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What was the single most thing that improved your drumming?

Rock Salad

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Playing in groups with my friend Adam for a few years and our rare conversations about method and theory really opened my eyes and continue to direct my musical skill goals and practice. He focused my ideas of what is good into a small set of specific skills that can be worked on rather than a nebulous glow.
Some guys here give similar advice (thanks!) and you hear them all the time, but these simple little things needed the whole force of his personality to become embedded in my mind.
 

CC Cirillo

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For me, contrary to what a lot of people normally experience, it was playing with musicians who were a little behind me in skill level and musical knowledge.

They taught me to focus on my time because theirs might not have been steady, and to focus on musicality and groove within the song because they were still forming those concepts within their own abilities.

“Guys, you’re going to have to stop hearing the record in your head while you play, and start hearing the musicians in the room with you right now.”
 

michaelg

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For me, contrary to what a lot of people normally experience, it was playing with musicians who were a little behind me in skill level and musical knowledge.

They taught me to focus on my time because theirs might not have been steady, and to focus on musicality and groove within the song because they were still forming those concepts within their own abilities.

“Guys, you’re going to have to stop hearing the record in your head while you play, and start hearing the musicians in the room with you right now.”
Yes absolutely, And playing with folks a little behind ,you become more aware of the importance of carrying the torch.
 

WaggoRecords

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A lot of great answers here. I’m less experienced than many of those who have answered, but for me, a huge inflection point was when I started recorded myself practicing. I realized my hands were a mess and my bass foot sounded like I was wearing a weighted boot, among other things I never realized.
 

Browny

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Recording myself at home.

Got heavily into it early/mid 2020. My band at the did a lot of writing, sending each other tracks. I got a 2 mic setup, LDC overhead and a kick mic, and started recording stuff to send back.

My time is considerably better and I’m much better with a click. Time as in vertical and horizontal… ie holding the bpm but also the subdivisions between the notes.

My playing is much more consistent. Dynamics, tone, volume, and internal balance. I play the cymbals and particularly hats much softer now and my backbeat consistency is dramatically better. Not saying I’m a gun like @Whitten but it’s night and day compared to 2019. The minimal mic thing helps here too, a single overhead means there’s no adjusting levels, what the mic hears is pretty much it.

I’d also say my tuning is better, be it lower/thuddy/mufffled or higher/open/tonal/big (how I’ve got the radio kings now, kind of playing with the Eric Valentine style minimal micing approach).

Playing with other musicians is also an obvious one, but for different reasons.
 

Philaiy9

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For me, having a college band director who cared a lot about the music and would call me out for not playing well. That really motivated me to "hone my craft", especially with timekeeping and dynamics. Seeing how hard everyone in the band was working also motivated me to learn new things and eventually develop my own voice on the kit.
 

idrum4fun

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The "single thing that improved my drumming". That's easy! I started out with my parents renting me a Slingerland Hollywood Ace snare drum from Wallach's Music City in West Covina, CA. Played it for the 3 month rental period. I then received a snare drum "outfit" from Sears. A blue sparkle drum with a 12" brass cymbal and stand. Played it for 2 years while in grade school, grades 5-6. I then got a "real" drum set...a 4pc gold sparkle Lyra. That's when my drumming improved!!! Not being Buddy Rich, there was only so much I could do with a snare drum!! LOL!

Here's my Lyra drums! That really is me playing. My brother played guitar and we were performing at a talent show in 1969 I believe. Good times!

-Mark
 

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dale w miller

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Leaving my hometown. Every band in my area were nothing but hair metal, thrash metal, and prog bands, genres I can’t relate to. Finally leaving and then able to play with like minded people where I could really find myself was were I became a better player all around.
 


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