We know it, we are drummers
We all like crazy syncopated patterns, intense solos and intricate rhythms. All that noise can sound cool, but we often forget about the power of simplicity in music. Some of the greatest songs ever recorded have been done with two verses, a chorus and most of the time with a single rhythm looped for the entire duration of the song.
Why am I writing about simplicity? Well, for two main reasons.
The first one, is that I spent the whole summer gigging almost every day with instrumental jazz gigs with various acts, electronic rock/pop (http://www.fjokra.com) and last-minute function gigs. The differences of “vocabulary”, sound, repertoire and approach are quite challenging and very often there’s no time to prepare or rehearse the set list.
There is always a good solution for this kind of situation, it is simplicity. Keeping the rhythmic section clear, minimal and most of all musical helps the music breath more and sound better ( and eventually get more bookings).
The second reason why I’m talking about simplicity
is for all the music students who are reading this. During lessons, I talk with students about band workshops and about “being ready” to play with a band. I know it can be hard to believe, especially for beginners, but a single rhythm looped for an entire song, plus maybe a single fill is enough for a successful session.
To be good drummers/musicians in a band context, we don’t need to show several different ideas squeezed inside a single song or demonstrate incredible technique and independence. The main factors we need to take care of are: timing, song/structure (stating the form), and sound control. If we are successful in doing this, we will have a successful session, 100% assured!
Don't misunderstand me
I’m not saying that technique and other more academic studies are not important. Indeed, every kind of music requires a specific standard knowledge; what I’m saying is: do not confuse practicing with playing when you're making music with a band. In other words, while you are playing, focus on the “now’ and do your best with the skills you have acquired up until now.
Of course, I like watching skilled drummers showing off brilliantly executed chops and taking inspiration from them. But don’t forget that what you really need to do is to play for the song, this is what drumming and making music is about..
As Miles Davis used to say “I always listen to what I can leave out”
Blog post by Planet drum teacher, Filippo
Keith Debarra performed in 'The Lost Disc',
the latest production by the The London Snorkeling Team. We have asked Keith to tell us more about this production:
"I performed again at Shoreditch Town Hall for three nights with the London Snorkelling Team.
Last year, I performed with them in a collaborative production of 'A Mid Summer Night's Dream' with Filter (production company) and Lyric Hammersmith.
As well as a run at the Lyric, we were also very lucky to bring the show to Australia and Dublin. It was a great experience and great to be involved in something quite different from what I'm used to. They are very creative people making some very interesting things things with music and theatre."
Again, it's a very interesting
experience to see how something like this is put together both musically and theatrically. It is a new production based on a short sketch which this team put together for another show some years ago.
My role, as you might have guessed, was to play drums but I had some lines to deliver at some point which was fun and nerve racking .We had rehearsed a lot and I think it was a really good show. Let us know if you came along for either of the three shows at the Shoreditch Town Hall."
Blog post by Planet drum teacher, Keith.