Will learning jazz make me a better rock drummer?

Post here anything about the world of drumming. Equipment, music, drum gear, artists, events, gigs, and anything else drum set related!

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 84
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:46 pm
Location: New York City

Post Fri Oct 13, 2006 4:35 pm

I fell like learning jazz made me work harder on my technique, therefore making me a better drummer.
drums-Drum Workshop Lavender to Black Burst w/black hardware
cymbals-Anything that sounds good!
pedals-DW 9002
sticks-Vic Firth 5A (endorser)
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:09 am
Location: Hollywood, Ca

Post Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:45 pm

Learn jazz and rock is easy...all you gotta do is hit hard!

Dragon Steel

Last edited by dragonsteel on Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hit hard and keep the drumming community tight!
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 8:11 pm

Post Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:45 pm

Yes. In fact, jazz is probably the best style you can learn in terms of musicality, and overall sound of the instrument. When I first started out all I wanted to play was rock, but then my mind opened to different types of music. Now I love jazz, and still have a fondness for Planet X.
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:56 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Post Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:43 pm

Hmmm. It's hard to answer this in a purely philosophical way.

However I will be up front with you. Learning Jazz will help you play pretty much every style (or it at least should help you).

Jazz is great because it challenges the drummer to keep a swinging time, while listening at the same time.

I tell my students that it is one of the best ways to develop your "Four Eyes."

Now we all know that chops are developed playing jazz, but let's take it to the plane of the metaphysical.

When I say "Four Eyes" (and yes I coined the phrase myself - not tht that matters), I believe that musicians all have four eyes. It really connects with drummers though.

"but John, what the hell are you talking about?"

Well, this is what I mean. You have your actual ears, there' on the side of your head. With these you take in sound from the other players (in stereo no less). They are super important for communicating the language of music with the people with whom you play. They take in ideas from your environment.

And then you have your "Third Eye" which is in your mind. This is where your imagination comes from. Like when you here a guitar lick and think "I know a groove that would be SICK when played with that groove." Your Third Eye finds these beats. You feed them to your fellow musicians. You can feed them to your buds as surprises, to push them or even to make them laugh. Use your Third Eye-Ear as a way of carrying a musical conversation.

And then we come to the mega important ear. It doesn't rely on what happens much OUTSIDE the body. It is the ear that listens to your own confidence level inside. IT'S YOUR HEART.

You see, your heart knows the beat better than anyone can tell you. It is your own metronome. It is your confidence. Like when you step up to a kit, and know you have to lay down a killer groove. Your heart sets the pace. It is your confidence in a muscular organ. You can lay it down without even using the other 3 ears, as long as your heart is true.

Two actuall ears, your Third Eye and your Heart. Each on its own can get the job done, but when used all together, it is what makes for a killer drummer.

Chops sold separately...
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Honolulu, HI

Post Thu Oct 26, 2006 6:50 pm

I was in the same position when I was about 16. I had always had a thing for rock, but jazz never really interested me. Not the difficulty....I just didn't like the music.

My instructor's program included a lot of jazz in the later phases of it that I saw. He broke me in subtly, though.

First off was a tune by Jean Luc Ponty. Next up was Tower of Power. Then we got into "Jammin' E. Cricket" by Chick Corea's Elektric Band, some Jeff Porcaro tunes, and then on to Count Basie swing stuff.

If you look at the trend there, he was smart and guided me more towards the funk / fusion genre first. Once I had figured out that this stuff is pretty cool, the swing hit and it was on.

Now, all I play is rock, but it's this jazz/fusion/funk influence that separates my playing. With the experience that you will gain from playing jazz, you will learn new fills, new ways of looking at music in general, and you will DEFINITELY learn some new patterns.

There's nothing better than taking a simple 4/4 song and tastefully spicing it up with little things you've carried from your jazz experiences into rock.

Embrace it, and you'll see what everyone here is talking about.
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:14 pm
Location: kickin tha funk in nf

Post Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:07 pm

stump wrote:Jazz music in my opinion is one of the hardest styles to play and play well. History shows that alot of the rock and other styles of music these days evolved from Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. If you think it's easy, you are wrong. To learn how to play Jazz will greately improve your skills in any style of music. I say pay attention and practice alot. You will not be disappointed.

well said :)
drummer for HEY YOU a tribute t pink floyd!

hug it out bitch!
User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 237
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:47 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, FL

Post Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:49 am

Learning jazz will make you a better rock drummer, but only if you get into it and actually try. If you read everyone's comments and decide to learn jazz, but don't your full effort into it and don't learn it wholeheartedly, you won't get anything out of it.
Don't underestimate jazz. It can rock...hard.
8-piece Mapex Vx
5-piece Premier 1960s vintage

custom vintage Mapex 5-piece (for sale)
User avatar
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:18 pm
Location: Croatia

Post Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:35 pm

Sure thing!Everything you learn will progress you playing, make better in everyway, just play every music and try to learn everything you hear. It sure helped me:)
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 65
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:16 am

Post Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:36 pm

I didn't like Jazz at first because I thought it was real hard. Fact is, its tough, but is fun. I learned a lot from Jazz and I still am. I am also a rock drummer.
User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:11 pm

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 12:17 am

what ever you learn will help you become a better drummer all round. learn as much as you can. Everything you learn from different areas will make you better in what ever feild of drumming you enjoy most. You can transpose diffrent fills from jazz to rock very easily. you may not enjoy it right now but you will get better at what you do. Remember what they say practice makes perfect and have fun!
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 296
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2006 2:51 pm
Location: California

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 1:38 am

learning jazz will make you better hands down.

The thing with jazz is the more you play it the more it gets under your skin and the more you love it, it feels very constricting at first but you'll be amazed how far it will take you.
M.U.S.I.C.- Make up something interesting and complementary- Neil Peart

Without music, Life would be an error- Friedrich Nietzsche
User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:12 pm
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:19 am

I'm going to disagree with everyone here and say learning jazz will not make you a better rock drummer. In fact, most jazz drummers spend a good portion of their rock careers learning to not play so busy and complicated -- sometimes by getting fired a time or two before catching the drift.

What learning jazz will do is:

- Open your mind to a gigantic music world beyond whatever you're listening to now

- Put you on the ground to learn many more advanced concepts, some of which will eventually apply to rock drumming

- Help you appreciate the history and legacy of drumming

Jazz is a big word. Jazz isn't just swing. It's lots of things, so stick along for the ride, and I promise this train eventually comes back around. I also promise you will not see rock drumming the same as when you left. Your tastes may change drastically.
User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 76
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 2:46 pm
Location: Reno

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 9:44 am

I'll just say this...
...Learning jazz drumming will make you a better drummer in ALL genres
Vic Firth.

92% of teens switch to rap. If you're in the 8% that don't, spread the word!
User avatar
drumming adept
drumming adept
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 3:14 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 11:49 am

I think it is important for everyone to remember one thing, If you learn a particular style, and play it for a long, long time, It will stick with you subconciously. Which means that if you try to play another style, such as Rock, it may keep you from doing so.

I have been playing Jazz and Funk for over 15 years. I have been playing Rock music for maybe about 3. Jazz and Rock are two completely different styles. There maybe points here and there where they collide, but for the most part, they are opposites. If you try to play rock with a Jazz background, there are some things that will come easier, and some things that will be alot harder to learn. Mentally, if you are attuned to playing Jazz, you wont have the Rock state of mind. That can seriously hinder your performance. I've seen this happen lots of times. Rock is not easier to play then jazz. It can be very complicated, and it some ways harder to play. You generally need more energy, more endurance, your hands and feet usually need to be stronger. If you can play jazz, sure you'll be able to do the fills. but they'll sound like Jazz fills....And that usually dosnt work in Rock music.

Just like if you've been a Rock drummer all of your life, It will be hard for you to adjust to jazz. They can be both hard to play. Its a state of mind. Knowing one style may help when playing the other, but in my expierence, if you start to play rock with a jazz background, there's only a select few things that will actually help you out.

The only thing that can prevent you from acheving even the furthest goal, is doubt. Stay dedicated.
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:38 pm
Location: Topeka Kansas (that's right Kansas!)

Post Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:06 pm

The way I see it is simply to learn all that you can about every style and then do what all of the greats did......Have a style of your own.
Anything you can learn about from the actual drums to the styles and influences of others will never hurt you. at the worst you will just learn about something you don't like but at least you know it now.
A good friend will come bail you out of jail. Your best friend will be sitting next you saying, "Damn that was fun!"