playing live

mxracer591

Junior Member
hey guys, i'm new here, but I have a question that I'm sure has been asked before at some point by drummers everywhere. I've been playing somewhat casually for about 7 years, only in the past 2 or 3 have I really buckled down and started practicing with a metronome and all that good stuff. I think I have a bit of bad technique built in from the years of just messin around on other people's kits. My question is that when my band plays live, it seems like it's really hit or miss with me. Some nights, I'll be spot on, and surprise myself, others I have to dumb down parts just because I know I'm not going to play it correctly. Now I'd say 95% of the time at practice, I can nail all of the songs, the way I wrote them. It just seems like when I play live, the adrenaline gets pumping and it's hard to concentrate on playing with correct technique and everything. Hell, sometimes it even seems like based on how the sound is, my drums even play differently, or at least it feels like it. I'm assuming the only solution to this is just to practice more, and concentrate on technique. I was just wondering if there were any other things you guys do to stay calm and nail your parts while playing live. Thanks dudes!
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I'm assuming the only solution to this is just to practice more, and concentrate on technique.
Noo! How did you come to that solution? The only way of getting used to playing live
is playing live!! You can't practice that.
The only moment where you play music is the moment you play music!

When you're playing music, forget about technique! Working on and worrying about
technique is what you do in the practice space, making music is what you do live, or
at band rehearsal.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
eat a big meal before you play. works for me.
That's sarcasm, I hope.

For me there's few things that have a greater negative impact. A full stomach makes me sluggish, dedicates more blood to the stomach for digestion and away from the brain where we need it to perform best.

I make a point to eat very light; maybe a veggie sandwich during the day. Something easy to digest and not heavy in my tummy.

I also have no more that one or two drinks. Never caffeine. Tons of sleep. Make sure to stretch and meditate during the day if that's what you're into. Make a check list of important things not to forget. Spend a bit of time on the pad... And most of all... Hakuna Matata. You're going to have fun.
 

mxracer591

Junior Member
Noo! How did you come to that solution? The only way of getting used to playing live
is playing live!! You can't practice that.
The only moment where you play music is the moment you play music!

When you're playing music, forget about technique! Working on and worrying about
technique is what you do in the practice space, making music is what you do live, or
at band rehearsal.
that makes sense, but it seems like if I don't concentrate on using the proper techniques i naturally revert back to bad technique, and naturally get tired as shit. We usually play anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and if your tired by the third song, the rest of the set kinda sucks. I just feel like practicing more will give me the ability to play our songs with more comfort, instead of being in the top 5% of my playing ability.
 

Anduin

Pioneer Member
eat a big meal before you play. works for me.
That may sound like a joke, and maybe that’s how you intended it, but I used to do that quite intentionally too when I was young and feisty and purposely looking for ways to chill out for a gig. Also, if you’re playing a full night, starting out a bit mellower will probably help you finish the last set without being completely drained.
 

mxracer591

Junior Member
i've for sure discovered that drinking is a no no. After about 3 beers, I might as well be a complete novice. I'll limit myself to one, if any at all at shows. I try to usually eat, but not a ton of food... cause I tend to still get the slight butterflies, which doesn't react well with a lot of food. I'm just looking for little tips here and there, I'm tired of the band giving me that "wtf" look when i drop a stick, or get out of time, or just in general suck because my confidence falls off when i screw up. They don't really bust my balls that bad, i can see it in there eyes though... lol.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
i've for sure discovered that drinking is a no no. After about 3 beers, I might as well be a complete novice. I'll limit myself to one, if any at all at shows. I try to usually eat, but not a ton of food... cause I tend to still get the slight butterflies, which doesn't react well with a lot of food. I'm just looking for little tips here and there, I'm tired of the band giving me that "wtf" look when i drop a stick, or get out of time, or just in general suck because my confidence falls off when i screw up. They don't really bust my balls that bad, i can see it in there eyes though... lol.
Band rule number one should be no funny or off looks between ya'll on stage. It makes everyone look terrible and calls attention to small mistakes that the audience probably wouldn't notice otherwise. As you found, it also makes things stressful for the person who already knows they just made a mistake.

It's really, really bad form to give one another the stink eye on stage. Nobody cares in the audience.
 

mxracer591

Junior Member
Band rule number one should be no funny or off looks between ya'll on stage. It makes everyone look terrible and calls attention to small mistakes that the audience probably wouldn't notice otherwise. As you found, it also makes things stressful for the person who already knows they just made a mistake.

It's really, really bad form to give one another the stink eye on stage. Nobody cares in the audience.
that's a great idea. i'm going to bring that up tonight at practice.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
that's a great idea. i'm going to bring that up tonight at practice.
Stress that it makes the person staring look the worst of all. When I see this stuff on-stage, I'm immediately put off. It brings down the whole mood.

Also mention that it goes in all directions. You're just as bound to not make dirty looks at the singer when he misses the note, and everyone else as well.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
My question is that when my band plays live, it seems like it's really hit or miss with me. Some nights, I'll be spot on, and surprise myself, others I have to dumb down parts just because I know I'm not going to play it correctly. Now I'd say 95% of the time at practice, I can nail all of the songs, the way I wrote them. It just seems like when I play live, the adrenaline gets pumping and it's hard to concentrate on playing with correct technique and everything.
MX, I read that in a live situation musicians can play approx 70% of their capacity. We all leave plenty of patterns, fills and tricks at home. I expect it's the distraction of being interacted with (ie. noticed), nerves / self consciousness, acoustics, stage setups, and generally not being on your "home ground".

The Anon Theory postulates that this happens on a quantum level - the act of observation changes the event ... all these self conscious quaarks dropping sticks and failing to groove under the pressure of performing for the electron microscope :)

Seriously, when we're not on fire we have to leave some headroom, keeping things within the 70% to retain control. In some styles drummers are expected to take risks, but usually bands just want us to be reliable, to outline the arrangement and groove.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm 51 years old, & I can play a 2 hour rock set no problems. It's not my technique that allows me to do that, it's never playing beyond 80% of my ability, & a totally relaxed + having fun mindset.

Edit, just noticed Grea's post. She's at 70%, I'm at 80% because I need to use 4 out of the 5 beats I know ;)
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
I'm 51 years old, & I can play a 2 hour rock set no problems. It's not my technique that allows me to do that, it's never playing beyond 80% of my ability, & a totally relaxed + having fun mindset.

Edit, just noticed Grea's post. She's at 70%, I'm at 80% because I need to use 4 out of the 5 beats I know ;)
THats only 4/5ths, not 80%.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
that makes sense, but it seems like if I don't concentrate on using the proper techniques i naturally revert back to bad technique, and naturally get tired as shit. We usually play anywhere from 30-45 minutes, and if your tired by the third song, the rest of the set kinda sucks. I just feel like practicing more will give me the ability to play our songs with more comfort, instead of being in the top 5% of my playing ability.
You have to work on your technique in practice time so that in concert you naturally keep
the good techniques even when you're not conscious about it :)! That's the goal!

When playing music you have to go with the flow. Thinking about technique and watching
yourself destroys that.

Maybe you can record or even film yourself, analyze what went wrong when you weren't
actually concentrating on it, and then work on that!

Or are you talking about endurance? Do you play too hard when you don't constantly
remind yourself to keep it easy? How do you practice?
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Edit, just noticed Grea's post. She's at 70%, I'm at 80% because I need to use 4 out of the 5 beats I know ;)
Haha - so that means I use 3.5 of my five beats ... still working one one of them :) or maybe you're the same but you get an extra 10% for the 4.05 fill?

Harder than I thought to score this stuff, especially with Trainer on 60% and Toolate opting for the much smaller figure of 4/5 ;-)

Thing is, there's more variance with live playing. For instance, I have my own 4.05 fill at around 3:41 here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LK2XaUWH4Y

That's the best fill I've played to that song. Why? Because the sound guy gave us a wonderful, clear and crisp stage sound and it put me in the zone, along with the excitement of playing for 3 people and a dog.

So it can go either way. I tend to play it safe until I feel comfortable but I don't play a lot.
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Thing is, there's more variance with live playing. For instance, I have my own 4.05 fill at around 3:41 here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LK2XaUWH4Y
Nice job in the whole song, with plenty of stadiurama on the tubs :) Me likey a lot :) It's good to let go once in a while, if only to put an extra smile on your face. In the right gig vibe, I'll sometimes throw in an inappropriately skewed piece just to tweak the band's nipples if they're getting too serious. Our guitarist does that too, often inserting a comedy "cuckoo" noise into a break :)
 
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