So if you like jiving, grooving, feel good music, then Motown and R & B are just the right cup of tea for you. Whether you just like upbeat rhythms, or songs that make you smile while you play, Motown and R & B can do a lot to not only improve your groove skills, but give you hours of fun.
Before you approach these fun, high energy styles, there are a few things that you must go through on a mental checklist.
First off, do you have power control? If you don’t, it is essential that you learn it, as injury can be sustained by playing any exercise using either too much or too little power.
It is important that you play with your body relaxed, and more importantly, your wrists relaxed, as you want the vibration form your stroke to dissipate evenly up your arm, not gather in your tenses up wrist. If you can’t control your power, no amount of relaxed wrists will do any good; too much power can results in strains.
Next, make sure you can keep a simple groove. While R & B and Motown drum beats aren’t the most complicated rhythmic patterns, they do require a steady tempo, as does every other style of drumming. If you don’t have your rhythm under control yet, I highly suggest you take time to practice drums with a metronome, learning to keep your note values steady and consistent.
Finally, before you start playing R & B and Motown drum beats, you should first listen to R & B and Motown artists. Some great R & B and Motown artists to listen to are Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Supremes, and Four Tops. When listening, pay close attention to the simplicity and repetition of the drums, how the patterns are catchy, upbeat, and usually bouncy.
Once you have crossed those three necessities off of your list, you can start to learn a basic R & B and Motown drum beats.
This example is a fairly basic and popular drum pattern for both styles. Before you learn it on the drums, try clapping out the rhythm to give yourself a better overall feel of the piece.
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When playing this pattern, don’t overlook the hi-hat rhythm. Notice the grouping of notes; it is simple, yet effectively portrays the mood of the music. R & B and Motown drum beats most often employ these techniques to highlight the vocalists. In these styles of music, keep in mind that while groovy and funky, you will not be the primary voice.
Write your pieces with the consideration that you will be secondary to vocals, keyboard, and sometimes bass guitar.
R & B and Motown drum beats are experimental, Motown in particular, so you need not limit yourself with techniques. However, try to keep to the basic drum rudiments, as neither style contain many fills or drum solos.
Like all drumming styles, the only tried and true way to improve is to practice. With that in mind, make a practice schedule and adhere to it as much as physically possible. Don’t make excuses to yourself, just practice hard, because if you do, soon you will be a master of R & B and Motown drum beats!
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