Being Creative

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I got used to playing other peoples music. You know, just regular rock songs that you hear on the classic rock stations, etc. The old original bands I was in had pretty simple songs with simple beats and a few chops here and there. Even my own songs have very simple drums to them. Nothing fancy really, just solid steady beats.

I've always felt pretty good about my skills, knowing that I have a lot to learn, but now I'm in this jam band where they play songs for 15 or 20 minutes. While those guys play around the same 3 chords the whole time, I have to set the canvas for the music during the whole time and there are places within the songs where I just don't know where to go with the beat. It's all improv for me. They've been playing this stuff for years, but all this stuff is pretty fresh to me.

I'm not feeling so good about my skills anymore. I've put myself in a drumming position that challenges my abilities and its limits every time I play. I can go anywhere with these beats and there are endless possibilities, but the goal is to lay down something tasteful, move in another direction here and there, then come back to it. I've been used to playing 3 or 4 minute songs, but this is the biggest challenge of a band I've ever been involved with. I just don't think I want to go back to doing that typical "brown-eyed girl" cover band crap ever again.

Just some random thoughts...have a nice day!
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I jam with a guy like this. I just play to amuse myself, as he does and it's good fun. Ive tried to get him into odd time signatures but it seems were stuck with experimenting in common time sigs. It sounds shallow but sometimes you can feel there's only so much you can do on the drums, and that drives me to just stuff around, its actually helped me develop by learning to think outside the box. Play a stupid jungle beat, displace the snare and kick, change hi hat/ride patterns. Play motifs, use all limbs in unison, break out the double kick, just play every style you know and make up your own. You're a musician and you have the right to express yourself and initiate ideas. See what you can get away with and if you get a bad vibe you could ask about the last guy they were playing with and what he did.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Hi Bon, how's things?

Improvisations is not an easy one if you never played in such context with some previous bands, I agree.

What type of music you guys are playing? is it still rock based music? prog rock? jazzy? undescriptible?

In a playing situation, try not to think too much, just let yourself go loose, listen and interact with the music, find a "pulse" within the other band mates, with an emphasis on the bass player, the more you're doing it, the easier it will get, trust your instinct, you know your stuff, you just need to apply it in a different manner than usual, don't be afraid to experiment new things, it's like a discussion with the other musicians, but with instruments.

In a practice situation, take look at this advice from Benny Greb on improvisation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XI2aHSBTnU, his approach is very good, try it yourself, simple stuff first, then more complicated patterns fills and so on, the difficulty being to reproduce what you've just said with the drums, it's a brilliant exercise and it's helpful in a band context, where you can apply it to the other instruments, you can reproduce the bass player's line in your head, even if he's moved on, and you can interact with it and still be totally within the feel and the mood of the piece, all this while knowing what you want to say yourself, easily said on a forum, a bit harder in real life, I know, but that's the gesture, do not worry too much about it, it's a new thing, a new phase, in a few weeks you'll think nothing of it.

Have fun :)
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
I'm not particularly experienced or full of chops, but I can get by -- and actually really enjoy -- 10-plus minute jams by varying the groove a little, switching from say 1/8th notes to 1/4s, changing the intensity using dynamics and raising it with the few fills/chops I'm any good at.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
I jam with a guy like this. I just play to amuse myself, as he does and it's good fun. Ive tried to get him into odd time signatures but it seems were stuck with experimenting in common time sigs. It sounds shallow but sometimes you can feel there's only so much you can do on the drums, and that drives me to just stuff around, its actually helped me develop by learning to think outside the box. Play a stupid jungle beat, displace the snare and kick, change hi hat/ride patterns. Play motifs, use all limbs in unison, break out the double kick, just play every style you know and make up your own. You're a musician and you have the right to express yourself and initiate ideas. See what you can get away with and if you get a bad vibe you could ask about the last guy they were playing with and what he did.
Yeah, what he said.

I’ve done lots of those totally improvised jams, and sometimes the concepts just spew out of me, and sometimes I bore myself and run out of ideas.

But usually in that sort of situation you can play anything you want, and as long as the tune keeps cruising along, the other players won’t object, partly because they’re doing the same thing!

Go into half time.
Go into double time.
Ride the toms.
Phrase 3s over their 4s.
Play really quietly.
Set up a counterpoint to the bass player.
Play exactly with the bass player.
Get the band to trade 4s with you.
And on and on and on.
 

Mukund

Senior Member
Check out Benny Greb's language of drumming dvd and Todd Sucherman's methods and mechanics dvd.I am sure these dvds will boost up your creativity.
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Don't get to down...its like any other skill...will improve with practice.

I find that if I stop the instant that I am not liking what i am playing(when practicing...not with other musicians, obviously : ) and try again immediatly, I dont create patterns that are stale...its harder to do than it seems...as we always want to finish the phrase.

Plays havock with my time development, though...always stopping in the middle of a phrase...
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
The key to playing creative is to relax.

Or that's what I've come notice in myself.
Yes, I did try to relax more tonight and just let the beat carry itself where it needed to go. It comes out better when I'm more relaxed.

sometimes you can feel there's only so much you can do on the drums, and that drives me to just stuff around, its actually helped me develop by learning to think outside the box.
Yeah, sometimes it feels this way so I get funky with the beats and ghost notes. There's actually a lot that can be done with a simple 4/4 beats, but I like 3/4 just as much. Thinking outside the box is key. Using spaces, accenting guitar parts with toms, accents and crashes, yes and the jungle beats too.

Hi Bon, how's things?

Improvisations is not an easy one if you never played in such context with some previous bands, I agree.

What type of music you guys are playing? is it still rock based music? prog rock? jazzy? undescriptible?

In a playing situation, try not to think too much, just let yourself go loose, listen and interact with the music, find a "pulse" within the other band mates, with an emphasis on the bass player, the more you're doing it, the easier it will get, trust your instinct, you know your stuff, you just need to apply it in a different manner than usual, don't be afraid to experiment new things, it's like a discussion with the other musicians, but with instruments.

In a practice situation, take look at this advice from Benny Greb on improvisation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XI2aHSBTnU, his approach is very good, try it yourself, simple stuff first, then more complicated patterns fills and so on, the difficulty being to reproduce what you've just said with the drums, it's a brilliant exercise and it's helpful in a band context, where you can apply it to the other instruments, you can reproduce the bass player's line in your head, even if he's moved on, and you can interact with it and still be totally within the feel and the mood of the piece, all this while knowing what you want to say yourself, easily said on a forum, a bit harder in real life, I know, but that's the gesture, do not worry too much about it, it's a new thing, a new phase, in a few weeks you'll think nothing of it.

Have fun :)
Hey Henri, ya I got to check out this Benny Grieb's stuff. The type of music is "all of the above. Not so much straight 4/4 stuff but more of a Grateful Dead, Steely Dan vibe mixed in with some some Allman Brothers and complimented with a funk jazz reggae groove. I'm locking in the bass drum with the bass player as much as I can, and I understand what your saying about reproducing guitar and bass phrase with the drums. The guitarist actually wants me to do more of this.

I'm not particularly experienced or full of chops, but I can get by -- and actually really enjoy -- 10-plus minute jams by varying the groove a little, switching from say 1/8th notes to 1/4s, changing the intensity using dynamics and raising it with the few fills/chops I'm any good at.
Yeah, it's really a lot of fun when you get into it. I haven't enjoyed playing this much since when I was a teenager.

But usually in that sort of situation you can play anything you want, and as long as the tune keeps cruising along, the other players won’t object, partly because they’re doing the same thing!

Go into half time.
Go into double time.
Ride the toms.
Phrase 3s over their 4s.
Play really quietly.
Set up a counterpoint to the bass player.
Play exactly with the bass player.
Get the band to trade 4s with you.
And on and on and on.
I read your comments at lunchtime on my phone and used a few of these ideas tonight. I just keep the song cruising, got on the toms a lot more, cut the time in half and did some really slow quiet stuff, even used the spaces effectively and creatively. Thanks for the tips.

Check out Benny Greb's language of drumming dvd and Todd Sucherman's methods and mechanics dvd.I am sure these dvds will boost up your creativity.
Yep. Sounds like Benny is the man to see on this subject. Maybe Todd's dvd next time, I can't afford too much stuff.

Don't get to down...its like any other skill...will improve with practice.

I find that if I stop the instant that I am not liking what i am playing(when practicing...not with other musicians, obviously : ) and try again immediatly, I dont create patterns that are stale...its harder to do than it seems...as we always want to finish the phrase.

Plays havock with my time development, though...always stopping in the middle of a phrase...
Oh, I'm not getting too down on myself. And it has been improving a little drumming-wise.Yeah it sucks getting stuck in a stale pattern. If I'm looking bored back there, believe me, it's contagious. They really feed off the drummer's energy more than we even realize. Tonight I kept it lively. I think this thread helped.
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
Go into half time.
Go into double time.
Ride the toms.
Phrase 3s over their 4s.
Play really quietly.
Set up a counterpoint to the bass player.
Play exactly with the bass player.
Get the band to trade 4s with you.
And on and on and on.
Agreed....doing things like that, especially in a long jam form, is really good because you can work those as repetitive practice patterns and really allow yourself to discover how each rhythm and treatment effects the music. AND you can do it in longer chunks than you could in a normal-length song form.
If I get really bored, I like to play a game...I try to think of a tune and imagine what it would sound like if ______ were playing it, and try to do beats and fills they'd do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. That's what makes it a game. Plus, it opens up possibilities I might now have otherwise thought about.
 
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