I was under the weather last week with a bad cold. I am still under the weather this week and it’s worse, now a sinus infection. Ugh. The good news is I’m taking antibiotics and hope in the coming days to be rid of the worst sinus infection of my life!
But my eyes hurt. My head hurts. On top of this my house has a badly leaking roof and it just rained. Lots of rain. My nose and my ceiling are both leaking! Now, back to you as I answer some of your comments and questions.
Big Time. Many times in my instructional “Big Time” as well as numerous clinics or appearances, I’ve talked about playing the space between the notes. About loving that space. Big Time teaches how to be self reliant in playing the space, by wiggling in time, breathing in time. Sometimes the rest of the band or at least a crucial player has time that is simply too fluid and yet the drummer needs to still be steady, perhaps because it’s a recording and your performance is the only one, as drummer, kept on the record from that particular session, or maybe simply to keep the band from finishing a song 5 or more BPMs faster than when it started! There have been times when I’ve just not felt right while playing and I needed something more to “hypnotize” me into playing well again. That’s what “Big Time” is about, and more.
I believe that many of us, when in turmoil during a composition, we end up playing more notes to try to get comfortable. Where did that pocket go? My solution is to learn to play the spaces with a quiet sound because nobody wants to hear all of those notes. Big Time. Check it out. Study with me and we will go through it together.
About Chapin and Tony: No, I have not mentioned the Chapin Tony books because, no doubt great as they are, they did not work for me personally. It felt too mental to me and I couldn’t see music within it. It’s like my book analogy in a blog a few weeks ago. One person loved Treasure Island and the next might find it dumb or simply not interesting. I studied Tony deeply on my own, using Alan Dawson’s emphasis on Paradiddles mostly and how they can be on the drum set. Like Keith Moon, Tony had an aggression that was beautiful. There are never enough words to describe and show appreciation for Tony Williams.
More about James Brown: You COULD imagine you are on a gig doing JB songs (or better yet, you really could be doing it real life with friends or co-workers) but imagine there is only one guitar. Now you have to place those extra funky notes on the hi-hat, or elsewhere on the kit to get the groove. Practicing busy things on the gig can be a good thing so long as you aren’t spoiling everybody else’s fun.
One favorite practice moment I highly recommend:
Do any of you ever “go fishing” on your drum set? I hope so! It can lead to valuable improvements in the way you approach your instrument. Sit down and play something unimportant – unrelated to anything of this world. Space out and see what comes next. Do it every time you “practice.” Be an explorer!
I love my friends and often think about the drummers I’ve met along my teaching path. Thank you for following my blog and spreading the word. Share your thoughts at billyward.com