Originally Posted by bermuda
The reason I brought up the practice/achievement thing is that so many young players want to play like Vinnie, or Gadd, or Portnoy etc etc. I don't believe I've ever heard anyone say they wish they were as creative as those guys - they always say they want to play like them. Big difference.
Now you see, when I hear someone say they want to 'play like' someone, I don't think they mean they want to have learned a stock set of their licks that they can pull out of the hat when it suits them. I believe the statement "I wish I could play like Vinnie" usually means that person wants to have the entire range of skills from Vinnie's bag, which includes the ability to improvise to a terrifying degree. In fact it necessarily must, because someone like Vinnie improvises all the time
. Sure he's got a few licks he uses over and over again, but what is so jaw-droppingly astounding about his playing is the stuff he improvises. You could never 'play like Vinnie' by learning the parts he's played in the past. You might be able to 'play like Vinnie played on that record', but that is all. By the time you'd learned that, Vinnie would have laid down another dozen studio tracks!
I'm also not sure that one should encourage people to learn great drummers' licks and grooves in a drive to become that drummer's clone. The master drummers learned the licks of the previous masters so that they could then go on to do their own
thing with them, and forge their own
sound. Indeed, although you may try to sound like Ringo or Gadd or whoever, I'm sure "Weird" Al has you as his drummer because you sound like you. I can't readily imagine Vinnie laying down a track for Al!