Trading Fours With Yourself – Ulysses Owens, Jr.

I’m Ulysses Owens with Two Minute Jazz. Trading fours with yourself as a drummer: you can play time for four bars, then you trade, meaning you solo for four bars. You put that together, that is trading fours. Playing time for four bars. Trading for four bars. 

The cool thing about trading fours with yourself is that you really learn how, in a real situation of being on the bandstand, how to trade fours with other instrumentalists. Be it a pianist, be it a vocalist that’s scatting, be it a horn player. But the goal is to understand the phrasing. Now one of the things that we have to make sure is that we understand that we have an internal clock, right? So we all have an internal metronome. Then when you feel that internal pulse, you gotta also simultaneously be able to count bars while feeling that pulse. So you gotta make all that happen while also figuring out how to be creative. So I’m soloing over time, I know how to play time. You put the two together. You learn how to keep all this stuff going on internally. And that is trading fours while playing time with yourself. 

So, check out learning how to play some good time. Check out learning how to take some good solos. Put it together. Trade some fours. You can also try trading eights, you can try trading full choruses. And that’ll make sure that you’re a really great drummer with good time and you also understand how to play phrases and trade fours and eights.


Check out Ulysses's popular drum course "Finding Your Beat".
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