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  #1  
Old 10-22-2008, 02:31 PM
Abhishek
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Default Advice after first public performance

Hey

I've been learning drums for about two years (being on and off in between). Last week, a couple of friends asked me if I wanted to join their band, and participate in an inter school competition. I agreed, and and we practiced for about 5 days (we played Trooper and Die Dead Enough).Didn't expect us to win as this was the first time we ever jammed together (and the first time I ever seriously jammed with anyone).

We didn't win anything, and we decided to ask the judges for some feedback. One thing they mentioned to me was that as a drummer, it was my job to make sure the whole band is going together, and to keep it tight, and at times I wasn't doing that (maybe I wasn't, Trooper is a fast song). Well, what I want to ask is, how do I work on being tight, being on time, keeping the band together. Is it something that comes naturally as you play together more, or is there something I can do to work on it. The guy who won the best drummer award (he played Hell's Kitchen and Pull Me Under and was amazing!!) was perhaps the only one, who didn't try to show off, and was the only drummer to actually groove. Did talk to him a bit, and I now really want to give a performance like that.

Thanks for the advice in advance.
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  #2  
Old 10-22-2008, 04:25 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

How does one work on being tight? Welcome to the world of drumming. First off you must understand the drummers role. It is a supportive one, you are there to make the others shine by not stealing their thunder, not showing off during their "time", and not displaying your "chops" inappropriately. Wait for the endings to show off, that's your time. (Generally speaking of course) You need to feel and execute the rhythm that will best propel the song while giving everyone else ample space to flesh out their parts. Of all the musicians in the band, you need to develop the most steady sense of time and the most advanced feel for the proper tempo. Get a metronome and use it. You have to be Mr. Steady and Mr. Unflappable amongst a tempest of guitar notes. (Not an easy thing when their time sucks and they are pulling the tempo ever faster) When it's time for a guitar solo, (or any other solo) it's not your time to rock out, it's when you put the soloist first, and give him what he/she needs, which is a steady pulse to rely on so he can weave around it. You are the strait guy, he gets all the laughs. Deal with it. You will have your moments. A great transition from verse to chorus, endings, breaks, for instance...
Seeing as you are so new to playing with people, the best advice I can offer is to play as much as you can with other musicians. Form an alliance with a bass player who is good. Become a team. You need to lay a rock solid foundation with him for the other guys to build on. You are the cake, they are the icing. You have to get yourself to a point where you are able to play what you need to on your instrument and still have enough brainpower leftover to devote to LISTENING to the whole net effect of what is going on and how you are complimenting or detracting from the intent of the song. Of course you could be a great drummer, and if your fellow musicians aren't cutting it, well you can't do it all. One thing that works for me....Keep those eyes open, don't look at your kit, look at the other guys, and try and blend with them....Listen to what THEY'RE doing. Kind of like riding a bike, you don't focus on your pedals, you need to look down the road to where you are headed so you don't crash. Get out of your own head and play what they need, not necessarily what you want. Don't try to be the center of attention, you are the support framework. You don't want to look at a Ferrari and see the frame sticking out. So to crystalize my thoughts.....Listen Listen Listen Simplify Simplify Simplify and develop your own sensibilities of what is working and what is not.
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  #3  
Old 10-22-2008, 04:35 PM
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drumhead61 drumhead61 is offline
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Welcome to the forum...Larryace...NICE POST and something that I too as a new drummer needed to hear. Thanks for sharing!
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  #4  
Old 10-22-2008, 04:50 PM
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhishek View Post
Hey

I've been learning drums for about two years (being on and off in between). Last week, a couple of friends asked me if I wanted to join their band, and participate in an inter school competition. I agreed, and and we practiced for about 5 days (we played Trooper and Die Dead Enough).Didn't expect us to win as this was the first time we ever jammed together (and the first time I ever seriously jammed with anyone).

We didn't win anything, and we decided to ask the judges for some feedback. One thing they mentioned to me was that as a drummer, it was my job to make sure the whole band is going together, and to keep it tight, and at times I wasn't doing that (maybe I wasn't, Trooper is a fast song). Well, what I want to ask is, how do I work on being tight, being on time, keeping the band together. Is it something that comes naturally as you play together more, or is there something I can do to work on it. The guy who won the best drummer award (he played Hell's Kitchen and Pull Me Under and was amazing!!) was perhaps the only one, who didn't try to show off, and was the only drummer to actually groove. Did talk to him a bit, and I now really want to give a performance like that.

Thanks for the advice in advance.
Well the highlighted portion shows growth already. As how is never JUST about the drummer, it's about the songs and if you play the songs flawlessly, you as a drummer will be noticed for it.

Although it IS the job of the drummer to keep the band "together" I think at this stage the other musicians are just learning HOW to follow a drummer and are probably just worrying about executing the notes rather than the groove of the tune. That too will come the better you get, you'll all concentrate LESS on just being able to execute the notes you're playing, and more on the feel of those notes within the song structure and with the other musicians in the band.
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  #5  
Old 10-22-2008, 04:55 PM
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caddywumpus caddywumpus is offline
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Nice post, Larryace!

As drummers, we are typically the ones who listen most to what's going on around us, it seems. Not just hear and play along, but really actively listen. In that respect, we are the ones who can usually hear the first signs of the band being "off". It is our job to get the other people to listen as well and tighten up the rhythm. That's what rehearsal is for, to tighten up things like rhythm, parts interlocking, vocal harmonies, balance, etc...

...and then you play professionally with top-notch musicians, and everyone is just expected to listen to everything and tighten up automatically, and you can enjoy the groove and musicianship of the band.
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  #6  
Old 10-22-2008, 10:09 PM
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Welcome! First, congrats on your first public performance! Keeping the band tight does come easier with time and experience playing with one another. After awhile you'll know (even feel) where another band member is going with something and you'll adjust accordingly giving you that tightness that you're going for. They'll do the same for you once they learn your style.
As others have mentioned, showing off helps nothing but your own ego, but having steady and consistent time is what matters to everyone involved. Being that you're new to this, try keeping it all steady (almost boring) until the other members learn how to jam with you. Then you can add fills and bring more dynamics into the songs.
I did just that 2 years ago with the band I'm currently playing with. Initially, I thought, "Wow, these guys are going to think I'm lame!". But, come to find out they were relieved that I wasn't trying to do all this complicated (unnecessary) stuff that their previous drummer was doing. Now, we "read" each other well and it's all good!
Good Luck To You!
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  #7  
Old 10-22-2008, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

play with other musicians as much as possible. That will/should force you to listen to others in the band and interact accordingly. It doesn't matter how good you play on your own, you have to be able to interact with other musicians and strengthen your support role. There will be plenty of time later to showcase your chops.
If possible, just jam. Not to songs you know, have someone start a riff and then just build on it. That should force you to listen and create on the spot and get your creative juices flowing.
And just keep practicing. Good luck!
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2008, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Great post, Ab .... You received some good advice from our Forum. I'll add one more thing: playing live requires some sort of monitor system for the drummer. Either a floor wedge or in-ear monitor (with the mix you want) will help you. You'll hear the band in "real time" and gain confidence that you are "on time" and holding things down. Best wishes and good luck.
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  #9  
Old 10-26-2008, 01:17 AM
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Disco Stu Disco Stu is offline
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Default Re: Advice after first public performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhishek View Post
One thing they mentioned to me was that as a drummer, it was my job to make sure the whole band is going together, and to keep it tight, and at times I wasn't doing that.
This comment seems a little strange to me. It's true to some degree, but the other musicians have to have a sense of timing too. If a drummer lays down a rock solid, metronome steady beat, and the other band members are unable to lock into it, I don't know what the drummer can do about that. Perhaps they mean you should conentrate on maintaining a steady beat, and if the guitar player or whomever starts playing at a faster or slower tempo, don't follow them. Keep your beat steady and make them come back to you (to paraphrase Jabo Starks). So, what you should do is develop your timing. The only way to do this is to practice. It's especially helpful to play along to a metronome or to pre-recorded music. Just concentrate on locking into the beat. Make this the primary focus of your playing in general, because it is your primary responsibility as a drummer.

One of my favorite quotes:

Quote:
I was the youngest thing in the band and those guys taught me a lot-Joe Scott and Plummer Davis. Joe Scott, the trumpet player, was the band leader, and Plummer Davis, the trombone player, arranged for the band, too. They taught me--"I don't care what you play, I don't care how you play, I don't care if you don't ever play fancy, I don't care if you don't ever play the greatest solos in the world, all I want you to do is remember this-play time. Play the time. Hold the time. You're the heartbeat. Once that time starts, you hold it right there. Whatever anybody else does, don't you go there. Make them come back to you."

-Jabo Starks
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