Funk music, like many other popular genres today has its roots in African music, and, to keep the continuity serves as one of the bases for disco music, too.
Due to that origin, funk drumming can be surprisingly simple, being only a snare drum variation for a basic rock rhythm, but can also be very complex, with jazzy and Latin influences.
Excuse me if I am wrong, but I am going to pretend you are all coming from a pop-rock background, at least when it comes to playing the drum. With such a background, and basically any other background, the easiest way to get started with funk drumming would be to approach funk music from probably the easiest direction: funk rock.
My best advice would probably be to listen to some funk rock music like Red Hot Chili Peppers, or some funky pop like Gnarls Barkley. This kind of music is relatively easy to digest and is also not too hard to play. For example, the “signature” Red Hot Chili Peppers rhythm, found in almost every second song is nothing more than a variation of the standard rock rhythm with some snare drum hits added at various upbeat sixteenth notes.
Becoming a part of the funk universe is probably the only way to later be able to play the songs, so listening to these songs is essential, you cannot just get started playing funk by downloading some funk sheet music.
Funk music is heavily characterized by strong basslines. Most experts agree that the core of modern music is the rhythm section consisting of the bass player and the drummer. That is definitely applicable for funk. To build a solid foundation for your knowledge in funk grooves and beats, you need to find a skilled bass player.
A bass player who is patient enough to teach you how to follow and eventually lead what he is playing. He should ideally be someone who knows how to create music and not just a drum pattern that you can follow blindly. Because the former is the goal every drummer should be working toward – creating music, reaching people, feeling the groove.
The development of drumming skills could be split into four fundamental moments:
1. When you can not even imagine what you are going to play. You sit behind the drumset, move your hands, hit the drums, but have no real concept; you do not know what the you are going to sound like.
2. When you have a sketchy idea of what you should play, and you start to realize how little you know. What you play still does not sound how it should, but at least you are aware of that fact.
3. You have a concept, you know the steps to follow in order to realize your concept, but you stumble every now and then.
4. You feel it. You do it. Even God is on the dance floor.
And that is what you see in the case of real good drummers: you feel like God is dancing next to you. One thing you need to pay attention to is that the previous list doesn’t separate four groups of people who are differently “gifted”. It separates people who worked less or more in order to improve their skills.
It takes humbleness to become really good: you have to go through a phase when you have to admit to others and to yourself that even though you have worked a lot already, you still do not know anything.
Learn how to play Latin styled music on the drums! This exciting style of music will directly improve your groove, boost confidence and develop new skillsets that will help you take your skills to a higher level. Check out Latin Drumming System today!