This is the single most important aspect of playing any musical instrument. When drumming you need to set yourself apart from other drummers if you want to be a success, and having a lot of imagination is the best way to do this.
If you play the drums then it’s about time you start think outside the box. Try to play the drums differently to people that you hear on the radio or on records; establish your own unique identity.
It can be very difficult not to copy other drummers. But remember, people already have John Bonham or Jimmy Chamberlin. They don’t want to listen to rip off’s, they want to find someone new. There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from your favorite drummers, everybody does it. However you should try to make conscious effort to at least present what they are playing in a different way.
A good exercise to follow is to listen to some of your favorite drum tracks, preferably from two different drummers. Take the best beat and the best fill from the songs and then try to splice them together. This method is commonly used by drummers that want to add their own specific flair to drum tracks.
Another great exercise is to play along to some of your favorite music, but instead of playing the beat and fills that are in the background try to add in some of your own techniques. If a beat is played on a hi-hat then why not try playing it on the ride cymbal?
The best way to come up with new ideas is to learn as much as possible. You should always be trying to increase your overall drumming vocabulary, and the best way to do this is to learn new techniques such as rudiments.
There are 40 rudiments in total. Learning all of them will increase your speed, control and most importantly your imagination. Once you learn a rudiment you should always try to incorporate it into your playing.
Trying to turn it into a beat, or playing it on multiple drums can be a great way to get started. Eventually you will find that new ideas will come to you and you will be able to hear them in your head before you’ve even picked up the sticks.
Many drummers are very one dimensional. They can play certain drumming styles and genres very well, and others poorly. If you learn to master a number of different styles then you will be able to take ideas from one style and incorporate it into another.
This is a great way to add your own specific flair to a song or piece of music. Not only does it sound original and unique, but it will make you stand out over other drummers.
As I’ve previously stated; the most important aspect of imagination is establishing your own identity. And the only way to formulate your own identity is to create new things yourself. By following the exercises and ideas in this article you will find yourself in a better position to create.
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