Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Time to take stock

          One of the ways we can make the best of the social isolation we're dealing with is to look at aspects of our playing that we don't have time to   usually think about, let alone address, when we're playing and living normally. I have decided to "take stock" of what I'm doing as drummer. What could be changed, improved etc.Perhaps you will use this as inspiration to take stock of your own music, so let's all take a look at some of the things we've been taking for granted.

1. Sound 
This is a great time to record yourself and think about how you feel about what you hear. Or you could just try tuning your drums a different way and see how that affects how you play. Tune your drums high? Take them down and see how it sounds/feels. Like to play your snare drum low with loose snares? Crank it up for a change. For me, I've been playing on a ride cymbal in the place I've been practicing that's quite dry. Think DeJohnette/Earth cymbal unlathed sort of vibe. I decided to get over my "tape on a cymbal equals moustache on Mona Lisa" attitude and put a couple of pieces of duct tape on my 22" old K. I'm digging the results ( Lots of stick sound, way easier to control etc.) Time will tell if this drier ride sound becomes a permanent part of my set up but regardless I'm sure it will be healthy for me to shake things up a bit.

2. Types of Techniques/Ideas
This can be a great time to dig into things you normally don't do on gigs or practice much. For example, I've never done much with double paradiddles ( RLRLRR LRLRLL ) but I recently discovered some great exercises on thatdrumblog . Mr. Adam Osmianski's excesses are great because they intersperse different accents and diddles with the regular sticking, and  they are all 1 bar examples so they are very handy for variations of voicing on the drum set, as well as not being too much to keep track of, and therefore are easily memorized etc.

Although I haven't done a lot of this so far while isolated, this can be a great time to try out different set ups, and types of drums and cymbals. The drums I'm playing on in my rehearsal space feature 10" and 14" toms. I'm not convinced I would ever use a 10' tom in my set up without a 12" as well ( I find the 10' not versatile or gutsy enough) , it's been fun to have something different to play on and hear.

4. Listening
Because a lot of us have a bit looser schedule, it's a great time to listen to things we don't normally check out, or don't have time to in depth. In fact, I have dishes to do after I finish writing this, so I'm going to listen to some sort of classical piece I haven't heard before. Longer pieces of music are especially handy to check out right now, and I've enjoyed listening to the almost 17 minute Bob Dylan song, as well as some of Mile Davis' electric period music that i haven't heard much of.

You know, before we know it, we'll all be back to our busy lives, let's use this time to expand ourselves as musicians, and ultimately  humans. 

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