A mental block I need to get over ...

Anon La Ply

Further to some very good posts, one issue I've had is acceptance - accepting myself and accepting my playing. It occurred to me embarrassingly recently that if you don't 100% accept what you just played then you cannot be fully present in the following passages. Doh!

As Larry said, with mental shifts the first step is in realising what changes will help ... the rest is the longer process of being mindful enough to catch yourself with old (and sometimes largely unconscious) mental habits and replacing them.

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
One staple for me...if the music is speeding along and it's a particular song that absolutely demands a fill and I'm not confident of hitting it then I...errrmm....I will rely on more experienced people here to explain what I am doing....but I will SLOW the fill down....by half....sometimes it feels the fills slowed down even more than by half
Sounds like you're hitting the quarters or something.

Personally I hate it when I do that, if a slowing down fill is not what's required.

For me fills are part of the groove and are about music. They contain rhythm and they contain levels of intensity. The thing to do, it seems to me, is to be musical with them, complementing, sometimes leading the other players, by adding that rhythm or intensity.

I've been listening to tons of Mitch Mitchell and John Bonham lately and they really knew how to make things exciting with the right kinds of fill.

I'd feel I was failing if I played only groove all the way through, unless that's what the tune demands, which is rare.

Daisy, there's no substitute for practicing fills; building a palette of them; ones that excite; ones that slow things down; ones that interest; ones that make people move/groove.
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Silver Member
I practice a lot but never plan out fills or solos in advance, to keep them "fresh". Sometimes
I almost panic just before having to play something but have learned to relax and pretend
that no one else is around and I'm only playing for myself....that helps a lot. Sometimes
you have to let it all go out of your head and play instinctively.


Senior Member
I have digested everything, so thanks to all. I do need to just mess around and experiment on the kit more. I don't know where I expect this ability to come from if I don't actually practice it. Perhaps because I feel that such effort as I have put in to date should be producing a bit more by now? Well, it hasn't - so keep at it !

I do actually have some "go to" fills for bringing in changes etc. All simple stuff. I perhaps didn't appreciate that they're all that's required sometimes.

Thanks Larry for the link. I have actually read that book, some time ago - I got nothing out of it and don't have it any more. I will give it another go. Perhaps I read it too soon into my ... no, not going to use the J word !!

Also thanks to AA for the links - instructive. And yeah, John Bonham eh, damn him. I got all my love of the drums and their place in music from him, and (apparently) my attitude to what a "real drummer" does for the music.

So - OK, this is a skill I haven't practiced enough. I have some skill and it's probably enough for most situations. If I want more, I just need to work at it. And in the meantime, I'll try - yet again - to work on my self belief and not fall into a pit of despair at every set back. (Damn you, over critical father and clever older sibling in whose shadow I grew up. That one's for you, Mary !!)

Thanks again EVERYONE. Apologies for forever using this forum as a therapy session :(


Pioneer Member
Every time it came to a tansition to a chorus or whatever, I panicked, did something that didn't fit, froze in mid air, all that stuff.
I think that a nice low-pressure situation might help you feel more comfortable.

I like 8mile’s idea of trading 4s. If you could find a musician (just one, so the pressure’s minimal) to sit down and jam with on a very casual basis, with nobody else listening and/or judging, that might give you the opportunity to go over and over and over the transitions (or whatever seems to need work) and get more comfortable.

Another option is to play along with loops on your own, so you can just mess around and try whatever you feel like. That will let you avoid judgement from other humans while still maintaining some semblance of a musical form.