11 ways to improve your creative drumming! One of the inspirations behind these articles has been to think of as many possible ways help overcome creative stagnancy; to draw blood from a creative stone. So, in this instalment we’ll look at rudiments, genre-specificity, and context / interpretation as our syringe.
Another variable to explore is context; where it has come from, and where it leads to. This plays a big part in deciding what to do next by helping us choose which parts of the kit to play. Different sounds affect a feel, and and may influence what we play. For instance, slowly opening hi hats adds tension, the ride provides a feeling of freedom, where as tom-toms could be used for tribal or melodic effect.
Similarly, working as a session musician, one of the key lessons I’ve learned is that song-writers have a really interesting approach to percussion and drums. This can lead to interesting rhythmic ideas, which might feel odd and outside our comfort zone (which is a good thing). The trick is to clearly interpret their wishes, but to do so in a way that complements every element of the composition.
Having an understanding of what kind of music we’re playing can go a long way to help us figure out what we could / should play. In order to give certain music authenticity, we should play rhythms which are specific to the genre. However, these can also act as a springboard for new ideas if a song offers certain flavours. This is closely related to the point of developing a language discussed in the previous article.
These are a fantastic problem-solving tool. Much like melodic scales, rudiments help us find our way around rhythms and the kit. They help us identify rhythms, melodies and accents which facilitate us orchestrating them accordingly to compliment a passage of music.
Use rudiments to explore accents and melodies. Try accents on the single strokes, and ‘melodies’ by focusing on the rhythms each hand produce, whether on the snare, around the tom-toms, cymbals or a mix. You can create great grooves by playing a rudiment between the snare and hats and playing the bass drums on, for instance, beats 1 and 3.
In next month’s instalment we’ll look at melody, the bass, and keeping it simple as our springboard to great drum parts!