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spacerx imgISSUE #01 \__\__\___THE____/__/__/ 01/05/1997
spacerx img_____________TEMPO DISPATCH ___________

spacerx img In This Issue . . .

spacerx img 1. Drumming Creativity VS Academics

spacerx img 2. Humor: (Sick Bass-Player jokes).

spacerx img_____________FEATURE ARTICLE___________

DRUMMING: Creativity VS. Academics

spacerx img"The Best Drummers Live In Both Worlds."

is a continual balancing-act between creativity and academics. Too little of either ingredient may produce less than perfect results. Every drummer needs a combination of academic knowledge and creative flow if the greatest success is to be expected.

I am hoping to provide a prescription here that will insure your life-long success.

The trick to gaining control over your career and reaching all your intended goals may be as simple as doing a quick self-evaluation, HERE and NOW!

First, determine if you fall into one of these two categories then simply adjust your habits enough to get on a fast track to success. If you qualify as both, then you may not need this lesson.

TYPE A: (Natural Drummers)
I personally know hundreds of great and successful professional drummers who do not know a 4th-note from an 8th-note . . . or a paradiddle from a flam. These same drummers are out there on the front lines, in the bars, nightclubs, honkey-tonks and concert venues of the World, playing their hearts out every night for their supper. I was 100% this type, in the early years.

For lack of a better word, we will call this type the 'natural' drummer. Many of these natural drummers will knock your socks off! They play terrific drums, but they may never become as great as they might have been, without an extra dose of academic knowledge.

It is quite common for many natural drummers to experience some degree of difficulty with written notation and/or rudimental studies. An inability to read is often the single most limiting factor toward achieving absolute success. If you have experienced problems reading drum notation, maybe this next little tip will help:

Try learning to read, in a reverse order. In other words try your hand at writing! You heard me correctly! Try writing beat patterns that you can play already.

Don't worry about fancy notation, complicated math and elaborate symbols and terminology. Simply place X's on paper. It will almost always be an even number, 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. It is also an arbitrary thing. 4 cymbal notes may often describe the pattern as well as 8 or 16.

Think of your favorite beat, lay out the cymbal line as X's on paper, then determine where the basses and snares fall in relation to the cymbal notes. It goes without saying, if you can write a pattern, surely you will be able to read it. Your reading/writing ability will expand as you do this more and more. Before long, as you gain more knowledge; the X's will grow stems and flags, becoming full-fledged notation because music-notation is all 99% logical and therefore intuitive.

Suddenly it will become apparent that reading or writing notation is no longer an intimidating task. You will need to do this on a regular basis or it may not be effective. Give it a try though . . . You may surprise yourself!

It's simple! Play any beat pattern you already know, then determine the number of cymbal notes within each repetition. Write it with the cymbal notes on the top line; the bass-notes on the bottom line, with snare (and toms) on the lines in-between.

If reading drum notation is really a problem for you and you would like some special help, study these lessons in this specific order:




Here's a more detailed lesson that futher explains reading and writing drum notation.

Your 'onstage' confidence will improve tremendously with the knowledge gained from these fun and easy lessons. Hopefully, you will begin to realize that almost all music will fall into one of six basic dance beat categories. If you ARE a natural, the chances are very good that you already know these patterns instinctively anyway. You have already discovered them by ear, whether you know it or not. The trick is to visualize the 'written' beats as you 'feel, listen and play along with your favorite music. Soon after that, the billions of beat variations/permutations that exist (mathematically) within each category will become easy to visualize, comprehend, play, write and read.

Each of the basic dance beats may break down into millions . . . even billions of variation possibilities but the basic structures will remain the same. Gain that knowledge and you'll conquer the music world.

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TYPE B: (Techie Drummers)
Next, we must acknowledge another type of drummer, the 'Techie'. These techie types have the rudiments down pat and they often sight-read well. They know all the terminology and sometimes may they possess enough technique to rival the World's greatest players. But . . . can they play?

Techies types are sometimes lost when it comes to playing a real gig. For some reason they can't seem to get it all together when trying to jam with a band. Surely you have met a few like this.

What is the missing ingredient? Why are so many of these types still working day jobs when the original dream was to play drums?

If you fall into this category, take heart! I'm about to provide the answer!

Forget the books, the manuscripts and manuals. Forget about teachers, instructions and private-lessons.

Close your eyes and get your 'ears' working overtime. Listen and analyze every song you hear, with your eyes closed. Make it an obsession! Learn to quickly 'lump' songs into (basic dance beat) categories by sound (and feel) alone. If you know the six basic dance beats, this task will grow easier with each new song.

You should gain the ability to lump any popular song into one of the six BASIC beat categories within the first few audible notes as the music begins to play.

Why? Because that is what you will be doing most of the time in the real World, as a professional (working) drummer.

It tends to Work Like this . . .

Think about this imaginary future scenario for a moment . . .
The phone rings . . . You are being asked to 'fill in' or 'sub' for a drummer who didn't show up. It's 7:00 pm and they need to begin playing at 9:00 pm. You have no idea what songs the band will play! These guys are desperate and you need a gig! Will you help them out? Could you do it?

The advice that follows, may put you onstage making money, before you know it!

How to Train For such an Eventuality . . .
Learn to jam with ALL music. Scan the radio dial . . . stop every time you hear a song playing. Any song! Listen intensely . . . feel the rhythm . . . categorize the song as one of the basic dance beats . . . then start playing, whether you like the song or not!

It's no longer about playing what we WANT to play. Now, we are training our mind and ears to play each and every song we'll hear, INSTANTLY as we are hearing it for the very first time.

Yes! We may actually hate some of the music that comes up. The harsh truth is; this also happens quite often on the gigs we play. Professional bands rarely (if ever) consult with the drummer as to which songs will be played. The band plays the songs they know! We follow as best we can. If we follow well . . . we get the gig permanently. If not, we don't.

Forget everything you may know about note-values, rolls and rudiments for the time being. Put all that on the back burner! It will come in handy later on, but for now you should reach inside yourself and learn to play . . . by the seat-of-your-pants.

Learn to create fills and beats that are uniquely your own. Feel the flow of any song and add your own personal touch! This is what the 'art-form' of drumming is all about! This is where the fun is! If you can't play the exact beat to a particular song . . . just play something close . . . stay in time with the music and MOST OF ALL, HAVE FUN! You may need to enjoy many long hours of this. Maybe you have been missing this kind of practice all along. If so, it is never too late to start!

A deep love of ALL music and raw undisciplined creativity, seem to be the driving ingredients that will catapult a 'natural drummer' into the business and keep them there. Most naturals have always indulged in a heavy diet of music jamming, feeling the groove, the tempo and dynamics of all music styles. From there everything else just comes . . . natural, because all styles of music tend to follow the same general rhythmic patterns.

We discover this as we begin playing and jamming with music styles we may not particularly care for. Soon after that, we arrive at the confidence-building conclusion that we can play anything. That instinctively means we can accept almost any offer to play . . . even on a few moments notice.

Techie types may have devoted most of their efforts toward (boring) study and academics. It is often a fact that these types have not allowed enough time-out for fun experimentation and improvisation with diverse styles of music.

So, at the risk of getting myself tarred and feathered, I want to say the techie types may be TOO disciplined! They should LOOSEN UP AND JAM! There is something about Jamming by the seat of our pants that cannot be adequately described by books. Get into a good jam today and do it routinely from now on! Stretch your boundaries! Any time and every time there is a song playing, we should analyze and try to play it, whether we're behind a drumset or not and whether or not we like the song.

Sure! You'll feel totally guilty for having so much fun, but in the final analysis . . . you'll come to realize that when we are having fun, our learning curve goes vertical! That's exactly the moment we are actually learning the most, and the fastest.

When studying this course, you should have a ball for one full hour (just playing), after each 15 or 20 minute lesson. Study a lesson, then loosen up and jam with music, or wail away at an improvised solo for an hour or more.

The important point here is the fact that the most successful drummers maintain an equal diet of fun and improvisational jamming, at a rate that is about 20% - 80%. In other words, 20% of their time should be devoted to the academics and studying the lessons. 80% of their time should be devoted to simply having fun, playing any and all music styles that may dare to cross their ears.

spacerx img_________THOUGHTS & GRINS__________

It just seems natural that drummers should poke a little fun at Bass players . . .

1.Q: What's the difference between a bass player and a trampoline?
A: You take off your shoes to jump on the trampoline.

2.Q: Why don't bass players ever catch a cold?
A: Even a virus has some pride.

3.Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Never mind. The piano player can do it with his left hand.

4.Q: What's the first thing a bass player says when he knocks on your door?
A: "Pizza!"

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