Let me get this out first....the Rosanna shuffle is a BEAST! Undoubtedly one of the coolest sounding beats though. I am not a big fan of shuffles, as anyone who has played with me will tell you, but this half time shuffle sounds cool and I cannot imagine what Rosanna would have sounded like without it.
What is a half-time shuffle you ask? A half time groove is one that expands one measure over the course of two. To learn more check out this page.
What it takes to learn a specific groove like this is not an easy task but by taking the time to learn it you might learn a lot of other things along the way.
During my first week I realized the triplet shuffle, that Porcaro was doing with the right hand, seemed like way too many notes to be inserted into such a compressed space. With each hand moving at breakneck speed, at least that is my visual of it, and his effortlessness at playing and making the groove sound smooth would be a challenge for some of us, especially me. :-)
My Personal Experience with the Rosanna Shuffle this Week
My instructor suggested this coming week I practice the highhat groove and connect with the accented snare on the 3rd beat of the measure only. No ghostnotes. No kick. Just understand and develop the feel of the shuffle. The goal is that eventually muscle memory will kick in and will make it easier when I start inserting all the other parts. What I noticed after a couple of days was that my wrist was finding a way of teaching itself how to relax so that I could play longer and faster. The sticks were showing me how to hold them properly to get the speed and the relaxed wrist. I was experiencing a light bulb over the head moment. :-)
I spent a bit of time practising part 3 of the chart and again I found myself loading up the song to play along to. I had slowed it down quite a bit and thought I was doing great until I discovered I wan't connecting with the accented snare hits. I reduced the speed a lot more and was able to match the beats up.
With week three coming up, and my very slow progress, I am suspect there will be many more weeks ahead of practising. There is the possibility that I will not get the Rosanna Shuffle down any time soon but my thinking is if I take the time to practice challenging things I might just become a better drummer. A certain quote comes to mind 'The Only Time You Are Actually Growing is When You're Uncomfortable". If you love what you are doing eventually you will get there.
Facing challenges is a way to push ourselves and see what we are capable of.
This shuffle is my challenge! I'm just saying! :-)
This BLOG is dedicated to the late, great drummer Jeff Porcaro. Jeff was a session drumming master who played with the group TOTO. His early death in 1992 shocked us all and left us with his recordings from 1972 to his 1992.