A few years ago when I got back into music I discovered just how valuable the internet was for finding all kinds of music information.
I could find charts on drum parts that would have taken me hours to breakdown myself although the breakdown process helps me learn and understand the parts.
I could find videos to watch and learn.
I am a visual learner and learn faster by watching.
I can read it, I can hear it but when I watch it, it comes together faster.
I also discovered there are a lot of mediocre (that’s being kind) drummers putting out instructional videos. You listen to them play another drummer’s riffs note for note but it misses the mark. It’s missing the energy the honesty. It’s a black and white copy of a Technicolor picture.
Then I stumbled upon drum cover videos. The drummer really isn’t trying to teach you anything they’re just showing you that they can play someone else’s song note for note.
Some of these players are very good but I couldn’t help but say to myself “What’s the point?”
I try to learn the licks I really like, but I also try to take the song and make it my own, so did the band.
Sometimes I am limited by my playing skills. But really the skill I’m working on is my creative skill, not my copying skill. That’s the muscle I try to exercise.
Rudiments and control drills are for my technical ability, but I do this is to support the creative abilities. I want to be able to technically play what I feel. I don’t feel when I’m thinking about copying.
Some of the drummers on these drum cover videos were very impressive with their technical skills. I wish I had some of them. But when I want to hear Steve Gadd on Aja or Rick Marotta on Peg I will listen to the original.
Music is about creation. You copy bits and pieces from everyone and everywhere then you mix them all up and what comes out is you.
Maybe no one will call it amazing, and maybe no one will like it.
I play for me. I play to create and release what I have inside. When it comes out it may be simple but it’s not a copy and I like to think it’s got soul.
That’s what I want to hear, soul.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.