An Old Post And A New Corresponding Site: The Bozzio Independence Method And Much More At

This post existed in the long, long ago version of this website (roughly June, 2001). With javascript-in-wordpress now figured out to my satisfaction (starting page HERE), I've reposted this drum exercise for official linking at, a website started by Roy SeGuine that included several excellent exchanges between Roy and myself and, I'm pleased to report, does a far more thorough job than this little page below does at explaining the procedure (and dig that Classic Gold Sparkle Gretsch kit on the readme page).

This is the method presented by Terry Bozzio in many of his clinics. Once you can play all 15 measures above against ANY rhythm possible from repeated combinations of the above measures (so-called "ostinatos"), then you've played every sixteenth note-based subdivision possible. There are, of course, actually 16 measures, the first being the one with nothing played (the easiest to master for most rhythms). The importance of this null case will be important in later sections. Note that the above is for sixteenth notes in 1/4. The game is played differently for 1/4 with triplets, quintuplets, etc. The mechanism is the same, however. If you feel inclined, the other possible combinations are easy to write down using the Pascal Triangle to keep track.

How to use…

Here's an easy coordination exercise sure to frustrate. Pick 3 limbs (or 4, if you want to use your voice as another instrument). Assign each of those limbs to a particular measure in the above list. Get that rhythm playing so you have some idea of what it will sound like and to try to internalize it for the next step. Finally, with the unselected limb, play through all 15 measures above (or 16, though you'll have played the null case to death getting the feel for the rhythm). Don't try to play through the exercise until you've internalized where the notes of every measure fall in the rhythm you're holding steady with the other limbs. That's the point of an ostinato. The rhythm over which you solo should be fixed and unwavering and something playable in your sleep. Soloing is secondary to locking down the groove.

Once you've played through all 15 (err… 16) measures, either make the "soloing" limb a fixed limb and solo with something else (a killer exercise for getting your hi-hat foot conditioned, for instance) or select another set of measures to hold constant and play the same 15 (err… 16) measures over that new rhythm.

A note to the ambitious: You've 16 measures to pick from and 3 (or 4) limbs to make rhythms out of. Therefore, the possible number of rhythms you can generate from the above are, including the null case, (16) x (16) x (16), or 4096. A lot of rhythms to try. Throw in a fifth soloing limb (your voice, for instance), and the number of possible "fixed" combinations to play against goes up to (4096) x (16), or 65536. Granted, some of these are quarter notes and the like and are easy to play, but many are completely uncharted (so to speak).

If you don't feel like thinking up the combinations yourself, here's a little script to get you started.






Fuse Box Description and Amperage Settings For "New" Volkswagen Beetles

The Volkswagen New Beetle.  You can get a full-sized drum set into these things (although a 24" kick's going to require a padded case), a fact I learned after I bought the car in 2002, as my old Pearl Prestige Session drums had, at the time, been stolen by an antiquities-dealing crack addict who was part of a police sting operation to catch a drug lord on Syracuse's West Side.  One of my better band stories and proof that people on drugs are not in their right state of mind.  Also handy for transporting computer clusters across state lines.

The old Nanorex cluster and my Al Foster-phase Pearl Prestige Session kit.  Click on either for a larger image.

Just so no one else has to spend as much time looking around for this information as I did to figure out a problem with my Blinker/Hazard Relay, I provide the fuse box diagram below (for google and beyond).  Click on the image for a larger view.

If you lost this card, print and shove into the glove box.  You will eventually find it handy.