One of the first things I remember my saxophone professor teaching me in college was that every musician needs to learn to play the drums. He said that Jazz was made up of three parts. In order of importance they are rhythm, melody, and harmony. Nobody cares how many notes you can play or how perfectly they fit over the chords if it doesn’t swing. I took his advice to heart and have now been playing the drums for probably about seventeen or eighteen years.

One of the most valuable things I’ve found about playing drums (from a singer/guitar player’s perspective) is the ability it has given me to play complex guitar parts while singing over them. Obviously one of the hardest things about playing drums is learning to have one part of your body do one thing and another part do another thing and another part do another thing and so on. This same discipline applies to singing and playing at the same time.

A few weeks ago I talked about the Purdie Shuffle. Since then I’ve been practicing it almost every day and I’m finally starting to get it. This is a beautiful beat and for someone who is not really a drummer it is much, much harder to play than it sounds. I still don’t have it swinging like it should but I’m at least in the ballpark. The next step is to get to the place where I can freely change up the kick pattern, but that’ll take a while.

Here is a short mp3 of me playing a simple version of the Purdie Shuffle.

Download the mp3 here.