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Old 01-09-2018, 11:05 AM
martianmambo martianmambo is offline
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Default The Paradox of Choice

Hey, all, how's it goin'?

So, an obstacle that I continually run into when trying to decide what to work on is the overwhelming breadth of music styles, techniques, licks, etc out there to choose from. I often feel paralyzed and unable to settle on anything. What's more, when I finally pick something, I usually don't stick with it long, instead becoming distracted by some new, shiny other style/lick/etc. Does anyone else have this problem? Have you been able to overcome it? How? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

I've noticed that the issue has become more acute as I've gotten older; when I was younger, I had the benefit of either a great teacher or my own youthful drive (and fewer responsibilities, of course). I've been playing drums since I was 17--I'm 30 now. I'm proficient on drumset--I've worked through New Breed, I used to be in a jazz band, and I can also play stuff like Tool's "Eulogy"--and I have a sturdy understanding of rudiments (here's a recent video of me playing a short rudimental piece: https://youtu.be/wGolC3GEij4).

To give you an idea of what I've got to work with: I live in a small apartment in Hong Kong, so my practice time is relegated to either padwork or my DW practice pad drumkit.

Thanks for reading and for any suggestions!
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:09 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

Being someone who started learning from the beginning while still having to teach others in this new world of information overload, this is certainly an important subject.

In many ways to me it comes down to learning things in a practical way and find ways to get through that mid-level from learning a groove to really understanding something.

I think we first have to remember how long it took us to get free and comfortable in the styles we are used to.

Are we talking about "latin"stuff?

One thing is to put things we know on the side a little bit. Don't warm up, work on rudiments, then do conditioning and then work on that new thing with what little energy or focus you have left. Do not use your precious time going on auto pilot doing stuff you have known for 10 years and call it practicing.

Choose that cascara, a clave or whatever thing and make that the thing you do. Not just when at home with your gear, but everywhere. Sing it, clap it, listen to relevant songs. When you sit down to practice make it the first thing you do. Don't worry about loosing those other chops. You won't. You are still drumming, but you're working your mind as well.

There are no time limits when learning e.g. new style. Know you it when you know it. Maybe it took 2 hours maybe it took 2 months.
What I did for a long while was just divide my practice into idioms. I just sat down or played for 30-60 mins on one thing slowly adding to it. I practiced in a musical way, adding musical structures in my mind. There's really never any need to push on with 100 new ideas because everything has to be mastered or at least have become a natural part of your playing before moving on. I always keep a log for each idiom. It can be anything. A certain style, a time signature, anything.

Log keeping is such an important thing. Even if you work on just one style you have a clear plan, keep track of your progress, remember what you were working on, see what works and what needs more polishing.

I'm not sure if I view doing something just because it's new, flashy or the latest trend in general or on Drumeo. Pick something because that's what you want to do as a drummer, as a musician. Just as with whatever stuff we learned when we first started, go deep. Learn about the music, the artist, the culture. What are the important elements of the style, those things that must understood regardless of interpreation and personal style?

As a guitar player I remember a lot us, after having spent a decade getting into all the neuances of the pop, rock, funk stuff we grew up playing and the deciding we wanted to learn "jazz." We generally did it the completely wrong way, reducing it down to some chords and scales, forgetting about the music and using theory that really didn't belong in that style in that way. No phrasing, just the "right notes", missing the point entirely and working on way more difficult stuff than we should be working on.

This can get more detailed if you talk a bit about one or a few specific things and what ends up happening.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:17 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by martianmambo View Post
the overwhelming breadth of music styles, techniques, licks, etc out there to choose from.
The cool thing about drums (and about music) is that no one knows everything, and there is always something to learn.

So, what's your gigging situation? Start by looking at the type of music you play at gigs, and what you can learn that will enhance that. The opposite is also a good idea sometimes -- if you want to learn, say, Latin or Zydeco or jazz, then find or, better yet, create a gig that forces you to play Latin music or Zydeco music or jazz.

If the gigs you play are too easy (say, you've been playing blues gigs forever and you know all the tunes really well), then you can maybe ask the band to throw you an occasional 12-bar drum break, or solo while they play a vamp, etc.

It can be unsatisfying to learn a new drumming thing, just for its own sake, and so you might abandon or forget new ideas. The goal is to create a musical experience with others, hopefully in front of people who are dancing and/or listening.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:25 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

No one can be good at everything. Chose between being good at one or two genres or styles, or being master of none.

I have played in bands that covered Rock, Pop, Funk, post punk and Reggae. I am currently in a Funk band but I do not study Funk drummers and play what they already have. I play in the Funky style but I incorporate grooves, chops and fills I learned from other genres and modify them to fit the Funk music we are playing. Its almost like coming up with parts for an originals band. It keeps me motivated and creative.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:46 PM
martianmambo martianmambo is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
create a gig that forces you to play Latin music or Zydeco music or jazz.

It can be unsatisfying to learn a new drumming thing, just for its own sake, and so you might abandon or forget new ideas. The goal is to create a musical experience with others, hopefully in front of people who are dancing and/or listening.
Awwwww snap, that is hella good advice!
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Old 01-09-2018, 05:12 PM
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eclipseownzu eclipseownzu is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

I think its important to remember that you are supposed to be making music. So anything you learn must be learned within the context of making music. I also play the guitar and I spent years just learning scales and chords, I could run up and the neck all day paying cool legato licks, but I was never happy with my playing until I starting writing songs. The drums can be the same way. Ill spend hours working on some cool linear fill I saw a guy do on youtube to the point where its just a crazy independence exercise that has nothing to do with making music. I will get frustrated and start to doubt myself. Then I will loop some riff I am working on and play along to that and I find that I am happy with my playing and place in the universe because I am making music.

One thing you never mention is your ultimate goal in playing the drums. If you simply say your goal is to get better, then you will always be chasing the idea of "better". Which may not be a bad thing, but you will find yourself indefinitely unsatisfied, and the pure joy of just playing the drums will elude you. Maybe instead make goals that involve creating music and drum parts that you enjoy playing and challenge your abilities.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:23 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

Work on what you do the worst now. Then when you get better at that, decide what else you don't do well.

You'll always be making progress if you focus on your biggest weaknesses. Too many people focus on things they're already good at to the detriment of all else.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:28 PM
mikel mikel is offline
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Default Re: The Paradox of Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipseownzu View Post
I think its important to remember that you are supposed to be making music. So anything you learn must be learned within the context of making music. I also play the guitar and I spent years just learning scales and chords, I could run up and the neck all day paying cool legato licks, but I was never happy with my playing until I starting writing songs. The drums can be the same way. Ill spend hours working on some cool linear fill I saw a guy do on youtube to the point where its just a crazy independence exercise that has nothing to do with making music. I will get frustrated and start to doubt myself. Then I will loop some riff I am working on and play along to that and I find that I am happy with my playing and place in the universe because I am making music.

One thing you never mention is your ultimate goal in playing the drums. If you simply say your goal is to get better, then you will always be chasing the idea of "better". Which may not be a bad thing, but you will find yourself indefinitely unsatisfied, and the pure joy of just playing the drums will elude you. Maybe instead make goals that involve creating music and drum parts that you enjoy playing and challenge your abilities.
This /\. If you are in a band work on the stuff that will make the music you all play sound better. If you are looking for a band, practice the stuff you would like to play. If you get an audition for a band then practice the songs you need to get the gig. Make anything you do specific to your needs at the time.
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