Everyone has a voice. Instruments are no different; in fact, they have multiple voices. Each drum has multiple ways of being played, though different striking and variations in power.
The power with which you strike the head, the variations that can be achieved between each separate voice are called dynamics.
Easily; groove is all about feel, and guess what power is about? Feel. Giving notes different qualities can better help you to convey your groove to the listener.
Before you approach this lesson, it is recommended that you take some time to develop your power. Too much power is not a good thing, but too little power is just as bad. You need to learn to control your power and create audible variations between different strokes. This can be achieved one way; practice. Take your time to practice on your pad and properly develop your dynamics before your try and learn to improve your drums playing with them.
For this lesson, we are simply going to list the types of dynamics and what they can add to your groove.
These subtle notes can give a relaxed, laid back feel to the piece. This is great for creating a flow within your piece.
With their soft feel, ghost notes on drums can add subtleness to your piece. They can be used to lead into other notes and can also add a dragging feel when played immediately after notes. They can also be used to create an echoing feel, which adds further length to a note.
With their loud sound these heavily struck notes can bring attention to a particular section of a song or even a single note. Also can be used to highlight other instruments which in turn help the piece flow together better.
A louder accent note, this note can be used to grab attention above all other voices.
Having your heel up is great for speedy, fluid playing as it gives your foot more agility due to less weight laying on the pedal. Creates a lighter strike as well, which can be perfect for subtle accents.
The heel down technique puts more power behind your strike which is great for heavy accents. If you really want to bring attention to a note, the heel down method is the way to go as the added weight gives the notes an extra oomph.
Just like the ghost note, the feather is a lightly tapped note. Feathering notes adds a soft feel to the piece, which can in turn improve the overall light feel of your song.
Now that you know what each of the different dynamics can add to your playing, the next step is to put them to use. Remember to try different sections of your drums as well; the bells on your cymbals, open and closed hi-hat strikes, rim shots on different voices.
As great as all dynamics sound, try not to get too carried away. Listeners aren’t looking for drum lessons, they are listening to songs. The key to dynamic playing is to know when and where to add different techniques. Good luck!
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