Why should I practice things that I would never play on a gig?

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I don't ever remember a gig where I didn't use:

independence, sight reading, listening, timing; subdivision; phrasing, dynamics, speed, strength, tuning, agility, four way coordination, theoretical knowledge, music history/style knowledge

at least once

I also never remember playing an exercise that didn't reinforce:

independence, sight reading, listening, timing; subdivision; phrasing, dynamics, speed, strength, tuning, agility, four way coordination, theoretical knowledge, music history/style knowledge

so I think it is a matter of perspective
 

pbm2112

Senior Member
I guess I just don't see why I should spend time practicing all the systems when I could just focus on perfecting the ones that I feel are applicable to the music I play.
Surely that's fair enough? There's so much one can be working on I'd say go where you will stay engaged and enthusiastic about the practice. There will always be other exercises that can stretch you, but in a direction that feels fitting.

I suspect all of us are two different drummers. The public drummer who plays for the music and the band, and the private drummer who learns stuff they they will never use because it's fun or an ongoing-challenge. I'm sure the private drummer makes the public drummer better (it's better to hit 99mph with an engine that can go up to 150mph than one that maxes out at 100mph). But if the experienced private drummer isn't having fun or seeing the point in an exercise, then really what is the point?
 

LinearDrummer

Silver Member
Just to elaborate...playing in 2 bands with very limited practice time I too questioned practicing certain things that weren't applicable to my gig.

For example quintuplets is not something very useful to me and the amount of time necessary to perfect is not practical . However even though I play in Stevie Wonder/EWF type bands, practicing swing is something I dabble with. I feel it may help loosen up my shuffles.

Same goes for working on some Afro Cuban stuff. Doesn't really affect the way I play a Santana cover but conceptually it helps with my independence, as Latin rhythms tend to require loose phrasing against an ostinato.

I guess what I'm saying if time permits, practice one of those systems that are very challenging as that new found coordination may bleed organically into your playing.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
You never know when that extra bit of flexibility or independence will come in useful.
I filled in for a Brazilian band last weekend and suddenly found a use for the really fast sambas and bossas I’ve been practising occasionally over the years. I’ve been invited to do some more shows - so it was worth it.

But also, the same coordination helps my rock playing - such as keeping my feet going on the beat during a tom fill. It all becomes part of your repertoire.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Back in the day on another forum during a thread about ghost notes, one guy stated he didn't want to devote time to them because with the music he played (heavy rock) they wouldn't be heard. One or two members tried to explain how it wasn't all about hearing them, and that just solidified his viewpoint even further. What to practice sort of falls under the Johari window as a known unknown. Not practicing something elemental to accomplished practitioners of an art is something you should know will handicap you even if you know nothing about it.
 

timmdrum

Silver Member
Back in the day on another forum during a thread about ghost notes, one guy stated he didn't want to devote time to them because with the music he played (heavy rock) they wouldn't be heard.
Heavy, like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Incubus, Deftones...? 🤷‍♂️ 😁 Or was he referencing 80s stuff, about which, he's mostly correct?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Not practicing something elemental to accomplished practitioners of an art is something you should know will handicap you even if you know nothing about it.
How exactly can one practice something they know nothing about? And if you know nothing about it, how could you possibly know that the thing you know nothing about will handicap you if you dont practice it?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Another way to phrase the thread question is to ask...Why should I learn a word if I'll never use it. If you don't use the word, you will at least be able to recognize it when it's being said by others, being able to extract context, and who knows, it might start to creep in to the playing. That's how it happens. You hear a word (musical phrase) and if you like it, you tend to take it on.

Learn as much as you can any way you can, even if you don't use it right this second.

Recipe for growth right there
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
How exactly can one practice something they know nothing about? And if you know nothing about it, how could you possibly know that the thing you know nothing about will handicap you if you dont practice it?
You're taking what I wrote out of its context. If someone is aware of a particular technique, say ghosted notes, and realizes that technique is in wide use among celebrated players but they construct a scenario that justifies ignoring the technique, they're handicapping themselves. I'm not stating people are supposed to know things they don't know, I wrote "about it" - it being a particular technique they're casting aside.

Not practicing something elemental to accomplished practitioners of an art is something you should know will handicap you even if you know nothing about it.
 

Old PIT Guy

Well-known member
Heavy, like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Incubus, Deftones...? 🤷‍♂️ 😁 Or was he referencing 80s stuff, about which, he's mostly correct?
It doesn't matter if he was correct on whether ghost notes would be heard in heavy music, it's about ignoring a technique that involves so much more than what is or isn't heard. Ghosting notes is essential to dynamic control; they can also imply tons of feel, and can act as place holders of time between more complex and-or syncopated figures. But you wouldn't know that unless you apply yourself to the technique.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
You're taking what I wrote out of its context. If someone is aware of a particular technique, say ghosted notes, and realizes that technique is in wide use among celebrated players but they construct a scenario that justifies ignoring the technique, they're handicapping themselves. I'm not stating people are supposed to know things they don't know, I wrote "about it" - it being a particular technique they're casting aside.
I just couldn't make sense of those last two sentences. I was actually looking for context as I had no idea how it was tied to the rest of the post. You mentioned someone not playing ghost notes on purpose. That makes them aware. It was intentionally skipped, not unknown. But I see what you are getting at, no big deal.

I'm not trying to be nitpicky, it just didnt make sense to me.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
Tons of good advice here but just my $.02

I've been doing a ton of lessons and practicing stuff from a whole new breed of linear heavy players....and while it hasn't fundamentally changed my playing style - there has been times where I'm mid solo or fill and something from that style of playing / studies will come out.

It's all about building your language and vocab behind the kit - just like language...you won't drop every word you know in a given day - but when you use the RIGHT word (drum part) at the RIGHT time - you'll be thankful you spent the time learning.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
I just started looking into linear drumming as I am unfamiliar. Thankfully, Jared and Drumeo dropped a nice little intro to the style video that has helped me on my quest.
Currently trying to get my old man brain to grapple with the samba/bossa my teacher just showed me. My left hand doesn't like that 3.
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
I just started looking into linear drumming as I am unfamiliar. Thankfully, Jared and Drumeo dropped a nice little intro to the style video that has helped me on my quest.
Currently trying to get my old man brain to grapple with the samba/bossa my teacher just showed me. My left hand doesn't like that 3.
Good on you for working at it man!!! You'll get there!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Headroom: If you have greater skill than the gig requires it becomes easier to play.
Part of me takes this with a huge grain of salt though. There are too many drummers who learn a lot of the weird stuff you’d never play in public and then subject the audience to it. They end up getting fired and spending most of their lives trying to figure out why they keep getting fired. Don’t get me wrong, having the headroom is good. But not knowing when to apply it seems to be the norm.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Part of me takes this with a huge grain of salt though. There are too many drummers who learn a lot of the weird stuff you’d never play in public and then subject the audience to it. They end up getting fired and spending most of their lives trying to figure out why they keep getting fired. Don’t get me wrong, having the headroom is good. But not knowing when to apply it seems to be the norm.
I think that’s mostly a disease of younger drummers. *shrug*
 
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