Playing light and slow.

Bradastronaut

Senior Member
Does playing VERY light and very slow, or very light and any tempo for that matter, benefit you more in general playing (from rock, to jazz, and metal etc) than playing at higher volume levels all the time. Please dsicuss, ive seen the idea being knocked around quite a bit but have never seen many genuine reasons!
Plus ive just tried following a 60bpm metronome, only lifting the sticks around an inch from the hats, and it sounded very messy, was difficult to follow such a slow tempo and keep the hits even and accurate!
 

Pkaneps

Senior Member
I would guess that it's no more beneficial than playing fast; but it's something that's definitely important to practice. You never know when you'll need to play light and slow or hard and fast.

Practice everything in between too.

All about dynamics. Go from playing light and slow to hard and fast.
 

BConley

Junior Member
Personally when I'm practicing on my practice pad, like just rudiments or whatever, I practice at all dynamic levels. I find I'm more confident while playing when I practice like this than when I just practice at whatever dynamic level I feel like the whole time. But the group I'm in calls for playing softer at times, so obviously this helps me but might not matter to others who play in a heavier rock setting. If you do decide to practice this make sure and stay loose. I guess that's a given but it's easy to tense up at the extreme sides of the dynamic spectrum
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
I think it could certainly benefit you from what you have stated. It requires a great amount of control to play lightly, slow and accurately. We are taught, early in our drumming career, to practice slow and lightly first in order to gain control before playing fast and hard.
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I've had to learn to play light. I went and played with a band I rehearse with that is basically all wind and in the last few weeks I've been on the practice pad practicing my accuracy and dynamics. I'm now able to play with just the same intensity as I used to be, but at half the volume - that's just a matter of technique.

Playing quietly is actually very, very hard. If you can do it well, then you have to have some seriously good technique. I'm slowly getting closer to where I want to be in this regard, but it's not easy. It feels good to have a band turn around to you and suddenly be surprised that you're playing so quietly - but it's only because I've practiced.

Playing slowly and accurately is very difficult too. I always recommend that people don't just speed up the metronome when they're learning technique, but slow it down too - to 30 BPM or fewer. To be able to play in time at those speeds is incredibly demanding and will improve your time much more than learning to play at 180 will - at least in the long run. Practice both!
 

Coldhardsteel

Gold Member
Playing light and slow is just playing at a lower dynamic and a lower tempo. It shouldn't have any benefits for you besides the fact that it's another form of practice.

And that practice should instill in you self-control, the ability to actually keep the beat no matter how slow the song is.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Playing really slow/light and sounding good is a lot harder than playing like travis barker all the time. You have to control your inertia and you're not always able to rely on stick bounce for parts that you normally might. Playing dynamically is just plain hard. Requires a lot of practice.

The hardest for me is switching mid-song. We have a lot of songs wherein the dynamics for all instruments change quite a bit. Staying on the exact same time but playing with less intensity is a challenge to me.
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Playing really slow/light and sounding good is a lot harder than playing like travis barker all the time. You have to control your inertia and you're not always able to rely on stick bounce for parts that you normally might. Playing dynamically is just plain hard. Requires a lot of practice.

The hardest for me is switching mid-song. We have a lot of songs wherein the dynamics for all instruments change quite a bit. Staying on the exact same time but playing with less intensity is a challenge to me.
I've discovered there are a few issues with my own playing that are very tempo-specific. For instance, my doubles at some speeds (90-120BPM) are very inconsistent. Above or below that, they're fine. My paradiddles are much the same - and they go up to about 180ish on a good day. The issue is switching between techniques that are required for the slower play and the techniques that are required for the faster play. I use rebound a lot, but my left hand is quite poor - so when I can use rebound, I'm good to go. At some speeds, I can't rely on rebound at all and above a certain threshold, I lose my co-ordination.

The answer? Specific practice of the 'trouble region'. It's working rapidly as well. I've seen a huge improvement.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Brad, in the 80s much of what I played was loud at tempos ranging from andante to presto. Now I'm playing in a band that requires exactly what you speak of - light and slow ... lento to allegro. It's been a real learning curve. It depends what you're used to, to some extent - what you native terrain is. It's not been an easy transition for me at times.

Playing light and slow is VERY unforgiving. A lot gets lost in the wash in loud, fast rock. When playing slow, and especially light and slow, your timing has to be spot on or it sounds lame. Also, it's very easy for a normally loud player to produce clumsy loud notes when trying to play lightly. That's the control side that MFB talked about.

Broadening your skill base always has spinoff benefits in other areas of your playing so, yes, there's a benefit for hard rock players. Whether there's more benefit for a hard rock player who isn't interested in versatility than improving speed, coordination, reading or tempo control is debatable.

Still, if you like to hit the pads at midnight, there's a huge benefit in being able to play lightly :)
 
Top