playing less and keeping time

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
One trick I picked up playing trumpet etudes is to play bars of quarter notes followed by bars of eighth notes followed by bars of triplets then bars of sixteenths keeping the same pulse throughout. I was watching Dave Wekl's bass drum fundamentals and he did the same thing so I started doing it on drums too. It really helps, because if you start out too fast with quarter notes...
 

TroutMacDuff

Junior Member
One trick I picked up playing trumpet etudes is to play bars of quarter notes followed by bars of eighth notes followed by bars of triplets then bars of sixteenths keeping the same pulse throughout. I was watching Dave Wekl's bass drum fundamentals and he did the same thing so I started doing it on drums too. It really helps, because if you start out too fast with quarter notes...
Another good thing to do is forget about triplets, 8ths etc.

Start at 60 bpm or so. Play 1 hit per quarter note, then two, then three, all the way up as high as you can go (I can reach 10), then come back down again. Put accents on the quarters if you need to.
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
The key to the linear stuff is to keep the pulse . Doing groups of 4 (RLRL) then groups of 3 (KRL) 4 (KKRL) ,etc. While focusing on the pulse. Some kick , snares , accents will end up in weird places but that is the beauty of linear. All you need to do after that is use all Of these random mixes and move them around the kit.

http://youtu.be/lbYop7YL6EU

I use this one as a starting point a lot.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Another good thing to do is forget about triplets, 8ths etc.

Start at 60 bpm or so. Play 1 hit per quarter note, then two, then three, all the way up as high as you can go (I can reach 10), then come back down again. Put accents on the quarters if you need to.

That is a fun exercise too, though I used to practice it for single stroke rolls and drum solos.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
It's interesting that you said you're dependent on one limb keeping most of the time and maybe thinking somewhere else in your body needs to be doing this.

It's true.

Watch a guy like Steve Gadd play a groove. The time isn't in his limbs, it's in his neck with the way he bob's his head when plays. I saw this and years ago and a light went on in my head. Your limbs have to respond to a time center, and one of them cannot be the time center. So in Steve's case, it's in his neck. I make sure (usually) that my time is centered before I start playing, and I'm usually singing the bass line in my head, and then my entire body lilts a little depending on the groove, but that's where my time center is.
 

The Sloth

Member
Matt is right. Basically what needs to happen is each limb needs to sitting ready, "listening" for its cue. The pulse needs to be understood and internalized, not expressed by one single limb. Working with a metronome is the only sure way. It seems like a chore, but after only a short while, it's actually thrilling how much progress you make.
 

TroutMacDuff

Junior Member
Haha, it's amazing how often people respond to different threads with a generic "just practice slow with a metronome."

Matt, I think you hit the nail on the head there. Thinking on it now, I don't have the same issue in slow 12/8 numbers. Because I sway! Very interesting about the time being in a place in your body, and each limb responding to that, waiting for its cue. I'd never have thought of it like that, but yes you're absolutely right. I'll work on putting the time elsewhere.

Billy Ward talks about similar stuff in his DVD Big Time. Might be worth lookibg into if anyones interested. Imt offto watch it again now, haha.

Trout
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
The metronome won't hurt. If you can get what it sounds like in your head to maintain the tempo, then it's easier to recognize yourself speeding up.

Another suggestion is to put your "sway" or "head nod" into the music, so that you can get the same feel consistently. I think speeding up is often a function of not putting enough into the sound and tone of the music. Think of a half note as one continuous note. Add cymbal rolls, buzz rolls etc. If you are playing just quarter notes make them sound unique.
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Haha, it's amazing how often people respond to different threads with a generic "just practice slow with a metronome."

Matt, I think you hit the nail on the head there. Thinking on it now, I don't have the same issue in slow 12/8 numbers. Because I sway! Very interesting about the time being in a place in your body, and each limb responding to that, waiting for its cue. I'd never have thought of it like that, but yes you're absolutely right. I'll work on putting the time elsewhere.

Billy Ward talks about similar stuff in his DVD Big Time. Might be worth lookibg into if anyones interested. Imt offto watch it again now, haha.

Trout
I have that DVD too and forgot him talking about that (seeing Steve Gadd do it years ago cemented that idea for me). Billy said he does this thing with his mouth or his teeth, and that works for him ;)

I think at the time I got Billy's DVD, I was more distracted by how great his DW drums sounded, and I basically had the same set-up, but it sounded like crap, and that led me away from DW. But watching his DVD has so many smart nuggets o' wisdom about playing.
 

SpareRib

Senior Member
The key is to develop your awareness of time. Counting out loud as you play is the best method, something about connecting your voice to the beat that really develops your ability to play solid time. Counting silently (in your head) defeats the purpose entirely, so if you're not going to count out loud, there's not much point to the following exercise.

Practice with a metronome, and count 16ths out loud as you play ("1 e & a 2 e & a..."). Start with simple grooves and go slowly at first. Inhale and stop counting as needed, but then get right back to the counting aloud without losing your place.
+ 1. My teacher has me working on this with snare etudes and drumset exercises. This helping me tremendously.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Yep, very slow and sparse songs are the hardest to nail. We do the Amy Winehouse version of "I love you more than you will ever know" and the whole band finds it taxing.

If a song is slow and has lots of space it is easy to push the tempo by almost anticipating the next beat or note. We find its good for concentration and musicianship to play the song and keep to the original tempo. I use the piano as my click in this particular song as It starts the number anyway. If its too fast to begin with then its the keys players fault.
 

Croc

Senior Member
We had some great exercises on independence and establishing an internal pulse at a music camp this past summer. Markus Reuter, a touch guitarist, led us every morning in a series of exercises focused on developing the internal pulse while allowing us to lay and maintain subdivisions on top of the primary rhythm. An example is foot motions in repeating patterns of 5 while counting aloud in patterns of 4 while clapping in patterns of 3. Sounds tough and was but amazingly enough, this allowed the base pulse to be internalized and maintained without having to concentrate on doing so.

This exercise plus working with a metronome has greatly improved my interval control at slower tempi.
 
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