Monday, September 10, 2018
On hearing other drummers sound bad
So here are some specific things anyone can do to play better right away, that don't even necessarily require a whole lot of practice time:
• Stop playing your stuff and listen.
• The cymbal rhythm is not a leaping off point for you to do all your other awesome stuff you practiced. It is the thing. The entire point. Your entire justification for being there. Be serious about it and play time on it.
• We all practice a lot of stuff, but the only thing in music you truly own is what comes through your ear. You can't just practice some junk and then go into a playing situation and shove it in, you have to hear it. Usually you do that by listening to a lot of records, and by doing a lot of playing— and trying to make music while doing it.
• Any time you learn a groove pattern, you have to have five levels of things you can do with it. Five is a number I made up just now, but it sounds good. You can't just learn the one pattern one way at a kinda-medium volume level. You have to be able to have different volume levels and different timbres and orchestrations so you can accompany solos by different instruments, and play different parts of the tune differently so it actually goes somewhere.
• Everything you do is in service of the groove, and of the arrangement, which you're creating on the spot by the way you play the tune and interact with the other players.
Mainly it's all about a change in attitude. Your personal statement on the drums is not everything you can play, it's everything you can play that makes it through the above filters.