Why can't I play as technical or quick when i'm on my own as opposed to with my band?

ge0123

Junior Member
I've found that I can't play as well when I'm on my own at home ( be it playing to a click track or otherwise) compared to when i practice with my band, especially when it comes to more complicated double bass patterns double bass speed. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and has any tips to overcome it? Just to note, the practice studios have different kits but they are of low-standard and in fairly bad condition, and in a uncomfortable set up for me, which makes this predicament all the more strange :S
 

Sopranos

Senior Member
Is it perhaps that the rest of the band "masks" any mistakes you make? Therefore, your perceived as "playing better"?

Also, its not uncommon to relax and groove better when playing to music. Also, are these songs that you have played many times and therefore nailed all the parts simply by muscle memory? Then, when you are practicing on your own you are learning something new?

And, what about hearing protection? What methods are you using in either case? For whatever reason, I notice that I seem to relax and play better with protection.... but without it I am fighting with the piercing sounds.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Adrenaline perhaps, from being in a more pressured situation where others are relying on you to get it right? If you fail to a click, nobody cares but you.
There is definitely a power that you get from being watched by others. You're motivated to get it right in a major way. It's your reputation as a drummer at stake, with every note you play. I'm going with the premise that if I experience it, then others do too.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I have the same thing, though I don't think of it as a problem.

For me, it's just that I'm a very musical drummer, I tend not to compose my drum parts by math, and more by feel and flow of the music. When I'm practicing to a click, it simply bores me, it has no soul, no feel, and it doesn't go anywhere. It's all math at that point, and it limits my playing just because I'm not "feeling it".

In contrast, when I'm playing along with the band, I'm having a blast. I know the music, and rather than thinking "time to try a 32nd note fill over this click" I think "that sweet change is coming up in a few bars, and I think I'll compliment it by playing a fill that sounds like it fits, and is tailored to that part". In other words, since I play so much for the music, the context is there for me, I'm playing "for" something. By myself, it's all up to me, and I'm just not as good.
 

AtomicFlapjack

Senior Member
Could be due to a state of arousal, social facilitation.. I cba to have this ramble again, I've had it on a different thread and it was long, lol. Essentially though, what I'm, saying is it could be psychological.
 

Bertram

Silver Member
Well, To be honest, im all turned arround. I play best at home, with big headphones on, and it all being super quiet, no pressure, nothing at stake.. as soon as it get's a little dangerous and when it will mean something, something i just can't repair, like destroying a fill or getting out of time. When nothing is at risk, i take more chances and they usually work pretty good.
Have you ever thought of it being standard, when you play at home, and being Better when with band, if so, then don't worry, cause you might never be better without your band just as i won't with my band.

I think in my case it's about experience and comfortability.
In your case.. I think you're a better listener than mathematician. Leave the clicks.
 

ahector

Senior Member
Sopranos might be on to something... are you sure you play better when playing with the band?

Do you record your practices by yourself and with your band? If not, without knowing you or really anything about you, I'd wager that you don't really know which one sounds better or in which situation you play better. Respectfully. I might be totally wrong here.

I'd strongly recommend comparing recordings of one vs. the other.

If you are really noticing a difference when listening to playback, my advice is to just power through it and do your best to not be discouraged by this strange feeling. It's likely something that you need to figure out for yourself.
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
I don't understand the relation between mathematicians and clicks, you can settle into a deep fat groove following a click, there is no reason for your playing to be "soulless" or "boring" while following a metronome. I say keep the click, it actually helps you groove better when you're with the band.

As for your predicament, I agree with the suggestion of everyone else, it could be a change in sound, maybe the drums in the studio are not the best but the acoustic is a lot better than in your house, so you hear the drums better and hearing a good sounding instrument will make you feel like you're playing better.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I don't understand the relation between mathematicians and clicks, you can settle into a deep fat groove following a click, there is no reason for your playing to be "soulless" or "boring" while following a metronome. I say keep the click, it actually helps you groove better when you're with the band.
For me, it's about a natural and organic beat from a living, thinking human versus a beat set by a totally uninterested, perfect, robotic machine. I can almost always tell when a click is being used, or a recording is set to a grid, and it just sounds sterile to me. I think a lot of songs should literally breathe and change tempo/time as they go, and not just in a sub-division of the click.

This, like most things in music is subjective and a matter of taste, though. If you rock harder with a click in your ear, who can tell you that's wrong? I've noticed for a long time now that some people just react better to a human-set beat, and some people prefer a machine-set beat. Most of them don't even understand the difference, but their own personal sense of rhythm simply responds more positively one way or the other. As well, some folks are totally rhythm-deaf and simply not sensitive either way. It's actually an interesting topic for me.
 

ge0123

Junior Member
Thanks guys, some really interesting answers. I think it might be down to adrenaline/arousal etc, and just feeling the music. I always feel like there is a massive difference between playing with real people playing real instruments who can make real mistakes, as opposed to playing drum covers along to songs on my iPod. I even just played around with my kit configuration at home and that seemed to make a fair difference. Thanks again for taking the time to answer, i really appreciate it!
 

get_rad

Member
I've always found i play much more creative and advanced fills when im just jamming with a band. i think for me it's just the feel of the music more than anything
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I relate to this. I can't play at all unless there's music going. I don't seem to have any internal inspiration. Some kind of creative shortfall, I guess.

When other musicians play I have ideas about what's needed from the drums but if I sit in front of a drum kit alone I have little idea what to do unless I run a song through my mind.

If I was nasty I'd say it's a bit like the difference between masturbation and sex :) but, really, I envy people who can just get on a kit and drum like crazy. It must be good to be so independent.
 

southpark

Junior Member
I'm kind of in between those two sides.. on one hand I can play more freely when I'm alone, but I can't seem to focus on one basis of a beat for too long, whereas when I'm playing with a band I am forced to focus more and the music gets me into it (although I don't have a problem getting into it when I'm playing alone, but I get way too impatient with myself and try to do things I can't yet do instead of perfecting things I can). But when even one person who's not playing and is just watching is in the room (unless I know them well), my playing dramatically worsens, it gets even worse than the worse times when I'm playing alone and with the band. hehehe....

You're lucky! I seem to be 30% good and 70% bad in all playing situations in different ways, except in the last aforementioned situation where I'm 90+% bad... :p

About the metronome thing, I've only played a couple times with a metronome and I wasn't really into it, but at the same time I liked it... hahaha I suck, always on the fence. But I think it may have been my mood at the time (and very likely the fact that I was playing on a left-handed set which virtually disabled me from doing any fills, bummer), coz I can totally imagine getting into playing along with a metronome. I like both groovy, organic-y beats and very choppy mathematically accurate ones :)

Editing to correct the last sentence, I think mathematically accurate beats with the utmost precision can also be groovy, and more organic-y beats can also be choppy (though I think the latter may be less common). Anyway you get what I mean! :)
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
You're lucky! I seem to be 30% good and 70% bad in all playing situations in different ways, except in the last aforementioned situation where I'm 90+% bad... :p
LOL I resemble that remark!

About the metronome thing, I've only played a couple times with a metronome and I wasn't really into it, but at the same time I liked it... hahaha I suck, always on the fence.
I find I best relate to a metronome when I imagine it's a very consistent and patient cowbell player :)
 
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