4 Tips to Help You Improvise Drums Like a Pro

improvising solosOne of the best skills you can learn as a drummer is the skill to improvise. Making up beats, fills and solos on the spot is a very satisfying thing to do, and will keep your drumming unique, refreshing and most importantly, personal to you.

Learning how to effectively improvise requires you to learn how to understand timing; this includes tempo and time signatures.

Without an understanding of timing then what you play simply won’t make sense.

I’ll be explaining how to improvise drum techniques and understand all of the fundamentals of creating new and exciting beats and fills. I will also be explaining the best way to improvise a drum solo using these simple techniques.

Understanding Time Signatures

This is a very important aspect of improvising on the drums. If you are playing a beat or fill then you must always make sure that what you’re playing abodes by the rules, and following a time signature is essential. If you don’t follow the time signature of the song or drum piece then your drumming won’t work.

The time signature is always stated at the beginning of a piece of music. It is the first thing that you will see on a stave/staff. There will be two numbers. The top number determines how many beats are in the bar, whilst the bottom number determines the value of each beat.

The most frequently used time signature is 4/4. this is also known as common time, and is used in a variety of different genres of music.

Understanding Tempo

Just like with time signatures, a drummer should also have a good understanding of tempo. If you improvise a drum pattern, beat or fill that is of a different tempo the the piece, then again you will simply go out of time and your drumming will sound wrong.

The tempo of a song or drum piece is indicated by the metronome mark are the beginning of a piece. The metronome mark is a little crochet with a number next to it, and is located above the stave/staff. Standard tempo is usually between 100 and 120.

Improvising Solos

The rules of improvising drum solos are slightly different than if you are improvising a beat or fill. With solos there is a little more in terms leniency when it comes to timings, and sometimes changing tempo and time signature can be a good thing.

When playing a solo you should always start off very softly and then build dynamics and speed throughout the piece. Save your most flashy and fastest fills till the very end as it’s always a good idea to end on a high.

Using Rudiments

If you learn all of the drum rudiments then you will have a very good grounding in improvising. Incorporating different rudiments into beats, fills and solos can be a great way to mix up your drumming.

There are 40 rudiments in total, so you will never be left out of ideas. To effectively improvise with rudiments then it’s a good idea to learn how to play them on multiple drums. This will improve your overall control of the kit.

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