So you are tired of always playing the same old 4/4 beats, and want to learn something that you do not hear while listening to the Billboard Top 40?
Well, that is the time when you have to approach a new genre – and latin music for sure is one wonderful challenge for any drummer. The key to mastering the world of latin music is taking a different approach.
Here are 5 steps for you to follow:
The only music you can actually “play” and not just mechanically reproduce is the one that flows through your heart. Most people in the western world already feel the “money rhythm”, the one-Two-three-Four that is present in almost any contemporary music “hit”. That is what you have been listening to on the radio for ages – And in most cases, these songs are not too hard to play.
On the other hand, actually feeling latin and not just trying to reproduce the notation requires the in-depth knowledge of the genre. There are a lot of artists who mix properties of different genres. A very interesting example of such a mixture is the band Chambao, playing a very appealing blend of flamenco and electronic music, dubbed flamenco chill.
Music is one of the most direct means of communication. And latin music is, apart from just being a form of entertainment, a very intense channel of communication. You will have to listen some albums from different genres. Until you can tell what a typical salsa melody and what a typical bossa nova song tries to communicate.
Also, I bet you could ask any rock drummer who the drummer in the band Dream Theater just until recently was and would reply with no hesitation: “Mike Portnoy”. That is how it works: if you want to delve into a type of music than you have to know your way around it.
When starting out with latin drumming you might be tempted to buy all the available nifty little percussion instruments that you can find in your drum store. Do not be fooled by the advertising – you really do not need all the bongos and timbales to get started with latin music.
Spending loads of money on something that you cannot be sure if you are going to use seriously might seem as a guarantee that will make you take it seriously. However, what you actually need to make great music is a piece of wood and your two hands.
Money is not what should make you stick with it or not – the soul of the music is what will probably make you stick anyway. Then, you can buy all the timbales in the world.
Most latin genres feature a quite high tempo, and the drum rhythms corresponding those genres mainly sound good when they are played at the proper speed. In spite of that, until you get used to the order of the movements, to the unusual level of accentuations, and so on: you should take it slowly. It will probably not even compare to what you are going to play at normal tempo, but without proper technique you will not be able to build your drumming speed up properly.
Following the previous four tips could enhance your skills, even though it does not contain too much technical information. That is not so without a reason: the philosophical background of a musician is just as significant as his technical one.
Still yet, what is going to be the real breakpoint in your development is your practice routine. You need to create a schedule and lay out what you are going to learn, in what order, using what methods. With the right thinking, practice will lead you to the desired outcome.
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