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Less stiff, more flowing drum set playing.

Pibroch

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Any ideas to help get a more flowing feel?

For example a drummer suggested imagining my body is dancing in flowing motions as I play.

Another idea, of mine, is to listen to recordings of Steve Gadd playing and try to analyse how he gets things to flow so beautifully, and try to copy some of his playing?

Maybe to focus more on dynamics between the different parts of the drum set?

Maybe practise playing beautiful flowing melodies on the kit?

Any suggestions for exercises, books, videos would be appreciated.
 

JDA

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Maybe practise playing beautiful flowing melodies on the kit?
Any suggestions for exercises, books, videos would be appreciated.
yes become influenced by the drum playing on more flowing musics
Jon Christensen Ralph Towner Ornette coleman.. Old and New Dreams
besides nefertitti water babies miles smiles miles davis
 

JDA

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pretty much can keep the same hands you have...

flowing music listen to it...
I don't think Gadd when I think flowing I think more along these lines:
it's a continuum


or

 

JDA

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if by flowing you mean Steve Gadd I'd suggest going back on practice pad, to metronome and Stick Control bible manual.
He's as calculated pocket as humanly possible with brief burst.
 

Pat A Flafla

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Be able to musically verbalize what you intend to play. If it's just a set of actions, you'll never get the kind of subtle phrasing you're after. It needs to be a clear, detailed sound in your mind before you can realize it with your sticks.

You have to sing through your hands.
 

Matched Gripper

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Any ideas to help get a more flowing feel?

For example a drummer suggested imagining my body is dancing in flowing motions as I play.

Another idea, of mine, is to listen to recordings of Steve Gadd playing and try to analyse how he gets things to flow so beautifully, and try to copy some of his playing?

Maybe to focus more on dynamics between the different parts of the drum set?

Maybe practise playing beautiful flowing melodies on the kit?

Any suggestions for exercises, books, videos would be appreciated.
If you are asking about the physical aspect of moving around the drumset, Jakeo’s advise to study Moeller is excellent advice!
 

toddbishop

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For starters don't downstroke all the time-- practice lifting the stick after you play a note, rather than stopping it down low. The only reason to downstroke is if you're playing accent patterns or flams. Most people do it all the time, automatically.

You might look at some videos of timpanists-- hopefully people with some lift in their strokes. Play some simple stuff on the drums-- like slow quarter notes-- with that type of stroke. All notes starting high, ending high.
 

Old PIT Guy

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A flowing style, or the ability to musically flow in a seamless expression of ideas, beyond the physical and technical requirements, I think, is a mental frame of mind and attitude. It requires a confident inner voice in command of a musical vocabulary that includes a sense of dynamics to translate ideas in the moment from head to hands and feet.

I believe if you can think, write and verbally express yourself cogently with flow in the moment, you can learn to musically flow with less effort than someone who has difficulties with those things because I think they’re related.

And you don’t have to be a technician, you could also be a groove player and have flow. But from what I’ve been able to see and experience, most guys with a solid groove built it somewhat in reverse - they worked towards a solid vocabulary and then simplified it. But of course there are exceptions.

Lastly, listening. I think that’s vitally important. Listening to music and mentally transposing the feel of what you’re listening to with perhaps a visual element into yourself. It’s abstract, but it could be something as simple as movement, moving your head or body, or tapping into what you identify as the musical statement or attitude in the piece you’re hearing and later envisioning the physical movements (drumming) that are involved in the piece or a particular part of a piece.

That's a lot of words to say if you listen lackadaisically you're missing out on a valuable piece of the puzzle that is flow.
 

Old PIT Guy

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if by flowing you mean Steve Gadd I'd suggest going back on practice pad, to metronome and Stick Control bible manual.
He's as calculated pocket as humanly possible with brief burst.

I don't fully understand what you mean by 'calculated'. Do you mean that you think Steve Gadd's pocket is deliberate or that it's contrived, and not from a flow but something he's thought about beforehand? I don't recall ever hearing someone as celebrated as Gadd - regarding groove - described as having a "calculated" pocket.
 

Seb77

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Nice topic! It would be helpful to hear a bit of your music, ideally see a video of you.

One aspect could be anticipation, looking ahead, preparation for the next stroke.
Moeller upstrokes are an example, but you can apply this idea to other kinds of motions as well. In musical terms, everything is a pickup, an upbeat to the next thing. Hal Galper's Forward Motion concept deals with this.

I would like to be able to get a flow more consistently myself. Sometimes it's there, sometimes it's not. Elusive, but maybe it's more a matter of that mental frame/confidence mentioned by PIT guy. Here, I'd think of Kenny Werner's Effortless Mastery or, another classic book, The Inner Game of Music.

In a wider sense, other books that might be useful might be Mihály Csíkszentmihályi's "Flow" or Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of now" (a bit more esoteric maybe).
As far as player's to listen to/watch, Billy Higgins to me is one of the most flowing sounding drummers ever. Art Blakey, too, or going back in time, Dave Tough, super-flowing.
 
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JDA

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I don't fully understand what you mean by 'calculated'. Do you mean that you think Steve Gadd's pocket is deliberate or that it's contrived, and not from a flow but something he's thought about beforehand? I don't recall ever hearing someone as celebrated as Gadd - regarding groove - described as having a "calculated" pocket.
Please direct your comments to the topic and not directly at members. Thank you .
 
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JDA

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I don't fully understand what you mean by 'calculated'. Do you mean that you think Steve Gadd's pocket is deliberate or that it's contrived, and not from a flow but something he's thought about beforehand? I don't recall ever hearing someone as celebrated as Gadd - regarding groove - described as having a "calculated" pocket.
the member also adds he has given his viewpoint on the topic with visual examples and adds Have you ever seen "Late In The Evening" or " 50 Ways" performed by said drummer dramatically different in any live setting to date. Please direct your comments to topic and not at specific members unless
1) you want to start a fight or
2) Would like to take lessons which member says he is not receiving students atm.
 

JDA

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the member also adds he has given his viewpoint on the topic with visual examples and adds Have you ever seen "Late In The Evening" or " 50 Ways" performed by said drummer dramatically different in any live setting to date. Please direct your comments to topic and not at specific members...
 

Matched Gripper

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I don't fully understand what you mean by 'calculated'. Do you mean that you think Steve Gadd's pocket is deliberate or that it's contrived, and not from a flow but something he's thought about beforehand? I don't recall ever hearing someone as celebrated as Gadd - regarding groove - described as having a "calculated" pocket.
Gadd is a rudiment based drummer. The way he uses rudiments on the drumset is very creative and unique along with an impeccably relaxed laid back feel. I used to think that his playing was somewhat calculated meaning largely predetermined, until I read that he recorded his part on Aja in one take.
 
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Old PIT Guy

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Gadd is a rudiment based drummer. The way he uses rudiments on the drumset is very creative and unique along with an impeccably relaxed laid back feel. I used to think that his playing was somewhat calculated meaning largely predetermined, until I read that he recorded his part on Aja in one take.

That's sort of what I was driving at. But terms like flow are open to subjective interpretation. To my ears flow happens playing jazz time, it happens in solos where ideas mesh together and blend musically, and it also happens with a vertical 2 & 4 pocket, and of course Gadd is a master of that. And so 'calculated' threw me a little in the context of Gadd laying down a groove.

His general technique is an up and down rudimental thing, but he lays out in a pocket very horizontally with a lot of breathing room. His stuff moves and sits still -- as a pocket - but always propels a song and never gets in the way. That, to me, is a great example of flow in a 2 & 4 context.
 

sternerp

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Being an anxiety sufferer, I tend to be so worried about getting it right, I'd stiffen my body as I'd analyze every move. My bass playing wife pointed that out to me, and suggested that I try to relax.

It has taken some time, but I have lots of time to practice due to a recent retirement and staying at home during the pandemic. I've worked on relaxing my mind and body, and just playing what I feel without worrying about that I'm being judged by others. That, along with daily practice (my current focus is on the book: "200 Paradiddle Exercises for Drums"), has helped me to play around the whole kit and spontaneously create tasty fills, trades, and short solos.
 

Deafmoon

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Any ideas to help get a more flowing feel?

For example a drummer suggested imagining my body is dancing in flowing motions as I play.

Another idea, of mine, is to listen to recordings of Steve Gadd playing and try to analyse how he gets things to flow so beautifully, and try to copy some of his playing?

Maybe to focus more on dynamics between the different parts of the drum set?

Maybe practise playing beautiful flowing melodies on the kit?

Any suggestions for exercises, books, videos would be appreciated.
When you say 'beautiful flowing melodies on the kit' you are on target! Did you ever hear Gadd play brushes on snare while humming the tune Blackbird? How about Tony Williams opening his long roll to sound like a hovering Huey helicopter? LISTENING is the key to feel. Play melodically even if you are making up the tune in your head. You aren't going to learn that in a book. And my suggestion in the beginning of this journey is to stay away from 'SPEED', that just mucks up the works to sound more robotic. Enjoy!
 


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