Playing Fast – Ulysses Owens, Jr.

Ulysses Owens, Jr. shows the techniques he uses when playing at a fast tempo.


Two-Minute Jazz with Ulysses Owen, Jr. We’re gonna talk about playing fast.

The key to playing fast is playing slow first. There’s nothing that I can play fast that I can’t first play slow. When you learn how to play slow, you learn the right placement, right? So you get on the ride symbol, you consistently play in the same position, you learn how to feather, the hi-hat on two and four.

But there is a little secret that many don’t talk about that helps you to play fast. That’s something called breathing. When I play fast at a fast tempo, I’m always breathing, and the more that I breathe, the more that I can stay relaxed while playing fast.

Another thing is using your hands and your wrists and keeping the mobility in those hands and wrists depends on very much on being able to breathe, okay? So, I’ll start slow and then play faster and faster, but watch my breathing change.

And the key thing about breathing is that you have to breathe more often the faster you play. The other thing is you have to play more simple. When you play fast, you have to focus on what is the rhythm I’m gonna play on the ride symbol, how am I gonna accompany that with the hi-hat and the bass drum, and you get tighter and you get more simpler, and you just relax the body, and that way you can play fast.

Playin’ fast, but you can play fast if you learn how to play slow.


Want to see more drum lessons?

Check out full length lessons from courses by Ulysses Owens, Jr., Gregory Hutchinson, and more from Open Studio.
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