Topic: havin' one of those days  (Read 3814 times)

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rudibass2

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havin' one of those days
« on: December 31, 2001, 12:22 PM »
    After all the discussion about stick weight and techniques I went to do a little work on the set . I'm having one of those days were you just can't seem to get into the groove.
   I was playing to some new stuff that I started last week or so and pretty much nailed right out of the gate . Today it's like I never played it and couldn't do it for love or money.
    So my question is , what do you guys do if your in a situation where you have to play in a show or even a band rehearsal and your just not with it that day.
     I'm sure it's mostly a mental distraction thing , but what do you do to snap out of it .
      I'm quessing I'm not the only one who has days like this.
And Bart , being a pro , you must run into this from time to time while your on a job .  What's the quick fix to get back in the "swing".

scream187

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2001, 01:08 PM »
well when that happens I just dont play... or try again later to see if it feels better... if not @$%# it...

if theres a practice with the band or something, well at first I suck, but the others get me in the groove, when theres 4 guys playing in front of u, it just comes naturally... even if at first I wasnt into it

so yea thats for me. if I'm alone, @$%# it, if with ppl, the ppl fix it!

sidereal

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2001, 01:24 PM »
I had a gig not too long ago that was jam packed with drama. The singer and I had just gotten together romantically, and both her ex and my ex were in the audience. To make it worse, the gig was for a grand opening for a company I just quit under bad terms. Making things even worse, a band featuring my former boss (the cause of my resignation) opened up for us!

It was all so surreal that right when we started playing, I realized my hands didn't work. I was experiencing some subconscious panic, I guess. But I honestly could not play. So I just played the most basic of grooves, the most minimal of fills, and didn't push myself at all. I simply concentrated on groove and made that the focus. It was a nightmare.

It may not be much help to you, but my advice would be that when you HAVE TO PLAY, go ahead and trim down your execution to its most basic level. Focus on the stroke of hitting the snare drum, the simplist of kick and hat patterns, and try to empty your mind of whatever's holding you back. Then try to just feel it and sort of go outside your body and listen to yourself. That's what helped me anyway. At least partially.

rudibass2

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2001, 02:54 PM »
  That's what I kind of did today . I got ouy a Jonny Lang cd with some nice blues riffs with alot of feeling and just played it simplier than it aready is .  It took about 8 songs before I started to relax and execute some decent fills . So I was wondering what the frog would happen if you where in a situation where you had to be "on" like NOW !

    That sounds like you got screwed out of what should have been a great gig man .  Thanks for the reply. Ya want to shine and ya have a @$%# cloud hangin over ya :-/  

Matt Self (Gaddabout)

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2001, 10:57 PM »
Quote
   I'm quessing I'm not the only one who has days like this.

Definately not alone. My bad days always affect my feet. Hands never really leave me, unless my feet are really off, then my brain spends too much energy trying to work the feet and the hands are left without instruction.

Just an observation, but when I'm thinking about drum stuff instead of the music, that's usually when a bad day starts. Sometimes, if I can just listen to the music, imagining that my drums are triggered and the all the music being played is coming from my drums, I can really lock in and not let a bad day become worse.

Bart Elliott

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2002, 05:23 AM »
You're not alone here either.

Unfortunately this type of thing can happen when I least expect it. There have been plenty of times when the body just won't work when the time is crucial.

It's like I wake up in the morning and nothing seems to work right; you'd think I hadn't ever played drums before it sounds so bad.

I agree with Sidereal. When I MUST play and nothing seems to be working, I water down the parts and play the minimum that I have to do to make it through. What's really frustrating is when this kind of thing rears it's ugly head on a recording session! Now, I've had that happen a time or two too many ... and it ain't pretty my friends.

Another approach I've tried to take is to eliminate the "bad days" rather than focus on trying to make it a good day. It's basically a mental thing, kind of like "is the glass half full or half empty". If you've been playing for a number of years, you probably have good days most of the time. Since you rarely have really "bad days", it's seems easier (too me) to focus on removing those bad days, rather than trying to pressure myself into making every day a good day. If you remove the bad days, all you have left are good days by default; does that make sense?

Warming up the body before you pick up a pair of sticks is imperative; don't ever assume your body could do it any other way. Consistent practice and playing will also help to remove those bad days. But sometimes, it's just one of those freaky things. You wake up in the morning on the wrong side of the bed or something.

scream187

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2002, 08:32 AM »
hmmm sounds like I'm the only one with my opinion!

hey when you're alone, just forget it.

but if you HAVE to play then it means its in a band or something, so I dont understand how you CANT be into it when theres 4 other ppl jamming in front of you!

just forget its drums, and start banging with the others!

always works for me!

Bart Elliott

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2002, 08:42 AM »
Well, if the band isn't playing well together of if someone else is having an "off" day ... I will simplify my parts and try to play as simply as possible.

This is usually the case when I play with non-seasoned players; I water it all down ... unfortunately ... just to make the music feel as good as it can.

James Walker

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2002, 10:33 AM »
Count me in regarding the "back to basics" mindset when it comes to getting back into a "groove."  The same thing holds true for me when playing jazz vibes as well.  When I'm soloing and things start to go "blooey," I go back to the melody, or a really simple rhythmic idea.

The other thing that has helped me is to give up the idea of ever playing perfectly.  Sure, we all AIM for perfection in the practice room, and try to play the best you can when performing or recording, but I found that when I learned to shrug off small mistakes, that helped me to maintain my focus.  "Don't sweat the small stuff" is the cliché, no?  (I know that's sort of tangential to this particular thread, but there's a connection in there somewhere.)

rudibass2 used the key word:  RELAX.  The worst thing one can do is to try to force things into feeling right.  It doesn't work that way (and it took me about ten years to really figure that one out!).  Chill out, play simply, and things will come back.  You don't lose your skills from one day to the next - it just FEELS that way sometimes.

I don't know how relevant this is, but whenever I'd see Tony Williams' band live, I noticed that Tony started out each set just by playing a snare drum roll, and building it into a solo.  I never met the man, and never had the chance to ask him about it, but I wonder if that wasn't his way of clearing his mind and focusing his attention on the task at hand before the set started?  Hmm...food for thought, I guess, if nothing else.

felix

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Re: havin' one of those days
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2002, 05:21 PM »
I usually go for it anyways.  My thing is stiffness.  Once in awhile. I will get a stiff attack, and it isn't like I'm rigid, it is like a quick jab and then it's gone.  I hate it.  I'll start a fill and then half way thru it I'm holding my hands in the air...it sucks.  

So since I made a mistake already I just play the same fill again or something thereof to try an work it out.  Being in an instrumental fusion band I can get away with it.  Believe it or not, I'm past the point of caring how people perceive my playing.  Fire me and get someone better.  I'm here, I made the 180 mile schlep, I'm sober and I'm smiling, so I made a boo boo on my inverted diddle.  Oh, I dragged my last series of displaced 10's- SOOOOO SORRY... NOT.

rog

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2002, 12:28 PM »
I find, if your not playing a gig of course, that laying off the sticks completely for a day or two will get all your tight muscles back together again.  It's like programming a vcr wrong and pulling the plug.  The muscles relax and rejuvinate themselves.  Sometimes you even get faster.  It's the same with lifting weights.

marker

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2002, 01:18 PM »
I've nailed things right off, and then struggled later, too.

I'm not sure why that happens, but I've concluded that you don't really have it until you can nail it consistently without having to think about it.

Practice, practice, practice.   ;)

Niklas

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2002, 05:56 AM »
Great topic!!

In many cases, at least for me, this is a problem with confidence. Those days I think I am a bad drummer, I become one... If I play with confidence and I am having fun, I play ten times better!

My solution:
When you have a bad day, go to your "happy place".
Personally, I listen to a recording of myself on which I'm really satisfied with my drumming. This helps regain my self confidence that's good medicine for me against bad days.  8)

MVanDoren1

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2002, 08:00 AM »
I won't add to what has already been said regarding watering it all down to the basics because I agree completely.

 Unless it escaped my attention I will add, however, that this is what I do when other musicians are having bad days too.  Take for example a keyboard player who isn't keeping time well.  I pick on keys, in particular because so many people learn that instrument only,  and they learn it most of the time without playing along side other musicians.  Now this is just my opinion I realize, but I like to think there are two types of musicians, solists and ensemblists.  I've worked with many church piano players for example who couldn't keep time to save their lives (guess its a good thing salvation is a gift and those keys players don't have to earn it by keeping time LOL),  now I've tried getting louder to force them to hear the beat and that seems just a bad idea.  They can hear my playing- but perhaps for them, since they are not used to "playing nice with others" they need not louder BUT simpler.
So
- bad day- KISS
- another person with bad day-KISS
- playing with inexperienced "ensemblist"-KISS

Sure this may not work all the time- some may need the extra boost of a really happenin' groove to shake them outta their blues- but you can usually tell if thats the case pretty quick and if it doesn't help- KISS

Oh yeah- just in case some might be unfamiliar with it...
KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid  (really though not meant as an insult- but like in mechanics, etc.  the more intricate the machine the more things can go wrong with it)

SteveG

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2002, 08:14 AM »
Bad days happen to all of us. The goal is to become so proficient on your instrument, so that only you know that you are having a bad day, not the other band members or audience.

Bart Elliott

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2002, 08:27 AM »
What I try to do is focus on having GOOD days ... which seems to minimize the bad ones.

Here's some things that work for me:

  • Practicing on a regular basis or at least making sure you have the sticks in your hand once a day ... even if it's just working on a practice pad.
  • Listening to good music for inspiration. I always play better when I've been listening to my favorites. Also, plugging in a good music video helps. I can remember back when I used to play 3 nights a week at a jazz club ... I would pull out one of my Peter Erskine videos and just watch the guy play. Man ... that helped me sooooo much ... and talk about inspiration.
  • WARM-UP!!! You can't expect to have a great day, musically speaking, if you don't warm-up your body properly BEFORE you play.
  • Eat properly. Having a healthy diet ... and even a warm meal in your stomach and really make a difference.
Just some thoughts. It's not a total solution, but definitely reduces those "bad days".

Dave Sharma

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Re:havin' one of those days
« Reply #16 on: August 09, 2002, 10:32 AM »
this is true-- try and wean out the evidence that you are indeed having a bad day.

What I try to do, if I have the time, is to GO OUTSIDE (Get out of the dark, smoky, loud environment) and clear your head.  Concentrate on something good, concentrate on a real emotion that you're feeling--not just some jumble of things--and get that in the forefront.  PLAY THAT EMOTION.  kinda touchy-feely but it gives you something to concentrate on and channel into the music.

Billy Ward has this method of "mechanisms" to get your playing in the zone at any given time--be it on a bad day in general, or in the amorphous beginning of a song.  I guess what I described before is like a triage mechanism, but here are some others.

#1:  concentrate on the time.  the arc of the rhythm from start to finish, the push and pull between the measures, the beats, and the subdivisions of the beats.  get so cought up in the interrelations in rhythm that it's undeniable in your playing.  count.  click your teeth in tempo.  acknowledge rests with your breath.

#2.  breathe!  in and out, in and out... breathe in rhythm, in cross-rhythms...

#3.  have good posture; relax every part  of your body that you can relax.

#4.  interact with your band members!  all to often we get on stage and conversation is verboten... enjoy the playing and let people know what sounds good (you can talk about what sounds bad afterwards)... establish a good vibe of some sort on stage.

 

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