Falling into the Same Pattern

helmetface

Senior Member
Alright ladies and gent's I'm having some difficulty here and unfortunately my dilemma is going to probably come across as quite vague, but I am confident many beginners run into something similar:

I am having a hell of a time setting the mood! (Ha!) I find myself falling into a repetitious pattern way too often. I understand "quality" drummer isn't about changing it up every single bar, but I am having real difficulty 'expanding' my drum vocabulary.

I am sure from that paragraph you can pick out my main issues: lack of creativity and inability to match the music.

And, well I come to you all today for advice on breaking through this hurdle I'm currently stuck in, because quite honestly, it makes me not want to play as often and of course, that is no way to get through this.

Any tips are appreciated!
 

helmetface

Senior Member
Oh and to add, I already know how to (at a beginner level) add accents, drop to half-time, quick doubles...just for adding 'flavor'

My conundrum seems to occur most when it comes to transitioning to a different style or producing a more full sound.
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
Buy some new books/DVDs? Like:

The New Breed
Groove Essentials 1&2
4 Way Coordination
Any "big book of beats"

Try to learn some new songs that are just a little past what you're comfortable with?

When you're just rocking out (not really "practicing", not really "playing") try to subtly introduce a single _minor_ technique that you're not completely comfortable with... Like "more double kicks on 2&" or "never kick on 3" or "crash in places other than 1" or "open hihat on 2/4" or "use the ride bell like accents." (i'm just making stuff up here, whatever interests you). Make your "default beat" evolve; don't let yourself always default to the same thing, always try to change it in one small way.
 

Thor Hansen

Junior Member
Well, you could try to listen to different music styles, I don't know if you listen to jazz, but if you have/or listen to jazz, you could listen to other musical styles like cuban, latin, brazilian music etc. Lots of great things to learn from those styles.

Other than that, I would also recommend to buy new books and dvds, try different concepts like polyrhythm, odd time etc.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Hi

Perhaps you need a drum teacher to teach you some basic rudiments, coordination and independance excercises.

You can also create a compilation of songs you like and think you'll be able to play from your computer to a CD and play the songs on the drums with headphones. Try various styles, it will help your vocabulary on the kit.

Furthermore, visit the DrummerWorld videos section, there is plenty of pro-drummer vids showing and explaining their methods from their educational DVD's.

Whichever way you look at it, you'll have to learn the basics, develop coordination and build up your vocabulary through practice.

Hope this helps.
 

jamesmellon

Junior Member
Do you read music at all? If you do, I find that you can get a lot out of writing out what you're playing. Sometimes when you make a visual connection to what you're plaing away from the kit then you can add or subtract things to change it up a little. I've had a lot of fun just displacing things by an eighth note. If you keep the accents the same then you can come up with some rather interesting patterns with very little effort.

Everyone else's advice re: instructional books, teaching or changing up listening habits is pure gold. They've definitely pulled me out of some ruts over the years!

Also, I noticed that you mentioned that you have trouble when you switch between styles. Do you mean styles of music? If that's the case it could be helpful to remember that you are, as you say, a beginner. It takes years to really "master" a particular style of music let alone a variety. It's great that you recognize that you're in a rut but we're often our own harshest critics. Don't be too hard on yourself and keep playing! You'll come through.
 
The drummers that are really good don't suffer from the black dog.
I've seen videos and they have a positive attitude and that is something you can't buy or try to manufacture.
If I feel down,I feel down.

I could practice paradiddles all day long and they still wouldn't be as good as the best drummers.
 
Alright ladies and gent's I'm having some difficulty here and unfortunately my dilemma is going to probably come across as quite vague, but I am confident many beginners run into something similar:

I am having a hell of a time setting the mood! (Ha!) I find myself falling into a repetitious pattern way too often. I understand "quality" drummer isn't about changing it up every single bar, but I am having real difficulty 'expanding' my drum vocabulary.

I am sure from that paragraph you can pick out my main issues: lack of creativity and inability to match the music.

And, well I come to you all today for advice on breaking through this hurdle I'm currently stuck in, because quite honestly, it makes me not want to play as often and of course, that is no way to get through this.

Any tips are appreciated!
Yeah.

I just try to practice rudiments.
All these bloody techniques like moellor LOL.

I've been playing fingers and a closed hand technique for wrists and now I've realised I'm wrong all these years(45 now sobs)

For every drummer on the big stage getting all the accolades,there are drummers locked away in dark rooms,lonely and hungry and practicing their life away because they don't have people skills.

I get too depressed when I think about the human race too much.
 
When it all comes down,alot of technique to me isn't very musical.

On Buddy Rich out of all the drummers I've listened to ,makes it sound musical because he didn't sound mechanical like most drummers I listen to.

Another example is the drummer from Little Feat.

Smooth player.

Bonham still played a rock beat better than anyone.

Anyone know where I'm coming from?

I'd rather make the listener feel welcome not alienate him with some obscure chops.
They had oil in their joints.

I actually like a little bit of imperfection in drumming.

Makes it real.

Today's music is so mechanical.

I dig just listening to someone like Phil Collins and his playing in Brand X.

He didn't play polyrhythms or some obscure Harlem globetrotter BS.

He played music.

Am I being rude?

LOL probably why I don't feel anything when trying to practice things like Moellor technique.

I just want to be in time and support the band.

a friend of mine who is a guitarist is actually a better drummer than me becausae he listens to a song and has better phrasing than me.

He doesn't try to put a seven note fill followed by a flam tap bla bla bla then dsplace the beat lmao.

He plays for the song.

That 's what I loved about the old 70's drummers.

Even the older jazz drummers.

I listen to todays jazz and it's so over technical that the heart and soul doesn't latch onto it and I always find myself going back to old records to hear what wamth and soul and groove and excitement is,not cold ,over technical,over producedstuff that looks down on you like Judge Judy would if she looked at me lol.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
If you're not coming up with new ideas then why push it? Maybe variation isn't your thing?

Listen to these drum tracks - brilliant but, really, not much is overtly going on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfLkO3uwBlQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_zRDchkDXg

While it's good to learn new things there are times when it's best go back to what you can already play, but work on making it more solid, compelling and appealing. No "creativity" needed, just muscle memory and ears, and it's really enjoyable. Not everyone is cut out to be Bill Bruford or Neil Peart, just as not everyone is going to groove.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
When it all comes down,alot of technique to me isn't very musical.
Hi Darren

Interesting post, I certainly agree with you, and no, I don't think you're being rude.

Let's not forget the main reason we're playing the drums (or any other instruments, for that matter): the MUSIC.
Whenever we are in a studio recording, live on stage or just practicing with a band, only the notions of musicality, groove, taste and artistic involvement counts, it's never a question of technique. Sure, you'll need some technique to be able to express yourself, but, nowadays, too often is just a speed race.

Also, virtuosity cannot be applied to all styles of music and it shouldn't be. It's really fantastic to see the level of technical achievements these days and it's really good for the celebration of our cherished instrument, but the problem is that groove and musicality are rarely there.
 
Last edited:

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
When it all comes down,alot of technique to me isn't very musical.

On Buddy Rich out of all the drummers I've listened to ,makes it sound musical because he didn't sound mechanical like most drummers I listen to.

Another example is the drummer from Little Feat.

Smooth player.

Bonham still played a rock beat better than anyone.

Anyone know where I'm coming from? ...
For sure, but ... Buddy, Richie Hayward and Bonzo all had fabulous technique, which enabled them to express themselves. I suppose you're talking about technique for technique's sake but, even there, that's cool for nerdy listeners. There's something for everyone.

Thing is, it depends where the OP wants to go with music and how soon he wants to get there. A common mistake is trying to learn a whole bunch of things quickly rather than developing one new thing and doing it with feel before moving on too far.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Darren, think fun. Go beyond paradiddles. Don't see a tree, see the forest. Imagine a great beat and see how close you can come to replicating what you hear in your head. I can't imagine practicing Moeller. It's just a way to get volume by lifting your arm. Who practices that? It seems you're focusing on the mechanics too much rather than the end result. It's like you baking a cake and obsessing on the vanilla. There's more to cake than the components. Stop analyzing yourself and let go and play for the sheer fun of it. Play along to recordings, but for Pete's sake, stop practicing and start playing. You're bumming me out man lol.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think someone already mentioned the tommy igoe books "groove essentials" is a great way to learn new patterns, and better yet, it's set to real live music so you can see how those grooves are applied.
 
Hi Darren

Interesting post, I certainly agree with you, and no, I don't think you're being rude.

Let's not forget the main reason we're playing the drums (or any other instruments, for that matter): the MUSIC.
Whenever we are in a studio recording, live on stage or just practicing with a band, only the notions of musicality, groove, taste and artistic involvement counts, it's never a question of technique. Sure, you'll need some technique to be able to express yourself, but, nowadays, too often is just a speed race.

Also, virtuosity cannot be applied to all styles of music and it shouldn't be. It's really fantastic to see the level of technical achievements these days and it's really good for the celebration of our cherished instrument, but the problem is that groove and musicality are rarely there.
Spot on.
I listen to a fusion album from today and the drums aren't talking to me.
All they are saying is "gee I'm good"
They don't speak to the heart or the soul.

I listen to the old jazz albums and the playing and even the sounds are better.

Jimmy Cobb or Art Blakey just sound more musical to me.

One thing I've noticed is drum sounds.

Everyone nearly sounds the same now.

I wonder if it's because the quality of recording equipment has made drums reach this level that everyone is going for and there is a platuea.

Remember hearing Brufords snare,Bonhams kick.Rich's snare,even Giles tastyness on Crimsons first album.

I think audio engineers have lost the art of drum recording.

Especially in rock using drum replacers and what not.

I think drumming has lost it's soul a bit.

Over technical,sounds the same and the heart and soul aint getting moved.

i go to a jazz club and can hear drums live and they sound way better.

Pity the patrons sit there like stunned mullets.
I wanna say to everyone"GET INTO IT!"

Get alot of artyfarty types at jazz gigs LMAO.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Darren, I have a suggestion for you. I've been reading about your frustration with the mechanics of working the sticks. What I would really like to see you do is forget about the mechanics, for now anyway, and take all of the emotion, frustration, and everything else you're feeling and channel that into your playing. Dude, music wasn't invented as an exercise. It was invented to express the human condition. LLLL strokes, in a vacuum, have zero to do with human emotion. You have an abundance of feelings inside, that is clear. You have such a good vehicle to express them, the drumset. Try to unconnect your mind from your playing and instead connect to your feelings. If you are frustrated, let's hear what frustration sounds like. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to express frustration.

Read Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery". It deals with the mental approach to your playing and the info in there is exactly what you need to absorb and put into practice.

I'll say it again.

Read Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery". It deals with the mental approach to your playing and the info in there is exactly what you need to absorb and put into practice.

Everything is in your head. You need to learn how to "change the tape" in your head to something that allows you to move out of your own way. You're blocking your own way forward. It's not hard to fix with the right attitude. Your body is fine, it's your control center that needs adjusting. And you aren't the only one. Every drummer goes through phases like this.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Everything is in your head. You need to learn how to "change the tape" in your head to something that allows you to move out of your own way. You're blocking your own way forward. It's not hard to fix with the right attitude. Your body is fine, it's your control center that needs adjusting. And you aren't the only one. Every drummer goes through phases like this.
That is spot on... couldn't agree more.
 

helmetface

Senior Member
Thank You All for the Replies, I apologize I haven't been able to engage in my own thread more, but work as been busy these past days, but I'll try to give a proper response:

My plight doesn't necessariliy deal with technicality whatsoever, I listen to a very broad spectrum of music, everything from Earth to Led Zeppelin, from Wu-Tang Clan to Don Caballero, from Neutral Milk Hotel to Dax Riggs, from Porcupine Tree to Boards of Canada ; my musical interests are constantly updating but I never forget past favorites.

With that said, 99% of bands I favor have incredibly unique styles, whether the drums or rhythms make the band 'more' unique depends from band to band, but generally the drummers are incredibly talented. Now this doesn't mean that they play at blazing fast speeds, nor are they incredibly technical, but they have a common factor....FLAVA'!

They are able to create beat concepts that the 'average bear' doesn't consider and that is where I want to be. When I play I want someone who can appreciate my playing and think to themselves, "wow, I've never heard it quite like that before" or "I wouldn't have thought of that" And I don't want you all to think this is some sort of ego trip, this isn't me wanting to impress the world by any means, my drumming and conceptualization is purely for myself and if others can enjoy it as well, so be it. I just want my drumming to feel..like its my own, and I understand this all comes with tireless hardwork and dedication, I'm just losing sight of new avenues to explore.

I recently started listening to a band that Pandora suggested one day, "hella" their drummer is insane..some incredible foot work, incredibly fast playing..and I've read he doesn't count or study odd meters whatsoever..yet I know several accomplished musicians who cannot follow the drummer's(Zac Hill) movements with ease. He has his niche!

I appreciate the comments recommending books and videos, however I think I'm set in that department for some time, I'm not that far into several of my study books, including: Syncopation, Stick Control(daily practice), New Breed 1&2, Tommy Igoe: Great Hand for a Lifetime, amongst a few other that my memory is failing to reproduce. So, in this respect, I think I'll have my hands(and mind) full for some time.

And, @Pollyanna - with all due respect, I want to push myself! I am young! And while I feel I can truly appreciate the "simpler" (al biet no less impressive) styles, I consider it "not my normal 'thing" -if you will.

@DarrenMcMaster-Smith, @Mad About Drums and many others - I agree completely! I've heard local 'starving artists' produce a much more enjoyable and soulful atmosphere with their crappy quality equipment and it comes down to HEART (imo)

Thanks for everyone's response, if anyone wants to add anything, please feel free and in the meanwhile, I'll keep on chuggin'
 

helmetface

Senior Member
Well, I've started playing with a friend recently who is a long time guitarist, who is far beyond my skill level, but its actually going really well.

I find that when he makes up the melodies and I can just groove to whatever he is coming up with my playing loosens up a ton! And I am able to formulate patterns and fills I didn't even know that I knew.

It is a most excellent feeling! We groove to a large variety, mainly rock based, as that is his forte. We've been focusing on the band Sleep lately, which if we only had a good bass player, would be complete in sound. But its going well nonetheless!
 
Darren, I have a suggestion for you. I've been reading about your frustration with the mechanics of working the sticks. What I would really like to see you do is forget about the mechanics, for now anyway, and take all of the emotion, frustration, and everything else you're feeling and channel that into your playing. Dude, music wasn't invented as an exercise. It was invented to express the human condition. LLLL strokes, in a vacuum, have zero to do with human emotion. You have an abundance of feelings inside, that is clear. You have such a good vehicle to express them, the drumset. Try to unconnect your mind from your playing and instead connect to your feelings. If you are frustrated, let's hear what frustration sounds like. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to express frustration.

Read Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery". It deals with the mental approach to your playing and the info in there is exactly what you need to absorb and put into practice.

I'll say it again.

Read Kenny Werner's "Effortless Mastery". It deals with the mental approach to your playing and the info in there is exactly what you need to absorb and put into practice.

Everything is in your head. You need to learn how to "change the tape" in your head to something that allows you to move out of your own way. You're blocking your own way forward. It's not hard to fix with the right attitude. Your body is fine, it's your control center that needs adjusting. And you aren't the only one. Every drummer goes through phases like this.
My mind thinks "who are you kidding mate?"
There is something else though in my mind that stops me from moving though.Something I can't control and it's not just drumming,it's life in general.

This disconnection to alot of things.
A numb "I don't care about the consequences because I can't feel a thing"

I'm pretty much poor after all the cover gigs and everything,I pissed my money up the wall.
But when I did piss it up the wall,I didn't have no fear or guilt.
I still make decisions not based on my thoughts but "I hope everyone else likes it"

Do you understand?

Comes from alot of insecurity.

AS long as I feel this way,My life or drumming for that matter,will never go the highest level.

Driving me fucking crazy.

Whatever this thing is,it controls me.

I've been on medication but that nearly made me top myself.

Threw the shit in the bin.
 
Top