Letting go vs focusing

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I have to listen to everyone else...that's how I feel what to play. I get ideas based on what the others are playing. I can't imagine doing it any other way.
 

Ruok

Silver Member
If I don't focus and intentionally think about pushing the beat, I tend to unknowingly lag behind the beat too much. A couple of weeks ago I tried to "let go" and not intentionally push myself, which I normally have to do in order to not drag behind the beat. When I heard the recording, I was dragging all over the place. I would think that by now my listening abilities would be better and I could immediately sense when I start to drag, but I still do it. But, I know I'm not quite as bad as I was in years past.
 
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Bonzodownunder

Senior Member
It appears&seems to me that WHAT i asked is NOT what's being discussed in this thread! :(.It's more of analytical as opposed to WHAT to do &HOW to react when you've received a major set back NOT in playing terms or even in EMOTIONAL/MENTAL terms or technical "phrases"/terms as far as playing's concerned.BUT HOW&WHAT to do when your dream gig goes down the toilet/(turns to shit another phrase/term) &you're "attacked" as a person &your playing ability/techincal ability.Even though you KNOW that WHAT'S required for the song is ABSOLUTELY DEFINTELY POSTIVELY the RIGHT part to play&which WORKS for the song!.I.E.after more then 35+yrs of dealing with severe bullying/depression/negativity i FINALLY what appeared&seemed at the time "THE" /my dream "gig" a promised trip to Las Vegas recording contract gigging overseas(Germany Spain Uk &Japan).During my tenure/time with this "band" i NEVER EVER received praise or told HOW&WHAT to play!.As a matter of fact the singer said" well you're the drummer play what you think's the best" that's your job not mine".Well we went in to lay down /record 2 tracks now i was nervous being 1st EVER time in a studio&1st EVER recording experience.NOTHING was said both DURING&AFTER the sessions sent "cell "phone sms text message asking "are you happy with my playing on the song tracks? mixes?" NO ANSWER REPLY OR RESPONSE!.2-3 weeks later&received message saying not only WASN'T she happy BUT quiestioned both my playing "experience" &playing ability asking WHY didn't i play a kick drum during the recording session? &couldn't believe a drummer WOULDN'T play/use a kick drum during a recording session!.Was promised payment for failed session but as of writing payment's NOT forthcoming!.We're under-rehearsed! we hadn't even been rehearsing for a month BEFORE being hurried pressured&rushed into the studio!.Felt at the time depressed, devastated, gutted, humiliated, hurt, insulted, offended&upset!.she (singer) needs a early lesson in rockabilly as i played on the session EXACTLY&PRECISELY what i'd been playing in rehearsal (which btw she was "apparently&supposedly" happy with!).
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
It appears&seems to me that WHAT i asked is NOT what's being discussed in this thread!
Your question is not really related to the original question of this thread.

It sounds to me like what happened to you is more related to band chemistry, personalities and interpersonal communication issues rather than musical issues.

.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
I would suggest letting go regardless of mistakes. Mistakes are always going to happen. Listen to Neil Peart live, a player who is about as analytic as any player can be. You will see he makes just as many mistakes as the next guy.

Spirit, creativity, and musicality always flies higher to me than any technical or athletic ability someone shows on the kit. As long as you're not seriously disrupting the people you play with, then ignore your mistakes the best you can. How you do that is in your personality and nothing I can truly answer.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Great post Dale. There's no mistakes, just recoveries lol.

Mistakes...and the handling of them...are one of the most interesting things to see for me watching a band. All of a sudden, you get a real glimpse of the personalities of the people up there.

For instance, if player A makes a mistake and player C shoots the stink eye....that's revealing to me. If Player A makes a mistake and it throws him/her off because they dwelled on it...instead of not letting it affect them....that's revealing.

Just for the record, IMO anyone who shoots stink eye onstage should get fined.
I am the recipient of the "over the top guitar neck conducting" once in a while if I lag....and it shakes me. It does no good at all. I really do try to keep it even as I can but I'm human.

Sometimes I think guitar players don't get that YOU CAN'T ADJUST DRUMS like you can adjust a guitar. A guitar can easily adjust their tempo without it affecting the bus, but when the drummer adjusts the tempo....yea the bus is definitely affected. In other words if the drummer lags or rushes a passage...it's gone and can't be changed now. Why belabor the point? Not onstage. Bring it up afterward, that's fine. I feel it's a show of respect to accept a live drummers shortcomings and just roll with it. Too late to change it. My big rule is never chastise anyone on stage. So not pro. It's better from a crowd perspective POV to just roll with it and smile it off.

Rant not over lol.
 

drummer-russ

Gold Member
Here is Stewart Copeland's thoughts on this (Play outside your horse! Love it!):

You once talked about "playing outside your instrument." When did you come up with this idea, and can you speak about what it means to you?

"It came to me when I was playing polo – you 'play outside your horse.' If you're thinking about your horse and your equestrian skills, and things like proper riding and hitting the ball, let alone playing the game and putting your horse in the right place on the field…

"See, you shouldn't even be thinking about the horse. You have to be outside the horse. Your body and horse are one. You shouldn't be thinking about riding. You have to think, 'Here's the ball. I need to get it there. I need to stop that guy from getting to the ball. Uh-oh, there's a pass and that's where I gotta be.' When you do that, you're thinking outside your horse. You're playing the game.

"Put this to music: The mechanics of playing an instrument should be furthest from your mind. You've got to think outside your instrument, play outside your instrument. You've got to think about the music: 'What is the music? Where are the other players are? What's going on? Where's the groove?' - things like that. What drum you're hitting, what your technique is – that should be completely subliminal."
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I'll toss another angle into it. Instead of "letting go", what about taking over and owning it? Using the example of the player who intellectually plays all the right notes as written, and sounds mechanical and uninspired as a result. Someone might tell them to "let go", or "don't think so much".

Whereas, if the player puts their all into owning the notes, playing them as expressively as they can, while concentrating on each one to make sure they made the most of it, then you get a different result. It becomes musical.

I used to play with a bass player who was fixated on playing everything "right". But right to him meant not only the right note in the right sequence, but exactly in the right place for the groove of the song. He didn't separate the notation from the music. Getting it right meant doing all of it.

The other day at a rehearsal, talking about using lyric sheets or iPads, a singer said she didn't like to listen to the original recording of a song very many times. She was afraid it would pollute her interpretation of it. This is in a cover band that otherwise plays things pretty much right off the record. She's a great singer and can really make you feel it. But I realized that she didn't understand separating content from delivery. She needed to totally get the content (lyrics) down cold so that she then had bandwidth to put herself into the delivery. Not letting go and doing whatever she felt like at the moment as the rest of the band is playing the structure of the song. She needs to have the structure on auto-pilot so that she can work her phrasing and dynamics in a musical interpretation that is completely deliberate.
 
I used to think a lot about letting go vs. focusing.

Now, I like to think more along the lines of letting go from the past and the future, and focusing on the present moment.
 

dale w miller

Silver Member
Here is Stewart Copeland's thoughts on this (Play outside your horse! Love it!):

You once talked about "playing outside your instrument." When did you come up with this idea, and can you speak about what it means to you?

"It came to me when I was playing polo – you 'play outside your horse.' If you're thinking about your horse and your equestrian skills, and things like proper riding and hitting the ball, let alone playing the game and putting your horse in the right place on the field…

"See, you shouldn't even be thinking about the horse. You have to be outside the horse. Your body and horse are one. You shouldn't be thinking about riding. You have to think, 'Here's the ball. I need to get it there. I need to stop that guy from getting to the ball. Uh-oh, there's a pass and that's where I gotta be.' When you do that, you're thinking outside your horse. You're playing the game.

"Put this to music: The mechanics of playing an instrument should be furthest from your mind. You've got to think outside your instrument, play outside your instrument. You've got to think about the music: 'What is the music? Where are the other players are? What's going on? Where's the groove?' - things like that. What drum you're hitting, what your technique is – that should be completely subliminal."
Exactly. One of many reasons I love this guy.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I found that once I know the tune and have ironed the kinks and signals out with bandmates, I can let go...as can the rest of the band.

Learning to read and signal bandmates makes a huge difference. It takes a lot of pressure off.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
For the 1st time since being a member of this site/forum ,
I'm going to make this question which i desperately seek sn answer short sweet&to the point.When a artist/band/musician questions both your professional integrity playing expereince ,
& attacks you personally how do you "let go"& focus on whether or not you still WANT to be a drummer?.
Tell him/her/them to fuck off. Find other people to play with. And get back behind the kit.

Don't get me wrong...there were times when I questioned whether or not I wanted to keep drumming; I doubted whether or not I had the talent to play at the level I wanted.

It just came down to this: if I quit, I was 100% guaranteed to never get to that level. If I soldiered on, maybe I had a chance. So I kept with it. I'm still not where I want to be - I never will be, honestly - but I've learned that the pursuit is just as important as the end result.
 

John Lamb

Senior Member
I'll toss another angle into it. Instead of "letting go", what about taking over and owning it? Using the example of the player who intellectually plays all the right notes as written, and sounds mechanical and uninspired as a result. Someone might tell them to "let go", or "don't think so much".

Whereas, if the player puts their all into owning the notes, playing them as expressively as they can, while concentrating on each one to make sure they made the most of it, then you get a different result. It becomes musical.

I used to play with a bass player who was fixated on playing everything "right". But right to him meant not only the right note in the right sequence, but exactly in the right place for the groove of the song. He didn't separate the notation from the music. Getting it right meant doing all of it.

The other day at a rehearsal, talking about using lyric sheets or iPads, a singer said she didn't like to listen to the original recording of a song very many times. She was afraid it would pollute her interpretation of it. This is in a cover band that otherwise plays things pretty much right off the record. She's a great singer and can really make you feel it. But I realized that she didn't understand separating content from delivery. She needed to totally get the content (lyrics) down cold so that she then had bandwidth to put herself into the delivery. Not letting go and doing whatever she felt like at the moment as the rest of the band is playing the structure of the song. She needs to have the structure on auto-pilot so that she can work her phrasing and dynamics in a musical interpretation that is completely deliberate.
That is wonderful, obviously. Following the instructions (i.e. playing the notes on the page correctly) is not music making. If you include music making in your definition of "getting it right", then you are going to make music. IMHO this is ideal, in fact.

There are 2 problems I see with this though... the first one, and most appropriate to this thread, is that "being in your head" often prevents you from being able to sense the right feel. Many top performers demand that they get it right from themselves, and use this maxim as a reminder to not overthink in the first place, so they can find the right place in the groove.

The second problem is what happens if it's not "going right"? If you're not playing at the correct tempo, mistakes, etc how does he react? Some players get all hung up on perfection when the reality of the situation is never perfect. Its excellent to strive for perfection, but problematic to demand it.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
...BUT HOW&WHAT to do when your dream gig goes down the toilet/(turns to shit another phrase/term) &you're "attacked" as a person &your playing ability/techincal ability.Even though you KNOW that WHAT'S required for the song is ABSOLUTELY DEFINTELY POSTIVELY the RIGHT part to play&which WORKS for the song!....

.2-3 weeks later&received message saying not only WASN'T she happy BUT quiestioned both my playing "experience" &playing ability asking WHY didn't i play a kick drum during the recording session? ....
Tell him/her/them to fuck off. Find other people to play with. And get back behind the kit.
Sorry to come late to this party/knife fight, but I wanted to echo and amplify philrudd's concise and excellent advice.

Bonzo, as you well know, band members should be able to constructively criticise one another, and offer suggestions for improvement while the work is in progress. If that doesn't happen, it's no good whingeing about the end result. If you've been leaving out kick on 1 and 3 - and I don't know anything about rockabilly so I can't comment on that - with no question in rehearsal then bitching about it after recording is ridiculous.

Hope you are more cheered than you were when you wrote that.
 
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