Having trouble playing musically with other people, pleease help!

Kaiser

Member
Making constant eye contact with your bandmates is really important, the feedback you can get just from this alone is a huge help in my experience.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
More brainpower should be used for listening and adjusting yourself than playing the drums.

Polly you're WAY too kind.
Probably :)

But seriously, I think you hit the nail on the head - for me, anyway. It's one thing to practice your brains out to get passages right but another to have your head in the right space to play it. I'm ADHD so I have a very free-range brain - it goes everywhere at any time - so the "mental game" is a big deal for me. If my head isn't right I can't execute things that I can normally play in my sleep. If I'm tuned in I can play things that surprise myself.

Some people really poo-poo the significance of this stuff but I've seen top tennis players serve multiple double faults, frame balls out of the entire court area, hit their pet forehands into the bottom of the net, etc - things that they would never do in a million years while relaxed and just hitting up. Is it through lack of practice or lessons or talent? No, it's because their heads weren't in the right place.

That's why when you talk about deliberately being blasé or not putting your head in the way it strikes a chord with me (Amaj7?). Even relatively green players can express themselves eloquently on an instrument if they just let themselves play instead of overlaying the 400 things they think they want to play over the top of their natural musical conversation.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Lots of good advice has been given already. I'll just add that most of us were probably in the same boat at one time or another, when we had doubts about our ability. I'll never forget the first time I recorded my playing and then listened to it. Boy, was that a rude awakening. But you just push on, keep at it, and you just keep getting better. In the meantime, here's a humorous look at this situation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taB3U0b9zdA
 

cathartic_j

Senior Member
When im playing with friends in my practice space I noticed I wasnt really meshing with them as far as phrasing and changes go...
To me, that's all I need to hear to believe that you'll improve enormously. The fact that you were listening not just to yourself, but to how your contributions meshed with the rest of the groups', is critical; it seems like a vast majority of the time, drumming that "doesn't mesh" can be chalked up to the drummer's inability or unwillingness to actually listen to someone else in the group. Sometimes it can take some time to find a good way to contribute, but the fact that you're paying attention to what works for the ensemble as a whole means that you'll eventually find it; you won't be one of those people obliviously smashing over everyone else's playing.

As for immediate steps you can take, I'm going to offer a dissenting opinion, and suggest that you don't ditch playing with recordings entirely. However, what you might want to do is try to find some acoustic albums you like, preferably without a drummer, and play along with those. This has a couple benefits. First, acoustic playing is often "toned-down" a bit, so it should encourage you to keep it simple and focus on the musicality of your playing, rather than your chops. Second, it gives you the freedom to come up with your own part, so that you can practice finding the right groove for a song. But it allows you to do those things without the pressure of having other people in the room!

That said, I definitely agree with a lot of what's already been posted. Continuing to gain experience playing live with others is, obviously, extremely valuable. And when you're doing so, communication is huge -- listening, eye contact, and simply talking about what you've just played. Don't be afraid to ask the others in your group for feedback; they may not know how to precisely articulate drumming concepts, but if you can even vaguely translate what they're saying, you can use it as a starting point for trying something completely different.
 

stickyskin

Junior Member
Great post J, thanks for the positive feedbck. Ive been looking for some acoustic albums that I think would be good, do you suggest any off the top of your head, all genres welcome. :) thanks.
 
W

wy yung

Guest
Everything takes practice, walking talking had to be practiced in the beginning. Imagine how many falls are involved in a baby's learning to walk. Nothing comes right away. So I think just be realistic and be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself.

You have the right idea and you want to improve. Therefore I feel you will improve. Loads of good advice here. Talk to the other players as suggested and ask what they require. Usually it is just a simple solid base for them to work on. Many inexperienced drummers often over compensate by over playing, thinking it sounds impressive. It does not. Often what happens is it unsettles everybody and people cannot relax. So keep the chops at bay. Play to make the musicians around you sound good. They will appreciate it and call you back. That is how I've conducted my career these last 28 years. It's a simple method. I play for them, they call me back and pass on my name. I took a break from live playing for a while to teach. I then took one gig. Since then I get offers everyday. Just by being unselfish.

Good luck.
 

Mahi

Junior Member
Your ears have to be sharpened. When I was in your situation I more or less felt the same way. I thought I was really great, and I rocked it all out of my cds. Looking back, I just didn't really hear what I was doing at all, I only heard in my head how it should have sounded, and how I wanted it to be. Also, the music in my ears was too loud compared to the very dampened drums, which added to my illusion of being absolutely tight and grooving.
Noticing the smallest nuances in time and groove is one of the difficult things in playing drums, or music in general. When you go and record your home sessions, dont' be frustrated!! I mean maybe you will, but bear in mind that probably every single drummer (who sounds good) had and has to go this or a similar way, depending on how good his ears are from the beginning, and how he practiced in his first few years.
+1

It's not a long time ago I was in the same situation as the original poster and my mistake was that the music in my headphones was way too loud to let me hear and interpret the stuff I was actually doing. I still think it's good practice to play along to other songs (especially if you want to learn the feeling of a odd time beat) but I make sure that the music is low enough so I can hear every stroke that I make !clearly!.

Yeah, as one already said; keep it simple. Get a simple beat going and ask the other players to be patient. Once you get the feeling of the song you'll have the courage to build up around the beat...

Keep the positive thoughts but it pays off to be hard on yourself sometimes. It's easy to crank up the volume again and slip into the comforting dreamworld of being the best drummer in the world :-D.

Edit: I wish I had this thread 6 months ago :)
 

Mahi

Junior Member
Your ears have to be sharpened. When I was in your situation I more or less felt the same way. I thought I was really great, and I rocked it all out of my cds. Looking back, I just didn't really hear what I was doing at all, I only heard in my head how it should have sounded, and how I wanted it to be. Also, the music in my ears was too loud compared to the very dampened drums, which added to my illusion of being absolutely tight and grooving.
Noticing the smallest nuances in time and groove is one of the difficult things in playing drums, or music in general. When you go and record your home sessions, dont' be frustrated!! I mean maybe you will, but bear in mind that probably every single drummer (who sounds good) had and has to go this or a similar way, depending on how good his ears are from the beginning, and how he practiced in his first few years.
+1

It's not a long time ago I was in the same situation as the original poster and my mistake was that the music in my headphones was way too loud to let me hear and interpret the stuff I was actually doing. I still think it's good practice to play along to other songs (especially if you want to learn the feeling of a odd time beat) but I make sure that the music is low enough so I can hear every stroke that I make !clearly!.

Yeah, as one already said; keep it simple. Get a simple beat going and ask the other players to be patient. Once you get the feeling of the song you'll have the courage to build up around the beat...

Keep the positive thoughts but it pays off to be hard on yourself sometimes. It's easy to crank up the volume again and slip into the comforting dreamworld of being the best drummer in the world :-D.
 
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