Need help with relaxation!

Adcc

Junior Member
Hi guys and gals,

I just started to play with a new band, we did a couple of rehearsals but not a gig yet due to the coronavirus. The vocalist/guitarist likes my playing, but he said i should be more relaxed. He said he feels like im tensed while i play and that i should be more free and put my character to the songs, you know, do my thing. This is the 3rd time someone tells me this. To be honest, most of the time i feel like im trying too much. I dont think its a technical thing as i feel that my hands are loose and relaxed while I play. I think its a mental thing though and maybe a bit of posture thing. You see, i am playing a lot of different genres, and it seems like if i setup my drumset and feel comfortable playing rock, and use the same settings to play jazz or latin and i have to use more of the ride cymbal and play the bass drum softer, i doesnt feel confortable and vice versa. So actually i have two questions. 1. How should i relax my mind while i play, and enjoy the music more and have fun? and 2. How should i setup my drumset and fix my posture to be comfortable changing between styles? (i play matched grip).

If anyone had this problem before and found a way to fix it, it would be great to tell me. Please i need your help!
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
well for me, not being focused in the moment,lack of confidence, poor egronomic drum set up , and comparing myself to other drummers,were problems for me.

I started doing yoga about 10 years ago, i feel i am playing drums better now at 65 than i ever have. i feel yoga has helped me feel one with my instrument. when i sit behind the kit ,i feel i am home. my fluidity on the drums is way better. yoga has helped me focus in the moment and stop the mind chatter,i think this has helped me to really LISTEN to the song, be comfortable with what i am playing,and have fun with it. Yoga is kind of like being comfortable with the uncomfortable ! like life !. besides yoga, i am trying to practice to improve my playing with things that i am having troubles with and staying positive with it. i have been changing my set up alot, and have found making changes was a big help in being in a more relaxed playing position. i concentrate on my posture when playing. i have found relaxed breathing, and some light exersize or yoga helps to relax me before a gig also . i have even found making drumstick changes, for different music genres has an effect on the comfotability when playing also. Try not to think so much and let your heart and body take over,, enjoy your playing and things will feel better !. i am a giging intermediat drummer , i do this because its my passion, hope this helps !
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Preparation is my friend. It took me a few years to understand where my physical & mental tension was coming from, and it was from lack of preparation. I am very tense when I don’t know the song, its arrangement, or what I’m to play for a song. I am delightfully relaxed when I know the song and its arrangement well, and know what notes I’m to play on that song.

The time to experiment and work out what I’m going to play is not at band rehearsal or at the gig, it’s in my practice room. I’ll spend hours on a song to make it my own. At band rehearsal and gigs, I’m over-prepared and not tense or nervous at all because I know what I’m gonna do.

This works very well to my advantage at a gig. When I’m relaxed and comfortable with the material, I smile and laugh and have a great time, and this
affects the band and audience in a very positive way.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Relaxing comes with confidence.

Try and notice any unnecessary physical tension as you're playing, and try and let the tension melt away. Be mindful of what's going on, as it's going on.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
In terms of posture, think about ergonomics. If you have the space set up your kit but spread everything out by a foot or so. Sit and a comfortable height and rest your feet on the ground in a comfortable position, then bring the pedals into those positions. Repeat with the drums and cymbals. With a stick in your hand, put your right arm out where it feels relaxed, so your arm isn't forced back, but you're also not reaching. Then bring the ride cymbal in to meet the stick, etc., etc.

Relaxation will also come from repetition of "proper" motion. Take some time playing on the pad or kick VERY slowly. Break down your motions. Think about what is happening when and see if you're wasting energy or space anywhere. It's a bit tedious, but I found it incredibly helpful. After awhile you'll stop thinking about it and those new motions will become second nature. Incredibly slow is the key here.

On the mental side of thing I would again say repetition. Play along to recordings of the songs you're doing. Don't think so much, but just play and repeat. As you start to get sick of it or bored, keep repeating it. This is where creativity often begins. The song will become second nature (read: relaxed) and you will naturally start to add your own voice to it.
 

Adcc

Junior Member
well for me, not being focused in the moment,lack of confidence, poor egronomic drum set up , and comparing myself to other drummers,were problems for me.

I started doing yoga about 10 years ago, i feel i am playing drums better now at 65 than i ever have. i feel yoga has helped me feel one with my instrument. when i sit behind the kit ,i feel i am home. my fluidity on the drums is way better. yoga has helped me focus in the moment and stop the mind chatter,i think this has helped me to really LISTEN to the song, be comfortable with what i am playing,and have fun with it. Yoga is kind of like being comfortable with the uncomfortable ! like life !. besides yoga, i am trying to practice to improve my playing with things that i am having troubles with and staying positive with it. i have been changing my set up alot, and have found making changes was a big help in being in a more relaxed playing position. i concentrate on my posture when playing. i have found relaxed breathing, and some light exersize or yoga helps to relax me before a gig also . i have even found making drumstick changes, for different music genres has an effect on the comfotability when playing also. Try not to think so much and let your heart and body take over,, enjoy your playing and things will feel better !. i am a giging intermediat drummer , i do this because its my passion, hope this helps !
WOW! Thank you! That's exactly what i feel. not being focused in the moment,lack of confidence, poor egronomic drum set up , and comparing myself to other drummers. I will definitely try yoga and follow all of your advice. The only thing is that there are not yoga classes near I live and i cant travel that far that often. Are these youtube lessons any good? Any suggestions?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
The vocalist/guitarist likes my playing, but he said i should be more relaxed. He said he feels like im tensed while i play and that i should be more free and put my character to the songs, you know, do my thing.
Did you ask what he means by this? He might actually be looking for something and not know another way to express it. He might want more fills or something.

Some guitar players dont speak drum and visa-versa.
 

Squirrel Man

Well-known member
My .02

Be yourself, don't try to emulate someone else or be something you're not. First you're faking it and second one it will bite you in the arse at some point.

Now if it's a glam band or something on that line and that's part of the schtick then I'm not sure what to tell you. You just might not be a glam drummer could be the answer.

I'm very focused and stoic behind the set, I get distracted easily (like a drum stick chip.. on my tom.. GAH!) and I'm comfortable with that, don't care what anyone else thinks.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
Preparation is my friend. It took me a few years to understand where my physical & mental tension was coming from, and it was from lack of preparation. I am very tense when I don’t know the song, its arrangement, or what I’m to play for a song. I am delightfully relaxed when I know the song and its arrangement well, and know what notes I’m to play on that song.

The time to experiment and work out what I’m going to play is not at band rehearsal or at the gig, it’s in my practice room. I’ll spend hours on a song to make it my own. At band rehearsal and gigs, I’m over-prepared and not tense or nervous at all because I know what I’m gonna do.

This works very well to my advantage at a gig. When I’m relaxed and comfortable with the material, I smile and laugh and have a great time, and this
affects the band and audience in a very positive way.
great points cb
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
WOW! Thank you! That's exactly what i feel. not being focused in the moment,lack of confidence, poor egronomic drum set up , and comparing myself to other drummers. I will definitely try yoga and follow all of your advice. The only thing is that there are not yoga classes near I live and i cant travel that far that often. Are these youtube lessons any good? Any suggestions?
i have been with the same yoga instructor,live classes, but iam sure you can find a teacher you like on a DVD or You Tube. Good luck on your drumming journey !!
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Just imagine that everybody in the audience is naked. Unless you’re playing a gig at a nudist colony, like I did last year. That doesn’t work there
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
…people there who look like CEOs and CEO’s wives.
My small brain pictures a man with his watch & ring on, and a woman dolled up with necklace, bracelets, and red painted toenails.

And here I thought this “colony” stuff was history. I surfed Blacks Beach in the 60s & 70s. It was a “nude” beach cuz it wasn’t easy to get to back then. Surf photographers were always there when the waves were good. I remember seeing one naked woman flipping the bird at a photographer with his lens trained on her, but not much else. Nowadays it’s just as crowded as any other beach in town. Good surf tho.

 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Hi guys and gals,

I just started to play with a new band, we did a couple of rehearsals but not a gig yet due to the coronavirus. The vocalist/guitarist likes my playing, but he said i should be more relaxed. He said he feels like im tensed while i play and that i should be more free and put my character to the songs, you know, do my thing. This is the 3rd time someone tells me this. To be honest, most of the time i feel like im trying too much. I dont think its a technical thing as i feel that my hands are loose and relaxed while I play. I think its a mental thing though and maybe a bit of posture thing. You see, i am playing a lot of different genres, and it seems like if i setup my drumset and feel comfortable playing rock, and use the same settings to play jazz or latin and i have to use more of the ride cymbal and play the bass drum softer, i doesnt feel confortable and vice versa. So actually i have two questions. 1. How should i relax my mind while i play, and enjoy the music more and have fun? and 2. How should i setup my drumset and fix my posture to be comfortable changing between styles? (i play matched grip).

If anyone had this problem before and found a way to fix it, it would be great to tell me. Please i need your help!
As Larry explains, your ability to relax is directly influenced by your degree of confidence. Being confident doesn't result from the need to be in control; rather, it arises when you surrender all control. You have to believe that your body and mind will deliver for you, as you've prepared and conditioned both to the greatest extent possible. When you've adopted that frame of reference, drumming becomes as natural as breathing, and you're able to enjoy the experience without anxiety -- unless you're prone to anxiety as a rule. That's a more stubborn demon to cast out.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
When Christopher Walken does a dance scene in a movie, he stays loose by yelling himself “I’m farting now. I’m farting right now...I’m farting” over and over. Lol
 
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