Getting out of a drum funk

bolweevil

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Band not playing much for obvious reasons. At first I got back to basics and worked on Stick Control and some of the classics, and felt refreshed. Now when I ever I sit down to play it seems to be all the 'usual stuff' I do with some of the new stickings and fills I've been learning thrown in, but I don't feel very inspired or excited about drumming. Maybe I need some new tunes to inspire me, so new videos to watch, or something. Anybody had similar experiences? What worked for you?
Apologies in advance if this thread is very similar to one that existed ever in the history of time (or like yesterday) lol.
 

JimmySticks

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Take some lessons.

A teacher can push you out of your comfort zone. If your doing rock, try some jazz or vice a versa. Every instrument, including the drums, has endless possibilities, but we have to be brave enough to explore them.
 

JDA

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Music is basically on hold- at the moment- so I think - that affects all of us - in some way...

When there's no music " in the air " hard to pull in something to feed from..
basically end up playing memories..
 
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RIDDIM

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Walk away.

Come back in a day or 2 and deal with the Ritual. Once you have that in order, go check out some Chris Dave. Research where he came from and why he does what he does. That will keep you busy for a bit and give you some ideas.
 

NobleCooleyNut

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Buy Gary Chester’s New Breed book and get serious about going through it following his instructions . You will
Need to truly focus and concentrate to get through this wonderful book .
 

Drm1979

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I'm trying a different genre to try and keep myself interested in playing. I'm usually a hard rock and metal guy. But lately I've been using drumless play along tracks off of YouTube to play along with to try and stay creative. I've really been into the drumless funk tunes that I'm finding. Just look up drumless tracks on YouTube and you can find some interesting stuff.
 

Beefsurgeon

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Plenty of good approaches so far. Here's one more: Don't touch the sticks for a week. During that time, pick a drummer or genre that you're interested in but haven't really explored deeply, and listen...deeply. You'll learn a lot, and by the end of the week you will most likely be pretty fired up to get on the kit.

I have no clue about your musical background, but here are a couple suggestions if you need them:

1. Max Roach. There was a recent thread with all kinds of stuff to explore.

2. Tony Allen and the afrobeat style. Lots of brilliant rhythmic ideas that could translate to many other genres.

Good luck and don't quit!
 

Polska

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I've been working on brushes just for the heck of it as well as transcribing cool beats to play, but I'll admit to taking long breaks lately without playing. With no gigs happening in 2020 and not even sure that Spring of 2021 is going to be possible, it gets real hard for me to move out of "who cares" mode. It's tough. We all love to play. For me, no matter what I practice at home the end result is to improve me for my band. With the band on indefinite hold, the motivation is hard to find at times, so all I can do is jump on it when it does come and not force it.

On the flip side, my yard is "on-point" as they'd say, my dogs are slim from all the walks and pretty much every indoor project we wanted is done or in progress.
 

What It Is

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For years, my playing and practicing has always been "for" something: new tunes, new bands, gigs, etc. I've had to rewire my brain to find the joy of playing without having an immediate reason that was largely "for" something. Not easy at first, but started to jump back in and find the joy for me. Been working quite a bit on dynamics and touch on the instrument, significantly easing off the rock chops and stick heights to the ceilings, and focusing more on an easier touch that allows the instrument to do it's various jobs. I've also moved the set and throne around quite a bit to get rid of bad habits. Falling down the pandemic rabbit hole of YouTube, I've enjoyed catching up with some great players that I haven't watched in a while. Still so much to learn, but making it fun and not "for" something (or someone) has been pretty rewarding.
 

hefty

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I'm completely adrift drumming-wise with nothing to play for. Haven't touched sticks in months. It's a shame in a way because this would be a great time to bear down and work through a book or whatever. But maybe I'll come out of this very long break refreshed.... I've even considered selling a snare to buy a new golf club/driver! If I could've heard myself say THAT a year ago i would've punched myself in the face. Sorry OP, I got nothin' for ya. Except empathy.
 

Matched Gripper

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I'm trying a different genre to try and keep myself interested in playing. I'm usually a hard rock and metal guy. But lately I've been using drumless play along tracks off of YouTube to play along with to try and stay creative. I've really been into the drumless funk tunes that I'm finding. Just look up drumless tracks on YouTube and you can find some interesting stuff.
3 suggestions:

1. David Garibaldi’s “Future Sounds,” which focuses on what Garibaldi calls “2 level drumming.” It’s basically a comprehensive method of dynamic independence - combining ghost notes and accents with each limb simultaneously which will greatly enhance the overall sound of your playing.

2. “Chart Reading Workbook for Drummers,” by Bobby Gabriel. I don’t know how good your chart reading is, but, I recommend this book to ALL drummers. It is the best chart reading method I’ve ever seen (it’s surprisingly simple and straight forward), and a drumming/music education in itself.

2. Look into Afro Cuban and Brazilian rhythms like mambo, songo, samba. Even if you don’t play in those kinds of bands, learning authentic rhythms and incorporating them into your playing can be fun, rewarding and will give you plenty to work on and think about for as long as you play.
 

Bongo Brad

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Maybe it's time for you to play out. Set up a kit on your driveway & play by yourself. Set up on a street corner or a park. Carry a snare and sticks up a mountain. Bring drums to the beach.
Try playing just to play somewhere completely different.
 

PressRoll

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When I get stuck in a rut I take about a week off and listen to new music. Most times I find something to inspire me for when I get behind the kit again. Good luck and you will get through it!
 

midnightsupperclub

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Try doing some song recording. Either on your own or doing a "virtual band" thing with your band mates.

Like most other places, my church stopped services when lockdown started and we transitioned to pre recorded music. Recording my drum parts has helped me to focus on so many other parts of my playing that I don't usually think about when playing live. Like being very conscious of the exact beats I play, consistency in my fills etc.

Discussing arrangements with my band mates has also helped everyone be more aware of arrangements and to break out of the old intros/endings that we've played a hundred times.

So skill-wise, recording might not have done a lot, but musically, it has helped us all to stretch and grow.
 

phdamage

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+1 on taking a lesson or two

since covid struck, i've collaborated with some folks, virtually. definitely some things in there i wouldn't have normally done and put me outside my comfort zone. chances are, most of your musician friends are as bored as you are and would probably be happy to send you some bits to play along to - just put out a social media call. even if you're limited in your ability to record it, it would make for a good exercise and maybe something really cool would come of it.
 

jsp210

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There’s a time for taking in new stuff that serves to enhance skill and vocabulary and there’s a time for letting go of things that hinder free and easy expression on the instrument. The latter endeavor yields the quickest route to breaking out of stagnancy and we often neglect this “yielding” side of the equation. Yang and Yin. Exhale and Inhale. Summer and Winter. Expanding outward and then returning back to the inner core to nourish the essence to fuel the next phases of birth and growth.

What does this have to do with getting out a drum rut? Here's a suggested application of these principles that isn’t dependent on anything external and doesn't require taxing your mental faculties plowing through drum books and studying new drum techniques. Try it for three days diligently and it will be transformative.

Next time you go to sit down on the kit approach it as a sacred time and do the following:

1. Preparation

- Tuck your chin a bit, hold the crown of your your head high as if suspended from a string, stick the center of your chest gently out in front, let your shoulders relax and arms fall to your side, plant your feet on the floor and settle your ass on the throne and let gravity do the rest. Like wax melting from a candle with a smokeless bright flame rising above effortlessly. Let your breath come and go without effort just as a tide rolls gently to and from the shore. Tune in to at least three breath cycles. Key phrase is “Letting Go”… let go of thoughts about what isn't right in your equipment and playing, let go of any agitated movement and tension that may arise in mind and body.. However long this process takes so be it. Just sit where you are. Let go of the impulse to do anything else but being present in your body and in a complete state of awareness where you don't get swept away in the pull of the endless thought stream that takes you out of the moment of just being. No need to judge and criticize yourself for anything.... just let it all go and release the tension.
  • Now say to yourself “damn right I deserve to be sitting on a throne at this moment because I am an elevated being who is very fortunate to have this time in a safe environment endowed with the gift of being a drummer who is content with my current level of capabilities and playing on this perfect assembly of gear where nothing is lacking.”
  • If thoughts about drum heads, ping and wash, metal or wood, rounded vs. sharp edges…..etc. come to the foreground simply smile at them and say “thank you for the gift of this discriminating intellect and calculating mind, now is not the time for that guy to be seated on this throne” and then return to focusing on your kingly ass seated on the throne and your body having to do nothing other than yield to gravity. Non-action.
  • Now just play your drums and be in your body and see what flows. Try this experiment for a few days and be persistent and see what it yields for you. You have NOTHING TO LOSE

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 48

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.


Less and less is done

Until non-action is achieved.


When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.

It cannot be ruled by interfering.


(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
 

CC Cirillo

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There’s a time for taking in new stuff that serves to enhance skill and vocabulary and there’s a time for letting go of things that hinder free and easy expression on the instrument. The latter endeavor yields the quickest route to breaking out of stagnancy and we often neglect this “yielding” side of the equation. Yang and Yin. Exhale and Inhale. Summer and Winter. Expanding outward and then returning back to the inner core to nourish the essence to fuel the next phases of birth and growth.

What does this have to do with getting out a drum rut? Here's a suggested application of these principles that isn’t dependent on anything external and doesn't require taxing your mental faculties plowing through drum books and studying new drum techniques. Try it for three days diligently and it will be transformative.

Next time you go to sit down on the kit approach it as a sacred time and do the following:

1. Preparation

- Tuck your chin a bit, hold the crown of your your head high as if suspended from a string, stick the center of your chest gently out in front, let your shoulders relax and arms fall to your side, plant your feet on the floor and settle your ass on the throne and let gravity do the rest. Like wax melting from a candle with a smokeless bright flame rising above effortlessly. Let your breath come and go without effort just as a tide rolls gently to and from the shore. Tune in to at least three breath cycles. Key phrase is “Letting Go”… let go of thoughts about what isn't right in your equipment and playing, let go of any agitated movement and tension that may arise in mind and body.. However long this process takes so be it. Just sit where you are. Let go of the impulse to do anything else but being present in your body and in a complete state of awareness where you don't get swept away in the pull of the endless thought stream that takes you out of the moment of just being. No need to judge and criticize yourself for anything.... just let it all go and release the tension.
  • Now say to yourself “damn right I deserve to be sitting on a throne at this moment because I am an elevated being who is very fortunate to have this time in a safe environment endowed with the gift of being a drummer who is content with my current level of capabilities and playing on this perfect assembly of gear where nothing is lacking.”
  • If thoughts about drum heads, ping and wash, metal or wood, rounded vs. sharp edges…..etc. come to the foreground simply smile at them and say “thank you for the gift of this discriminating intellect and calculating mind, now is not the time for that guy to be seated on this throne” and then return to focusing on your kingly ass seated on the throne and your body having to do nothing other than yield to gravity. Non-action.
  • Now just play your drums and be in your body and see what flows. Try this experiment for a few days and be persistent and see what it yields for you. You have NOTHING TO LOSE

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 48

In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.

In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.


Less and less is done

Until non-action is achieved.


When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

The world is ruled by letting things take their course.

It cannot be ruled by interfering.


(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
I came to this forum for the Zildjian geekery, but I stayed for the Taoism.
 

CC Cirillo

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My advice: Quit.

Unless this is your livelihood, you don't really have to do it unless you want to. If you're not feeling it, don't do it. The other option is to grind through it, but that's a really tough road.

Drumming--like high voltage line repair and bomb disposal--is inherently dangerous. One false move and the song is as flash of conflagration and the tempo exploded.

I'm not being flippant. I've quit several times. For different reasons; for different lengths of time. It's amazing how much better drums sound after they've been cured in a storage locker for a bit.

But this I discovered: I came back, and when I did I had recovered some lost passion. I don't have any excess of talent, so I better bring some passion and enthusiasm to the table.
 

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