So you want to improvise? Improvising within the context of a song can be tricky. It’s an honest fact.
The best thing you can do before you approach improvisations it to learn the basics. Make sure that you can control your power, for one thing.
If your improvisations are off rhythm, the rest of your song will be thrown off completely. You will not only confuse the rest of your band, but you will also wreak havoc upon the song structure, confusing your listeners as well.
Be sure that you understand the rudiments and can perform them properly. Improvisations, whether you are aware of it or not, aren’t created on the spot; when any musician improvises, their body and mind both revert to patterns that they already know.
If the patterns and drum rudiments you know are poorly executed ones, then your improvisations will suffer. You need your muscle memory to be as accurate as possible to prevent ruination of the song being performed.
It sounds harsh, but it is reality.
Go into your improvisation with a vague notion of what you wish to accomplish, or a slight outline of the techniques you would like to perform. This will help you from improvising yourself into a corner.
If you only know a few techniques, take time to either adopt them to other voices, or learn more before attempting to improvise. This is important because, as stated earlier, your bodies and minds will simply revert to preexisting patterns and techniques, and if your arsenal is limited, your improvisation will be, too.
Practice with a metronome if you don’t already. This will help you to develop a stronger sense of rhythm. This is crucial to improvisations solely because it is easy to run over a measure when being creative. Face it; you loose track of what you are playing, and you begin to focus utterly upon yourself.
Even improvisations have a goal. Establish what it is you would like your improvisation to accomplish and then be sure not to allow yourself to veer from that course. If you would like your improvisation to display cymbal work, don’t turn to your toms and begin doing runs because soon enough you will find yourself lost and out of place within the song. No matter what it is you would like to accomplish within your improvisation, stay your course!
Finally, the most important aspect of a great improvisation is practice. Try multiple approaches to the same rhythm, adding or subtracting voices each time. Try adding rests, but only in places that they are natural, as you don’t want to interrupt the flow of the music.
Take complex patterns and make them linear, then take linear drum patterns and add harmony. This will add more techniques to your repertoire and give you more to draw from while improvising.
If you follow these basic steps, being sure to adhere to your set goal, in no time you will find yourself able to improvise at the drop of a hat. Set side time each day to practice and treat your practice time as a job. This means don’t be late, and make sure you accomplish something by the end of each practice, no matter how small this may be. Good luck!
Successful Drumming is a step-by-step program which builds on each lesson and holds you by your hand as you learn. You can easily track your progress and see the improvements you made overtime.