Funk drumming takes many things, and among them, there are tons of techniques and style-specific skills. However, before you can get into the specific techniques, you need someplace to start.
With our five tips for funk drumming, we can give you those starting blocks which will help you prepare for the funky journey ahead.
Patience is key with funk. Funk drumming involves a lot of off-beat rhythms, and they can sometimes be frustrating to comprehend. The best tool at your disposal is the ability to stay relaxed and not allow yourself to become a frustrated mess.
If you feel yourself getting agitated with a particularly difficult concept, take a deep breath, get a drink of water, and then come back to your kit with a fresh mind. This will help you to develop your skills in a correct manner, rather than learning to play angrily.
If patience is number one on our list, practice put up a darn good fight.
Practicing is the only way to fully grasp the more difficult concepts of funk drumming. When starting off, you may feel awkward trying to perform certain rhythms, especially when it comes to syncopation. Practicing will, as the old saying goes, make perfect.
There is no cheat code or magical drum lessons DVD set that will do the work for you; you need to sit down behind your drum kit every single day and practice your techniques. Make a practice schedule and adhere to it. The only way you should allow yourself to skip practice is if you are sick, or if an emergency comes up. Treat your drum practice like a job; it won’t always be fun, but in the end it will be rewarding.
Tips one and two are useless if you can’t focus.
You need to work on funk to get better at funk. Playing metal, or jamming out some classic rock tunes aren’t going to get you anywhere in the world of funk drumming.
You need to stay focused, and practice correctly. Keep your eye on the prize, and gradually work your way towards it. If your off-beat rhythms are lacking, work on them. If your syncopation is bad, work on it. Practicing without focus is useless; plan out what you need to work on and stick to it.
The only way you will learn more about funk is through your ears.
It’s great to love all types of music; I myself do. But when you are trying to learn a specific genre, the only way to accomplish this is to study said genre. Listening to reggae or black metal won’t help your funk drumming in the least.
In the end, everything comes down to form.
If you play sloppily, it won’t matter how much you know; it will still sound awful. Pay attention to your form, and make sure that each note is as clean as the last. If the last note wasn’t clean to begin with, then take note of it and work on your form.
Keep your back erect and don’t white knuckle your sticks. The last thing you want is to spend months away from your kit due to an injury. Use common sense, but also go beyond it and keep an eye on your limbs.
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