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  • Frustration

    Hey, I'd like to get some feedback on something. I've been playing drumset for about 4 years, I'm pretty old to be starting out (I'm 47). For the first year and a half, I had a teacher but gave that up because it was expensive and I thought I could teach myself. This way, I'd also have no pressure to practice and get something perfect for my teacher. Also, my brother who plays guitar taught himself after the first 6 months of lessons, and he is an awesome guitarist.

    I sometimes watch videos of drummers performing on Youtube, and I get blown away by all the talent. I feel like I'm not really getting better. I can play some grooves and some fills, but I'm just not happy with my development. I've purchased Jack Bennett's DVDs and hopefully they will help. I'm also seriously considering mikeslessons.com because I love his style of teaching on Youtube and he's an awesome drummer too. I also have tons of books/CDs and some other teaching DVDs. In fact, I may have too many!

    My question is, what is the best way to get better at playing? My main weaknesses seem to be fills and solos. I don't seem to be able to do fast fills or to improvise. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Peace,
    Alexis

  • #2
    I try to spend my practicing between rudiments and reading sheet music/new grooves. I then try everything I learned leading on the opposite hand. I find it very difficult to stay focused. It is so easy to just drift off and play things you know. I would say pick one book/DVD and complete it, and I mean complete it. Every groove, beat, stick method, should be spot on before going to a different book.

    I am using the Jared Falk (don't flame me) drumming system. I was so tempted to skip the basic book because I played a lot 20 years ago. However, I never learned to read music so I went ahead and started on page 1. Much to my dismay, I found out that I wasn't nearly as coordinated and independent as I thought I was. Some of the grooves in the basic book took me some time to master. I thought I was better than I actually was And yes, I am still in the basic book.... lol

    Chris

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    • #3
      Foxx,

      Let's take a step back and look at the big picture. Why do you drum? Since it's a little late to be starting a new career, let's assume it's for fun. If it's fun learning to do new runs, do that. If it's fun just playing along with MP3s or your buds, do that. I doubt it's much fun comparing yourself to other drummers. Rest assured, there will always be better drummers and worse drummers than yourself.

      My advice; play the music that makes you happy. Let it flow from your soul. Play in your style, what sounds good and feels good to you. Like that corny old Carpenters song said (I'm paraphrasing) don't worry that it's not "good enough" for other people - this is about you having fun!

      Sure, runs are part of drumming, but they're not all of it. Soloing is, IMO, not important for the hobbyist drummer. I am no good at soloing, in my opinion, but people tell me I'm a good drummer, and I believe they are sincere.

      Set aside at least an hour three times a week to practice what you like playing. I use my practice as a work-out - thirty five push-ups and 40 minutes of the most flat-out play along drumming I can muster. Sometimes I do great, others I suck, but I always feel better afterward.

      Don't get bogged down in comparing yourself to others. This is a hobby, not a career. Enjoy yourself - you've earned the right to play!

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks!

        Thanks for the great advice. You both put me back on track. This is just a hobby to me, a seriously fun hobby! Comparing myself to others is no fun at all, but playing along to my favorite music is definitely fun.

        I spend time on the rudiments, usually on a practice pad. I think I'll start trying to incorporate rudiments on the drumset as cool fills. I noticed that freedrumlessons.com has a good section on this (what's wrong with Jared Falk?). I'm also going to put most of my books away. Thanks, Chris!

        Comment


        • #5
          Well said stickinthemud and csnow, and I empathise with you foxx.

          I played for about 6 years in my twenties and for the first year or 2 I played in a laid back rythmic manner (sort of like Nick Mason from Pink Floyd) and really enjoyed it.

          I then got caught up trying to match "those great drummers" and, whilst I got fairly good I gave drumming away because I just felt I was going around and around, faster and faster and had lost the enjoyment of playing.

          22 years later (about 6 months ago).....I took up e-drums again (now 49) and I make sure I play what makes me smile now for at least half of the time and spend the other half of the time learning new styles/phrases and recording (privately). The best of both worlds.

          There is no instrument that is more fun to play than drums.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you go to drummerworld forums, Jared is considered a scam artist. I guess he has taken other drummers work and copied it. Some people don't like his marketing "drum secrets revealed" type gimics. I didnt buy into the hype, I understand he is just trying to market his product. I just needed something fairly cheap to work through as a roadmap for practice. Overall, I am pleased with the product and would recommend it.

            Comment


            • #7
              If youve only been playing for 4 years mate your just a beginer. Theres no point in looking at drummers who have been playing for 30 40 years and wondering why you cant match them cause you wont, and theres no point in getting frustrated. Drums ar'nt easy.
              Back in the 60's everybody and thier dog was taking up drums cause it looked easy, but 5 years down the line there were only a handful left.

              To be honest with you, and this is just my opinion, your not going to make a decent drummer till youve had at least 15 years playing in bands. As Ive said before, playing drums and being a drummer in a band are two totally different things and youll never aquire the ability till your out there. Its a whole different concept. Playing along to a track isnt being a drummer. Being in a band and holding it all together, enhancing the perfomance, and projecting energy. Thats what being a drummer is about.

              You see these guys on the tele or Youtube and dont realise how many years of blood sweat and tears that have gone into that performance, and I tell you now, there are no shortcuts. If you could learn all the rudiments in a day it still would not make it any easier. Its all about timing and feel and ability comes third. Oh, and the 6th sense of knowing what the guitarist or singer or who ever, is going to do next. Its hard to explain but its something you seem to aquire over years of gigging.

              At your age mate, just be content with playing along with the bands you like. Thats all I do now cause I aint got the stamina any more. Dont worry about the abilty of guys you see on the tele cause they are better than you'll ever be, so its not worth agonising over.

              Just enjoy doing what you do and be happy. Smile when you screw up, and buy evrybody a drink when youve had a good session. Ill have a Stella and scotch chaser.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by foxx View Post
                ...I think I'll start trying to incorporate rudiments on the drumset as cool fills...
                FWIW - that fype of formula might give you some new ideas, but don't get discouraged if you can't get cool sounding fills from a rudimental approach/mindset. In over 20+ years of playing, for the majority of that time I have found it easier to try and adapt cool fills from copying other drummers as opposed to taking a rudimental approach. Your experience may vary, but there may be other approaches to try. I have often had to mix things up after hitting a roadblock ...

                Steve
                Roland TD-12, 4-piece kit (very downsized) setup
                http://www.vdrums.com/forum/attachme...0&d=1180324146
                Gretsch New Classic, Yamaha & Ludwig snares
                Agop SE, Vintage A Zildjian, K, K Custom Dark, Sabian HHX Legacy
                DW Hardware

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                • #9
                  Alexis, I think STM already asked, but what is your goal? What do you want to get out of drumming? Are you thinking of eventually joining a band and playing in clubs, etc..? I ask mainly because it's much easier for most of us to give advice when we know where your trying to go. What type of music do you want to play? As far as DVDs and Books, those are great "if you use them". I have several sitting around that I plan to dig into real soon now... Books and DVDs won't nag you to use them, but they will mock you occasionally. I have been playing in bands for years, and I'm rarely called upon to solo. Most drum solos are hard to dance to anyway
                  TD-20, SPD-S, TAMA '82 Superstars
                  http://www.outawhack.net/drumming ___ http://www.zendaddyband.com ___ http://www.myspace.com/353238983

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow, such great feedback. Why do I drum? To me, it's a hobby but also at the same time I do want to get better and be able to play in a band around town. The kind of music I'm drawn to is funk, jazz, and latin type beats but I also like rock.

                    Thanks for putting things in perspective for me. Sometimes I am too hard on myself.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Drumming is also a hobby to me but I still feel compelled to be the best I can be and to see how good of a player I can become. The satisfaction of breaking through to next level of the journey is huge. As for practice you need to set goals and you need to be always learning something new as well as mastering the techniques you already know. Keep it fresh and give yourself direction...
                      My Kit
                      http://www.vdrums.com/forum/attachme...2&d=1257067362

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lopan View Post
                        Most drum solos are hard to dance to anyway
                        Wise words lopan. Theres very little point to drum solos in a normal venue.
                        I always found that if you got everybody up dancing and then went into a drum solo, they'd all walk off the floor and go and get a drink.

                        Apart from that theres probably only a couple of guys out there that understand what your doing anyway.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I feel the same way you do, MCM. I want to be the best I can be, even though I'm...um...old. I also want to have fun, which is why I'm doing this in the first place, and I can honestly say that the frustration has never overcome the fun. Hopefully never will.

                          I do need to set goals. Can anyone give me examples of goals, things to possibly strive for? Are you talking about being able to do certain techniques or to play a certain exercise from a book by a certain date?

                          Anyway, thank you one and all. This is a great forum with really nice people!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by foxx View Post
                            Wow, such great feedback. Why do I drum? To me, it's a hobby but also at the same time I do want to get better and be able to play in a band around town. The kind of music I'm drawn to is funk, jazz, and latin type beats but I also like rock.

                            Thanks for putting things in perspective for me. Sometimes I am too hard on myself.
                            We all are too hard on ourselves, our own worst critics so to speak. I listen to myself and say, oh god, i totally suck (and i probably do for that matter!) but others seem to like what i do and the band hasnt fired me yet.. Its just that we get some mental image in our heads of what were "supposed" to be like, play like/ sound like whatever. I catch myself many times getting myself frustrated, mainly during practice (without the band). Recently i've made a point of quitting for the day soon as I start to get irritated because if i dont the session goes down hill fast anyway. Like everyone has been saying, if the reasons behind your playing are for fun/enjoyment/personal satisfaction just stay focused on that. You are learning to play drums with every song you listen to while your mind hears the music the back or your head is busy air druming to it.. I tried that LRLLRRLRLRLRLR stuff till my eyes crossed and my head nearly exploded.. THAT was frustration to me. I know its beneficial but i just cant bring myself to do it lol. Just enjoy playing man!!


                            EDIT ---- You asked about goals -- Those are your personal choice but an example of one i've recently used was that I needed to really nail a particular fill in a cover song, i'd been putting it off etc but I had a gig coming up and decided that my focus for practice, my goal if you will was to master the feel and execution of the fill. I worked at it, sometimes just listening to that section of the song repeating a few measures back to really feel it through, other times playing along, etc until I got it. Then to make sure i played it a few times with and without backing tracks to make sure it wasnt a fluke..

                            -Frank

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One funny thing about this subject (among many drumming funnies) is that the skillful drummers do many things simply. They even make complexity look simple. If the drummer tries to throw too much into a song, it just doesn't work. The idea is to give the song what it needs to make the statement. As drummers, we underscore and emphasize; we put the move and the groove into music. Beating on everything in site, monster 360 or bubble kits, has a place, but generally as a sideshow and not the main event. I've asked myself, "This looks and sounds great, but how can I use it in a musical presentation with other musicians?"

                              I, too, have watched and listened to better drummers who can solo for hours and play triplets with their eyebrows and butt cheeks, but none of that really fits into most songs. Ringo Starr was criticized for not being a 'great' drummer, but helped one of the most popular bands in history so far vault into their hallowed place in music. Lots of times he and others practiced in the 'less is more' school of drumming.

                              Like John.b said, drumming with a band is a whole different animal than playing to cuts on a record (excuse me, tracks on a CD for all you youngsters). Much more dynamic and demanding, having a lot more to do with facilitating than complicated rudiments or combinations. We all need to remind ourselves on occasion what is really important in what we are doing, and if we aren't enjoying ourselves then what the heck are we doing it for?

                              Shalom
                              Bruce

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