Neil Peart doesn’t dive right into a solo. Drum solos take hours of preparation and practice, not to mention tons of planning. So how can you create a drum solo of your own?
First off, you need to assess your skills. What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? If you have trouble with certain rudiments but like how flashy they are, don’t let yourself be tempted. Steer clear.
Drum solos should consist only of techniques that you are extremely comfortable with performing. If you have trouble keeping a double bass drumming rhythm, don’t plan on playing a double bass rhythm in your drum solo.
Be realistic. This is the key to crafting a great drum solo. Don’t fabricate what you cannot play. Simply look over your skills and pick those you are best with. If you have some skills that are iffy, then either take your time to master them or pass on them. Don’t allow yourself to get in over your head, play what you know and keep to it.
Build. Start with a foundation. Don’t jump right into an elegant pattern. This not only makes for a hard follow up for the rest of your solo, but it raises expectations greatly. If you start your solo off throwing out off beat patterns and odd stops, the audience will expect more. While you don’t want to trivialize your skills, you want to be intelligent in how you utilize them. You don’t want to raise expectations so high that you can’t hope to top them.
It is better to pick a basic pattern and use it as a foundation. Build off of the pattern, implementing different voices and techniques. So long as you don’t give away all your secrets at once, you will be able to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, so to speak. This bring is to our next tip.
Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the moment; keep your head. Too many musicians start soloing, hear the crowd, and just lose control of themselves. Don’t let this be you. Not only will you quickly find yourself lost without direction, but you may also eat into your set time without even being aware of it. Stick to your outline no matter how excited you feel.
Don’t let all your tricks fly at once, either. If every movie had the same scenes and ending, why would we bother watching any? We wouldn’t, and neither will your audience. Boredom comes quickly even at shows. Once you run out of tricks, your drum solo is only a repetitive blur.
Don’t let the excitement get into your head. As stated before, stick to your outline! Pick which techniques you will use in which sections and stay true to them. This will keep you from making your solo into a practice session.
Once you have your outline, the final tip we can give is to practice it. This will help you remember the plan no matter how excited you become. So long as you follow these simple drum tips and strategies, your solo will drop jaws. Have fun!
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