Saturday, March 12, 2011

Email Question from You Tube

Above picture from Amorphia Apparel

"Hey how's it going?

I've been drumming for a while now, and I've got the groove aspect of playing down pretty well. But when it comes to the faster songs, I don't really know what to do. I can keep the beat, and do some more groove-like fills, but I can't really play it like a fast song. Haha does this make sense? It's like I can play it, but I don't know how to have the drums act in the song. If you could help that would be amazing. I'm a church kid, and there are a few of us that are actually not bad at music so we've been wanting to do some stuff. But there's this other guy who solely drums to fast songs and because of that I might have to play the bass. Which I'm not very good at but for some reason people think I am. Well, that's my story."

Sorry it took me a minute to get back with you...I've been swamped!

A couple of good things I hear in what you're tellin' me...

A) You've identified a weak area...this is always a good thing. Some people don't view it as that, but if you don't identify it, you can never fix it.

B) You've got a reason to get better at your weak area...a goal.

C) You've got competition...again, not always viewed as a good thing, but it pushes me to perform and play better. Even if the other guy gets the gig, the process i went through to prepare is the benefit that I get out of the whole thing.

It sounds like you need to work on your fast song playing. i know that sounds like a simple answer...but that's really what you need to do. So, from now on, if you really want to play the drums in this situation you've got to become consumed with playing fast songs and fast tempos comfortably. The reason you feel like you're not really playing them like a fast song should be played is because you're not comfortable at those tempos...sure, you can hang on for dear life, but I actually like to ride inside the plane when I fly and not hang out on the wings, lol!

Alot of times when we practice we go over the same things we know...or improve on areas that we're already good at because we feel comfortable makes us feel good and warm and fuzzy inside. There's nothing like leaving a woodshedding session feeling like you still can't play what you were practicing. It's frustrating, borderline insanity...but it's what drives you to come back to the practice room later and tackle it again, and again, and again...until your a beast at it!

So here's what you do...stop practicing everything you usually do. You're solely focused on quick tempos at this point. Everything you can already play now needs to be played at these fast tempos....grooves, licks, fills, you name it. Find 8-10 fast songs that you like and play them over and over and over...and then play them again. You need to be setting your kit on fire every day you're playing so fast! It will be frustrating at first, but after a while you'll get better...and better...and better...until you're the only logical option for the drum chair in this situation because you play the other guy under the table in every area. It's the way I've always done it.

Your other option is to get discouraged, decide you're just not good at it, and settle for playing the bass. But I think you're a better drummer and person than that...NOW GO PRACTICE!!!

Hope that helped! You can play this guy under the table, you just have to decide to do it.

-Stephen T.

DISCLAIMER: Drums aren't a competition or a pissing contest, as they're often treated. They're a musical instrument with the abilities to play rhythm, melody, and's a beautiful thing! That being said, when you're in the running for a drum chair, the rules change. You don't become vindictive towards the other players, or simply quietly go about dominating the competition. It's not personal, you just want the gig...whether it be a volunteer church gig or a legit touring position. And after it's all over, you can go grab a cup of joe and talk drums with no hard feelings.


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