The colour of the beat

Welcome to column 3 and I hope it is warm where you are at. In the mountains of BC today it is beautiful indeed.
First off let’s look at drum placement. A vast majority of drummers either sit too high or too far away or just not in the right position to effectively play their drum set. In fact, they are positioned at such an angle that it actually inhibits their chops and playing ability. Basically where someone is comfortable while playing is an individual preference — to a point. Ideally you would want to place the drums to where you are sitting just below the snare drum. alt
The trick is to position the drums to enable as little movement as possible to strike each drum. At the same time you want to  be at the height to where you can pull the sound out of the drum, not hit down into the drum. In other words do not position yourself so high that it is impossible to strike the drum correctly to get good tone quality. When you are positioned lower you also will have your legs so that you can bounce them freely on the pedals. You can use heel to toe techniques easier and without resistance in the muscles because they are not fighting leverage to execute movement. Once you are sitting properly you can then place toms and cymbals at the correct angle so you can hit the drum in the middle, use rim shots and hit the sides and bells of cymbals freely. If the toms and cymbals are placed awkwardly you are losing valuable sound areas and sacrificing good tone.
Concept #3 — The colour of drum beats
Now I would like to discuss the theory that music is a musical canvas to be painted by the drum set. I believe most will agree that music is a distinct set of variables of time and space. I mention this because with drums you can use colours to paint the musical canvas.
Each drum and cymbal has a different colour associated with it. These colours might be different for every player. It is really a interpretation by the musician that allows this concept to come to reality. Every sound has a mood to it. Every mood has a colour associated with it.
So acting under this concept you can play a dark ballad by hitting a dark cymbal and getting a black colour or sound from it.
Happy tunes usually sound better with light cymbals and a snare drum beat. Light sounds to you might be a white or lavender colour. Hopefully you get what I am saying here. Interpret your drums as colours, then interpret what colour the particular song you are performing. Then use your drums and the colours you have associated with them to paint the canvas of the song you are playing. Interpret the colour elements as needed to perform the song with mood instead of just playing the technical notes and beats that work with the song.
Lesson #3— playing rock
The third lesson is going to center around playing the basic rock beat. Now this might sound like what a dumb lesson. I hear it all of the time. I can play a rock beat. Maybe you can but can you play the basic rock beat at the slowest metronome setting you can get. Start by playing quarter notes on any cymbal with the bass drum on the 1 and the snare on the 3. Ii have noticed by talking to several drummers they have never done this. This would be the same as a sax player who had never taken hours and played a C note as long as they could just to work on their tone quality. It is a basic fundamental. This is the same concept. As a drummer, you are a time keeper so you should be able to keep perfect time at any tempo. The best way to practice this and get tight is to play the standard rock beat over and over at many different metronome speeds but concentrating on the slower tempos. When you are doing this alternate between 1/4, 1/8 and 16th notes on the cymbal. Once you have this down you will be amazed at how much improved your overall playing is and how well others like to play with you.
Until next time have a good one.

— Stanley Jackson, special to L.A. Beat