If you love funk, you know how important groove is. But what exactly is groove?
Groove is simply the ability to play with a fluidity that makes your drums parts flow into one another.
How exactly do you do this?
There are actually two steps to getting your groove on.
The first is using a metronome. Believe it or not, this bland clicker with make you a groove master. Playing along to a metronome not only allows you to craft perfect rhythm, but it helps you become more fluid.
When using a metronome, you should be paying attention to your note lengths, and the overall flow of your playing. You want each note to blend seamlessly with the next. This is achieved by playing notes when and where they belong. If you play an eighth note pattern, don’t hesitate when your next note comes up; play it.
Hesitation is the key element to creating a bad groove.
Choppy playing and unseemly rhythms. If you find that you pause between notes, or that you tend to strike other voices when meaning to strike one, you need to slow it down. Being hyper active doesn’t make you a great drummer; take a deep breath, and start your pattern off slowly.
The second, and most important aspect of getting a groove for funk drumming is simple; practice.
Practice makes perfect, and in music, there is no deeper truth. Practicing your runs will not only make you more fluid, but they will increase your skill level.
Before any practice session, be sure to warm up. The worst way to start your week is with an injury, such as a sprain or a tear. Drumming, being such a physically demanding instrument can cause both if your muscles are not properly warmed up.
Your warm up should consist of stretching, not playing. After your warm up, you should play a slow, simple pattern. Playing the slow pattern will not only help loosen up your limbs, but it will help get your blood flowing.
When you finish playing a simple pattern (about ten to fifteen minutes) you need to practice your techniques. The only way to obtain a fluid groove is through practicing the pattern. If you have a set pattern that you have wanted to learn, practice it.
Start off slowly, once more using a metronome, and build up your tempo gradually and over time. This will prevent injury and sloppiness.
If you do notice that you are playing sloppily, or that your form is off, correct yourself. Allowing your form to deteriorate will affect your fluidity over time, making your playing choppier. Choppy playing is hard to listen to, even for the most dedicated fans, so do your part and work hard during your practice sessions.
In the end, there is no special secret to getting your groove; hard work is the only way. Make a practice schedule, and no matter what happens, force yourself to stick to it. Good luck, and above all; have fun while learning how to play drums.
Would you like to learn drums while having fun with play-along songs at the same time? At Drumeo, you can access a massive library of lessons and get 2 brand new songs to jam along every month. This will help you apply your new found skills in practical scenarios!