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  #1  
Old 07-19-2012, 06:58 AM
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Default How do I find my character in my drumming?

Hi, my name is Baskoro. :D

I love searching vids in YouTube related to drumming. And in Indonesia, there's this one maestro drummer called Echa Soemantri. I love watching him. You can check his live vids out in YouTube, and he played the songs very smoothly in his drumming.

When I see every of his solo, I can feel his character in his drum solos. And I feel like I want to find my own character in my drumming, but I don't know where to start. I could've modified a standard 4/4 groove and infuse it with my style, but I don't think it's enough.

So, if you have any suggestions, tips, how-to's, whatever, regarding how I should search my character, I would appreciate it so much.

Thanks so much, guys. Be waiting your replies out there. :)
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

It will just happen. If you're passionate about one particular drummer then it's a really good sign that you have a taste for what you like to hear. Just keep studying that drummer and what he does will come out in your playing. You will find other drummers that you like once you've taken everything you can from this guy and you will want to copy them too. Once you've played a few different styles you can take what you like from each of them and that's your own unique personality.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:50 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dre25 View Post
It will just happen. If you're passionate about one particular drummer then it's a really good sign that you have a taste for what you like to hear. Just keep studying that drummer and what he does will come out in your playing. You will find other drummers that you like once you've taken everything you can from this guy and you will want to copy them too. Once you've played a few different styles you can take what you like from each of them and that's your own unique personality.
Okay, so the point is: I have to find more inspirations from other drummers and then pick and choose their drumming styles so I can make one style for myself from them styles?

Well, I thought of more ifs, but that's a good idea, bro. I do appreciate your tips very much.

What I thought was like, you know, had a style of playing that I would discover on my own.
But from your tips, I think what I thought back then would be wrong. Or as if it's true, it would be time-consuming.

Maybe I can just modify the combination of their styles I would pick and choose, instead.

Okay, thanks a lot, mate!

Be waiting for others' replies. I just want to see what others say, so that I can get more knowledge from more people as well.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Yes, it is time-consuming. But so what, right? I mean, what could be better than ripping off the coolest stuff from all the coolest drummers? The important thing is that it's *you* who's deciding who the coolest drummers are and what their coolest drumming stuff is, so what comes out of you in the end is a reflection of your taste. That will determine your character.

The other piece, of course, is having the facility to understand what you're hearing and the skills to be able to replicate your version of it in a convincing and original manner. Only wood shedding will get you that piece of the puzzle, and that part's time consuming too. Just depends on how bad you want it.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:24 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

You haven't said how long you've been playing, so I think it's safe to assume you haven't been playing that long?

I say character comes after you've played for a while. In other words, I don't think this can be studied and implemented. It will come out the more you play. So if you concentrate on just doing a good job as a drummer in whatever band you're playing with, eventually, your character will come out. I know so many guys who wanted to be Stewart Copeland or Dave Weckl, they studied everything those guys have done, and all you have out there now are just bad copies. Who you are will come out, but only after you've demonstrated competence on the instrument on your own - and really, only your experiences make your character, so you couldn't really be anybody else's character if you wanted to.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
You haven't said how long you've been playing, so I think it's safe to assume you haven't been playing that long?

I say character comes after you've played for a while. In other words, I don't think this can be studied and implemented. It will come out the more you play. So if you concentrate on just doing a good job as a drummer in whatever band you're playing with, eventually, your character will come out. I know so many guys who wanted to be Stewart Copeland or Dave Weckl, they studied everything those guys have done, and all you have out there now are just bad copies. Who you are will come out, but only after you've demonstrated competence on the instrument on your own - and really, only your experiences make your character, so you couldn't really be anybody else's character if you wanted to.
Well, I played since age 8, and I play drums frequently till today. But all I ever thought was to have a character on my own (which is the reason why I posted this thread). So far, I thought of playing others' songs before watching Echa. Only at the time when I watched him in his live vids, I felt like he's shown character in his playing, and I wanted to have my own style, too.

I didn't mean to follow his style at the time I wrote this thread out. I thought like finding one of my own. But anyway my band said I had a unique style. But I felt that wasn't enough, since they're no drummers, though. As if that's true, I think I'm just expecting too much, regarding how long I've played.

Well, anyway thanks a lot for the tips. I appreciate all of your tips, guys.
As if there are more tips coming, I'll be waiting, too.
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  #7  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

The very worst person to identify a certain character in your playing, is you. If you've been playing for a while, it's likely that you'll already have subtle ways of expression, but you just can't identify this for yourself. A playing character is mainly about choices, & as those choices change over time, & from situation to situation, so does the way your character manifests itself. Thinking about crafting your own style is effectively "forcing" change. An identifiable playing character is almost always an organic thing, a culmination of elements you pick up on your playing journey.

I advise forgetting about the whole subject and just apply yourself to the job in hand. If you want to know what your current playing character is, either ask others what they identify in your playing, or video yourself at a gig and notice when you're smiling. That's as close as you're lively to get without forcing something shallow & fashion transient.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

I believe that character is a result of what happens over time when ingredients are put together. Your personality, your approach, your playing, influences, style.....all go into developing your character. And since character is something that is usually applied to you by someone else, rather than something you'd go around stating, it's likely that others will notice it and define it before you do....much like the way you have pointed out the character in Echa Soemantri.

I believe, like Andy said, your character changes as situations change. Who you are in an orchestra pit is going to be a different character than who you are in a power-trio, or a jazz combo, or whatever.
And like Bo said, developing character takes time, and is not just about aping a style of another drummer in the hopes of either being like them or following their path.
To me, it's about soaking up music like a sponge. All those influences get soaked up. Then, when you squeeze it, your character comes out.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2012, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

IMO you should just be your self, your unique character will eventually come along ;D
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

There is character in everything you (all of us) do. There's even character to your message board posts which are unique to you. There is character to your playing now, and it's ever evolving. It's hard to notice one's own character (but recording yourself can help). The last thing you should ever do though is search for a static character. It will and should change with time, all the time. And others will always perceive it differently than yourself.

Just play, and never stop learning.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

I'm not sure it's easy to express your character as an accompanist. Depending on the music it's not always even desirable, given that in many genres the drummer is mostly there to help other players express themselves.

The player you spoke of was soloing - he was the star, doing what seemed to be a gospel chops kind of thing.
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Old 07-19-2012, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

You're looking for something that's already there, it was there since the doctor slapped you on the behind. The way you approach the drums, the way you touch the drums, the things that you think of to play while at the drums, how you look when you are playing the drums...are all unique to you....all these things and more make up your character. One can refine his or her character but changing your character is like trying to change your thumbprint. You can't escape yourself. (Believe me, I keep trying but it doesn't work lol)

It's not like you have no character and you have to adopt one. What you are really looking for is the refinement of your own character. I might even go as far as to say that your drumming character is directly proportional to your drumming ability. Does that sound right to anyone?
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
I'm not sure it's easy to express your character as an accompanist. Depending on the music it's not always even desirable, given that in many genres the drummer is mostly there to help other players express themselves.

The player you spoke of was soloing - he was the star, doing what seemed to be a gospel chops kind of thing.
Oh I think as a drummer, any song you play on will just drip with your character. As much as we are helping the others realize their visions, the personal stamp a drummer puts on songs is specific to that drummer IMO.

I guess it depends on how you define character. A drummer could play 3 notes and I can tell a lot about their character.

If Gregg Bissonette originally tracked "50 Ways"....that song would have a completely different character, as it should be.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

this is something that should and will develop naturally

if you are putting on some phony persona an audience can pick it up within seconds....not a good look

just be honest and enjoy playing

honesty connects with an audience more than anything you can plan to portray to them
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2012, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

You're looking at this situation totally the wrong way.

Chances are that you do already have some character when you play, you just cannot see it. It's like getting old, you can't see the wrinkles forming but someone who hasn't seen you in a few years will notice right away.

char·ac·ter   [kar-ik-ter]
noun
1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.

Synonyms
1. Character, individuality, personality refer to the sum of the characteristics possessed by a person. Character refers especially to moral qualities, ethical standards, principles, and the like: a man of sterling character. Individuality refers to the distinctive qualities that make one recognizable as a person differentiated from others: a woman of strong individuality. Personality refers particularly to the combination of outer and inner characteristics that determine the impression that a person makes upon others: a child of vivid or pleasing personality.

Your individuality will begin to show itself when you do things how YOU want to. What music styles do you like? Prefer fast or slow tempos? Favourite time signatures? Favourite rudiments? Favourite pieces on your kit? There are many, many more questions you can ask yourself.

Once your personal preferences for these things become apparent, you will naturally start to put them together in a way that makes you feel good. Based on my examples, let's say you like funk, at a relaxed tempo, you favour 12/8, enjoy doing flam triplets and fell in love years ago with a splash that's still on your kit. This can give you almost infinite combinations by itself, from the nature of music, but it could manifest itself in a slick and funky flammed fill that doesn't take over the song. Also, don't take this example literally, apply it to your situation.

Don't try to be unique, just try to be you.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Yes Anthony. Honesty. It cracks me up when guys are up there noticeably trying to look cool. Show me a person who is past all that and who genuinely loves to play, without any gratuitous visual hype or pretense. I strive for honesty in everything I do. People know it when they see it, can usually spot dishonesty a mile away, and will have the most respect for the honest person. Unless they are trying to take advantage of your good nature, different topic.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

You shouldn't try and force character, just be. Be as open and honest as you can, (takes some bravery to own stuff) even with your flaws and vulnerabilities. It's part of a musicians responsibility to convey that uncolored honesty in what they do. That's what people relate to, not acting cool lol.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Yes Anthony. Honesty. It cracks me up when guys are up there noticeably trying to look cool. Show me a person who is past all that and who genuinely loves to play, without any gratuitous visual hype or pretense. I strive for honesty in everything I do. People know it when they see it, can usually spot dishonesty a mile away, and will have the most respect for the honest person. Unless they are trying to take advantage of your good nature, different topic.
absolutely Lar

nothing more evident than a put on ....and nothing can lose an audience faster

honesty speaks volumes
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Oh I think as a drummer, any song you play on will just drip with your character. As much as we are helping the others realize their visions, the personal stamp a drummer puts on songs is specific to that drummer IMO.

I guess it depends on how you define character. A drummer could play 3 notes and I can tell a lot about their character.

If Gregg Bissonette originally tracked "50 Ways"....that song would have a completely different character, as it should be.
Yeah, I guess so but but often we have personas - not being fake, just the little masks we wear - there's our "family selves", our work selves, musical selves, then there's a self we bring out for friends, for lovers, acquaintances etc. We can bring in different "masks" for different songs too, just as Meryl Streep may have certain "Steepisms" but she changes dramatically depending on her gig.

Often, when we play our role in a song we are actively suppressing large parts of our character - we might try to copy other player's lines in covers, or a song reminds you of something else and you find yourself taking on that familiar drummer's role, or we might channel other players for inspiration. Some people dedicate themselves to trying to sound like John Bonham.

Band members might sometimes will ask you to play a song like "so-and-so". Often the cookie cutter beat or fill is the best for a song. It depends on the style too. The genres where drummer is an equal partner tend to tell you a lot more about a drummer's character because they can express themselves more freely.

Your basic drummer personality will always shine through to some extent but I'm not convinced it's always relevant.
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Old 07-19-2012, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Just play. Trying to search for a character is like searching for the best smile. It'll just come off fake. Do what you do and it'll be what it'll be. And that is the character.
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  #21  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

Okay, thanks for all the tips, guys.

So far I think I've misunderstood my inner and outer self regarding the "character" thingy.

Well, nonetheless, all your tips help. Thanks a lot, I appreciate it very much!
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  #22  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

The best way is to stop looking for it.
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  #23  
Old 07-20-2012, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

I think you'd be better off trying to find your muse.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

There is no spoon.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:34 AM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

My personal experience says that after you find out what other guys do that you like, eventually you'll stop worrying about other drummers and how to do what they do, at least for the most part. A big part of your style is what ideas you come up with for musical problems, and since music isn't for the most part a science, your solutions to those problems will be unique and interesting as long as you just let your mind go where it likes. Some of my best ideas were generated during improv jams with friends of mine with whom I was very comfortable with in a musical setting. It's part fun and part thinking.
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

100 points to Anon for working Meryl Streep into conversation on a drum forum!
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

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100 points to Anon for working Meryl Streep into conversation on a drum forum!
And I still believe the analogy is valid! When you play a faithful cover you are basically acting, not to the extent that the singer is, but it's still an attempt to copy someone who isn't you ...
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: How do I find my character in my drumming?

There have been numerous articles and threads over the years on forums and in magazines about how find one's own sound.


Steve Jordon was interviewed a few months back in Modern Drummer, and he said something that I thought was rather profound and spot on: that we shouldn't strive to find our sound, but we should strive to find the right sound for the music that is in front of us.

That said, I don't think anyone needs to find their character. It is who you are. Everyone has their own music interests, and no two people practice the exact same way. You are your own character anytime you are playing, because you are the only you.
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