Remembering Beats/Grooves

BigDrummer_TF

New member
This is going to sound like a dumb question, but I want to know if anyone else has a problem with remembering specific beats or parts to songs.
Here's the situation: the first 4 1/2 years that I played, I mostly played at church. When playing at church, there really was no "set pattern" to my playing...it was all improv/ad lib. I would notice that each time we play a song, my beat and fills are similar, but not exactly the same. After playing in church for so long, I joined a band. Upon joining the band, I noticed the same thing happening. It got to where my guitar player and bass player were hounding me about creating a "set pattern" for each song...but as hard as I tried to choreograph my playing, I just couldn't. Eventually I got canned from that band, and I working on inproving technique and everything that drags my playing down...but does anyone have any suggestions for this problem I have with remembering what I'm playing?
 

Gaddabout

New member
Get yourself an ipod, download some music you'd like to play, and play along. In addition to music you'd LIKE to play, I suggest downloading stuff that is relatively static. For example, play along to the entire No Doubt discography. That's an education in keeping time right there.

My other suggestion is pretty standard, but it's also an obvious solution. Go find yourself an instructor and work through a book or two. Learn how to read notation so you'll be able to see in your head what you're playing. I think you'll find the more you can read notation, the less challenged you memory will be.
 

drummert2k

New member
The obvious...... when you write something, if you think you might forget it, get some transcription paper and write it down. it takes about a minute to write down a drum beat. that way you can sit it on your music stand and when that part in the song comes up just read off the paper until you have it down solid.
 

scottiedo06

New member
Kudos to whoever said the thing about No Doubt's discography. Seriously, Adrian is a very underrated drummer. Thank you again for pointing that out. His grooves are different and very complex in some of the older stuff from Tragic Kingdom, so check it out.
 

Gaddabout

New member
scottiedo06":2zl8jxu2 said:
Kudos to whoever said the thing about No Doubt's discography. Seriously, Adrian is a very underrated drummer. Thank you again for pointing that out. His grooves are different and very complex in some of the older stuff from Tragic Kingdom, so check it out.
I think Adrian is a very bright drummer who does a lot without having much of a formal education. He practices for the studio by playing along to Steely Dan tracks, which is genius, IMO. He's a fine young pocket player worthy of emulation.
 

Trash

New member
You could always just join a band that plays in a more free form way.

Who knows? You may break music out of it's doldrums!


Grumprist
 

Shalaq

New member
The best way is to learn how to write music down on paper.
For example write down the groove of the verse, beat of the chorus etc, then just write it down like:
Verse - beat A 4 time, Beat B 3 times
Fill(write it down at this point)
Chorus- Beat B 7 times
Fill
etc etc.
 

mikelvan

New member
The suggestions listed above are all great i deas. I may try a few myself.. what i have done in the past is to record every practice with a cassette recorder. Try recording each practice. listen to it at home, on your way to work or school. you will hear which fills, beats work the beats, remember them and then apply them to the song. repetition!!. soon the song will be so familure that you will not be able toi get it out of your head. good luck.. =)
 

rufus4dagruv

New member
I find that what works best for me is memorizing everyone else's parts; guitar, bass, keys, vocals, whatever. I will hum or sing the melody of the song while I play and that way I always know where I am in a particular tune. As long as I know where I am in the song, I will know what part to play. Whatever part you are playing, it must interact with the rest of the band in some way. As long as you know what they're doing, you'll know what you need to do.
 

slingerland66

New member
Shalaq":1hzbdoag said:
The best way is to learn how to write music down on paper.
For example write down the groove of the verse, beat of the chorus etc, then just write it down like:
Verse - beat A 4 time, Beat B 3 times
Fill(write it down at this point)
Chorus- Beat B 7 times
Fill
etc etc.
I find thats the best way as well. good looks dude.
 

Spydr2000

New member
Ok bro, I played in a cover band that played songs to perfection. My suggestion is when learning a song start off by breaking it down in sections such as " intro " take a couple mintues and drill that into your head by playing it over and over. Once you have that move to the next section of the song " verse " same thing, play over and over.. then put them both together and see if you remember them. So build the song as your learning it piece by piece. This whole process really doesn't take that long. Then try to play those song atleast once everyday for a week or two. Then make a cd with them all on just to listen to when your just hang'n out. You'd be surprised how you think of the patterns to play 6 measures before they even happen.

I use to play songs note for note without even thinking about it as if they were my own. I use to at one time get a piece of paper out and write down a couple phrases that i was having problems with until I nailed them. Now I got a computer program that slows the song down without changing pitch, this is a big help for figuring out fast patterns. Basically you have to train your mind to develope the skill of remembering patterns. I hope this helps.
 

Rob Crisp

New member
How often did you practice the new songs?

When we do a new song we play that about 5 times, then the set and then probably another five times.

So by the end of the rehearsal I've usually worked out the beats and fills and have them in memory.

I think it's all about repitition. The more you hear something the more you remember it. If you play it lots it'll be even more memorable.

All the advice given is good though, that's just what works best for me.
 

BigDrummer_TF

New member
I really appreciate all of the advice...it seems that maybe I'm just not focused enough when I play or I'm just too "loose" in my thought process. I've never really written down beats or anything like that (although I can read and write sheet music). I will start writing stuff down and just paying more attention to the details of what I'm doing behind the kit.
Does anybody really see any problems with improvising fills (fills are where I really lose sight of what I'm doing) in a "band" environment where having a solidified and set beat is crucial?
 

Mxpxdude189

New member
I haven't really had a problem with this, i've kind of always had a good memory for everything, outside of music, so i think that helps me. Of course, there is a fine line between experimenting with new fills in songs and setting stuff in stone. I don't ALWAYS do the same minor fills on songs. They are certain parts that i believe need to stay the same, but some are fun to mix up live just to make it interesting. Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater doesn't always do the exact same fills for little stuff, which makes it interesting at live shows, but he keeps the important fills the same.

It's good to play the same exact thing over and over to get it in your head. If you have to, sit there and do it 20 times in a row or until you get it right. Like everyone above, it does help to play along with CDs, which cause you to do the same thing over and over.

The most important thing as a musician is to LISTEN TO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING. That is what will make a great musician, feeding off of what everyone else is doing, if they do the same thing every time, then you can too. Practice practice practice!
 

Spydr2000

New member
BigDrummer_TF":u22qh31z said:
I really appreciate all of the advice...it seems that maybe I'm just not focused enough when I play or I'm just too "loose" in my thought process. I've never really written down beats or anything like that (although I can read and write sheet music). I will start writing stuff down and just paying more attention to the details of what I'm doing behind the kit.
Does anybody really see any problems with improvising fills (fills are where I really lose sight of what I'm doing) in a "band" environment where having a solidified and set beat is crucial?
There is nothing wrong with improvising fills. I would do this live if I was having a good night and heavy into the groove of the song and would pull out one of my hand/ foot combination fills. The thing is make sure the fill your attemping is going to fit where your placing it.

The beauty of drumming is that we can change or add things to compliment a song. Live drumming you want to capture the eyes of the people and keep it interesting. Another nice tool for live drumming is a nice loud China cymbal. This is a great sound placed in that perfect spot of the song where a crash was originally used. Remember not to over do these / over play and do them every song.
 

Jonney_Edward

New member
ya man i have had the exact same problem, ive started playing in the church as well and it doesn't really matter if you change your fills for improv in church, I've never do the exact same thing on every song, i just make sure when theres shots, break downs, and build ups i get them down, those are more important then tryin to remember what fills you did at certian parts times. so if you have a bad memory write things down, thats what i did for a few years cause i was really bad for remembering parts of the songs.
 

Flatliner

New member
For me it depends on how complicated the song is and how many changes there are.

I don't have that hard a problem with remembering stuff but on some songs that had a lot of changes (say six 1 minute or longer parts that don't repeat or a lot of little "punches") I've written a small chart so that if I get lost I could look over and remember where to go. The only time I've ever written out a beat was when I was playing with a friend who wrote a 21/8 phrase in a song that I couldn't break down into smaller pieces.

That all being said its all about repetition, the more you play (and focus on a part) the more things will stay the same(but hopefully not stagnant.) You might also try rehersing just a part of a song over and over, developing the drum part to that section and then move on to the next part of the song once that's done.
 

Soundestruction

New member
I guess it all depends on what kind of music you're playing....

Improvised fills are fun and easy... I mean.. you can say exactly what's on your mind right then, which feels good... especially if you're playing in a band who's music allows some fluxuation... or like some fusion or playing straight standards in at a jam session er something...I always enjoy the freedom of improv... but I think it's one thing a lot of us drummers take for granted and do entirely too much... It's easy to copp the groove of a song and just blaze through it and make it work just fine.. Not a lot of thinking required, just playin' feels and lettin' it go... which can sound rad if you're a dope player.. but it's lazy man...

Once you design every single note in a song, including all of your fills, not only will you be challenged and mentally stretched, but you're memorization skills will increase and you'll start chippin away at your real voice behind the drums... Just fartin out some improvised fill is cool but memorize that same fill... build on it... add things to it.. see what makes it gay.. make it cooler.. employ other concepts... it takes parts building to a place of "Parts BUILDING".... which can end up with a lot of progression for yourself as a player, and satisfaction from really building a drum part that's unique to your musical voice...

cheers!
 
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