Everything I mention, is only ideas and theories, which can be discussed, changed, or dismissed. I give exercises, keys and tools to help people find there own sound, technique and personal rhythm. To play with music and not just to stick to some traditions that we don't even have any more. To get out of the matrix, and yet to communicate.
Drumming, like any other form of communication, is based on a common language. For that purpose we use a common measurement.
When we know the measurement, we can join any rhythm in the world.
If we measure in mm., cm., m., km. etc, we know exactly where one is on a linear line. In drumming, if we know what the smallest measurement is, we can easily figure out the loop, which creates the groove and rhythm.
Knowing the measurement makes it easy for people to join a jam session, or any other drumming circle. It makes it easier to listen to music and follow the grove.
The measurement is like the "ticking" of the rhythm. The engine. To find this measurement, we play constantly and evenly with both hands until it fits in the rhythms loop.
The basic exercise to develop this measurement, our balance and coordination, both for hands and for mind, is the left, right, left... playing constantly changing hands equaly.
Each hand represents one part of the measurement.
The hands don't necessarily have to play the smallest measurement, it is enough that we play a measurement that loops. If the measurement doesn't loop, then we have to find a smaller (quicker) or bigger (slower) measurement. Sometimes the "one" will come on the same hand all the time, especially in regular rhythms, like a 4 or a 8, but in odd numbers, the "one" will change every time to the other hand.
Later on, as we progress, it isn't necessary to actually play all the measurements, as long as we know them in our mind and feel them in our body.
A good exercise for feeling the rhythm in our body, is to dance, or step the beat.
If the exercise is 1,2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2,3... then we should step on the "ones" wile still playing evenly 1,2,3, 1,2,3...
The main sounds that we create are basically 3 basic sounds, which later on can be subdivided endlessly, depending on our skills.
The sounds are:
The base is the deep sound.
The Tone is a full sound.
The Slap is a sharp higher sound.
Our hands making the skin vibrate create the sound from the drum.
If we hit the drum in the middle, it will give us a low sound, and the more we go towards the rim, the pitch we'll get higher.
In order for us to create a clean sound, then the less time we spend on the skin, the better. For practicing habits, always keep the hands on the rim. NOT on the surface of the drum, but only on the edge, where we don't block the skin from vibrating.
If we want to make a muffled sound, we keep our hands on the surface of the drum, which stops the skin from vibrating, and gives a damped sound.
After years of practicing we can adjust our touch, and develop our own sound - created by our way of touching the skin; hard, soft, quick, gentle, aggressive, and endless ways. Using full hand, fingers, stick, whatever we can find to make the skin vibrate in the way we want it to.
Most interesting sounds happen by coincidence. Those moments are very valuable! Trying to repeat them will only teach us more about ourselves and our drumming. We might never be able to repeat what happened by chance.It doesn't matter. What matters is only the process of trying to find it and by that way we end up learning much more.
Every rhythm is created with "1+0", like in the digital world.
0= no sound.
1= a sound.
Basic exercise : 11111. (Left Right Left)
You have to keep a flow for the exercise.
If you want to speed up, or slow down, do it with intention.
You can experiment with your hands going from the edge of the drum inwards, to hear the different sounds - the endless variety of sound you can create.
It is important to keep a balance between the hands. To have an equal sound in both hands.
MAIN THINGS IN DRUMMING
Understanding what rhythm is.
Technique - how do we create the sound that we want from each drum.
Creating our rhythms, which fit to our character.
First exercise (after the most basic one - 1,1,1,1,1,...):
Keep the left right left going (play tone sounds), and every third hit, play a base sound.You can choose if you want it to be the 1st, second or 3rd hit.
1 * 2 * 3 * 1 * 2 * 3 * 1 * 2 * 3 * 1 * 2 * 3
After this you can change and add different sounds. Play with the basic 3 sounds: base, tone and slap and play not nly loops of 3 (1,2,3, 1,2,3...) but try ot play 5,7...13...
I reccomend using not even rhythms to help us balance our mind and cordination. The even number rhythms are no problem. you can try for your self and see how easy it is to play 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4, ... and how harder it is just to play 1,2,3, 1,2,3 constantly changing hands each hit.
Remember to keep your hands on the drum all the time.
Don't waist energy on lifting them when it isn't necessary.
Think of relaxing your shoulders all the time. Relax your arms so that you don't use too much energy.
Work on different volumes, loud and quiet, fast and slow.
Experiment at least 5 different sounds on the drum, and repeat them.
The sounds starting on the rim, as a high sound and ending in the middle, as the base sound.
Practice any rhythm fast and gentle - relaxing as much as you can.
The Principle of the sound (like the base) - rest on the rim without touching the vibrating skin.
Practice any rhythm in a different way.
Soften your hands and do the exercise slower - see how slow you can hold the grove.
Play it fast, but always relax your arms and fingers.
Keep your wrist just a bit lower then the rim, but NOT too low!
Hold the drum in the right height - find out what is best for you.
Working with the metronome is finding how to tun in to a steady rhythm.
To be more precise. To be able to play with the rhythm, with precession yet relaxed and groovy.
We tun into the metronomes beat by "covering" the sound of the beat. We have to hit exactly on the beat, or play with it, so it becomes part of our rhythm. We adjust our selves to the beat by going faster or slower until we hit the right speed, and try to stay there as long as we can
We have to take short breaks from time to time, to relax our brain a bit, but it is important to continue, and to stop only after we had a long good "go". Always stop the exercise only when you want to. Don't let "it" stop you. Stop when you are still in good form!
Adjusting to the Metronome
Adjust yourself as if you have an accordion in your hands.
Go faster or slower, until you catch-up with the right tempo.
Do the exercises of hitting the beet every time, then 2, 3 4
in every beet.
Play with the accents - for example: play 4 hits to the beet, but play it as if you are playing the usual 3. Meaning that the one will change sound every time, so that you will actually be playing 3 in a beet of 4, or 12 hits to a bar of 4.
Exercises for metronome
13. Play on the beats 1, 2, 3
14. play 2 hits to every beat.
15. *Play three hits to every beat
16. Play 4 beats to every beat
*While doing these exercises, count either to three, fore or five as the "big" measurement.
The hand must be as relaxed as possible.
The movement flows from the back of your neck to the tips of your fingers. In order for the energy to flow we need to have flexibility in all of our joints: neck, shoulders, elbows wrists and fingers.
The whole movement is one flow and round, and that is how it will sound.
After practicing the round movement, we can go on to more sharp and hard sounds, but in the beginning it is important to develop a sensitivity to the drum and our body. The way we touch the drum is the way it will sound. The drum is an extension of our personality. By working on our sound of the drum, we actually are working on our personality as well.
Remember to work evenly with both hands. Look at each hand, and learn from them. Each hand does something better than the other hand. Sometimes the weaker hand will be more relaxed, and sometimes the other hand will be better in different sounds.
LOOK AND LEARN FROM YOUR SELF !
YOU ARE YOUR BEST TEACHER!
REMEMBER HOW IT FEELS WHEN YOU ARE RELAXED AND "IN" THE SLOW GROVE. KEEP THAT FEELING WHEN THE TEMPO IS INCREASING AS WELL!!!
We create the base sound by closing all our fingers together and making a "cone" shape. It works like a "sound box". The bottom of our palm should rest on the rim, while the fingers work as a big soft spoon that flicks gently in the center of the drum, or as far as your hand reaches from the rim. Keep all 5 fingers as one unit. It helps to press the thumb towards the middle of the pointing finger. All fingers have to behave as one unit - they should all touch the skin of the drum at the same time.
To use a tone sound with the fingers, or only one finger, we use the same Principle: we touch only the rim of the drum, where the skin is just free from the wooden rim. That point is where we want to hit, in order for the sound to be a full round sound.
Our finger has to be as a part of the hole hand, and work like a gentle whip.
Remember that we don't try to hit the drum, but we are stopped by the rim, and then according to our flexibility, the hand, or finger actually touch the skin.
Dividing the 3 into 6
We can divide the regular 1 , 2 , 3 also into 6, and that can give us a variation to play with when wanted.
When working with the metronome, we can count to any number we wish to and divide each beep/sound into more hits per beep, as we like. Then one can experement with different sounds to different beets etc.
We can play in any way we whish to. Meaning we can play a base or a tone sound, in any of the beats! That gives us another feeling and variety of feeling the grove.