Focused Coordination: Books 1 & 2: This method is to show the student a practical and logical, yet creative way to learn what is typical for the instrument and from there to develop their own voice within various groove structures. This is done by reinforcing within the student what I refer to in this book as Groove Foundations. The groove foundations are patterns that commonly occur that provide structure to a groove or help to establish a specific feel for the pattern. After establishing the foundations we can then focus building on top of these foundations by developing what I refer to in this book as Focused Coordination. The goal of this approach is to reinforce common groove structures in the student and from there to allow them to learn how to play freely and creatively within those structures. The method also teaches how to produce layered and interesting sounding groove patterns and phrases while maintaining the underlying foundation of a specific stylistic feel.
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Get to know Ben Johnston: I started playing drums at a very young age. My father Mike Johnston is a drummer as well, so he was my first instructor. He put me on the kit for the first time when I was 3 or 4 years old. We would work out of books, watch videos, and do play-a-longs until I was in my mid-teens. I started taking lessons at a local drum shop in my home town of Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a few years before moving to Minneapolis in 1999 to study percussion performance at McNally Smith College of Music.
I studied at McNally Smith College of Music with an amazing staff of talented musicians, e.g., David Stanoch, Gordy Knudtson, Dave Hanzel, Marv Dahlgren, Paul Stueber, Jess Wheeler, Mark Rio, and Mark O’Day. After I finished school I immediately started teaching drums privately. I am currently teaching through Schmitt Music five days a week and have been balancing 40-50 students there weekly. I also teach a few students out of my home studio in south Minneapolis.
Currently my main music project is a three piece melodic math rock band with vocals called Self-Evident. To date we have 6 full length albums and two EPs and most recently put out a record called “We Built a Fortress on Short Notice.” This album was released by two different record labels. On CD and Vinyl by Doubleplusgood Records here in the US and an extended version on CD through Stiff Slack. Self-Evident continues to actively tour. We toured in Japan to help support the Stiff Slack release and have toured the US extensively over the years and did a nine country European tour. If you want to learn more about self-evident go to www.self-evident.net. The other active band that I currently play with is psychedelic folk rock band called Lovely Dark and most recently released a record called “Into The Roil.” For more information on Lovely Dark go to www.lovelydark.com. Learn more on Ben’s website: benjohnstondrummer.com.