How to Use Drum Rudiments
Learning your rudiments are all well and good, but how does this help you on a drum set? For one, it gets your chops up to fighting strength. A 4/4 rock beat is like going back to preschool once you’ve mastered rudimental patterns. They also help you with limb independence, since you have to train your hands to work together in varying combinations at high speeds.
Finally, and this is the one you have to work at, they give you incredible tools for writing beats and playing solos. If you’ve got 20 rudiments under your belt, you have 20 weapons ready to unleash. By splitting up your hands across drums and adding in creative accents, you can play complex and funky beats with just these rudiments. Some rudiments, like the paradiddlediddle and six stroke roll, initiate with the same hand when played in succession. Others, like the paraddidle, flam tap, and flam accents, initiate with alternating hands. You can use the latter set of rudiments to switch hand dominance in the middle of successive “same hand” rudiments. For example, jam on some right-hand paradiddlediddles across the drums and use a single paradiddle to switch to left hand paradiddlediddles. Once you can move smoothly through rudiments strung together, you can play some seriously blistering beats. Add in tasteful rests and funky kick drum and you’ve got yourself a drum solo.
5:51 pm • 4 February 2012 • 1 note
Joining A Band
I’d recommend joining a band as soon as you have some basic skills. You’ll probably get involved with other beginning musicians, and the songs might not be that great, but learning how that dynamic works will be crucial for your musical career later on. Just make sure your individual practice time doesn’t suffer.
I’ve found all of my jobs, houses, and bands on craigslist (no girlfriends yet, haha). Often bands in your area will post about a drummer slot they need to fill. Respond with your interest, experience, and links to you playing and wait for a response. Try to get involved with existing projects rather than guitarists wanting to jam, unless you’re an absolute beginner and just want to feel out what it’s like to write parts and play with someone else. If you do get involved with a new band, try to find one with existing songs or a vision for their sound rather than a group of friends who want to jam out. Always try to “trade up” and play with musicians who are better than you. This will be motivating and you’ll be in a great band.
Friends and Contacts
Once you start playing around, you’ll meet other musicians. Nurture these relationships by going to their shows and being generally affable. This will turn into offers to share bills, general support, and potentially hookups with bands that are looking for a drummer. In the music industry in general, personal relationships are as crucial as good songs and skills.
Start Your Own!
As a drummer, it’s a bit more challenging to start your own band than, say, a guitarist, but it’s still possible. Reach out to other musicians with an idea for a band (clear sound, approach, and ideas for instrumentation). It’s worth it to learn piano or guitar as well and try your hand at writing songs. There’s nothing quite like writing a song with your mediocre guitar and vocals and having a pro guitar player and singer turn it into something beautiful.
You’ll probably be asked to audition before an existing band brings you onboard. An audition is stressful for any kind of performative art. Do your homework by playing along to their songs (ask for mp3s/links), and just be confident that you’re as well-prepared as you can be. Try to relax and do your thing. Don’t try to showboat, don’t act like hot shit, and just be generally nice to get along with. They’re picking a new business partner/family member, so low-maintenance and responsibility is as important as chops. If you don’t get the gig, it could be because you didn’t click personally, they found a virtuoso musician to fill the spot, or maybe you just have different musical styles. Just make sure you’ve prepped as much as possible and let it go if they don’t ask you back. The worst thing is not getting it because you were ill-prepared. And if you are well-prepared, know that there’s nothing you could have done differently. Just keep practicing and looking for more bands.
If you’ve got the skills to pay the bills and want to get involved in a serious project with serious career potential, you may have to move. Metropolitan centers have a wealth of musical talent, and you’re more likely to find a motivated and talented band there. Of course there are pockets of musicians in many smaller cities, but New York, San Francisco, Portland, and LA all have hundreds of good bands and thousands of…ok ones.
12:37 pm • 16 December 2011 • 2 notes
Learn to Play Drums Online: Technique II
This is a continuation of an earlier post about drumming technique.
USE A LOOSE GRIP
The death grip, while popular, lives up to its name by killing your speed and your sound. The stick bounces back from the head every time your strike it, and you need to learn to work with that rebound. If you don’t let the stick breathe, you’re working against the instrument instead of with it.
DON’T USE FINGERS
Take this advice with a grain of salt, as your fingers do have a role in drumming technique. But it’s a supporting role, not a lead. Your fingers should generally remain in contact with the stick the entire time, and your wrists do most of the work. Your forearm muscles are much, much stronger than your little hand muscles, so you’ll be able to play faster, longer, and avoid injury by letting your fingers support the stick instead of completely control its movement.
KEEP IDLE STICKS JUST ABOVE THE DRUM HEAD
The beginner’s tendency is to focus on the stick that’s actively playing a note and disregarding the idle one. Keep the stick you’re not actively using to make a stroke hovering just above the drum head. Don’t let it fly away. This way, when you’re ready to use it again, it’s starting from a neutral, and expected position. All you need to to is raise it and bring it down again, rather than find out where it is and guess how much force you need to bring it down again.
LET THE DOWNSTROKE TURN INTO THE UPSTROKE
Your body brings the stick down to the head, the head depresses, and when it tightens up again, it pushes the stick back up. Learn how to feel this rebound and turn it into your upstroke for the next beat. With tighter heads especially, like on marching drums, this will do much of the upstroke work for you. remember during the stroke that you have two external forces working for you: gravity on the way down and rebound on the way up. As you practice, learn to feel these forces and work with them naturally.
USE YOUR WRIST
I said it in the previous post about technique, but it’s worth repeating, because it’s the single most important concept for beginners to grasp. The motion of the drumstick comes from your wrist. Not your arms, not your fingers, but your wrist. It’s the part of your body most suited for the control, speed, and durability you need to play well.
1:41 pm • 17 November 2011 • 18 notes