I am Wes Crawford and now that we know how to use all our limbs separately, we are going to do combinations.

    People watch drums that players perform and they go, wow, how does each limb have its own brain and they can do all these things at the same time. Well, what we are really doing is we are teaching independence of the limbs through achieving interdependence, and what our brains do wonderfully is take separate actions and combine them into single entities. They dont think about what each limb is doing separately and then sort of keep track of what all is going on at the same time.

    The brains are not too good at that, the brains are great at taking different actions and binding them into single entities and so as long as we know this, we can achieve muscle memory with actions through correct repetition of these actions and muscle memory means the brain has done exactly what I said. Its seeing this action and this coordination of different muscles so many times together and learns it as a single entity and you dont have to consciously think of it anymore.

    So, as long as you use these rules of biology then we can progress most quickly. So, this is how you should think of using your limbs on the drum set.

    So, lets go through this set of exercises and well basically cover all the possibilities of limb combinations. Keep doing each one over-and-over until you are comfortable with it and then go to the next one. I am just going to run through them all right now, but you might have to pause so that you can keep practicing each one.

    First, lets just do our hands together and we are going to play everything so that you can hear most easily, right-hand on right symbol, left-hand on it snare drum, right foot on base drum and left foot on the foot high hat. So, right-hand and left-hand together, pretty easy.

    And again we want a perfect blended sound not two sounds happening, almost together, we want them exactly together.

    The next thing, our feet, and you can hear this right foot and left foot together.

    So far these are pretty natural, lets try the right side of our body together as the right-hand and the base drum.

    Youll use that combination a whole lot. Lets try the left side of the body together in pairs again, all these have been pairs.

    So, the snare drum and the foot high hat.

    Now, lets cross limbs, lets do right-hand and left foot.

    How about left-hand and right foot?

    All of these little tit bits of coordination can be combined to create all kinds of interesting drum set beats and fills and lines.