Joe Morello – Master Studies
Oct 07 2015
The idea is that you use Master Studies as a workbook to to get your hands and the sticks working as one. Coming from such a great player, you’d expect this book to really test you and make you improve. Let’s see if it does…
Master Studies has been layed out with 7 sections – Accent studies, Buzz roll studies, Stroke combination studies, Control studies, Fill-in studies, Ostinato studies, and Flam studies. Once you’ve gotten through that, there is the Buzz roll studies section that again uses 8th notes and triplets with buzz strokes on different beats combined with accents on other notes as well.
A pretty interesting area is the Stroke combination studies section where you go from playing single to double strokes, single to double to buzz strokes and so on. There are also 5, 7, and 9 stroke roll exercises too. It all gets mixed up for a challenging workout.
If you’re having trouble going from one sticking pattern to another, the Control studies section gives some good exercises to help you. As well as that, there are exercises to improve your subdivisions of time, endurance, velocity, and dynamics.
The last part of this section is the Stone “Killer”, which is a tough exercise given to Joe by his teacher – George Lawrence Stone. The idea is to work each hand individually (LLLLLLLL then RRRRRRRR) then together whilst getting faster, adding accents, and playing each hand for longer and longer. It’s hard work, but you’ll reap the benefits. A real Killer.
Towards the end of Master Studies are the Fill-in and Ostinato studies sections which both offer a range of exercises to increase your capability and confidence. The Ostinato section is good and gives you patterns to play with one hand, while developing total freedom with the other hand at the same time.
Last of all is the Flam studies section that adds flams and accents in to the mix as well as different sticking patterns. Like the rest of the book it gives a good workout and expands the list of cool stuff you can make the sticks do.
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