In April 2016 Andy began to write his book “The Power of Practice: Discipline, Creative and Progressive Techniques for The Dedicated jazz Drummer”. The entire process took eighteen months of non-stop work. It’s an epic book spanning over two hundred and seventy five pages amounting to a staggering 3392 exercises, or as referred to in the book – “Phrases”.
The book’s design is immaculate. The quality of the finish is something that Andy was extremely meticulous about. The cover was designed by Arron Sturrock an ex student of Andy’s. Andy became aware of Arron’s brilliant artistic skills and attention to detail via online platforms where Arron would often post snippets of his works. And when the time came to address the issue of a front cover design, Arron was first person Andy asked to help.
The Power of Practice is a comprehensive study of jazz drumming. It comprises of over three thousand musical phrases and spans across 283 pages. Its rationale is discipline, creativity and progressive practice techniques – getting the most out of every basic phrase in order to discover ones own sound/ voice. This takes time, lots of time, and as Andy puts it, “be honest, be thorough as there is no rush”.
The book illustrates every possible combination of the eighth note triplet derived from the seven different ways of playing the three notes (that make a triplet) within a quarter note. These are performed on the snare as “comping” phrases while maintaining a traditional swing ride pattern. The learner is quickly encouraged to re-orchestrate these phrases across the drum set, thus creating/ developing their own voice. The book also addresses breathing, posture, mind-set and concentration.
“The book is he hardest thing I’ve ever done. It takes time, patience, discipline, and focus. You have to sacrifice the things you want to practice for the things you know you should practice! The nitty gritty. The grind. The stuff that makes you shit hot. And more to the point, the stuff that makes you sound different to anyone else! You can’t guarantee success but you can work hard towards it”
Andy Sturges, 2020