WHAT OTHER MUSICIANS EXPECT FROM US DRUMMERS
This article bases on two sources of information:
the one is the fact that Iīm also playing piano and keyboards in jazz, rock and pop bands
the other source are discussions with other non - drumming musicians
By far the most important thing that other musicians are expecting from you as a
drummer is a good timing. Thereīs nothing worse than a drummer
who canīt keep the time and/or is crashing every second fill in and is playing
sloopy. Yes! A GOOD AND RELIEABLE TIMING IS NEARLY ALL THEY WANT FROM YOU!
So if youīre a beginner or subadvanced donīt waste your time in learning fast
rolls or spectaculary fills - put 95% of your energy and time in getting a solid
timing! A band or a producer who is looking for a drummer will always prefer the one
with the better timing. In an audition nobody is interested how fast you can play the mule,
but how good you are in keeping the time and how precise you are playing.
Keep that in mind as it is so important but ingnored so often!
(For those of you who wonder how to work on a good timing: practice with a click
and/or with play alongs. Practicing with a play along has two advantages:
itīs much more fun and you get more īstress-resistantī - that means that you get
more used to "accoustic irritations" by other instruments while you learn to
place your licks and grooves into a song.
The click has the advantage of beeing more flexible in the tempo.
So I think you should have the option for both.
Another VERY USEFUL IDEA is to RECORD yourself while playing with a play along or
a click. While playing most of your attention is focussed on playing the right notes
and thereīs not much room left in your head for a critical analysis of your timing.
Record yourself and then listen to that stuff. The first few times you might get
shocked by your miserable accuracity - but thatīs normal...no reason to dispare.
It will get better and better...)
Ok, letīs get to the next point. Itīs the DYNAMICS in your playing.
A drummer in a jazz quartett playing in a small club who is hitting his drums and
cymbals like King Kong on angeldust can really drive his co-musicians (and the
audiences) mad. And the other way round: a drummer in rock group who only pets
his drumset does the same mistake. It needs a lot of taste and experience to play
the right dynamic for a certain kind of music. And your dynamic has not only to
differ in certain musical styles but also during a song. In case of a jazz tune
you often should start at a low volume level and increase it later.
One important thing: even if you are playing on a low volume level, do it with
tension and power! Donīt lush arround on your set!
Provide a fine carpet for your colleagues to lay on.
Allright, now letīs say you are drummer with a good timing and tasteful dynamical
playing. Here are some tips that are making you the dream of every bassist, guitarist
LISTEN TO WHAT THE OTHER MUSICIANS ARE PLAYING IN THEIR SOLOS AND INTERACT WITH THEM:
Example: the guitar player has a solo in a straight eihghts tune and he is playing a
long passage of triplet-eihghts - take the chance and support him with an eihght notes
groove and/or fill in for a few bars. Most musicians apprechiate this!
SHOW YOUR VIRTUOSITY IN THE RIGHT PLACE
We all tend to be vain and your co-musicians will like it to have a drummer they can
be proud of. So in your drumsolo or in the right place of a song give them the
oppurtunity to take a sunbath in your glance. But never exagerate...let them stay
hungry. And of course: do it in a musically way!!
HAVE EYE-CONTACT WITH YOUR CO-MUSICIANS
Get them to know: "I am here and Iīm talking to you and Iīm listening to you".
In case you are talking with someone, you wouldnīt make him feel quite comfortable
if youīd look away all the time.
RESUMPTION (LISTED BY PRIORITY):
- GOOD TIMING
- DYNAMICAL PLAYING
- INTERACT WITH THE OTHER MUSICIANS
- SHOW YOUR VIRTUOSITY IN THE RIGHT PLACE
- HAVE EYE CONTACT WITH YOUR CO-MUSICIANS