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What was the single most thing that improved your drumming?

JDA

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invaluable; playing gigs with old timers (ww2 gen) that had an audience (dancers and listeners)
book would be stick control and a couple personal others
I remember on break talking with a couple in the audience and they told they would go to dances where Duke Ellington played.
 
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notINtheband

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He is a very polarizing guy, but Tommy Igoe’s ‘Great Hands for a Lifetime’ was probably the most impactful lesson I ever absorbed. I’ve been a better player since using those lessons and practice techniques.
A second would be YouTube in general.
There is almost nothing that isn’t broken down and demonstrated out there on YT.
I’m from the days of lift-and-lower the record needle to learn parts, so YouTube is still almost magical to me.
 

michaelg

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Playing lots of gigs with lots of other musicians in front of an audience.

Studio work can also be a kick in the ass as your really under the microscope in that situation.
 

Chrisfig

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Not to be too snarky about it, but going to Music school with competitive sharks.
That is to say, being the little fish in the big pond pushed me further than anything else.
I don't think thats snarky at all. I think getting out of your comfort zone (or even being pushed out) is a great way to improve!
 

Chrisfig

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invaluable; playing gigs with old timers (ww2 gen) that had an audience (dancers and listeners)
book would be stick control and a couple personal others
I remember on break talking with a couple in the audience and they told they would go to dances when Duke Ellington played.
Thats incredible!
 

Chrisfig

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He is a very polarizing guy, but Tommy Igoe’s ‘Great Hands for a Lifetime’ was probably the most impactful lesson I ever absorbed. I’ve been a better player since using those lessons and practice techniques.
A second would be YouTube in general.
There is almost nothing that isn’t broken down and demonstrated out there on YT.
I’m from the days of lift-and-lower the record needle to learn parts, so YouTube is still almost magical to me.
I'm more from the Youtube generation, and it is still a game changer for me! I don't know if for me, personally, it would ever replace in person learning, but it has been a game changer for me.
 

Chrisfig

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Playing lots of gigs with lots of other musicians in front of an audience.

Studio work can also be a kick in the ass as your really under the microscope in that situation.
I hated my first session in a studio for that exact reason. Man was it different. A few sessions later, and I love it. It really made me dial things in.
 

cruddola

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Every six months I devoted to setting up only a snare and bass drum in a spare bedroom. Practiced syncopation on the snare and punctuation with the bass drum. One week of this, three times a day.

Honed some beautiful buzz-rolling alternating blast-ass rimshots and answered them with the bass drum while the buzz continues nonstop. I can buzz-roil for a year to this day. Did this for a week three times a day.

The following week I worked the brushes on a snare and hats only. Three times a day.

On the fourth week I worked the bass and hats only. Three times a day

On the fifth week I worked patterns on a floor tom and bass drum only. I call it jungle drums. Three times a day.

The common denominator was maintaining a mastery of dynamics across the board. Each of the three daily sessions was in the morning for an hour before leaving for work, returning from work was a two-hour session and an hour session before going to bed.

Did this for almost 40 years while actively drumming under the auspices of the mighty dollar. After retiring I no longer do it. Too old for that crap. I just create the band and the music between the ears and play to whatever is going on. I also relive playing with the old dudes I grew up playing with.

I remember every single performance like it was a minute ago. I know exactly how I played. I can still see the musicians, their stance, their emotions, the audience, that killer-looking girl in the third row second in from the aisle at our first Carnegie performance, everything. Therapy.
 
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Matched Gripper

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Kind of an indirect answer, but, I would say it’s my first two teachers who got me started with the gold standard methods, and taught me how to teach myself. Great teachers! Great people!
 

DrumPhil

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Sorry, but I have to give two.

First, my first drum set teacher, who taught me the importance of the bass drum as the foundation of the groove. On a car radio or portable music device it is easy to hear the snare and top end sounds going on in the music but miss what is going on on the bottom. When he showed me that under a simple backbeat there can be a huge variety of funky stuff going on with the feet, drumming all of a sudden became very creative and musical.

Second, practicing to pop radio in the 1970s. Back then you had a wide variety of high quality music that would appear on any one station. The broadcasts weren't as homogenized as they are now. So I could put on headphones and practice along, learning to quickly adapt my playing to whatever style of song came up next. I didn't necessarily know the "correct" groove for each song, but I learned to listen and pick up on what the band was doing, and make my playing fit musically into the context. That skill has payed off over and over again.
 

Pat A Flafla

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Starting off in junior high school beginner band and sticking with it all the way.
 


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