Although I have rather conservative views regarding drum solos, we all know that every drummer’s dream is to play a ten minute long drum solo on a huge drum set in front of a huge crowd.
Undoubtedly, that is a really nice goal. A good drummer has a whole range of musical elements to show to his audience, including varied musical thoughts, rhythmical virtuosity and emotional effects.
Here are 5 drum soloing tips that will help you out:
Too many people imagine a fancy drum solo as a series of consecutive cymbal crashes. Anyhow convincing it might seem to turn those few minutes into a show, you had better choose showing off your basic skills. And basic does not equal, by any means, skills of the beginner. Basic skills are essential skills; they are the basis of drumming capabilities. An elegant variation of the most basic paradiddle is often more effective than crashing all your cymbals.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, you just cannot play a solo without a solid foundation. For that reason, you should not concentrate solely on your solo. You should continue your usual practice sessions, making sure that you can pull off a tight and precise buzz roll, a groovy paradiddle and a smooth double stroke roll whenever needed.
Practicing certain isolated skills will add more to your solo skills than you would ever believe: while you master these technical skills you will also gain a lot of expressional skills, which are the core of any instrumental solo.
If you are just on your way to develop your first drum solo, you should definitely start simple. Hitting ones on your bass drum might seem childishly simple; however, with a little creativity you can turn that into a marvelous solo.
Also, building up gradually is something that you should keep in mind later on, when you are already more familiar with playing drum solos. Keeping it simple in the beginning lets you dive in more smoothly, while also allowing the audience to familiarize with your playing, to become open to the feelings you would like to transmit.
When you are playing a solo, you are usually member of a musical environment. Maybe you are in the middle of a song and the other musicians kind of “allow you” to play your thing. However, while you are soloing it is exceptionally easy to drift off, making your colleagues confused. A drummer must constantly keep in mind that he is the backbone of the band: he is responsible for half of the show.
That is a great responsibility, and drum solos are the moments when it is the easiest for the drummer to forget about that responsibility. It is not enough to be able to start a drum solo and play its musical core. It is also crucial to be able to finish and return to the “real world” from soloing-heaven.
Until you are experienced enough to play improvised chops confidently, you should not really bother trying to compose a drum solo. Most drummers treat the idea of solo drumming as the ultimate freedom of expression.
Drum solos are treated superior to “just” following the band. Call me whatever you want, but what I believe in is making fine music rather than standing out. And when the goal is making music, collaboration is often more effective. A nice groove behind a band is often harder to deliver and more beautiful to listen to than an immature drum solo.
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