Easy Arrangement With Busy Drum Part

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by John Dewhirst, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. John Dewhirst

    John Dewhirst New Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I'm a new director of a new brass band in North Toronto, Canada. We are starting with easy arrangements but my drummer complains he has nothing to do.

    Could anyone please recommend any easier brass band arrangements that have an interesting part for the drummer?

    Thanking you for your attention,

  2. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Hi John
    I don't honestly think you'll find anything if you're talking about "Kit Drumming".
    As a writer/arranger of easier music for Brass Band I am guilty of ignoring the drummer - mainly because my experience of
    Community Bands is that they either don't have a drummer (at least a regular one) or if they have one they are not good readers.
    Brass Band drum parts tend to be either:-
    1. Very simply written leaving the player to "interpret"
    2. Very complicated - which means they are often unplayable by many drummers.
    3. Badly and inappropriately written (especially older music).
    4. Non-existent.
    In the above I am ignoring the few people who are capable of writing parts which are thoughtfully and carefully written.
    My own tend to fall into category 1. because I have found that this works well for my own level of band.

    I would suggest that you encourage your drummer to adapt his parts and interpret as he (and you) feel fit.
    Alternatively perhaps he can start to look into tuned percussion/timpani - maybe this would widen his horizons (assuming he hasn't already done this).

    I am sure that others will contradict me on all of the above but I thought I'd get the ball rolling.
    Good luck with the new band
    Andy Norman
    Slider1 likes this.
  3. blue juice

    blue juice Member

    Your best bet is often jazz or swing music arrangements where the parts aren't necessarily written difficultly but there's a lot more scope to 'jazz it up' with more complicated rhythms and fills.

    Or you could start picking pieces as a drum feature. Cute by Neil Hefti arr. Philip Sparke would be one.
  4. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Hi John,

    This is a light, fun tune that is pretty easy for the brass (not related to the film in any way) that gives the drummer a bit of license!

    Barry D - Brassed Off !!! Barry Percusion Feature/brass Band

    I used this once for exactly this reason - community band with talented kit drummer who needed a work out! You can repeat the coda a couple of times and keep Animal extra busy.

    Good luck!
  5. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Hi John
    It would be interesting to know if you've found any of the feedback useful.
    Also it would be good to know what the standard of the rest of the band is like - you say you are playing "easy" arrangements, how easy do you mean ?
    Is this an adult/junior or mixed band ?
    Give us a bit more to work with and maybe you'll get some more useful posts.
    All the best
  6. In respect of anything with a Jazz or swing feeling or indeed other more contemporary rhythmic styles it's often the case that if the Band drummer needs to have a closely written part, he will probably never get the right feeling anyway. It's all part of a good drummers skills to be able to freely interpret a drum part where appropriate. This approach contributes greatly to the more "improvised" feel of certain types of light music. What I tend to do is read the part as written, decide whether it's rubbish or not, and then interpret as required.

    The opposite is often true with the rest of the Band though. No matter how Brass band arrangers try to notate jazz or swing , it always sounds like a bloody march!

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