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Old 09-20-2017, 06:47 PM
Rick Marchand's Avatar
Rick Marchand Rick Marchand is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Nova Scotia
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Default How My "Learning Disability" Impacts My Drumming

Hey Folks,
I am 45 and apparently grew up with a learning disability I never realized I had. Simply put, I am a severe Dyslexic(Though, it is much more complicated than that). I just thought I sucked in school and was lazy. I can read but get no enjoyment from it, tire easily and need to review text several times over to comprehend what is being said(Can NEVER get into a novel... which is sad). I have a bit of OCD and ADHD that sometimes get in the way but can function quite well. Nobody really knows any different. I am happy, with a great family.

BTW... This only became evident because my son has been going though the same issues and we had him professionally assessed. One thing lead to another and I was also put through a bit of testing. It has helped my son tremendously to know that his dad is actually more severe than he is. I went through a guilt period thinking my genetics messed him up... but that was irrational.

Good things... Math skills out the wazoo. Physics and engineering come naturally to me and I can learn just about anything by watching. I am always a fountain of random, obscure, sometimes useless knowledge due to the fact that I retain information well.

Anyway... How does this relate to drumming?

1. For some reason, music notation never stuck. You would think that it is much more visual than text but it is what it is.... music teachers were just as frustrated as I was. I am a drummer that can't read music... bummer.

2. This is where it gets cool. I see rhythms as gears and cogs... different sizes, colors and teeth. I guess the best way to explain it is that poly-rhythms look like the internal workings of a watch to me, only simpler. The closest I have found is Godfried Toussaint's Geometry of Musical Rhythm. He uses clock-like diagrams to visualize rhythm patterns. I don't think I could put it on paper but even the song form itself is on a big spinning wheel in my head.

3. I have difficulty finding "one" if it isn't counted it in or I don't already know the song. That has been both a blessing and a curse. It sucks when I don't get the time signature right or unknowingly flip the beat.... but it has also lead to some pretty odd takes on otherwise standard songs. I wish I could transcribe those "mistakes" as once I hear the song "correctly", I sometimes can't get that alternate rhythm back.

4. Free jamming with open time signatures are when I can "let go" and drum the way I think I am meant to. I am not the best drummer. My chops are limited and I flub fills occasionally... BUT I tend to get surprising feedback from the musicians I play with. Including stuff like "Man! I have no idea what you were doing but it felt like I could play ANYTHING and you were right there." or "Wow... I gotta digest what just happened.That was insane!"

5. I can "fake it" really well. The visualization aspect and strong retention of minute details allows me to "catch on" to phrasing, hits and changes from the moment I hear them. This also helps me to repeat my mistakes... instantly transforming them into "orchestrated parts"... That's how I felt it, man!... lol.

6. My song repertoire is HUGE. Not having the skill to read a "Fake Book" has forced me to learn the parts and form of every song. And I never forget them. The only catch is that I am horrible with the actual song titles... ha!... there is always a catch.

I hope parts of this post don't come off as bragging... That is not my intent. I am no "Chris Dave" or "Mark Guiliana" by any means. I just wanted to point out that an otherwise perceived "weaknesses" in your playing can become strengths in some circumstances.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!
Rick
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:56 PM
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Ohio Ohio is offline
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Default Re: How My "Learning Disability" Impacts My Drumming

Welcome to the fold Rick..


The most important thing to remember...


As long as you are having fun, it does not matter what level your at. Its the joy of making music that every musician should rally behind.

Keep on drumming. If you really like the complicated poly's, check out a band called Meshuggah most notable a song called do not look down..

It will blow your mind...
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:58 PM
Rick Marchand's Avatar
Rick Marchand Rick Marchand is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 6
Default Re: How My "Learning Disability" Impacts My Drumming

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
Welcome to the fold Rick..

If you really like the complicated poly's, check out a band called Meshuggah most notable a song called do not look down..

It will blow your mind...
Oh .. I have... and yes it does. Thanks.
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