How do you guys learn a song?

Nuzki

Junior Member
One of the sources I have so far is songsterr but other than that its quite hard to find other sources of drum notations/tabs...

Most of what I got are guitar tabs and such

Advice would be appreciated
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Listen to it many times.

Feel for the basic groove used, then the changes.

If I'm being nerdy about a song I'll write it out, either free hand or using a free :) music notation software.

I bought Liz Ficaloa's charting book, but haven't put in the time to learn her system. Also, I think her system prolly works better with drummers who are better able to wing it than I am.

Play the song. I find the backing tracks which I referenced in your other thread very useful. I'll set up a version with the drums more prominent in the mix, one with them at their proper level and one with them way down or absent, and play along with them. The backing tracks are pretty accurate, but not 100% dead on with the originals that they cover, so there's another thing I watch out for.
 

shemp

Silver Member
Play along as many times as it takes......and then, something Steve Morse said awhile back.....also listen to the song while ironing your shirt, cooking breakfast....etc....that was a sage piece of advice cause when your not playing along you can hear different things pop out at you.

Sorry to be blunt, but it usually boils down to many individual play throughs of the tune,....50 or more is not unreasonable for me at least.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If I have the chance, I listen alot. That helps with the groove and the vibe. But if I don't have that luxury, I figure where the verses are, then the chorus, and a bridge if its in there, make a small chart on a index card and follow that. Or I simply read the chart that's given too - and that might not be a drum part, it could be a piano part, or the lead trumpet part.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
I play along using an app called Anytune Pro, which enables me to slow the tempo down, and also to create a loop of any tricksy bits so that I can play them over and over and over again until I think I've nailed them.
 

Reggae_Mangle

Silver Member
I don't have any spiffy tools to do it. I just load up the track on youtube (if I don't have the CD) or load up the album and play it over and over till I have something resembling the complete piece.

After that, I step back and listen to the track more intently, trying to figure out the parts where I'm not close to the original. After I figure out those parts, I revisit the track and play again.

I'm constantly telling my bandmates that I need more time to learn songs though. Takes me a minimum of a week, given work and other commitments. I don't like to rush it though, I really like to lay into those covers like it's the original band.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
It depends on the tune and how familiar I am with it. Most of the time, I listen to it a few times. If I was playing prog or fusion or jazz, it would be different. I am playing blues-rock, a style I am very familiar with. I have also been playing drum set since 1969. Peace and goodwill.
 

Pachikara-Tharakan

Silver Member
I just play along it and if i find it difficult..... i try to find another alternate way..as we know there are several ways to back up a song...
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Listening, air drumming, playing along with headphones, and a lot of repetition.

I've never tried to write things out apart from my own shorthand for learning the road map, or arrangement, but full-on transcribing seems to help a lot of people, and is no doubt a great way to learn. I've just never found the patience for it.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
I'll listen to it and play it as much as I can stand until I start to get sick of it.

But what works best for me is;

Usually I'll write out the parts ie; 4bars intro, 8 bars verse, 8 chorus etc. This really helps my brain learn it. This works well for me especially because we don't have a singer (some of, but not all, our songs have lyrics).

Also, songs with lyrics, I learn the lyrics and sing them in my head as I play the parts to know were I am in the song.

However, if you're playing straight ahead jazz (the above) +, listen learn listen learn listen listen listen...
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Play along as many times as it takes......and then, something Steve Morse said awhile back.....also listen to the song while ironing your shirt, cooking breakfast....etc....that was a sage piece of advice cause when your not playing along you can hear different things pop out at you.

Sorry to be blunt, but it usually boils down to many individual play throughs of the tune,....50 or more is not unreasonable for me at least.
Excellent advice. Especially the listening through the song (while not playing), certain-things-will-pop-out-at-you part. For me, it may be during intense listening through headphones on a flight home, or while driving...that, although I was playing the part in a passable manner (where no one in the band, much less the audience, would notice), I can pick up things that are the icing on the cake...

So, I guess my method would be (not using any notation devices):
1. Listen to the song
2. Listen more, while tapping out the essentials on the floor (feet) and your knees or quietly on the rims (hands), but not actually hitting any drums.
3. Listen more, playing your drum part on the drums
4. Listen even more, without playing, to pick up the subleties
5. Add these subleties to your performance
6. Repeat steps 1-5 as much as possible

I have the luxury of doing my song-learning on a good e-kit, where I can carefully balance the volume of the drums and the track (at non earsplitting levels)...but still...listening critically when you're NOT playing can reveal hidden gems!
 

GeoB

Gold Member
I usually learn tunes through tap dancing or sand dancing for those brush and sizzle numbers. If it is a Dream Theater piece I will on occasion resort to interpretive dance. It takes a while but when I'm done the number is immersed into my memory and imbedded in the soles of my tap shoes....
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
...Also, songs with lyrics, I learn the lyrics and sing them in my head as I play the parts to know were I am in the song...
There's another subconscious benefit to singing the song. I find that if my timekeeping is wavering, singing along snaps me back to the pulse pretty quickly. TBH, I don't know if mental singing would work for this, but you don't need to be singing loud enough to be heard, if that is a concern (and for me it often is!).
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I've used standard notation as well as tabs...

...But I really like the results far better when I work a song via listen/repeat memorization.

From there its like having a n-dimensional map in my head that I follow when performing.
 

Nuzki

Junior Member
The drums just caught me off guard since when I was learning to play the guitar; songs was literally spoonfed to me (ultimate guitar and pretty much every search result in google was screaming guitar tabs/notes)

I thought it was the same with the drums but I was dead wrong

Thanks for the feedbacks guys, I'll try to see what works or not for me
 
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