Topic: Drum Slump  (Read 6202 times)

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Offline Drumlooney

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Drum Slump
« on: June 26, 2002, 11:52 AM »
Hey Guys,

Do you guys ever go through a creative slump, like you are playing the same grooves or licks, rolls, etc.  I've been feeling this way for about two weeks now, What do you do to get out of the rut? ???
You don't practice one day no one notices, you don't practice two days you notice, you don't practice three days everyone notices.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2002, 12:13 PM »
  • Listen to some of your favorite music recordings, or better still, go buy some new CDs. Listen throughout the day, especially right before you start to practice.
  • Attend a drum clinic, workshop or masterclass.
  • Take lessons from a local pro. If none are available, travel to a location where there are some great teachers/players.
  • Purchase a drum video that you've never seen before. Watch the video before you plan to practice.
  • Go hear/watch some good live music or rent a concert video of a hot band.

  • Visit other fine art venues for inspiration (Art galleries, Ballet/Dance, etc.). Also museums, movies .... even the zoo!

  • Spend time with people who are doing what you want to do. Find a drummer that you really admire, offer to take them to lunch ... then pick their brains.
  • Hang out at the Drummer Cafe!
  • Change your drum set-up. If you typically have a large kit, reduce it down to a 4-piece (or smaller).
  • Attend a jam session; sit in once in awhile.
  • Buy some new gear!
  • Record audio/video of your practice sessions or performances. Analyze what you see and hear ... setting goals on how to improve.
  • Check out some of my 5-Minute Lessons here at the Drummer Cafe, or visit my website to check out more online lessons. Find a new concept or idea on how to practice or apply a particular book (ie. Stick Control) and explore/create.
These are just a few things off the top of my head. I'm sure others will have some other great suggestions! Typically I'm inspired by exposing myself to new and fresh things.

nullify_drummer

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2002, 12:16 PM »
hey, i've went though something like that. i started to play a diff. style of music for a little while. i went to swing and it completely changed the flow of my playing, and helped me a lot. well i hope it helps

BO733

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2002, 05:45 PM »
Slumps are no fun. Writers get them and so do drummers. Everytime I get into a slump of some kind, I have to stop the frustration first, take a step back, and somehow get a fresh perspective. I've found that if you focus on the slump it gets worse. I don't know what to say other than take a break and grab a new perspective by checking out some new music you haven't heard or trying new patterns/techniques. If you get the chance use a search engine and look up polyrhythm. There is a web sight dedicated to polyrhythms and what they are and examples etc... I wish I knew the address. The internet is a great way  to get out of slumps. Good luck!! ;)

Offline Mark Schlipper

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2002, 06:37 PM »
i do what bart does apparently ... but id like to expand on one thing ...

"Listen to some of your favorite music recordings, or better still, go buy some new CDs. Listen throughout the day, especially right before you start to practice."

a great way to find new music is through allmusic.com.  look up an artist you dig.  then go to the "related artists" section of thier page.  youll see, "roots and influences", "followers", "similar artists", that kinda thing.  they arent always what youd expect, but thats a good thing :)   then just DIG.  pick an artist you havent heard of from one of those lists, and check them out.  or pick an artist you do recognize and go through thier "related artists" ... you can spend hours doing this.  if youve got a good internet connection, use two browsers, one for allmusic, one for trying to find the bands website (where they hopefully have mp3 samples up)

kinda wordy, sorry, but a great way to discover new artists.

-m
Making bad art.  Saying stupid things.  Implimenting my master plan to be forgotten when I'm gone and forgettable while I'm here.

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me
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Jazzman

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2002, 10:21 PM »
I've gone through drum slumps too.  As a mater of fact I gone through some music slumps.  I just leave the studio for a few days, if I can.

I can't stand it when this happens in the middle of a project..........a real bummer!

Bart has some great ideas.  Visit some friends for a jam session and just have fun with the guys.  I always found this to be fun, even with another group.

I like the idea to talk to some other hot drummers that come to town and pick their brains.

Just some support from MI.

Jazznman 8)


Offline Drumlooney

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2002, 08:13 AM »
Hey guys thanks for all the input and support, I went out yesterday and picked up a few CD's (miles davis ESP, and A chick Corea album)  I got Miles CD from bart's essential jazz cd list, lol.  I did'nt want to go and practice anythhing yesterday so I did'nt just listen, Tony Williams is a bad boy on that Miles CD, I'll listen to the Chick album.  I'll keep you guys posted.
You don't practice one day no one notices, you don't practice two days you notice, you don't practice three days everyone notices.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2002, 08:26 AM »
So ... even if you are not in a slump, what do you all do for inspiration? What do you do to build the desire to practice, get better, set goals, etc.?

Offline Drumlooney

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2002, 08:39 AM »
Well I usually set long term goals, like playing left foot clave has been a long term goal that I'm finally getting a return on.  As far as desire to practice and get better that usually comes from getting charts for an upcoming recording or gig, trying to stay on top of my game is a motivating factor as well.  I usually get inspired after I've seen someone who blows me away, it does'nt have to be some incredible wowing( if that's a word) thing, but something that makes me say, that's something I must learn.  My slump is not for lack of material (videos, cd's etc.) it's almost like I'm sitting behind the kit and I'm just playing the same thing, I'm not able to draw from what I've been listening to or watching, I'm not putting the new stuff down, does that make sense?  
You don't practice one day no one notices, you don't practice two days you notice, you don't practice three days everyone notices.

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2002, 08:54 AM »
My slump is not for lack of material (videos, cd's etc.) it's almost like I'm sitting behind the kit and I'm just playing the same thing, I'm not able to draw from what I've been listening to or watching, I'm not putting the new stuff down, does that make sense?  

Makes perfect sense! So besides the inspirational things we've talked about, what do you think you could do to keep you from playing the same stuff over and over ... or from just jamming, which is important, but not all the time for your entire practice session?

It seems that we need to address this particular issue; not to be inspired, because that won't necessarily make you practice the correct things to grow. There's got to be a way, that would work for you, to help you focus. We are all different ... so there's not just one way to go about this.

Offline Drumlooney

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2002, 09:03 AM »
I think lack of focus is the main issue, I've been playing not stop for a while now, mabie I just need to stop playing for a couple of days and come back focused, I have a percussion gig on saturday which is a good change of pace for me, I'm also checking out Spyro Gyra July 2nd, I'll pick at Joel for a while, see what he thinks.  Bart have you ever gone through this?
You don't practice one day no one notices, you don't practice two days you notice, you don't practice three days everyone notices.

Offline James Walker

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2002, 09:06 AM »
So ... even if you are not in a slump, what do you all do for inspiration? What do you do to build the desire to practice, get better, set goals, etc.?

In no particular order, and repeating some of what has already been posted in this thread, here are some things which have worked for me:

- go back to the basics - as a mallet player, that means scales, arpeggios, chord voicings, basic technical studies, improvising over some easier jazz standards, etc.  I also find that a "back to the basics" approach works short-term when I'm on a gig and the inspiration isn't there:  find some simple idea (usually a rhythm, in my case), and build from there.

- do something unrelated to music - read a book, watch a ball game, take your significant other out to dinner (or even better, get them to take you out to dinner!  ;) )  Sometimes, increasing the amount of mental and physical energy you spend on your music isn't the answer to overcoming a "slump" of creativity.  Get out there, recharge your batteries.

- listen to my "musical inspirations" (live or on records) - in my case, that would include Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, Milt Jackson, Bobby Hutcherson, Mike Mainieri, Peter Gabriel, Chaka Khan, Joni Mitchell...basically, when I need help getting myself into the practice room, the music I listen to is that which communicates the joy of making music.

- give myself something to work towards - "I need to get better" is a pretty wide-ranging statement, and can be quite overwhelming.  Whenever I think on just how much I don't know, it gets very humbling very quickly.  Book a gig, set up a jam session with your friends, write a new tune for your demo CD, take a lesson, maybe audition for a band (if there's one you want to join)...just give yourself a goal.

- read biographies of accomplished musicians - whenever I read Artur Rubinstein's "My Young Years," or a biography of Dmitri Shostakovich, and I see what struggles they overcame to accomplish their great works of art, it gives me a bit of a kick in the butt to roll up my sleeves and start working again.

- find some new music - listen to a type of music you wouldn't normally listen to.  I checked out Moby for the first time recently, and I dug it - a pleasant surprise.  Go to your local record shop (or library!), and go to the listening station in one or two sections you don't usually go into.  Never checked out the classical?  Listen to some Bartok.  Aren't familiar with Asian/Indonesian music?  Check out the Ramayana Monkey Chant.  Not hip to country music?  Get thee to some Chet Atkins.  Maybe you'll hate what you hear, but just maybe you'll dig what you hear.  Couldn't hurt.

JW
"I played with Holdsworth, Fripp, and Belew...I wish we drummers could play that differently. Drummers are starting to homogenize into the same guy, which frightens me." - Bill Bruford

Peter

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2002, 11:00 AM »
Drumlooney wrote:

"I think lack of focus is the main issue, I've been playing not stop for a while now, mabie I just need to stop playing for a couple of days and come back focused"

Sometimes that is the best thing to do.  I just got over a month long slump, lack of desire to play kind of thing.  I kept making the same technique errors, everything I was playing sounded the same, and it showed in my score writing.  You know somethings wrong when you write settings for three different drum corps (pipeband) and you think "I've heard that somewhere else, just where was it."  

So I took a break.  I just listened to music, looked at my sticks and drums(didnt touch them, I was not a happy drummer) :'(

Then one day at work my fingers started tapping out some good sounding stuff on the desk.  I wrote it down and expanded on it when I got home, slump over.

So, I say take a break, let the routine fade and you just may get a nice suprise when you pick your sticks back up.

Cheers,

Peter

Offline Bart Elliott

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2002, 11:16 AM »
So, I say take a break, let the routine fade and you just may get a nice suprise when you pick your sticks back up.

Man, I've done that too ... and got some nice results when I got back to the drums. It can really work and give a lot of freshness to your playing.

felix

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2002, 07:32 PM »
I don't think I can get away with taking breaks anymore...with only a few hours a week of playing now I'm always on break...something has got to give.

Offline Drumlooney

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2002, 09:27 AM »
Hey guys, once again thanks for the feedback, I had told a friend of mine what was going on and yesterday he called me and gave me tickets to see Marc Anthony at The Mohegan Sun.  It was being filmed for CBS, anyway I know the three percussionist in the band, Bobby, curtis, and Eric, It was fun to see those guys play, he also has a really good drummer from LA (I don't know his name).  The four of them were incredible they were having a blast on stage, I left on a music high, can't wait to get behind the kit today!!!   ;D
You don't practice one day no one notices, you don't practice two days you notice, you don't practice three days everyone notices.

marker

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2002, 11:43 AM »
I've had good results from taking a break.  Staying away for a week or two can be real helpful sometimes.  When I get to the point where I'm really missing my drums, I come back inspired.

I realize it may be hard to arrange, but playing with some musicians who play music different from what you usually play can also break you out of the box.  This is especially true if you're in a situation where you play the same sets with the same band over and over.

If you're playing at home a lot, make an effort to find some folks to jam with.   Playing live is where it's at.

sidereal

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2002, 12:48 PM »
I just stumbled upon a great form of inspiration on Sunday:

Watch and/or participate in a drum circle.

I was walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and there was a huge one going on. Drum circles always lift my spirits in amazing ways. This one was a free for all that anyone could take part in. I didn't have any percussion with me, so I didn't join them. But I watched for a while. It's fun to pick out all the textures going on when 40-50 people are all banging away in rhythm. If they're not all in perfect time, it hardly matters.

Dark Drummer

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2002, 10:46 PM »
So ... even if you are not in a slump, what do you all do for inspiration?

i find that when im on an emotion high either really depressed or extreemely happy my creative juices flow better wither it be in poetry (yes i write poetry) or music

Offline Dave Sharma

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2002, 12:11 PM »
I find that I start to slump when I overexert myself-- take on too many gigs (much like what's happening this week!)... like after a point, I reach a sort of creativity exhaustion.

so.  recharge.  I plan on taking a week off at the end of the month--got some friends coming into town, etc.

otherwise, as far as getting out of one of the wretched "blah" slumps, where not much is happening and I'm not catching a vibe off of anything...

stop!  look inside yourself and ask yourself some of the really, really hard questions:

"what do I want to be doing?"  if you're primarily a rock drummer, haven't taken many lessons in the instrument, have your own feel (which is and/or has been a lot of us)... is this really what you want?  Or is this the position you've drawn yourself in?

search, search, search.  what worked for me was getting pretty @$%# far away from drumset and playing other percussion instruments, especially tabla.  

I've got a 17 year history w/ the kit, and with that comes alot of baggage--most noticeable where technique and rhythm collide.  I've got good (or good enough for my needs) technique, and I've got a good understanding of rhythm, but one was getting in the way of the other.  approaching rhythm from different instruments really made my playing better.

and, most importantly, it made the whole process of playing more enjoyable.

felix

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Re:Drum Slump
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2002, 12:43 PM »
Quote
I've got a 17 year history w/ the kit, and with that comes alot of baggage--most noticeable where technique and rhythm collide.  I've got good (or good enough for my needs) technique, and I've got a good understanding of rhythm, but one was getting in the way of the other.  approaching rhythm from different instruments really made my playing better

Smart, I bet you are pretty good.

 

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