muddled up going around the kit.

palo

Senior Member
trying to improvise randomly around the kit I get muddled up when a new idea comes to my mind.How do you change seamlessly from one idea to the other,how do you learn those transitions, do they have to be carefully rehearsed ? is there such thing a s random improvisation or do you solo always with phrases you know...if thats the case,so much for improvisation...
 

Diet Kirk

Silver Member
Some of the 'greats' have said that they improvise their solos and some say they have no choice but to learn them note for note.

Its all about that muscle memory of various stickings though, so that when an idea pops into your mind when you start to execute it your muscle memory kicks in without too much conscious thought. Where you (ie all of us) trip up is when we go to execute something that we hear in our head but our limbs havn't quite worked out yet.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
If you get ideas while you are practicing I would stop and take the time to work them out note for note. It's always good to add new licks to your bag.

In terms of free improvising. I find it extremely helpful to pick a rhythm and sticking and just play it non-stop, very slowly for awhile. For example, play triplets right-left-kick. Start really slow, say 60 bpm, and ONLY play those triplets with that sticking while moving around the kit. Don't play anything else; no rests, no rolls, no flams, no other rhythms. You'll be amazed that it's actually pretty hard to contain yourself. This will heighten your sense of control, while helping you develop new ideas at the kit, as well as creating a smooth flow around the drums. Do this for as long as you can. I usually try to go 10 minutes straight. Then try a new sticking and/or rhythm, and as you get more comfortable you can bring up the tempo.

I'm actually putting together a post on this for my blog with lots of different combinations. I'll send you the link once it's done.

Good luck! Let me know if that helps.
 

palo

Senior Member
If you get ideas while you are practicing I would stop and take the time to work them out note for note. It's always good to add new licks to your bag.

In terms of free improvising. I find it extremely helpful to pick a rhythm and sticking and just play it non-stop, very slowly for awhile. For example, play triplets right-left-kick. Start really slow, say 60 bpm, and ONLY play those triplets with that sticking while moving around the kit. Don't play anything else; no rests, no rolls, no flams, no other rhythms. You'll be amazed that it's actually pretty hard to contain yourself. This will heighten your sense of control, while helping you develop new ideas at the kit, as well as creating a smooth flow around the drums. Do this for as long as you can. I usually try to go 10 minutes straight. Then try a new sticking and/or rhythm, and as you get more comfortable you can bring up the tempo.

I'm actually putting together a post on this for my blog with lots of different combinations. I'll send you the link once it's done.

Good luck! Let me know if that helps.
looking forward to that link,thanks!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I get most of my "ideas" from stuff I've heard elsewhere. I listen to a lot of music when I'm not playing it. I listen closely for stuff like context and song form, then listen to how the artist chooses his fills, solos, beats...

So when I'm playing I listen for similar situations and then modify the ideas I get from music to suit my situation.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
I see it as very similar to an MC freestyling in a street corner cypher

you bridge together your spontaneous improvised thoughts with a few "go to " patterns that are so ingrained in your system that you can think about something you want to say after it without thinking about what you are saying that second

the true great improvisors tend to think like sax players or piano players

improvising off melodies always gives you a little crutch if you need it ... no matter what style you are playing ... and they will always come out tasteful and musical
this comes with lots of practice ... and you don't need to be behind your drums to do so

scat ideas while walking down the street ... get them flowing... some people are just more creative than others .... but it can be a learned skill as well

now having the facilities to express those ideas through your limbs is a whole different story

if you cannot translate your ideas via your limbs ..... you may need to simplify your ideas

listen to your favorite players and cop ideas ... and listen to the great musical solo players of our young instrument

listening and scatting will do as much for this development as actually playing you ideas
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
if you cannot translate your ideas via your limbs ..... you may need to simplify your ideas
This was by far the most frustrating part of my early drumming. I had all these fancy ideas and creativity, but my body literally couldn't pull a good many of them off. I had to take parts out of songs after I'd "written" them, because I just couldn't get it to work and stay in time.

Better that, though. Nobody wants to hear amazing ideas from a drummer who can't play them right. On the other hand, simple and solid is almost always appreciated.
 

cornelius

Silver Member
Hey palo - this is a great question! IMO the trick is to get more ''right-brain'' when you're getting into improvising.
The great drummer, Billy Ward has a concept he calls ''practice/playing'' check out his DVD "Voices in My Head" - he explains it really well and demonstrates the process. He describes it as walking on a tightrope when you're practicing, so when you're on a gig, you're used to that process of being lead by your creative side, not just hammering out licks and hoping they fit.

In a nutshell just sing a very simple melody - just a couple of notes and play it around the kit. Don't think about it at all - just sing the melody and dive right in. Try as many combos as you can think of around the kit, using the simple melody. It's really fun, and you'll end up with a vocabulary (and technique) that's all your own. As you're moving around the kit you might hit a wall, physically, so recall what you were doing, slow it down and work on it until you can play it smoothly.

I found that when I'm playing with other musicians - reacting instantaneously to what's going on around me has become much easier, just by walking that tightrope in my practice studio.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
I get most of my "ideas" from stuff I've heard elsewhere. I listen to a lot of music when I'm not playing it. I listen closely for stuff like context and song form, then listen to how the artist chooses his fills, solos, beats...

So when I'm playing I listen for similar situations and then modify the ideas I get from music to suit my situation.
This is good advice. Get ideas from elsewhere and learn them. Very rarely will it come out exactly the same. You'll instinctively change things to suit your own style.

I see it as very similar to an MC freestyling in a street corner cypher

you bridge together your spontaneous improvised thoughts with a few "go to " patterns that are so ingrained in your system that you can think about something you want to say after it without thinking about what you are saying that second
Also great advice, and a good way of wording it. Your "go to" patterns are the mortar that holds together the bricks of your improvising.

scat ideas while walking down the street ... get them flowing... some people are just more creative than others .... but it can be a learned skill as well
I would say, while scatting these ideas in your head picture them around the kit. You'd be surprised how much picturing something over and over in your head can be like practicing it.
 

palo

Senior Member
If you get ideas while you are practicing I would stop and take the time to work them out note for note. It's always good to add new licks to your bag.

In terms of free improvising. I find it extremely helpful to pick a rhythm and sticking and just play it non-stop, very slowly for awhile. For example, play triplets right-left-kick. Start really slow, say 60 bpm, and ONLY play those triplets with that sticking while moving around the kit. Don't play anything else; no rests, no rolls, no flams, no other rhythms. You'll be amazed that it's actually pretty hard to contain yourself. This will heighten your sense of control, while helping you develop new ideas at the kit, as well as creating a smooth flow around the drums. Do this for as long as you can. I usually try to go 10 minutes straight. Then try a new sticking and/or rhythm, and as you get more comfortable you can bring up the tempo.

I'm actually putting together a post on this for my blog with lots of different combinations. I'll send you the link once it's done.

Good luck! Let me know if that helps.
adamosmianski,you unleashed a monster! I could see the benefits of this exercise in just 2 practices,the sense of awareness,it's exactly what I was looking for...thanks mate
 
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