Hearing development

tommer

Junior Member
Hello everybody! I have been a long time reader and have finally registered. My name is Tom, hence the ID.

Very interesting is the question of hearing development and the significance of it to one's drumming development.

Jojo Mayer says that "the faster you can hear, the faster you can play".

In the book "4-Way Coordination" by Dahlgren and Fine, on page 24, the author says about independence:

"In order to gain complete independence, it is necessary to develop the ear to hear more than one rhythm at the same time."

Terribly interesting!

I have been developing my independence via Benny Greb's alphabet method and have noticed that I have become much better at hearing separate rhythms - even when just passively listening to music.

What do the experts here say of the importance of hearing and how to develop it? I am especially interested in methods/techniques that may help to develop the hearing side.

This could be something that could be done away from the kit - I am thinking.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Wow your right no responses. (but you did have like 600 lurkers lol) Perhaps that's because no one feels qualified to comment. I definitely don't. However, I think hearing, and actually understanding what is going on is a great area of study.

The most recent example in my life that I can recall is...

Listening to Steely Dan's "Blackjack (do it again)"

The very beginning of that song has just a great resolved sound, what with all the different percussion pieces contributing to the final product. I was trying to pick out all the different instruments I could identify. This is good listening "practice". I'm sure the better you can pick out buried stuff in the mix, the better you will be able to deconstruct poly rhythms. And you're right, you can do this anywhere. Next song you hear, try and identify all the different instruments. It's listening training.

It's like looking at a picture of a room and things inside that room for only 2 seconds and then you have to recall as many things as you remembered in the picture from that short viewing time.

Listening to the others on the bandstand is one of the biggest goals of listening training. Getting people outside of their own thoughts is the bigger hurdle. To listen to the others, first you have to expand your listening "zone" to include the entire band, and the final resolved product. The bigger the listening zone, the more info you will have to better understand things. I imagine I am floating above the stage sometimes, listening as if I were in the audience, as I'm playing. The bigger aural picture you have, definitely the better.

Thanks Tom, and sorry for the delay lol.
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
I would never be able to explain how it works for me in a way that would make sense, but I look at it as a combination of things. While I understand what he's getting at regarding developing the ear to hear faster [thinking], I think a combination of that and motor skills matter. I'm sure that it's just unsaid, but the synapses have to fire right. If it was only hearing, then since we can hear it [or could learn to be able to], we should be able to play what JoJo Mayer plays, according to him. Or am I wrong?

On the other hand, the way this application makes total sense to me [minus the speed part], would be to say, for many people it's easier to understand the beat/rhythm/rudiment better when they hear it than when they read it.

Thinking ahead is really important, I believe. Being able to know what's coming and execute it well is a big thing. I know it's straying a bit off the original point you're trying to make, tho.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Jojo Mayer says that "the faster you can hear, the faster you can play".
Yes, to play fast, you'll have to hear fast, think fast and listen fast.

"In order to gain complete independence, it is necessary to develop the ear to hear more than one rhythm at the same time."
Coordinations, interdependances and hearing are all linked together, you'll need all of them at the same time to be able to play and place the notes you hear in your head.

I have been developing my independence via Benny Greb's alphabet method and have noticed that I have become much better at hearing separate rhythms - even when just passively listening to music.
I'm a big fan of the Benny Greb's approach in his DVD, it has made a difference in my playing.

What do the experts here say of the importance of hearing and how to develop it? I am especially interested in methods/techniques that may help to develop the hearing side.
Like Larry, I'm not an expert on this, but I do practice coordination exercises to be able to reproduce what I want on the kit, and "hearing" the patterns these exercises produce is certainly a help for me to ensure that each limb is accurate, hence the Dahlgren and Fine comment, but the focus of it all is the independence of each limb in relation to each other.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
You mentioned two very well educated folks on the subject and I don;t think anyone will disagree so the conversation is mute.

I have learned to recognize the footsteps or gait of my female co-workers and their high heels to know who is headed to my office. So hearing can be learned or developed.
 

EvilDrummer

Senior Member
I think playing stuff that doesn't latch onto the click but in between develops that kind of speed.

In stead of playing single strokes play 16th notes to a click but leave out the first and third note. If you can play that very fast with any limb/limbs you can think pretty fast.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I wasn't around when this thread began.

I think hearing development begins internally with a deeper understanding of music in general. I do most of my learning away from the kit when I'm learning cover tunes. I mean, unless it's a tune that involves speed, I know I'm physically capable of playing whatever I can think of in my head. You have to really hear the song to have a feel for it, at least that's the way I understand it. I don't know if this makes any sense. Nowadays I just play along to improvised music and I have to make up stuff on the fly while keeping the beat solid and interesting. I'd say that involves a bit of hearing development.
 

ggmerino

Senior Member
Very interesting thread and has made me more conscious of the way I listen to music. I find that listening to the "modal" or 'hard bop" jazz drummers has really helped me develop my ability to pick out subtle rythmic patters of the instruments in a piece of music. I think it is because the drummers in those styles had a lot of freedom to imrpvise by shifting around which bits of patterns of the other players that they accent during a song. I was listening to Tony Williams on Maiden Voyage and he just jumps around (within limits) with his accents and patterns- somtimes mimicing the lead or the bass etc... I think this has really helped me develop more interesting beats when playing less improvisational music- traditional funk or rock.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The thing is, 2 people could listen to the same piece of music and take 2 different interpretations from it. Hearing is one thing, listening is another, and interpreting yet another thing. Interpretation is very subjective. So If 2 people hear the same interplay between musicians by listening, again the interpretations might differ. That's just one of the great things about music.

I think musicians have to learn selective hearing when picking out a drum part, or a guitar part, so the act of learning a cover song is also helping to train your listening ability. You can always listen deeper, feel things deeper, play things deeper. I like deepness. You can tell when someone isn't listening or feeling something as deep as they could.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
It's kind of a hard question. There's a good Hal Galper video on this subject. Developing that is a complex process, and kind of mysterious to me— it's hard for me to think of it separately from just doing music. Doing a lot of focused listening is part of it, and also a lot of ordinary creative playing, with people. In Galper's story about his playing being briefly transformed by listening to one burning Art Tatum track for three hours, there's a background assumption that he was already a real player with many years of playing and woodshedding under his belt. The facility doesn't just come from nowhere.
 

haredrums

Silver Member
In my opinion, being able to hear more than one thing at the same time and juggling your attention between them is one of the central skills of being a musician. It is also a skill that is frequently overlooked.

A deceptively simple exercise for developing your ability to hear two different things at the same time is to sing a melody that has some strong rhythmic integrity ("Rhythm-a-ning" or "St. Thomas" spring to mind) and clap or play a different rhythm against them. I don't have the book, but I understand that Dave DiCenso's book is all about developing this same skill:

http://www.alfred.com/Products/Universal-Rhythms-for-Drumset--00-32821.aspx
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
In stead of playing single strokes play 16th notes to a click but leave out the first and third note. If you can play that very fast with any limb/limbs you can think pretty fast.
Exactly, one of the best hearing-checks and exercises for hearing development:

Play syncopated 8ths, 16ths or even 32nds either to music or to a metronome, and
you realize how fast you're able to hear instantly.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
In my opinion, being able to hear more than one thing at the same time and juggling your attention between them is one of the central skills of being a musician. It is also a skill that is frequently overlooked.
Totally agree! And it's so important and useful just in drumming itself, because we
actually do play different rhythms at the same time mostly!

Many drummers pay attention to playing certain notes perfectly in unison with each other,
eg. a bass drum note with hihat on the + of 3. But in reality every instrument should groove and be placed accurately musically by itself, so the hihat should sound smooth, and the
bass drum rhythm should sound smooth. So as a matter of fact even when we don't play
anything complicated, we should already hear multiple rhythms going on at the same time,
but any of them should sound well by itself.

I'm not sure if it's called that way in English, but the famous principle of rotating attention should
be mentioned.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
I have learned to recognize the footsteps or gait of my female co-workers and their high heels to know who is headed to my office. So hearing can be learned or developed.
Aside from honing your hearing sills to music your other acquired hearing skill would be a very pleasant result from ear training IMO. :)

larryace said:
It's like looking at a picture of a room and things inside that room for only 2 seconds and then you have to recall as many things as you remembered in the picture from that short viewing time
. Lol this is like CIA training! I can drive with my teenage daughters past a new building that's being erected for weeks and one day one of the daughters out of the blue will ask something like when did that building go up?
 

Otto

Platinum Member
A good exercise involves writing...

Listen to a song you have not analysed.

Stop after x seconds and write out what you thought you heard.

Listen back in detail and see how close you got...then continue on...

..work your way up in number of second snippets only once you are hitting a high percentage of accuracy at the level you were at.

Dont just restrict yourself to the drum parts.

Can involve pitch recog(absolute pitch) as well as bpm recog...key changes and instrument recog...as well as rhythm, of course.

Also develops your writing/reading skills.

Work your way through a couple high level DCI recordings and you'll get a real hearing workout.
 
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