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  #1  
Old 02-22-2018, 04:42 AM
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Default Improvising fills

When I have time to write out fills for songs I come up with some pretty unique and cool stuff (well at least I think I do lol). But when I have to improvise fills off the top of my head I find that I absolutely suck at doing this anymore and I feel like I'm just flailing around trying not to sound awful! I'm sure it's because I've been writing everything out not for note for so long and have not been applying improvisational skills to songs. But, this is something that I want to change and get much better at. I still plan to write out some fills in some song's. But I need to get way better at playing good fills off the top of my head


What has brought this whole issue into sharp focus is the fact that I'm working on cover tunes for an audition on Friday. I really don't have time to write detailed charts and practice everything note-for-note perfectly spot-on. So I'm improvising the fills in the same general feel of the songs original fills. But I feel like I'm just hacking through trying to sound half way musical and not suck too bad!

So, what are the exercises that you all use to improve on your improvisational skills when it comes to fills, and even beats for that matter while playing?

I've always been a pre-planned beat and fill kind of guy like Neil Peart used to be. So to be honest my improvisational skills have always been weak. I really like the things I come up with when I have the time to pre write them and pre-plan them. But when I have to come up with beats and fills on the fly while I'm playing I usually come up with stuff that's not very good in my opinion. So I've got to get better at this asap!
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:04 AM
williamsbclontz williamsbclontz is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

For me personally, the only way to get better with improvisation is listening to a lot of music and good drummers. 50% of everything I play is stolen from other drummers and the other 50% is inspired by what I've seen from other drummers. Just listen a lot and whatever you end up playing be confident about it and you'll be fine, it just takes getting used to
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Old 02-22-2018, 05:14 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
I've always been a pre-planned beat and fill kind of guy like Neil Peart used to be.
Works great when you're in one band that plays the same songs night after night. Not such a good approach for a working player.

Quote:
So, what are the exercises that you all use to improve on your improvisational skills when it comes to fills, and even beats for that matter while playing?
Such an easy question, with many different answers, depending on your skill level, and the music at hand. There are many techniques to improvise fills. Best get a teacher.

Quote:
So I've got to get better at this asap!
It takes time to learn to improvise fills, more than a few days for most. Might be best just to play simple things for now. Focus on learning the fills that are important for the song, and improv the rest.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:15 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Improvising fills is not something that you can quickly develop. But here is what worked for me. I practiced the original thirteen essential rudiments. Listed here:

1. The Double Stroke Open Roll
2. The Five Stroke Roll
3. The Seven Stroke Roll
4. The Flam
5. The Flam Accent
6. The Flam Paradiddle
7. The Flamacue
8. The Drag (Half Drag or Ruff)
9. The Single Drag Tap
10. The Double Drag Tap
11. The Double Paradiddle
12. The Single Ratamacue
13. The Triple Ratamacue

But I did it in a unique way. I put on my favorite music. And sitting at the full drum set I played the first rudiment all the way through the first song. In time with the song. Could have been fast or slow, it does not matter. And as I played the rudiment I moved around the kit. Snare to toms even cymbals, all around the kit. Then when the next song came on, no matter what it was, I played the second rudiment along with that song, all the way through the song. It can get kind of interesting trying to play some of the rudiments to the tempo of various songs. (Once in a while a rudiment just won't work with a particular song.) But that was one of the goals of the practice session. to try and figure out how to play the rudiments to music. And learning how to play rudiments around the drum kit.

And then eventually, almost like magic, when you are playing a song and you need to add a fill, the rudiments become part of your playing and part of your fills. The rudiments become improvised fills and just flow out of your head and into your hands.


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Old 02-22-2018, 07:40 AM
martianmambo martianmambo is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Something that really opened up my improvisation skills was linear playing.

I used to practice rudiments a LOT, but to be honest, it hasn't helped my kit playing all that much. For kit, all you really need are singles, doubles, flams, and paradiddles. Paradiddles are especially productive for fill ideas and even beats.

Something you'll notice about the greats is that some of them only have a handful of licks, but they use them in creative ways. Think of some patterns that you think sound cool or are easy to execute, then practice them around the kit and in different metrical contexts. I used to practice a pattern of five notes (R l R l l) a lot until it became a part of my normal vocabulary; now I play it without even realizing it sometimes.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:24 AM
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Black Label Black Label is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

I'm a self-taught drummer who learnt by listening and playing along to all my favorite tracks - disco, pop, blues, funk, rock, jazz, the lot. Over time, I think I developed a feel for what works where and when and I generally adjust to different playing situations quite well. I improvise a lot, possibly to compensate for my lack of training, technical proficiency and technique probably. But so far so good - it works in the bands I play in.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:04 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by Black Label View Post
I'm a self-taught drummer who learnt by listening and playing along to all my favorite tracks - disco, pop, blues, funk, rock, jazz, the lot. Over time, I think I developed a feel for what works where and when and I generally adjust to different playing situations quite well. I improvise a lot, possibly to compensate for my lack of training, technical proficiency and technique probably. But so far so good - it works in the bands I play in.
This is where I land as well.

Early on plenty of formal training, but comfort to pop off a fill whenever required became second nature only through playing, and I purposely avoid playing the exact fills during a cover unless it is really required of the music. I think in terms of what the music needs not about the fill itself. I think a lot of guys think in terms of "here is the 'beat' or groove" and then "oh shit I need a fill"......I just play the damn music and mentally I don't really segment it. And I haven't written a fill down in probably 25-30 years. In the time I could write a fill down I could have played 30 fills and learned more....
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  #8  
Old 02-22-2018, 01:35 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

If you've already written out a load of fills you like but only use them at specific times in a specific song it sounds like you haven't memorised them.

Take a fill you like, learn it, put on a song and then play that one fill again and again every time you can throughout that song using different drums / cymbals then do the same with a different song until it's totally fluent .... then pick a different fill and start again .... keep doing this and you'll very quickly build up a vocabulary of fills that you play when needed and you don't even think about as they just come naturally.

Do the same with rudiment fills each time moving it to different voices, the same with triplets moving the accent from the 1st stroke to the 2nd to the 3rd and on a different voice every time.

Much as martianmambo I also found linear playing opened up my vocabulary of fills.

Do all of the above and keep improvising to music you're not familiar with and you should see a quick progression ... you'll suddenly be sitting there playing away and go ...... Where the F... did that fill come from ... lovely feeling :-)
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Old 02-22-2018, 02:19 PM
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Alex Sanguinetti Alex Sanguinetti is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Every lick is a "word", learn many and you have a whole VOCABULARY, you also need the "connecting" aspect...

Then there are different sistems to develop this, some easy ones and some more complex, in any way, both give great results...

Listen to the other guys playing with you and get influenced by there playing, could be exact mimiking something (do little of this) or against, see what their phrases suggest you, or...

Study with someone who HAS improvising skills, not that just TALKS about it...

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgOf6HAbQNc
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Old 02-22-2018, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

I'm not sure if you can learn to be spontaneous, the key to improvising. But I'd think simply grooving and filling will force you to create on the fly. How about 3 bars of groove, then a fill, over and over and over. That's at least twice as many fill opportunities as just playing the song, so your exploration skills will be put to the test.

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Old 02-22-2018, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

I never figured out a good method for teaching this. There are books for learning fills but they always feel kind of pointless. Usually you get ideas from listening to a lot of music. It helps if you understand what you're doing rhythmically-- a lot of novices have their rote memorized beats and just try to flail in their fills. You have to actually know about rhythm and have it internalized. Playing through a book like Funky Primer might help with that.

You can also get very friendly with alternating singles in 8th notes, 16th notes, triplets, sixtuplets, and 32nd notes (depending on the tempo), while improvising moves to other drums. Try starting those on different beats (or &s of beats) in the last measure of a two or four measure phrase.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

I definetly teach this. It's no different than developing vocabulary on the guitar or any other instrument. It's a huge subject and how you go about it is very dependent on your general level, interest and how you like to practice.

As a general rule take a small piece. Milk it for what it's worth. Make it your own and practice it in context.

The difference between information and knowledge is a well known subject and it applies here. If it doesn't show up naturally when you play, you can juggle it aroundand make it fit anywhere witohut thinking about it do not move on. It's not about halfasing a ton of things. Know just a few licks or concepts well enough and they will naturally open the doors to almost anything naturally, if you know them well enough.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

honestly, same. Whenever I improvise fills (which I actually do a lot more than I should :/ ) it ends up being the same boring single stroke bass drum fill ( K K S S K K S S etc etc....sometimes I do these in triplets which is about as interesting as my improvised fills get)
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:48 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I never figured out a good method for teaching this.
Really? I feel I can fill a short book with ways to teach this. I've had a few great lessons myself on the topic, and it's something I spend a lot of time teaching. There are 2 books that have worthwhile content, off the top of my head: Studio and Big Band Drumming (Steve Houghton) and Technique Patterns (Chaffee).

You mentioned alternating singles in various subdivisions, which is an obvious starting point. But how to navigate the kit is not well-discussed or documented.

The other obvious starting point is how and when to transition from beat to fill and back. It's useful to become able to start a fill at any point in the measure, and return on beat 1.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

For me the best ideas come from listening to what the other players are doing rhythmically. Taking rhythmic ideas leading up to a fill and using them somehow. Fills tend to fit in with what's going on better that way. And that level of listening is just good all around for the band.

Another helpful trick is to sometimes limit yourself to one or two voices on the kit. I.e. not every fill has to be some roll around all the drums or whatever.

A practice idea I use sometimes is to play along to recorded music and do fills almost constantly. Trying to keep it musical. That flexes the improv muscles. Doing this too much can probably lead to playing busier if you're not careful.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummingman View Post
When I have time to write out fills for songs I come up with some pretty unique and cool stuff (well at least I think I do lol). But when I have to improvise fills off the top of my head I find that I absolutely suck at doing this anymore and I feel like I'm just flailing around trying not to sound awful! I'm sure it's because I've been writing everything out not for note for so long and have not been applying improvisational skills to songs. But, this is something that I want to change and get much better at. I still plan to write out some fills in some song's. But I need to get way better at playing good fills off the top of my head


What has brought this whole issue into sharp focus is the fact that I'm working on cover tunes for an audition on Friday. I really don't have time to write detailed charts and practice everything note-for-note perfectly spot-on. So I'm improvising the fills in the same general feel of the songs original fills. But I feel like I'm just hacking through trying to sound half way musical and not suck too bad!

So, what are the exercises that you all use to improve on your improvisational skills when it comes to fills, and even beats for that matter while playing?

I've always been a pre-planned beat and fill kind of guy like Neil Peart used to be. So to be honest my improvisational skills have always been weak. I really like the things I come up with when I have the time to pre write them and pre-plan them. But when I have to come up with beats and fills on the fly while I'm playing I usually come up with stuff that's not very good in my opinion. So I've got to get better at this asap!
Hmm. It might not help you by the time you have to audition.

But my entire life has been revolving around listening and imitating - basically attempting to emulate the masters. But in this life-long process, I've either backlogged a bunch of licks subconsciously, or have just learned how to create stuff on the fly because I've heard so much.

I like Rush and Neil Peart, but I never did understand his penchant for really working out parts and sticking to them - but in Rush we expect that. It was really obvious when he played the Buddy Rich thing how that mentality just doesn't work. It's an Eagles mentality too - they tend to stick to the songs the way they recorded them live, and i guess that's good for the ticket buyers who want to hear the hits, but as a musician that must be aggravating not being able to stretch out (if you can).

I say go with what Bermuda was saying: play time, then force your way through fills. Record yourself doing it and see if you like it on the playback. There are also patented drum fills provided by the Motown drummers that are simple and work perfectly for a lot of things.

However, you may be lucky in that your job is really to provide time and feel. Fills and licks are at the bottom of my list when I go on an audition, so maybe you'll be ok by just not playing any fills at all. In fact, I'll bet you'll stick out more in a positive way by not playing fills.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

I improvise fills based on the song dynamics. But I have a bag of tricks I can pull from, like certain fills I only use for blues songs, certain ones for rock & other ones for reggae. But mostly song dynamics will dictate improvising on the fills. I think Lars Ulrich does a good job of this.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:41 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by brentcn View Post
Really? I feel I can fill a short book with ways to teach this.
Sure. It's not like I'm lacking for ways of developing some pretty arcane areas of drumming. Anybody who played through 15% of my stuff would certainly be capable of improvising a fill. Developing normal skills you learn everything you need to do that. I've just never found a decent method for directly working on fills that didn't kind of suck. Joel Rothman has written a ton of stuff on it, and he comes the closest, but it's still a drag to play through, and completely uninspiring. Erskine has a book of fills that is decent, but playing through it just feels stupid.

I don't know what it is. There's some missing context element that makes those things not work for me. I don't know how you arrive at this or these or this or this with exercises.

Quote:
I've had a few great lessons myself on the topic, and it's something I spend a lot of time teaching. There are 2 books that have worthwhile content, off the top of my head: Studio and Big Band Drumming (Steve Houghton) and Technique Patterns (Chaffee).
I'm aware of both of those. Houghton is largely about setting up kicks, which is slightly different from normal fills. Chaffee is general technique stuff for soloing-- good for virtuosic feature-type breaks and solos, not so much for ordinary functional filling supporting a context, which is what I'm talking about.

Quote:
You mentioned alternating singles in various subdivisions, which is an obvious starting point. But how to navigate the kit is not well-discussed or documented.
I work some stock moves into as many practice routines as possible. You can also run them by themselves single-handed in a set rhythm. That helps.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:13 PM
Gottliver Gottliver is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

This video helped me a lot..
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t1_dO6AI-e0
Being a bass player first and only starting drums late in life, i find that less fills equals a better drummer and a better performance. No drummer has ever lost a gig by playing time.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:15 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I don't know how you arrive at this or these or this or this with exercises.
Well, you probably can't, through exercises alone. Certain things you can point to though -- a "call and response", a hemiola, a "fill and catch". But overall, it's too dependent on the music at hand, and the rapport between the musicians. I guess I'm referring to improvising fills on a more basic level -- simply feeling confident about leaving a groove, making up a fill, and getting back on the 1 (or any other beat), without getting lost, speeding up or slowing down. This wouldn't explain when to play a fill, but it would help you to execute cleanly if the opportunity arises.


Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I'm aware of both of those. Houghton is largely about setting up kicks, which is slightly different from normal fills. Chaffee is general technique stuff for soloing-- good for virtuosic feature-type breaks and solos, not so much for ordinary functional filling supporting a context, which is what I'm talking about.
The Hougton stuff I like for the idea that the right hand play the "melody" of the rhythm, and the left hand tends to fill in the remaining subdivisions. It's a good way to get beyond playing single strokes, without diving immediately into a rudimental approach.

Agreed, the Chaffee Techniques stuff is for the more advanced/showy type of playing. But it's still nice to see it explained in a clear manner. It gets the student acquainted with improvising singles and doubles.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by Gottliver View Post
i find that less fills equals a better drummer and a better performance. No drummer has ever lost a gig by playing time.
Good point.
And, if you are playing the snare drum on 2&4 and then for one bar at the end of the verse you play the snare drum on 2,3&4; You just did a fill.



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Old 02-22-2018, 10:39 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

What's an exercise?

An activity to better one's ability to perform a certain activity.

You create the exercises.

Past the most basic level and supplement with the more of a mentor attitude that's more relevant today than ever, that would a the main teachers job. IMO

If one student doesn't get it, generally because they don't have the experience or insight it's our job to make it so. It's amazing how many teachers don't really get that, that's also why I think too many of them suck.
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

For such a simple question there's so much to consider, and I think this is something that all of us have faced at some point in our playing. Here are a couple ideas that really stuck out to me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I'm not sure if you can learn to be spontaneous, the key to improvising.
I agree. I think most improvisation is really just creatively stringing together licks and bits you've already worked on. The talent is in hiding the process and making what you're doing sound like it has a purpose in the moment.

Which leads me to another point I like a lot:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Improvising fills is not something that you can quickly develop. But here is what worked for me. I practiced the original thirteen essential rudiments...
These rudiments essentially give us the building blocks for our vocabulary as drummers. They're still only a means to an end (you have to figure out for yourself which ones fit the music you're playing, and how you want to orchestrate them on the whole kit) but having the technical facility to play them well opens up fill possibilities because when you're no longer concentrating on technique it allows you to focus more on choosing the right fill for the song.
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

For me, when others say I'm improvising, I'm usually not really doing so. I use the melodies, rhythms and themes of the song itself to guide how my fills and transitions will go. I just try to mimic/enhance what I'm hearing... So I think of it as less "improvising" and more "playing stuff inspired by what's in my ears".
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Pat Boone, Debbie Boone!
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Old 02-22-2018, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Pat Boone, Debbie Boone!
This is the opposite of improvising. That's a "standard" fill that even has a name.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
This is the opposite of improvising. That's a "standard" fill that even has a name.
Isn't improvising just grabbing appropriate fills from your bag of tricks, as required?

The bigger your bag, and the more you practice grabbing stuff out of it, the better your improvising becomes.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
Isn't improvising just grabbing appropriate fills from your bag of tricks, as required?

The bigger your bag, and the more you practice grabbing stuff out of it, the better your improvising becomes.
Not really... Having a list of fills that you use is the opposite of improvising.

im·pro·vise
ˈimprəˌvīz
verb
create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation.

When an actor spontaneously comes up with a line on set, that's improv... If he's using lines he pre-wrote and memorized that's the opposite.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Yeah, for that actor metaphor.

You'll probably be using common works, but having them down and practiced putting them together spontaneously into coherent ideas during practice you wil simply improve.

There's the crux right there. Don't do mindless exercises. Do the thing you try to learn, note what doesn't flow and fix that specifically. This practice hopefully relates to th voice you want to have on the instrument. There's really nothing that requires more practice than doing this well and what you are practicing as much as anything is your level of focus and just really being present.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:53 AM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

More and more I think of fills in the traditional legato filling in a whole/half note like a trumpet or violin.
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Not really... Having a list of fills that you use is the opposite of improvising.

im·pro·vise
ˈimprəˌvīz
verb
create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation.

When an actor spontaneously comes up with a line on set, that's improv... If he's using lines he pre-wrote and memorized that's the opposite.
It comes down to what you mean by "create".

When an actor improvises, he doesn't invent words, he strings together words that he already knows to come up with new phrases. If it fits the music, sticking with the example that I gave, you might play

Debbie Boone
Pat Boone
Pat Boone
Debbie Boone

...over a selection of drum kit elements that works.

Just because the fill consists of patterns that you may know an already use doesn't mean that it isn't improvised.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:44 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Not really... Having a list of fills that you use is the opposite of improvising.

im·pro·vise
ˈimprəˌvīz
verb
create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation.

When an actor spontaneously comes up with a line on set, that's improv... If he's using lines he pre-wrote and memorized that's the opposite.
I don't quite go with that ... it's almost like saying because you've hit a drum before playing drums isn't improvising or you're playing away and suddenly decide to do a paradiddle fill BUT because you're using a paradiddle that you've previously learnt it's not improvising.

The improvisation is taking what you've learnt and choosing where and when to apply it without any pre-planning.

It's weird seeing how many people do pre plan what they're going to play I virtually never do and am able to get reasonably close to the original in most instances or something that works ... unless ... they're fairly complicated rhythms / fills in which case I may break them down and repeatedly go back over certain sections until I get them.

That said literally a week ago for the 1st time ever I listened to parts of a song and played the fill in my mind 1st and then copied what I'd imagined playing on the kit and it broadened out what I did quite a lot ... this would obviously take a long time to do for every song but some of the results were quite spectacular.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:39 PM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by JustJames View Post
It comes down to what you mean by "create".

When an actor improvises, he doesn't invent words, he strings together words that he already knows to come up with new phrases. If it fits the music, sticking with the example that I gave, you might play

Debbie Boone
Pat Boone
Pat Boone
Debbie Boone

...over a selection of drum kit elements that works.

Just because the fill consists of patterns that you may know an already use doesn't mean that it isn't improvised.
The point I was trying to get at is that inserting pre-practiced fills and patterns will only get you so far and quickly start to look like a limitation even if you sort of vary it with different combinations on those fills. You want to keep yourself open to anything that might inspire you and pulling from the bag of tricks keeps you thinking about that bag of tricks. Really all I'm saying is that in your example above, I think of individual notes as "words" and you're talking about using whole pre-practiced patterns as your words. That's the potential limitation I'm implying.

Using word syllables as guides is a great way to practice new patterns and get techniques under your belt, but the end goal should be honing your overall abilities at translating the rhythms in the music around you into literal complimentary fills. Don't think about how many boones you can fit into a space and in what combination, think about/react what's playing around you in a completely open mind-set. That's real improv. That's where the new ideas come from.

For me and lots of musicians I know... When some new player we encounter is pulling from a "bag of tricks" it becomes painfully obvious once we run through a few songs and you hear the recycling of the same patterns. To be honest, it's something we all do, even other instrument players... It's hard to resist putting what we practice to direct use... But being able to resist doing so is a great skill to have.

Again, none of this is directed at you and you're the second most awesome James around here. I'm pontificating on the general concept. I've also had several teachers use the word-syllable idea when breaking down fills so it's not an invalid idea or anything, I just think it should be for learning rather than use in live musical situations... It's like counting. After a certain point, we shouldn't need to count as we play to stay in place and time, we do it when we practice because it helps us break down the fill/section/beat into chunks that are easy to understand and replicate in relation to the time.

The same often goes for "rudiments". In a normal music/rock setting, you don't want to just be verbatim regurgitating rudiments in different combinations to try and make them sound different. You want to practice those rudiments to help your body and mind be able to execute whatever pattern you might come up with or be inspired for.
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Old 02-23-2018, 09:43 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Creativity has a 'skill' aspect that can be developed.

A couple things that I feel have improved by playing selection 'on the fly'.

1) Always be thinking about a rhythm even while doing other things. I am right now and usually am unless in a real tight 'concentration required' spot on some critical task.

2) When you play, set time for practicing creativity...and record it.
Play along with something and if you play something you think is not what you want to be hearing from your playing, stop immediately...back up...and do it again.
I pursued the sensation of unfamiliarity with what I am currently playing and would stop immediately if it was familiar, back up and do it again...very hard to do.
This can play havoc with your established time skills...so be sure to attend to practicing your timing and 'time keeping' in equal measure...yay metronomes!

3) Learn to endure the irritation of attending to that nagging sensation that you have done this before...that is a bear.


Careful with this...it can alter your playing...make sure you like what you are producing as you develop the 'familiarity' sense...I learned that what sounds good on paper(such as ambidextrous playing) may not meet what you are wanting from your playing.

Otto
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  #35  
Old 02-24-2018, 12:13 AM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
The point I was trying to get at is that inserting pre-practiced fills and patterns will only get you so far and quickly start to look like a limitation even if you sort of vary it with different combinations on those fills.
Again I'm sorry I disagree, if you learn enough of them and become totally fluent in them whilst you might have learnt say rlrlkk as a fill and practiced that on it's own you may also have learnt rlk as a fill and practiced that on it's own and may also of learnt a paraddidle fill.

If you've learnt them well enough and they're so ingrained you'll find you switch between them mid fill without even thinking about it and open up a massive vocabulary of going from one to the other as you just switch between them without even thinking about it.

Maybe you personally can't do this but don't see it as a limitation on what others can do.

If you only learn the letters act in the alphabet you'll only be able to spell a limited number of words ... one meows ... if you learn the whole alphabet you can use an awful lot more words and mix and match them as you see fit ... drumming is no different ... you may start to spell cat but as you start it you may decide to change it to caterpillar or catery or cateye or cataract half way though but if you haven't learnt the pillar, ery. eye or aract part you can't go there but if you've learnt them well you go go between all of them whenever you want chopping and changing as you please.

The more you pre-practice fills / patterns the more fluently you'll be able to play them but also switch from one to another half way through as in reality nobody sits there and plays though a song with totally unique fills / rhythms they've never done before in their entire life ... just not realistic.
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Old 02-24-2018, 12:21 AM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

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Originally Posted by Witterings View Post
The more you pre-practice fills / patterns the more fluently you'll be able to play them but also switch from one to another half way through as in reality nobody sits there and plays though a song with totally unique fills / rhythms they've never done before in their entire life ... just not realistic.
Nonsense. Might not be something you're good at, but it's very realistic. Not once in my entire life have I sat around for hours practicing pre-thought out fills. I base my playing on the music, which is already chock full of interesting rhythmic ideas that can, on the fly, be turned into unique and interesting transitions or "fills". Even in my own band's original songs, I quite often play new things as I'm inspired rather than play what was already come up with. Things I've never played before because only that song has that little rhythmic thing that inspired my new fill.

It will probably really blow your mind to know that I never, ever think in terms of "fills" at all. I am not trying to shoehorn my pre-learned fills into the music, I let the music lead me and create my fills. If you're not confident enough to truly improvise and feel you absolutely must select from your carefully practiced bag of trick fills, you are indeed limiting yourself and your ability to create.

It's okay, we can disagree, but I think you're closing your mind a bit on this. Trust me when I say that a LOT of musicians roll their eyes when dudes are up there regurgitating the same fills in slightly different ways or looking for places to shoe-in the cool rudiment or triplet fill they worked so hard on. It's cringey.

Also, side note, you may not be aware but it looks like the link in your signature to your band page is dead due to domain expiry. Just wanted to let you know!
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  #37  
Old 02-24-2018, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Odd-Arne Oseberg View Post
What's an exercise?

An activity to better one's ability to perform a certain activity.

Learning and performing are two separate things which shouldn't be combined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI7sEUy-PZA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lck36CFfFWY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJHdvg3ut_I

Last edited by drumming sort of person; 02-24-2018 at 02:07 AM.
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  #38  
Old 02-24-2018, 06:22 AM
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Jeff Almeyda Jeff Almeyda is offline
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Some good advice on this thread.

A common denominator I’ve seen with drummers who have issues similar to the OP’s is a rhythm issue and not a drumming one.

Working through all permutations of 16ths and triplets ala Bob Moses, Chaffee or, more recently Benny Greb will open you up.

Working through Gary Chester’s 39 basic systems or Bellson’s 4/4 book will help you to use those permutations.

Of course this all assumes you can read.

It goes on from there, with developing the ability to subdivide the pulse any way you like and then developing the ability to cross the barline freely.

If it all seems like too much just run through Gary Chester a few times. The rhythmic awareness it will give you will go a long way
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Old 02-24-2018, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Quote:
Originally Posted by martianmambo View Post
For kit, all you really need are singles, doubles, flams, and paradiddles. Paradiddles are especially productive for fill ideas and even beats.
I concur with this
Paradiddles open up so many different combinations on around your hi-hat/snare/toms/kick and allows you to do fills that end in a kick drum or reset on snare, which is one of the oft-used type fills. I will often use singles followed by a combination of paradiddle to go into the next bar.

Also, I love incorporating double strokes in the beginning of the fill that allows dynamic accenting of the rest of the fill before ending it
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Improvising fills

Thanks all for the replies. Some good stuff!

By the way, I got the gig!
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