Improving consistency

brentcn

Platinum Member
Any thoughts on how you improved your consistency? Is it an area you focused on at some stage or was it just a by-product of other things you were practising?
Teaching lessons where I was going over fundamentals and technique with young students. It forced me to re-evaluate my own technique, and to go through the motions much more slowly, because I was demonstrating, that I would have otherwise.

Working through Bill Bachman's DVD and Rudimental Logic book helped a ton. I use that material in lessons all the time. I think it helped me so much because I never did drum line or any other group drumming activity as a kid, so I never really had someone to really critique my technique.

Playing about 300 gigs over 5 years, live to a click, really helped too.

So it wasn't one thing, but all three of these things coming together.
 

BillBachman

Gold Member
I believe the key to consistency is repetition, perfect repetition & a lot of it. Don't practice something until you get it right, practice it until you can't get it wrong. That way your worst day will still be pretty darn good.

A famous Russian gymnastics coach said, "Under pressure you don't rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training." Make that training great & you'll be just fine.

In the Did speed come easily for any of you? thread Skulmoski replied:
Yes; consistency No!
That's something I'd like to improve. Now that I have my kit set up at home all the time my consistency practice is repetition of grooves, fills and transitions. I'm improving, but it's slow.

Any thoughts on how you improved your consistency? Is it an area you focused on at some stage or was it just a by-product of other things you were practising?
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Video taping and recording your self is the best way to actually hear how you sound...

I'll jam out and think i sound amazing, when I listen back It can be an eye opener to hear your time, screwups, consistency.

Metronome is number one, and learn to play slow... As a metal guy for years I hid my sloppy time under blazing fast speeds and having a metronome help me at 220 to 240 bpm... playing 70 BPM with some space? wow... haha.

I have put a ton of time into this lately and it has made a big difference. a gap click helps too if you want to know how your rushing or dragging.
 

Gene B

Junior Member
I am learning a lot reading these posts.
I just got back into playing after a long absence. I have listened to recordings and can see where I am not consistent on my kick drum grooves.

I'm going to start using a click track and continue the recordings to see the "Truth" vs. what I think I did!!

Thanks for all the ideas!
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Thanks for those exercises, cp! Kinda scary but it sounds like a good way to improve independence.


i think that grooves should sound good at any speed. I find that I swing things more as I slow them down otherwise they will sound mechanical. so maybe thats the trick. I like to play grooves through lots of different tempos. You could argue that they become different grooves as they speed up and slow down because of the way that subdividing works but they are essentially the same groove with subtle differences.
I agree with that, although Steve Gadd would be inspiring and expressive at tempos where I'd go stiff and mechanical.

Tempo necessarily changes mood, hence all the Latin terms. The same beat says something completely different at different tempos.

A lot of people don't seem to much relate to slow tempos on drums - they're sold on the energetic and pushy side. When I was young I considered the slow numbers in the set something to endure (to keep the singer and guitarist happy) until the fun songs came up.

But I've YouTubed lots of jazz in the last couple of years and I'm seeing how drumming can be beautiful in much the same way guitars and keys can be and I want a piece of it. I think making beautiful sounds comes more naturally to guitars, keys, horns etc. With drums, it's there, but it's less obvious. As a general impression it seems that drummers tend to attack their instruments harder than other players, certainly when they first start.

I've really warmed to more relaxed moods - slow and light. I love the tone of lightly tapped drums and cymbals where there's enough space to clearly hear the resonance. I think, for most people, our musical tastes become more mellow with time.
 

cp84

Senior Member
i think that grooves should sound good at any speed. I find that I swing things more as I slow them down otherwise they will sound mechanical. so maybe thats the trick. I like to play grooves through lots of different tempos. You could argue that they become different grooves as they speed up and slow down because of the way that subdividing works but they are essentially the same groove with subtle differences.
 

cp84

Senior Member
to be honest i do it mostly with a single exercise. its a jazz exercise.

you play this (H = snare hand and F = bass drum foot) and jazz ride and jazz hi hat with other hand and foot:

HHFFHH FFHHFF
HFFHHF FHHFFH
FFHHFF HHFFHH
FHHFFH HFFHHF

you're basically modulating doubles between hand and foot but over a triplet subdivision so that its a polyrythm that resolves in a single bar of 12/8 (i think its 3/2) ?

you then remove a single subdivision each cycle so that it modulates forward by a single subdivision each time.

its very hard to do evenly. i do it at 40 bpm for 10 minutes or so (click at 20) and then move up to 60 for a bit, then 80, then 100 then 120 (sometimes i'll jump forward quicker if im feeling impatient).

but i've also done 40 bpm with straight funk beats. i tend to swing it a lot more as the tempos diminish because i think it sounds much nicer.

another thing i might do is keep the click at 20 and play in 40 and then jump to 80 or 160 (double and then double again) with the click still at 20 and see if i can hit the clicks on time. its a very good exercise for developing your time. I'm not very good at this yet but its a good thing to practise I think. try different time phrasing but keep the click slow. there's loads of things that you can do with a metronome to develop your time and big gaps make you work harder!
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
You're not far off Pol :)

I think sometimes its good to take something slow and repetitive and boring and try and really get inside it and make it interesting. I think its a mental thing. Take something routine but get so immersed in it that you just get lost in the act of doing it. It becomes meditative.
Haha - not far off, you say? Sir, you flatter me.

I wouldn't mind trying a bit of this tomorrow. Are you slowing down regular beats or grooves that are supposed to be played slowly?

I sometimes get caught on this. Popular wisdom has it that certain grooves sound best within certain tempo ranges, but the idealistic part of me believes that every groove can sound great at any tempo if the drummer is in control enough to juggle the tones and internal dynamics in just the right way (ie. not me haha ... yet).
 

cp84

Senior Member
You're not far off Pol :)

I think sometimes its good to take something slow and repetitve and boring and try and really get inside it and make it interesting. I think its a mental thing. Take something routine but get so immersed in it that you just get lost in the act of doing it. It becomes meditative.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
its 20bpm but you're feeling it in 40.

you get into it after a while. its meditative. you just have to slip into the right state of mind.

maybe i am a bit crazy :)
Of course you are :) Not sure I feel anything at 40 ... maybe uncomfortably numb.

Funny thing, I'm imagining you there with your low hands, keeping super quiet, tickling away on the kit at 20 bpm ... and meanwhile some young guy up the road is slamming his double kicks at 100 dB while trying get things even at 200 bpm.

Both are super-challenging exercises but I know which one the neighbours would prefer ...
 

cp84

Senior Member
its 20bpm but you're feeling it in 40.

you get into it after a while. its meditative. you just have to slip into the right state of mind.

maybe i am a bit crazy :)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Try bumping it back to 60 (or even 50 or 40!), and try that out. It might be really grueling--difficult (perhaps more difficult in some ways than at 120) and boring--but concentrated practice at these tempos will eventually make playing things at performance tempo more fun and relaxed. You can approach it like a Zen meditative thing, to hone your concentration. :)

Kaufman's slow motioon exercises are designed to be practiced at quarter note = 54, I think.
Yep Eddie, I started at 120 because it's easy. I intend scaling back gradually in the same way as people scale up gradually. I'm not kidding to say that playing the beat at 60 or 30 is simply too hard for me at this stage. I need to work down to it. The only use I have for speed these days is headroom. I need more space in my music these days which is why I'm getting more interested in consistency because I'm so much more exposed than in the days when my dodgy bits were largely masked by loud guitars. Ah, them's were the days :)

I had a few lessons with a then-friend (a fine drummer) a few years ago and he got me to slow one of my pet beats way down. It broke down entirely. I'd trained my hands to do this one beat at around one tempo, but I didn't actually know what I was doing. Huge reality check.

For a while I tried doing Larryace's quarters-at-40 exercise, which is both brutal and helpful. You need the patience of Job (or Larry).

Edit: cp84 ... 20bpm. Are you insane? :) Chinese water torture!
 

Busy b

Member
"Slow motion exercises" - sounds great! I've started with 120, which is close the actual tempo of the song. I was always going to wind back the nome before cranking it because there's a couple of fills I play to that rhythm where I tend to speed up a tad and I obviously want it them to be cleaner.
Try setting a metronome to 30 BPM or its lowest tempo and hear it as the first beat of every bar of 4/4. So you'll actually be playing at 120 BPM if it is set at 30 BPM. Having a lot of space between the clicks will force you to feel and count subdivisions mentally.
 

cp84

Senior Member
if you want to get even deeper then play at 40 but set the metronome to 20. that will teach you to play accurately within the gaps. i try and do 10 - 15 mins of this in my practise sessions.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
"Slow motion exercises" - sounds great! I've started with 120, which is close the actual tempo of the song. I was always going to wind back the nome before cranking it because there's a couple of fills I play to that rhythm where I tend to speed up a tad and I obviously want it them to be cleaner.

As a self taught player I have an uneven skillset with plenty of gaps (most of which I have no intention of filling) so I find that on the rare occasions where take a "pick and stick" and practice instead of play, it not only improves that particular rhythm, it also helps tidy up related areas of my skillset that were a bit half-baked in unexpected ways.

It should be so easy but I've tended to have a hard time committing to actual practice as opposed to playing songs and fudging the difficult parts. Should be saving it for jams and gigs ...
Try bumping it back to 60 (or even 50 or 40!), and try that out. It might be really grueling--difficult (perhaps more difficult in some ways than at 120) and boring--but concentrated practice at these tempos will eventually make playing things at performance tempo more fun and relaxed. You can approach it like a Zen meditative thing, to hone your concentration. :)

Kaufman's slow motioon exercises are designed to be practiced at quarter note = 54, I think.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
One thing I would add to all the excellent comments so far is not to move too quickly in trying to speed up a groove you've been working on, even if it feels like you've nailed it at a slower tempo. Try sitting on it at a really slow tempo for a long time--really concentrate on making it grooving and consistent. I've been trying to be more patient about this in my practice over the last year or two, and it seems to be yielding positive results. Robert Kaufman has some excellent exercises in his book The Art of Drumming called "Slow Motion Exercises" that address this idea.
"Slow motion exercises" - sounds great! I've started with 120, which is close the actual tempo of the song. I was always going to wind back the nome before cranking it because there's a couple of fills I play to that rhythm where I tend to speed up a tad and I obviously want it them to be cleaner.

As a self taught player I have an uneven skillset with plenty of gaps (most of which I have no intention of filling) so I find that on the rare occasions where take a "pick and stick" and practice instead of play, it not only improves that particular rhythm, it also helps tidy up related areas of my skillset that were a bit half-baked in unexpected ways.

It should be so easy but I've tended to have a hard time committing to actual practice as opposed to playing songs and fudging the difficult parts. Should be saving it for jams and gigs ...
 

Busy b

Member
Robert Kaufman has some excellent exercises in his book The Art of Drumming called "Slow Motion Exercises" that address this idea.
That's a great exercise. Really helps develop your concentration and swing.

I was recently recruited to play for a rock band and they (although never mentioned) prefer every part to be played the same way. Play the same guitar solos, same bass lines etc.. I am not that type of drummer/musician and this sort of thing drives me crazy, but it is somewhat of a challenge to play the same parts every single time. Think of pit drummers for Broadway musicals. Those gigs take a very consistent drummer.
 

eddypierce

Senior Member
I think that's it too. Was loving just working on one groove to the met for almost an hour tonight. I'm feeling a bit freed by playing at lower volumes. If I think the neighbours can hear me I get paranoid about repetition, as though I'm inflicting water torture on the neighbours.

I want to practice more but not to be nerdy about it, if that makes any sense. I do enough nerdy blah and want the emotional side - just drum simply and clearly and groove with a bit of colour ... and to do it easily so I can tease the accents and tones to fit or goose things up without turning into Speedy Gonzales - consistently.




You can if you want it enough. It's all about repetition :)
One thing I would add to all the excellent comments so far is not to move too quickly in trying to speed up a groove you've been working on, even if it feels like you've nailed it at a slower tempo. Try sitting on it at a really slow tempo for a long time--really concentrate on making it grooving and consistent. I've been trying to be more patient about this in my practice over the last year or two, and it seems to be yielding positive results. Robert Kaufman has some excellent exercises in his book The Art of Drumming called "Slow Motion Exercises" that address this idea.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Personally, I'm with the big "D". For me, repetition promotes familiarity, which promotes consistency. The more I do something, the more confident I am with it and the better I become at the task.
I think that's it too. Was loving just working on one groove to the met for almost an hour tonight. I'm feeling a bit freed by playing at lower volumes. If I think the neighbours can hear me I get paranoid about repetition, as though I'm inflicting water torture on the neighbours.

I want to practice more but not to be nerdy about it, if that makes any sense. I do enough nerdy blah and want the emotional side - just drum simply and clearly and groove with a bit of colour ... and to do it easily so I can tease the accents and tones to fit or goose things up without turning into Speedy Gonzales - consistently.


Wish I was mulling!!
You can if you want it enough. It's all about repetition :)
 
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