All in all, not a bad beginner strategy. I have the Groove Essentials posters behind my kit in my practice space for working on and there's plenty of great ideas and beats in there. If you are planning on playing with other musicians (which it sounds like you are), I think a good idea is to set your collective sights on songs that you can pick up easily as a group that are at or slightly above your current playing ability.I'm trying to figure out how a drummer thinks and what is important. My plan so far is to devour the Igoe Grooves and start learning stadium rock songs note for note. I also have a snare book on rudiments and want to mix them in to my set playing. I figure that once I have about 10-20 covers and most of the grooves under my belt, I should be able to jam with others in my style (blues, rock, pop).
It depends on the band, the drummer's experience, and what the object of the band is. If you are in a pickup blues jam at a bar, you are not going to get every note like it is on the record. In that situation, you're expected to get the band through the song as musically as possible. If you are playing in a tribute band, you'd better have every song as close as you can to the recorded version. Every other situation is somewhere in between those two extremes. As far as what prep time you get, that is on you as a band. Some bands have meetings where they pick songs, and then they get the songs form whereever and learn them first individually and then as a group. Sometimes members will bring a CD or iPod to a practice and play a song for the other members and then they learn as a group, or he may have a chart he passes out.When playing covers with a band, are you as a drummer expected to be able to pick up the original beat from a quick listen, or are drummers given time to woodshed and learn the song note for note before practice?
It depends who comes up with the "riff" that starts the songwriting. If the bass player or the guitarist or whoever comes up with it, the drummer should write a drum part around that riff; if you have a beat in your head, play it for the guys and see what they put around it. As you get more advanced and find out what the "rules" and conventions of your style are, you can start to "break" them in interesting ways. For example, rock and pop styles usually put the snare backbeat on 2 and 4. In one famous case, Ginger Baker put the snare on 1 and 3 on Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love".For original music how do you decide what kind of groove a song needs? When you hear the progression, do you try out different grooves and variations before settling on something? Is this guided by your "inner ear" (ie, you hear the beat in your head and then figure out how to play it?)
Once you have written a song with a specific groove, or learned a cover, it is in your best interest to keep that groove as consistent as you can between performances. For a rhythm section, it's about the same as consistently playing a song in the same key on guitar. Sure you could do it differently every performance, but it would be awkward to play it a way you're not rehearsed in doing. Also, think of why we call it a "groove". That implies some real close cooperation and interplay between the bass and the drums - which can be more difficult if you don't play it the same way twice.Does the bass player rely on you to play the groove the same way for each performance, or do you have some leeway to make changes over time?
Every drummer's individual method for remembering what to play is different. I am blessed with a pretty good memory and can actually recall what the song sounds like on record for the most part. I estimate I have about four or five hundred songs socked away up there, and another four or five hundred I could refresh my memory on with a quick listen. Some drummers have charts they refer to for certain gigs. Some work like dogs to learn and retain songs. It is the same memory that allows you to remember chords on guitar or lyrics if you sing; and if you use charts and cheat sheets on those instruments you may end up doing the same on drums. Some drummers learn a few basic grooves and apply them to all the songs they play, simply varying the tempo. While this approach sounds very limiting, think of the drum parts to most of the Rolling Stones' hits over the years. Charlie Watts hasn't done very much in terms of variation between most of the Stones songs you can likely name, but then, that's what their music calls for, and ten bajillion fans can't all be wrong.For a given song, do you make a mental note of the groove that was used? Or do you do it by feel/intuitive memory? (It seems like a drummer needs to have some way to tag and memorize his different techniques, like a guitar player might memorize chords and progressions.)... Do drummers have a catalog of grooves and variations that they choose from when playing, or is it mostly done by feel?
Thanks, great answers! I am going to keep working through the Igoe grooves, but I'm at the point where I am going to start picking some easy songs to learn and get myself accustomed to playing a whole set without any big mistakes or needing to take a break.Have fun and best of luck.
There is a lot less fine motor control involved in sticking than there is with guitar picking and fingering chords. I think the actual movements will be much easier to learn and do correctly, consistently, from the start. It is, however, one of those "minute to learn, lifetime to master" skills.Thanks, great answers! I am going to keep working through the Igoe grooves, but I'm at the point where I am going to start picking some easy songs to learn and get myself accustomed to playing a whole set without any big mistakes or needing to take a break.
Also, I think I need to work on my rythym and overall stick control. In guitar playing you sit with a metronome and work on alternate picking and sweep arpeggios for hours on end, and there is a certain subtle "logic" that builds into your fingers over long hours of practice and pays dividends in everything you play. Am I correct to assume that rudiments practiced on snare or a pad is going to be similar to (say) alternate picking (mechanics) exercises?
The more I work through the Igoe grooves, I see that it can be the basis for advanced study across styles. This isn't the kind of dvd a beginner will finish in a few weeks. I am going to focus on Pop Rock styles and learning covers before pushing into more advanced stuff. I also think I will look into gettng a teacher but cost and location are a factor. I also want to be reasonably coordinated so when I show up to a lesson I can do the things he is showing me.