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Thread: How to develop feel

  1. #1

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    Default How to develop feel

    First let me say, I don't play drums.

    My daughter has been taking drum lessons for a little over two years now.
    She is doing extremly well with her sight reading. As long as she has a score in front of her and a metronome, she can play really well.

    The problem is that she does not do very well when asked to play along with a record or with a band. She does not seem to have good "feel"

    By "feel", I mean to be able to play a beat, feel the changes, know when to play fills, etc.

    Any suggestions on what she can do to develop a sense of "feel"?

    I am going to discuss this with her teacher at her next lesson, but thought I would get your thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Todd

  2. #2

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    First off, welcome to DrumChat Todd. I learned 'feel' or dynamics as I call it from playing along to CDs. By mimicing my favorite drummers chops while I practiced enabled me to 'feel' the groove and it helped me to develop my own style of playing.

    Also, it took a great deal of time playing with other musicians to help develop 'feel'. To be able to 'lean' into other musicians playing styles as I played, forced me to listen to what each player was contributing to the overall effort and as the drummer, my sole goal is to 'serve' the music and to build dynamics so other players could forge out their own 'feel' from my dynamics.

    In my opinion, you can't learn this overnight. Continue to urge your daughter to practice with the charts and the metronome but also find means to have her participate in group 'jam' sessions.

    My local indie music store has a youth music program where they gather young players together and they group them according to skill level. Group lessons are given to each "band" at the practice studio in the store to teach stage presense and other performance advice as well as to give them guidance.

    At the end of a 6 week program, all of the newly formed bands perform a "Battle of the Bands" show and the winner gets an opportunity to record in an EP in a professional recording studio setting.

    Does a similar program exist in your area? If you don't know the answer, take a drive down to your local music store and ask the staff if a similar program is offered at their location or seek out the drum teacher who can to steer you in that direction. Good luck and come back and update us on how things are progressing.
    Last edited by late8; 12-04-2012 at 07:14 PM.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    Keep playing with other people.

  4. #4

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    its something you can only learn from repetition
    Last edited by itchie; 12-04-2012 at 10:40 PM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    Quote Originally Posted by spawndn72 View Post

    The problem is that she does not do very well when asked to play along with a record or with a band. She does not seem to have good "feel". By "feel", I mean to be able to play a beat, feel the changes, know when to play fills, etc.
    Hi Todd,
    The most important place to start is clarifying terminology. When musicians refer to "feel", they're talking about how well the player plays in time and how well they can mesh with the other musicians to make the music "feel" good. What you're referring to is different. There's not a specific word for it so I'll just use your own words. She needs to figure out when to play fills and make them fit within a measured space in the music.

    Many young musicians can sense this naturally and others, it takes more time for it to develop. There are different levels of natural talent among individuals.
    Working with a teacher is helpful if she's not feeling it naturally because he/she can help her count things and guide her one note at a time. He can show her visuals to give her more to learn from and he can demonstrate by playing the examples of the lessons. It sounds like the teacher needs to hone in on this more with her and/or break it down for her a little more. Sometimes students just need more focus on a particular area. Make sure he's using visuals, not just speaking. If then she isn't getting it, you might want to try a different teacher. Remember; just because she's being taught by someone, doesn't mean they're always the most qualified. Teachers come at all different experience/effectiveness levels just like players.

    I hope this sheds some light on it a little bit. By the way, I'm a pro drummer and have taught hundreds of students through the years.
    - Tom

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  6. #6

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    Quote Originally Posted by spawndn72 View Post
    First let me say, I don't play drums.

    My daughter has been taking drum lessons for a little over two years now.
    She is doing extremly well with her sight reading. As long as she has a score in front of her and a metronome, she can play really well.

    The problem is that she does not do very well when asked to play along with a record or with a band. She does not seem to have good "feel"

    By "feel", I mean to be able to play a beat, feel the changes, know when to play fills, etc.

    Any suggestions on what she can do to develop a sense of "feel"?

    I am going to discuss this with her teacher at her next lesson, but thought I would get your thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Todd
    Hi Todd,

    I'm the same way as your daughter - I like the music in front of me.

    When I listen to music, I try to make sounds with my mouth - re-coding the drum sounds with speech helps keep patterns that have say 8 or 10 notes, in mind all at once - make it a pattern that you 'get' - it's the same principle one uses in memory - you 'chunk' the information in meaningful, small, manageable units. That's what I do in my head.

    I use You Tube (Mike Johnson; Ralph Peterson), and I play with others and try things out. A lot of guys do drum covers. I take riffs they've shown me on You Tube and I bring them back to my kit, I don't always stick to them, but I expose myself to them.

    One thing I learned about drumming, is based on poetry - you can't write good poetry unless you read good poetry. You can't write a story unless you're reading stories.

    Same with drumming - you can't learn creative, good drumming unless you're watching a variety of good, competent drummers do their thing, and listening to them. That gives me a feel for what kind of fills or patterns will be interesting to my ear - that's where your child will collect a variety of patterns and techniques - her 'feel' will develop with exposure to good drumming - think of her like a giant database, collecting drum riffs for later use. If she practices, she'll deploy these riffs in novel situations perhaps without knowing she's doing it. It just happens. It's not magic, it's just like 'fluidity' with a language or a procedure that happens when you gain 'fluency'.

    The videos here on this website are excellent sources of ideas. Too many to list, but a few come to mind I watched recently:
    - the tonal drummer from Israel is a good influence - his vids give new ideas on drums and cymbals;
    - Shaun I think has a few both rudimental drumming pieces and popular ones like CCR and Adele drum covers.

    Drummers need to hang with drummers to learn, that's my theory - the computer makes that exposure easier.

    Those are my $0.02 Good luck!
    Last edited by Rickkus; 12-05-2012 at 10:40 AM.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Redneck View Post
    Keep playing with other people.
    I agree. You've just gotta have her keep playing with people. I have been playing with the guitar player in my band for almost 7 years now. We really know where each other is going while we play. When we jam I can feel where he's going on the next riff without ever hearing before that time.

    It just takes practice.

  8. #8

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    Repetition, patience and time. Drummer had explained it so well earlier on, so I have no more to add, and just like him, I've seen it as a drum teacher as well.
    "...it's the Paradigm Of The Cosmos!" Stewart Copeland on Youtube

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  9. #9

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    Necro thread/update time.

    Well a lot has happened in a year. My daughter was asked to join the high school marching band by the director. At her school the HS marching band is made up of kids in 7th through 12th grade (small private school). She is a 6th grader, but they needed drummers so she got to start early.

    Being in band and playing with other kids has made a HUGE difference in her playing. I think the light has clicked on.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by spawndn72 View Post
    Necro thread/update time.

    Well a lot has happened in a year. My daughter was asked to join the high school marching band by the director. At her school the HS marching band is made up of kids in 7th through 12th grade (small private school). She is a 6th grader, but they needed drummers so she got to start early.

    Being in band and playing with other kids has made a HUGE difference in her playing. I think the light has clicked on.
    That's great to hear! She's still very young and has a ton of time to learn all of this stuff.
    - Tom

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  11. #11

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    Default Re: How to develop feel

    Maybe playing with other musicians and with songs on the radio might help. Maybe it just takes time and work.

  12. #12

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    Music is kinda like a highway. After a while the hills and curves etc... become somewhat familiar.

    all the best...

  13. #13

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    An old jazz trumpet player I knew always said, "Don't play the notes, play the music." As soon as any player learns how to do this is when he/she becomes a musician. The OP is asking how do we get them there and there's already lots of good advice in this thread. I will add this.

    I am also a writer and the number one thing a writer has to do to be a good writer is to read, as much as possible. I think that goes for music too. The number one thing a musician has to do is listen to a lot of music. You can't play music if you don't know music. I'd tell a student to listen to everything and to listen critically.

    One time I played 'Devil May Care" on Diana Krall's 'Live in Paris" CD about a hundred times to try to hear how Jeff Hamilton switched from sticks to brushes so fast and smoothly.
    Life's too short to play the same solo twice. Improvise!

  14. #14

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    Sounds like she learned from the inside out.
    That's gonna turn into something great!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnySticks View Post
    An old jazz trumpet player I knew always said, "Don't play the notes, play the music." As soon as any player learns how to do this is when he/she becomes a musician. The OP is asking how do we get them there and there's already lots of good advice in this thread. I will add this.

    I am also a writer and the number one thing a writer has to do to be a good writer is to read, as much as possible. I think that goes for music too. The number one thing a musician has to do is listen to a lot of music. You can't play music if you don't know music. I'd tell a student to listen to everything and to listen critically.

    One time I played 'Devil May Care" on Diana Krall's 'Live in Paris" CD about a hundred times to try to hear how Jeff Hamilton switched from sticks to brushes so fast and smoothly.
    Great post Johnny!
    - Tom

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnySticks View Post
    An old jazz trumpet player I knew always said, "Don't play the notes, play the music." As soon as any player learns how to do this is when he/she becomes a musician. The OP is asking how do we get them there and there's already lots of good advice in this thread. I will add this.

    I am also a writer and the number one thing a writer has to do to be a good writer is to read, as much as possible. I think that goes for music too. The number one thing a musician has to do is listen to a lot of music. You can't play music if you don't know music. I'd tell a student to listen to everything and to listen critically.

    One time I played 'Devil May Care" on Diana Krall's 'Live in Paris" CD about a hundred times to try to hear how Jeff Hamilton switched from sticks to brushes so fast and smoothly.

    You are pretty much saying what I've said for years, listen to the music, it will always tell you what to do.

    As for the sticks to brushes, he may have had a pair of those sticks they used to make that had brushes on 1 end.

  17. #17

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    Reminds me of something that happened on Monday. My son plays trumpet in the HS band. It's concert band season now, and they're working on modern piece called "The Great Train Chase".....or something like that. IIRC, it's a story about a group of Confederate soldiers that steal a Union train during the Civil War. The song composition is basically a musical imagery of the event, with different instruments and parts representing the different events and action.

    Anyway.....my son brings home a 2 page written historical account of the details and events as they transpired. His new music teacher gave everyone copies and told them to read it. On each copy, he highlighted the areas of the text where that child's particular instrument or section was playing in the song. He wanted the kids to develop a "feel" for the emotions and events during which they would be playing and their instruments would be representing. Needless to say, I'm EXTREMELY impressed by the new music teacher. None of the music teachers I had in HS would have attempted such techniques.
    -Brian

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    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  18. #18

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    All the advice given above is very good, I think the more involved she gets in drumming, the more experience she has, the more people she plays with, and the more she listens to music and drums to it, she will develop that feel.
    Happy Drumming!

    IS15

  19. #19

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    I will add to try and find some drumless tracks to music she really likes. I have a few if you want them send me a pm and I will send what I have to you.

    They are pretty much karaoke for drummers, so the only drums you hear are the ones your playing..Kind of like taking the training wheels off. I like it because you can try to remember note for note what the original drummer played which believe it or not is a challenge in itself but most likely you will start adding your own flavor to it which you can then critique if you record it and play it back later. There are a few sites that offer this and you should be able to google them if you like.
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  20. #20

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    MDK,

    Thanks for the offer, I had to post this as my 25th post to be able to send private messages.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by rickthedrummer View Post
    You are pretty much saying what I've said for years, listen to the music, it will always tell you what to do.

    As for the sticks to brushes, he may have had a pair of those sticks they used to make that had brushes on 1 end.

    I found out he keeps the ones he's not playing wedged between his thigh and throne and can reach them with either hand super fast. He can play with one hand and switch out the sticks for brushes one at a time, never missing a beat. All within a couple of measures.
    Life's too short to play the same solo twice. Improvise!

  22. #22

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    Great info. It's like dancing. Some people just have the feel of the song. And the beat. For me it comes naturally. Every since I was a kid. I felt the beat

    I think it's just something your born with. But you can learn it. Just like people learn to dance.

    Listen and play with songs. And dance to them might help her learn the feel of the song
    Kreg
    First concert the Beatles 1966
    Love to rock and roll with my set of Rogers

  23. #23

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    DANCE? Now see no one told me I had to dance!

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