Out of your comfort zone

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Bit of musing here but looking for some useful advice.

So I joined another band, and it's a pretty sweet deal from most angles but we've had a few practices and I'm finding it hard to make things feel good. It's more my own criticism, as the guys said my playing is fine but I find it really challenging to play to my own high standard with the tempo and feel most of the songs have.

To elaborate - I remember back when I used to play along to CD's, there were songs that I favoured playing because they were a certain tempo/feel and then there were songs that were just plain awkward because I wasn't really able to make them feel as good as the "comfortable tempo" songs. And when jamming and in my other bands I could somehow avoid, change or weasel my way out of playing things that I preferred not to... I had a choice then, but maybe it's time to pull up my socks, so to speak.

I'm not talking about speed beyond my chops (not that I don't run into that problem) but tempos that require less input, or just that bit fast that I can't play 8ths, or slow enough that I can't do something else I'm used to, or find some sort of consistent vice to ground myself with. I'm noticing that because I'm not comfortable I'm trying to compensate in various ways by maybe overplaying a little, hitting harder, changing the feel too often and perhaps not coming up with the ideal beats for the song.

I know that a good drummer will overcome this and "do their job"... to me, working towards this kind of thing, being deliberate, playing things that don't particularly inspire me feel a bit like work. Is it possible that I'm not as suited to playing this stuff or can this all be overcome with metronome practice and going back to the drawing board in terms of how I approach the songs?
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
every drummer has what Peter Erskine called our "home tempo" or "home zone"..... whether they know it or not

when speaking to him about this he recommended practicing everything outside of your "home zone" as much as possible

he recommended counting yourself into everything you play every time you pick up sticks .....pad practice....kit practice ....everything .......... trying to guarantee that you are avoiding your "home tempo"

it is a very dangerous place to get caught in and will give you a very limited range where you sound good and/or comfortable if not broken away from
 
Last edited:

thebreaks

Junior Member
Dre, were you ever in any kind of marching band? I'm starting to find more and more that being in a marching band (I'm a tenor player at my highschool) has conditioned me a bit better than some self taught drummers or those who only play set. Not that I don't have a comfort zone (I tend to drift toward the 120-130 bpm range), but I've noticed that playing certain cadences at varying tempos has helped with my ability to step outside that range comfortably. Our sequence when we play pregame starts with a comfortable 125 bpm tempo, but just the second one is played at a rather fast 200 bpm. The tempo change is also worked on through the years with the movements in our show, where Movement 1 is usually at about 170-190, but then drops to 95 or so for the second movement. As I approach graduation, I've been starting to notice the difference in my ability to jam at all of the varying tempos with both my guitarist and bassist, who were miles ahead of me musically when we formed, but I've now more than caught up with them. Our jams vary from very slow jazzy tunes to fast, hard metal. But the growth through marching has made an enormous impact on my drumset ability, even if I never played set during the school year.
Just a thought.

Edit: I forgot to even add advice. I would experiment with drumming to something vastly outside your comfort zone (i.e. fast electronica or metal or slow jazz or even an acoustic song). I prefer the au naturale approach to drumming, and firmly believe that any limitation can be overcome via learning new songs or musical styles. Another help might be using a backing track to play along to, starting at your comfort zone, and then increasing the speed incrementally, then the same thing in the opposite direction.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
every drummer has what Peter Erskine called our "home tempo" or "home zone"..... whether they know it or not

when speaking to him about this he recommended practicing everything outside of your "home zone" as much as possible

he recommended counting yourself into everything you play every time you pick up sticks .....pad practice....kit practice ....everything .......... trying to guarantee that you are avoiding your "home tempo"

it is a very dangerous place to get caught in and will give you a very limited range where you sound good and/or comfortable if not broken away from
Cool, yeah that sums it up and gives it a label. That's what I was getting at with my metronome thread when I suggested I just groove/solo at different tempos systematically.

Funny thing also... I've noticed lately when I count off for my bands I don't always play the tempo I set for myself, but I know that's easily overcome.

Dre, were you ever in any kind of marching band? I'm starting to find more and more that being in a marching band (I'm a tenor player at my highschool) has conditioned me a bit better than some self taught drummers or those who only play set. Not that I don't have a comfort zone (I tend to drift toward the 120-130 bpm range), but I've noticed that playing certain cadences at varying tempos has helped with my ability to step outside that range comfortably. Our sequence when we play pregame starts with a comfortable 125 bpm tempo, but just the second one is played at a rather fast 200 bpm. The tempo change is also worked on through the years with the movements in our show, where Movement 1 is usually at about 170-190, but then drops to 95 or so for the second movement. As I approach graduation, I've been starting to notice the difference in my ability to jam at all of the varying tempos with both my guitarist and bassist, who were miles ahead of me musically when we formed, but I've now more than caught up with them. Our jams vary from very slow jazzy tunes to fast, hard metal. But the growth through marching has made an enormous impact on my drumset ability, even if I never played set during the school year.
Just a thought.

Edit: I forgot to even add advice. I would experiment with drumming to something vastly outside your comfort zone (i.e. fast electronica or metal or slow jazz or even an acoustic song). I prefer the au naturale approach to drumming, and firmly believe that any limitation can be overcome via learning new songs or musical styles. Another help might be using a backing track to play along to, starting at your comfort zone, and then increasing the speed incrementally, then the same thing in the opposite direction.
Our schools don't have marching bands in Australia (we race kangaroos) but I have been playing along to Tommy Igoe's great hands in recent years and I understand what you're talking about. I practice a range of tempos with my hands but haven't yet applied that to drumset (or feet) as yet. And I have been meaning to get some playalong tracks but the new bands have satisfied that need for the moment. Cool ideas there, thanks.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
Funny thing also... I've noticed lately when I count off for my bands I don't always play the tempo I set for myself, but I know that's easily overcome.
recognizing the problem is half the battle

it's those who don't recognize who have the problem
 
Top