Today I have a confession to make about how I’ve practiced my whole life.
You’re listening to to the Drummer Daily Podcast. The only daily podcast dedicated just to drummers. Go to my website at danielhadaway.com. Hey, hey there good to talk to you again today. As I mentioned, yesterday, we are now going to be in part two of three of my miniseries, my three-part opus, my trilogy of epic awesomeness on having more fun playing. Not having more fun playing drums, having more fun practicing the drums. It’s always fun to play the drums I think, but practice is what’s not always so fun.
Today, I want to talk to you about … Well, I have a confession to make, and then also a tip that kind of comes out of that. My confession is this; I have been playing drums for … How long has it been now? 27 Years. 27 Years, that’s a long time, which you do the math on that, you might figure how old I am, not that it really matters. I’m not scared of that. Anyway, I’ve been playing drums for 27 years. That’s a long time. From day one of playing the drums, until this very moment, now, I’m talking to you, I think realistically I have maybe only played drums, or practiced drums with just me and the drums, probably ten or less times in my entire life.
I would guess that most of those times were either during a lesson that I was taking, or, let’s see … I was prepping for an audition for when I played for this Christian artist Rebecca St. James, years and years ago. When I was preparing to audition for her, for her band, I practiced a couple of times the songs that I needed to play. I practiced those from memory to make sure that I had them completely learned without any reference from music. All the rest of the time, I have practiced playing along with music. I mean when I was five years old, there was a boom box blaring music, and I was playing drums with it. All throughout being a teenager, there were headphones on my head, and I never didn’t play with music. That’s what I was about to say that. I always played with music.
What that means for me … Here’s the thing about it, is that I think of myself as maybe a music fan first and foremost. Then I also happen to play the drums. I really love a good song. I really love all of the instrumentation that goes into a great song, or a great performance, or a great band, or for church, you know, a great worship service. I really enjoy every aspect of music. I find a lot of enjoyment in listening to music and seeing it be played live. So much so, that even when I’m playing … That’s maybe why I enjoy playing such simple beats so much, is because I am able to be a part of something that I am perceiving to be bigger. I’m actually, even though I’m playing the drums and the music, I’m actually enjoying the fact that the overall band is sounding great, and I get to be a part of it.
I enjoy listening to live music so much. I enjoy listening to music so much. I’m a fan of music, and so it’s really easy, I think, for me to play along with other music when I’m practicing, because I enjoy listening to it in the first place. I knew some drummers and I still know a few, who don’t actually like music that much. I don’t understand that, but they’ll … The only kind of music they like to listen to is one where the drums are really prominent and loud, and showoffy, and I just don’t understand that. I’m not saying that’s wrong, or you shouldn’t like that kind of music, but I just … For me, I enjoy all kind of music so much, that I can’t imagine being a drummer and contributing in a meaningful way to something …
My thing is this, if these drummers who love stuff that only features the drums prominently, I don’t know how, when they get in a situation where the drums aren’t being feature prominently, they have to lay back and just hold down the beat in the background. I don’t how they actually enjoy doing that, because that doesn’t sound like they enjoy the music that they’re creating. For me, I enjoy so many different kinds of music, that playing that simple music is so much fun to me. Playing any kind of music is fun to me. I actually enjoy the overall product that’s coming out of everyone playing together.
All that to say, if you’re looking for a way to have more fun playing music, or playing drums, play along with music. I know that I mentioned yesterday the technology or the equipment you might need, and you may not have everything to make it perfect, but try as hard as you can to do it. If you don’t normally do this, give it a shot. I think that’s maybe why too, like I have been able to overall do a little better at playing with a click track, because I don’t have to … A lot of the music that I’ve played along with growing up, I’m sure it was recorded with a click track. Now, I naturally maybe have a little bit better sense of time, but the crazy thing is until I played, I don’t think I ever had played to a click track, until I played for … When I the Rebecca St. James gig, I don’t think I consistently played with a click track ever before.
I’d done stuff at church here and there where they said, “oh, hey we got backing tracks on this song, or a drum loop.” It was pain for me to play, so maybe that didn’t affect my playing with a click track too much growing up playing with songs. Anyway, my tip today is; play along with some music, if you can. Enjoy hearing what’s coming out from the music, and not just what you’re doing, because I think you can find so much joy in small, quiet parts in it’s simplicity, when you start to really pay attention to how what you’re doing is fitting in with everybody else, instead of just focusing on being right, or playing it correctly. Go out there, have some fun, and I’ll be back tomorrow with part three of this magnificent series. I hope you are doing well today, and I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.