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When to and when not to
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technique2012





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No. 1 Posted on Feb 15, 2013 5:13 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
My drum teacher recently said I was doing to much on a track we were playing but then my director urges me to do more when playing. I don't know what to doSad


"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus
paul

paulmiller



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No. 2 Posted on Feb 15, 2013 5:43 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Depends on the music. Most rock wants fairly uncomplicated drumming with fewer fills. Other forms of music are enhanced by more adventurous percussion. But whatever is played has to fit in the context of the music.

That said, without hearing the playing that brought about both comments nobody can have or express a useful opinion about your situation.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

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technique2012





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No. 3 Posted on Feb 15, 2013 5:46 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
My drum teacher told me I was doing too much when I was doing a sixteenth note rhythm followed by an open hi-hat during "The Chicken", and my director told me I was doing too little when I was playing behind a soloist during "Splanky".


"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus
OldFart

Mapex



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No. 4 Posted on Feb 15, 2013 9:06 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Fills.

If there is a critic there to hear them, and they sound good to the critic - then they're good fills. If there is no critic there and they sound good to the listeners - then they're good fills.

But not otherwise Smile



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Singlestroker





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No. 5 Posted on Feb 16, 2013 9:01 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
There is skill in knowing when to make it simple and understated, and when not to. Listen to some of this wonderful drummer's work on here and you'll see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6oc2TtmZXA

A feel for what's right comes with time. The better you get at the drums, the less you will worry about being seen to be capable of harder stuff. In any case, you'll get plenty of chance to do some testing parts over the years.

You can still push the boundaries in practice, and there's a lot of satisfaction in knowing you have it there if it's needed.



knightcrawler





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No. 6 Posted on Feb 16, 2013 9:23 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
A fill is called and spelled F-I-L-L because it does just that. It fills in those spaces and voids. It lets the other musicians, listeners, audiences know that a change is coming (verse to chorus, chorus to bridge, the climax of the song, any kind of change).


paul

paulmiller



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No. 7 Posted on Feb 16, 2013 6:50 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
technique2012 wrote:
My drum teacher told me I was doing too much when I was doing a sixteenth note rhythm followed by an open hi-hat during "The Chicken", and my director told me I was doing too little when I was playing behind a soloist during "Splanky".


When playing The Chicken I usually defer to the bassist (it's a Jaco Pastorious song, after all) and play eighth notes on the hats. You don't want to both be complex at the same time.

On Splanky, he probably wanted you to listen and respond to what the soloist was playing. In that situation you want to play fairly straight, but in jazz you're allowed to "comment" on what the soloist or section is doing. Listen for holes in the music, and use one or two beat things to fill. Or if the soloist repeats a rhythmic pattern join him on it until he comes out of it, and try to come out at the same time. Or if he plays an interesting pattern repeat it on the ride cymbal or snare drum as a way of answering him.

The main thing in both cases is to listen carefully and decide what's needed. That said, it's very hard to err too badly when playing simply, but whatever you play needs to make sense in the music.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

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Andy





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No. 8 Posted on Feb 18, 2013 6:20 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
technique2012 wrote:
My drum teacher told me I was doing too much when I was doing a sixteenth note rhythm followed by an open hi-hat during "The Chicken", and my director told me I was doing too little when I was playing behind a soloist during "Splanky".


I'm not familiar with these songs, but my general advice is to take the advice of these guys and do what they say without any whining or drama. They've been doing it for years and know their stuff (or are supposed to anyhow). Do what they say and if later you find out they're not so smart, then you can adjust fire from there. In the meantime, put your own ideas aside. You've got an entire lifetime to be an opinionated know-it-all like me, so use the time now to take in all you can.




paul

paulmiller



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No. 9 Posted on Feb 19, 2013 12:34 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
This is Count Basie doing Splanky, with Sonny Payne on drums. The key to playing Basie is dynamics. Note how Payne is almost inaudible in the early part of the song, but then crescendos and really drives the band through the shout choruses. Shout choruses on Basie tunes are the drummer's chance to roar, but when it says "soft" on the chart you have to almost disappear. We're doing In A Mellow Tone this week in a show, and I love it.

In contrast, Jaco Pastorius's The Chicken, here with Peter Erskine on drums, the drummer's job is to lay it down for the soloists. When you're playing with a percussionist you have to back off a little bit. Leave him some room to play, and stay synced up. If you're not soloing you're going to play pretty straight ahead funk. Listen to the soloists, and if they leave holes feel free to comment, but otherwise, instead of driving the band, stay underneath and give support.

Sometimes you need to pick the band up on your shoulders and say, "We're going this way!" Other times you want to provide a musical lap for the soloists to "sit in" as they do their thing. One of the nicest things another musician ever said to me came from a tenor sax player in a small group who said, "It's really easy to solo over your playing. Thanks."

Either way, your ears will tell you what to do if you open them. I'll often go and listen to how the original recording was played. If I don't try to emulate it I can at least get an idea how the artist thought it should be done.

Sorry to be long winded. These are a couple of my favorite songs to play, and the question really intrigues me. I think mastering the question of when to lay back and when to force the issue is one of the greatest challenges a drummer faces, and figuring it out correctly makes playing a lot more fun for everybody.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

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StillKickinIt

Poopeye



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No. 10 Posted on Feb 20, 2013 7:45 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Paul has it nailed here for you. Great response Paul.

And as stated, sounds like you may be using longer F-I-L-L-S more than just short emphasis' or dynamics to fill smaller voids or to compliment a soloist.

If you can gain from Pauls experience at a young age and master this skill, you won't waste a lot of years getting it like most of us!! Big Smile



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StillKickinIt

Poopeye



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No. 11 Posted on Feb 20, 2013 7:48 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
...oh and....

Did I catch in your original post that one situation was recording the other was playing live?

If so, in my opinion, recording is a different animal and should be kept much simpler and straight forward. It's easy to sound "too busy" in a recording.



Kick me...beat me....hit me with sticks....
technique2012





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No. 12 Posted on Feb 20, 2013 2:37 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
StillKickinIt wrote:
...oh and....

Did I catch in your original post that one situation was recording the other was playing live?

If so, in my opinion, recording is a different animal and should be kept much simpler and straight forward. It's easy to sound "too busy" in a recording.

Yeah, my drum teacher and I were playing along to a track of The Chicken and I was rehearsing Splanky for a contest we have on Saturday.



"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus
StillKickinIt

Poopeye



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No. 13 Posted on Feb 20, 2013 3:34 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
technique2012 wrote:
Yeah, my drum teacher and I were playing along to a track of The Chicken and I was rehearsing Splanky for a contest we have on Saturday.


Aha, I see. I was referring to recording a drum track as opposed to playing along with one. Sounds like you are open minded to constructive input....good for you. Being defensive in a band is a killer unless someone is attacking rather than coaching or suggesting.



Kick me...beat me....hit me with sticks....
technique2012





Posts: 287
Joined: Aug 11, 2012
Location: Illinois, USA
No. 14 Posted on Feb 20, 2013 4:10 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
StillKickinIt wrote:

Aha, I see. I was referring to recording a drum track as opposed to playing along with one. Sounds like you are open minded to constructive input....good for you. Being defensive in a band is a killer unless someone is attacking rather than coaching or suggesting.

There was one time where I met this real jerk of a clinician... but I kept my mouth shut anyway.



"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus

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