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Old 03-05-2011, 10:36 AM
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Liebe zeit Liebe zeit is offline
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Default Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

I've been drumming since last Oct. Went to a local jam night last night and only managed to get on the kit for one tune - a blues shuffle that was at about the top end of my speed limit for that type of groove.

I think it was a combination of nerves (not conscious of it at the time tho) and lack of speed, but I just 'locked up' totally. Early attempts at fills went wrong so I just stuck to the basic beat. Even that became tricky cos I couldn't hear the bass drum (it's an 18") and my access to the bass pedal was really awkward (the kit is set up for a small guy, I'm 6'2).

I am really happy with my blues shuffles normally and my fills are good, but this experience has made me reconsider whether I should leave my 'live' efforts for a while while I get speed and stamina up at home. Maybe I needed to consciously relax behind the kit too.

Also I concluded it's prob worth me learning some of the standard jam numbers so I stand more chance of getting called up to play at these nights.

Any of the above situations familiar to anyone? I felt the need to write something down to review what had been a slightly dispiriting experience for me.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:12 PM
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Pollyanna Pollyanna is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

Oh well, almost everyone has had crap gigs. Remember, in drumming terms you only started yesterday.

If you find yourself trapped on a basic beat, don't panic. Just keep working at keeping a nice groove and support the other players - and don't forget to breathe! (it's easy to forget that and breathing helps loosen you up).

In most genres the other musos will usually much prefer a straight beat to overplaying anyway. Get your beats feeling good and in time you'll find it easier to add some spice.
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:38 PM
AtomicFlapjack AtomicFlapjack is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

Unfortunately, playing on crappy kits and not being able to hear what you'd like while you play is part of gigging or jamming with other bands. Just something you have to get used to I'm afraid. I've been playing in band for just under a year now, and the best piece of advice I can offer you is something I've learnt recently: learn to enjoy playing live. I used to worry so much about making sure I was in time, and worrying about that next tricky fill coming up. Whilst thats obviously important to make sure you're paying attention to that stuff, dont worry, just relax. In the end it will help you to play better, because you're not so focussed that you worry about it all too much and you won't fall into a nice groove. Just be happy, enjoy the music, enjoy playing it, interact with the crowd and your band mates/ people you're jamming with. If you have fun, the audience will have fun too.

Now that was a bit of a ramble, but hopefully you got my point: get used to playing on crappy kit set ups, and relax and enjoy the performance! :)
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:14 AM
mikecottom mikecottom is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

about your experience playing at jam nights.I too am a newbie drummer.I strarted at age 52 and am now 53 so i only have about 1 1/2 yrs playing time.I have played out only 3 times at jam nights and i too locked up on my first time playing.I go up to the stage and sit down,and the lead singer says lets do goin down by jeff beck.Ive never played this song and didnt know it,and before i could tell anyone i didnt know it,we were off and running!I felt like a 3 yr old kid in a drum shop randomly banging on anything in sight and sounded like it too!But i learned something that night,that life is like a box of chocolates at jam nights,you never no what your gonna play,and no matter what,dont stop playing! I was lucky that night,in that the host drummer was very professional and gave me encouragement and advice on ways to improve.Even though i take lessons an hour a week and practice on average 1-2 hrs a day,when you get onstage its difficult and scary to play drums but its also the most fun ive had in awhile,and i love playing the drums.
Have fun keep a good attitude and practice like crazy!
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:22 AM
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Numberless Numberless is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

Don't worry about it man, everyone has bad gigs and at some point or another we all go through the crappy house kit and the horrible sound, it's just part of being a musician.

About your thought on giving up on live playing for a while, the more you play live, the better you'll get at it so I would say to keep playing on jam nights and with other players if you get the chance, it will help you grow immensely, while the first couple of times may find you struggling or overthinking, keep at it, eventually you'll be playing one night and it will click, you'll feel relaxed and in the groove and you'll realize just how much fun you're having playing drums and making music and in the end, having a good time is what's it all about.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:56 PM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liebe zeit View Post
I think it was a combination of nerves (not conscious of it at the time tho) and lack of speed, but I just 'locked up' totally. Early attempts at fills went wrong so I just stuck to the basic beat. Even that became tricky cos I couldn't hear the bass drum (it's an 18") and my access to the bass pedal was really awkward (the kit is set up for a small guy, I'm 6'2).
I'm curious. What was it about the 18" kick that you couldn't hear? Are you just used to a 22" or something? I've never had a problem hearing whatever size kick I was playing. I assume you weren't miced then?
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:07 PM
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Liebe zeit Liebe zeit is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

All good advice above. Thanks folks. I will, of course, persevere. Was just having a morning after wobble when I wrote the OP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brady View Post
I'm curious. What was it about the 18" kick that you couldn't hear? Are you just used to a 22" or something? I've never had a problem hearing whatever size kick I was playing. I assume you weren't miced then?
Yes, it was micced up, but it got lost somewhere in the mix when the other instruments kicked in. I do have a 22 at home and am used to a loud boomy bass sound.
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:23 PM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

Think of it this way: your one-song gig was a learning experience, so don't give up on playing live. Not much you do in isolated practice prepares you for some of the things you will experience playing with a band in front of an audience. Unfortunately we all go through it. I've been playing for over 25 years and still have those moments. Although I know how to deal with them now and move on without totally panicking. Learn from your mistakes, and at the moment put them behind you and don't dwell on them, or they will affect the rest of your performance.

The sound mix is something that affects me quite often. The band will have everything set up well for practice, with everything sounding crisp and tight. And then we'll go into a hall to play and all of a sudden everything sounds muddy and I can't hear the bass or vocals, or something else. The more you play live the more you can understand how to deal with these types of things.
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:55 PM
drumhammerer drumhammerer is offline
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Default Re: Newish drummer, 'locking up' live

yeah, the jams are often like that cuz you're playing songs you don't know, or haven't played with those particular musicians. Trust me, it's like that for everyone, unless you're the one calling the songs out that you've played a lot. You can get a feel for what might be played on those nights, since there will usually be a consistant roster of songs that these guys might wanna play everytime. Then you can learn those on your own, and next time you go back you'll actually know some of the material. At the same time, a lot of guys like playing songs they may not know for the spontanaety aspect that they don't get with the rehearsed money making gigs- this is of course, mainly for the guitarists who can go off on the 10 minute solos.

And everybody loves it when you play very simply at these things, since everyone may not know the song it makes it much easier to pull the song off effectively. I've gotten more compliments for playing virtually nothing at these jams then I ever did playing a bunch of licks. I just save that stuff for my metal band, where I can play like I did in high school.
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