Gridbook Nation get hyped! We are excited to introduce our newest Gridbook Etude "Look At You Go" by Phil Andrews! This etude is so unique. Phil has an eclectic background and it shows in his writing. We are humbled to add Phil to our Grid Book Etude Artist Roster and can't wait to see your videos playing this awesome musical excerpt!
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by: Phil Andrews
So my writing is most directly influenced by my background as a rope drummer; I grew up playing in fife and drum corps, marching in my first parades around age 7. I was taught the art of rope drumming by the community’s very best, such as Dr. Jim Clark, Brendan Mason and Master Sergeant Mark Reilly. They are giants of the fife and drum community, and molded me in to the player I was before I ever marched DCI or WGI.
I marched 11 seasons of DCI and WGI at places such as Carolina Crown, Cadets Winter Percussion, and Rhythm X. 8 of those seasons were under the guidance of Dan Schack. Schack was one of the drummers I aspired to look like as a young kid, playing along to his lot videos. Little did I know, he’d be the first snare tech I ever had at 7th Regiment, and the rest is history.
Whenever I write, I make it a goal to perfectly meld together the ideas of my roots in rope drumming, with the technical prowess of modern day drumming. I derive a lot of my phrasing and expression from the nature of Swiss drumming, which I consider to be the most musical rendition of rudimental drumming there is. I believe that by combining the figures of old and new, I can take any listener and player on a journey that is unique.
About the title; I came across some Christmas footage from a couple years back on my phone. It’s the first video I have on my phone, and it’s a 4 second clip of baby Phil beating on a rope drum…really, really fast. And in the background, I can hear my aunt’s voice saying, “Look at you go!” There’s some significance here. Those are the last four words I’ll ever hear my aunt say. She passed very suddenly while I was teaching on tour, so that’s all I have left besides memories.
And the creative flow took over from there. I plug in old skills like quarter note flams and flam accents to keep a consistent drive to the etude, and new skills like eggbeaters and chutichuts. I find myself not only able to hear different levels of sound through the diversity of vocabulary, but I always find myself moving forward to a new place; every note has purpose and direction. I LOVE this etude, and you should too!
When practicing this, don’t be afraid of the metronome, and the complex figures. Tackle them head-on, first thing you do. This first 9-let figure in the beginning is called a Bottle Cap. It’s basically a Shirley Murphy, but instead of a pair of triple strokes, it’s a 2-4 instead. Break this down with a quarter note triplet check, fill in each partial separately, and piece it together.
The other tricky idea of mine is the modulating flamed mills, with the 3rd partial inflections. Play the triplet and the two 5lets together; that’s the whole idea. Find the odd checkpoints with the downbeats in the music to grow more comfortable with that, so that you can feel the pattern as well as understand its relationship to time. I went for a cascading type of sound here that slowly fades away with the volume, but it’s important that none of these doubles are dropped in towards the low end of the dynamic range.
The quarter note flams require patience. It’s a deceptive skill. Be very mindful as you place every grace note perfectly adjacent to its primary note.
I hope you enjoy this etude, and I hope you learn a lot with it and run with it!
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