How to unlock your creativity on drums
My intention with this book is to share my own experience and years of research with fellow drummers and anybody who is interested in freeing up their creativity. More
Normally drums are viewed as the instrument that creates the rhythm and maintains the right tempo. Being this the predominant task of the drums, it is not the only one. Apart from establishing the right pace, drummers may help to bind the band and give a sense of unity. Drums can create a layer ( normally in conjunction with the bass or other percussive instruments ) where the rest of the band can rely and build more complex melodies and harmonies. It can support the band when needed, by feeling gaps or disguising weak parts and mistakes. It can contribute to the creation of the right atmosphere for a particular style and be inspiring for the audience and the rest of the band.
The drummer may take sometimes the role of conductor, counting the beats before start the tune, internally giving the right clues for changes, indicating finales, and so on.
There is a common misconception that occurs more often than what would be desired : The drums keep the tempo and the rest of the band plays the music. Although drums are membranophone instruments and could be arguable if they can reproduce notes, drums can be tuned using different pitches and voices. Drummers can contribute to the musicality of a band at the same level of any other instrument.
It is the drummer task as well to arrange songs, creating embellishments and adding nuances.
The drummer has to be able to listen and identify the right character of the song. For example, if is a love song, it has to be able to transmit the right meaning trough musical expression.
Music in essence is ephemeral and variable while played in front of an audience. The song may evolve as it is played and the drummer should be able to identify those moments and establish a dialogue with the rest of the band and the audience.
Normally there are certain features for every style that should be known and respected in order to create the right groove, although freedom is available to explore and open new ways, depending on the nature of the band. The drummer has to be able to identify the genre, with sensibility and coherence and also know when it would be good to break the rules in order to create an artistic statement. The drummer can take the lead and be open to creativity and improvisation. There are certain styles that allow more room for this and often allocates sections within a song for a solo part, like Jazz and some forms of modern and progressive Rock.
These are some of the key features of drums.
Working with a metronome or backing track is a very useful practice.
Giving a sense of unity to the different parts and contributing with fills that encourage other players to get into the feel of the song.
Creation of a layer.
Supporting and conducting the band.
Creation of atmosphere.
By adding new textures and timbre.
Change of dynamics in a song, adjusting tempo.
Tempo and visual references.
Contributing to the musicality.
Orchestration of different voices.
Arrangement, nuances and embellishments.
Syncopation, counterpoint and imitation.
Providing the right character and meaning to the song.
Understand the song and internalize the feeling. Connect with the audience and make it meaningful.
Supporting the features of the style.
Researching what is the foundation of a rhythm.
Breaking down in track, by allowing freedom of expression and improvised phrasing.
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