At Planet Drum, we always like to encourage our students
to play with other people as much as possible. That’s why we have been doing our band workshops for several years now and those sessions are enjoyed by our students and our teachers alike. There is something special about different people gathering in a room and creating music together, it’s like giving birth to a new spirit or new being that otherwise wouldn’t be possible to create.
In order to enjoy playing with other people at any occasion and to benefit most from it, there are some things we can do and pay attention to, in order to make it smoother, more musical and enjoyable for ourselves and everyone else.
the most important thing whether you play music on your own or with other people. Music is a language and you communicate with other musicians by listening to them. So many times great sessions are ruined by a musician focusing on his own instrument and not listening to what’s going on in the band. Remember, everyone in the band is there for the music and not for their own individual’s sake. So, if you feel there should be more dynamics involved, or you should play quieter, louder, or maybe even stop playing at all at some point, always be aware of what’s going on in the song. If you are not sure what you need to do, keep your eyes open as well as ears. By watching other band members, you’ll be safe and aware when to change gears during a song.
2. Respecting the soloist
Let’s say you play in a rhythm section (drums, bass, guitar, piano…) and someone is soloing. Don’t ever force them into your own rhythmic/harmonic/dynamic variations - listen to them instead and just follow what they do - it’s their role to lead you and not vice versa.
3. Respecting the style
If you happen to play a song in a blues/jazz style, don’t try to play your heavy metal licks or double kick rolls over the song. It just doesn’t fit there. If you are not familiar with the style, just be as simplistic as possible and it will all be ok!
4. Don't overplay
Less is more, most of the time. Especially if you are a drummer. Nobody cares about drum fills every 2 bars, or every 4 bars, or sometimes even 32 bars. Same for guitarists, if there is a space for your solo in the song, that’s fantastic. Otherwise, the less, the better. Again, it’s all based on listening, being familiar with the style and the song.
5. Don't be afraid or ashamed if you are a beginner
Nobody will judge you, we are all here to learn and communicate through music. As already said above, even if you know only one rhythm or a couple of notes on the bass guitar, good musicians will know how to make the best use of your skills.
6. Don't be crushed by your own mistakes
If you make a mistake, make a mental note and just continue playing, but remember it and work on it later. Again nobody will judge you. The worst thing you can do is stop because you made a mistake. It’s not a big deal, it’s human!
There is always something to learn at any band session because it’s not just music, it’s the exchange of people’s energies when we play together. Even one song can sound different every time. That’s why we are keeping the band music alive at Planet Drum. We can’t wait to go back to our regular sessions hopefully once the lockdown is over. In the meantime, keep practicing your instruments!
Planet drum guitar teacher, Vladimir
Ever wondered what the role of the bass guitar is in a musical group
The bass guitar, with its lower tuning and supporting rhythmic role, stands in the background and rarely takes center stage, like for example the lead guitar or the vocals. The bass allows little space for showing off or improvised soloing. It's an easily observable fact that the bass players usually don’t upstage anyone; they’re all about making the whole tune better, blending in so that the music itself stands out.
You could possibly say that playing the bass is an exercise in self control and in understatement, during which the ego subsides to give more space to the collective mission of making good music. Music always comes first with the bass so, perhaps, it's valuable for every musician to learn the basics of bass guitar.
The bass performs two basic and important functions:
it provides the rhythmic and the harmonic foundations of the music, in this way really underlying and enriching the groove and the feel of a song.
With our bass lessons you will learn how to master this fundamental instrument and grasp its potential in music making. Bass is an inspiring instrument that provides the steady pulse and feeling of the music making it the backbone of every group or composition. The often discreet presence of bassists at the back of the stage shouldn't really put you off, as without them the music we are listening to would just be unbelievably poor.
The bassist contributes greatly to the rhythm and harmony of the music, having a fundamental impact on how songs not only sound, but most importantly, feel.
You can notice this yourselves when listening to music. If you individuate and pay attention on how the bass sounds, you will realize that it has a direct impact on how we receive the music; on how our body accepts and responds to the lower frequencies, the delay or speed in the movement of chords. How expressive or restrained a bassist is, has a direct influence on the emotion of the music.
Even if your focus is on a different instrument, you can only benefit from learning to play the bass. Start taking bass lessons and practicing today, and begin this personal journey of discovering the inner workings of music and live playing.
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