How can I get more variety in my drumming?

Loge2

Junior Member
It seems like I always play the same beats and fills during my practices. I feel it is starting to get stale and I need to expand my "beat library". Does anyone know how I can add variety to my drumming? Please keep in mind that I am not too skilled of a drummer; I can't do crazy things like linear beats or quads around the kit or jazz.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Sometimes variety is directly proportional to what you listen to. Expand your mind and listen to stuff you don't normally listen to and eventually it'll start creeping into your subconscious. It's been said all the time: you must know what's been said to say anything really new, eh?
 

Loge2

Junior Member
Sometimes variety is directly proportional to what you listen to. Expand your mind and listen to stuff you don't normally listen to and eventually it'll start creeping into your subconscious. It's been said all the time: you must know what's been said to say anything really new, eh?
Good idea, I really need to start listening to new music. Maybe I will pick up on a few fills or something.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
It doesn't sound like you have a teacher. Maybe it's time to start some lessons and start by telling the instructor that you are looking to learn more variety. My teacher has me learning reggae, hip hop and all kinds of beat that I may not really be into but it is expanding my knowledge base and giving me different building blocks to learn from.

Good luck and Happy Drumming!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
What do you naturally listen to now? I bet if you added some King Crimson, Jack DeJohnette, Tony Williams, and Yellowjackets to that you'll get all kinds of weird ideas ;)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It doesn't sound like you have a teacher. Maybe it's time to start some lessons and start by telling the instructor that you are looking to learn more variety. My teacher has me learning reggae, hip hop and all kinds of beat that I may not really be into but it is expanding my knowledge base and giving me different building blocks to learn from.

Good luck and Happy Drumming!
And MaryO is probably our quickest-expanding new member. Listen to her!
 

Loge2

Junior Member
I listen to Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and some of All That Remains. Sometimes I listen to greatest hits albums by The Offspring, Nirvana, and Sublime. There are a bunch of single songs that I like by different bands, but there are so many that I couldn't list them all here. I don't see myself as one of those annoying drummers that believe you can only be good if you do constant double bass.

I don't have a teacher either. Once I took lessons but it was mainly marching snare lessons for a couple weeks and the only drum set beat I learned from that was the "money beat" which you hear in basically all rock songs. That was four years ago and from there I basically taught my self by switching up beats, by listening to music, and by taking concert band in school.
 

daredrummer

Gold Member
I listen to Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and some of All That Remains. Sometimes I listen to greatest hits albums by The Offspring, Nirvana, and Sublime. There are a bunch of single songs that I like by different bands, but there are so many that I couldn't list them all here. I don't see myself as one of those annoying drummers that believe you can only be good if you do constant double bass.

I don't have a teacher either. Once I took lessons but it was mainly marching snare lessons for a couple weeks and the only drum set beat I learned from that was the "money beat" which you hear in basically all rock songs. That was four years ago and from there I basically taught my self by switching up beats, by listening to music, and by taking concert band in school.
Well there you go. The bands you listed are all rock and metal. Not a bad thing, I love rock music, but listening to some other genres will definetely help. Tony Williams with Miles Davis is a good place to start. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich are also great ones. And I always find Dennis Chambers, Jack DeJohnette, and Brian Blade inspiring to listen to. And how could I forget about Steve Gadd? Check him out as well.
And that is just the very tip of the iceberg.

On the drummers section of drummerworld, you can browse drummers by many different genres, so check that out and start listening!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Well there you go. The bands you listed are all rock and metal. Not a bad thing, I love rock music, but listening to some other genres will definetely help. Tony Williams with Miles Davis is a good place to start. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich are also great ones. And I always find Dennis Chambers, Jack DeJohnette, and Brian Blade inspiring to listen to. And how could I forget about Steve Gadd? Check him out as well.
And that is just the very tip of the iceberg.

On the drummers section of drummerworld, you can browse drummers by many different genres, so check that out and start listening!
So there goes all your FREE time. Didn't know you had to spend so much time on this drumming business not playing, eh?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Agree with everyone talking about listening to a range of styles - jazz, blues, classical, Latin, African, Asian, Japanese ...

One thing that helps me think of new stuff is, where I'd normally do a standard cliche fill or transition, I instead listen harder to the bass (or keys, vocs etc) and do something that really clicks in more tightly with them instead.
 

PeteN

Silver Member
in addition to what everyone else suggested you should study out of Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials DVD 1 & 2 which also come with books, great for getting familiar with most Genres.
 
As most have said, listening to different styles of music with great drummers is an excellent way to expand your drumming vocabulary.

Another tactic you can try is changing up the set up of your kit. Only play with your bass, snare, and hi hat for a couple of days. Play a 4 piece for a couple of days, etc. Make different configurations with your drums so that you have to think of new fills or grooves since your "muscle memory" can't take you down the same fill again and again.

Hope that is helpful!
 

DrummerJoeCostello

Junior Member
Loge2, PeteN makes a great suggestion here. Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials gives you a huge foundation! Often what we play live and play in the practice room is directly related to what we are listening to at the moment. Even if your favorite style to play is rock and/or metal, expand your mind by listening to all types of music. Even if some of it is a struggle for you to get through, you will be surprised when you sit behind the kit and something new comes out.

Also, lessons are important at all ages and all levels of your development. If you can't afford to spend the $25 or $35 or $45 that lessons might cost, check out http://www.mikeslessons.com/. He offers this lesson package that is like $20 a month and he gives you all sorts of exercises that will keep you really busy.

Good luck and don't get discouraged!

Joe
http://www.drummerjoecostello.com/


in addition to what everyone else suggested you should study out of Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials DVD 1 & 2 which also come with books, great for getting familiar with most Genres.
 
C

Casper "DrPowerStroke" Paludan

Guest
Ari Hoenig once told me that he knew great drummers who only played one beat all the time. But they do it so well that everyone just LOVES it. I have probably listened to my favorite songs 400 tines at least....so it makes sense. This has the advantage that you will be recognized instantly among your peers. Plus you don't get a nervous breakdown from thinking you have to know everything, which you can't anyway.

I recommend taking your good old favorite beat and changing something minor, like starting it on 3 instead of 1, playing part of it on the toms etc etc.

Making something new of what you already know, is a very tested strategy, used by for example Steve Gadd and many others.

Hope this makes you feel better about your "same ole beat" which by the way, I am curious to hear. I am sure you sound great playing it!

Casper
 

Algorithm

Senior Member
You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone every time it's time to 'practice'. You can always have fun later. In fact, make your practice fun, but make sure it's still practice.

Go to your music store or amazon.com and order some good books on other genres. Listen to all genres of music. I forget who, but some famous drummer recommended practicing songs with your ipod on shuffle.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
While I recommend some lessons, Here are some easy ideas:

Take down all your cymbals, and then try to play along to the songs you normal play to. Figure out how the heck to play those songs with no cymbals, realizing you have to do it all on snare, bass and toms. You'll force yourself to come up with new things.

Put your cymbals back up, and switch your kit to left handed (assuming you're right handed). And now play those same songs. Ack, you'll feel like it's day one all over again. But after a while, you'll develop some new coordination, and perhaps some new ideas.

But mostly, get out of listening to the same bands.
Try some Fleetwood Mac, Led Zepplin, or The Who for some rock variety.
Listen to some shuffles, old blues songs, and such with different feels.
 

\o/

Senior Member
Freshen up what you're listening to.

Also, what i like to do is mix up the drums. If you'd do X beat with X fill, just switch things around.

If you're going snare snare tom tom snare tom floortom cymbal, add some rests, add some bass drum, add some hi-hat sizzles instead of drum beats, add accents, change dynamics, alter time signature/tempo for a bar or two, throw in a measure of half-time, double time, try rim shots, try applying different sticking to it - double up on some notes. There's tons of stuff you can do, you just have to sit down and work out some exercises, but the main thing is to listen to what you're doing. Think 'what would sound really cool here' and then work it out and play it. Chop and change it. Make music innit.
 

\o/

Senior Member
I'd just like to add something i missed - i like to treat my music as sentences. Sometimes whilst playing note-based instruments i'll say a random sentence, and try and replicate it. Doing this helps capture different rhythms. I also listen to a lot of rap music and rappers can be great inspiration for inserting rhythm into sentences, which can then be translated onto the kit.
 
Top