Deconstruct Yourself - Part 4

Let’s look at expanding your vocabulary and working on a sense of focus. The 1st thing to do is take away everything from your drum kit except the Hi-hat, Ride Cymbal, Snare, & Bass Drum. Often a larger kit can lead to distraction: too many choices. This basic 4-piece set up lets you focus on the heart of the rhythm, the heart of the groove.
  • First off, play through various beats/rhythms and when you play a fill, use the instruments in front of you. Work on getting different sounds/textures out of these instruments. Hit them in different places, use the tip/shaft/butt of the stick, use mallets/brushes/etc. —be creative.
  • Next, take away one of the pieces. Now go through the same process.
  • Then, return what you took away and take away something else. Repeat until you have played as a 3-piece minus each of the 4 pieces.
  • Now take away 2 pieces and play through the same material. Stretch your mind; stretch your creativity to make it work.
  • Repeat this process playing in each 2-piece combination.
  • Now reduce your set up down to 1 piece at a time and again, play through the same material. Make it work, make it happen, make it groove. Notice your thought process and how you can’t rely on old habits or clichés anymore.
  • Finally, start reassembling your original drum kit 1 piece at a time. Pay attention to what happens when you return something to your set up. Do you revert to old habits, or can you move past them?
Where have you been? What have you learned? Reflect upon your experience and think about it the next time you play your full drum set with a band.
~ MB


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