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Title: How I play drum solos part 6
Tags: Drum Solos
Blog Entry: OK. Once you have decided that you want to do a drum solo and you have listened to other drummers and have practiced a lot, what then? How do you decide what to play? How do you play it? As I mentioned before there are as many different drum solos as there are drummers, but there is a difference between great drummers and the rest. Great drummers are primarily concerned with playing what they feel and expressing themselves with their playing "on the drums". Their intention is not so much to try to impress the little 15 year old girls with stick twirling and tricky beats but to get their emotions out and tell a story. So, (and I'm not a great drummer, I just want to be one) when I play a drum solo, to be honest, I never know what I'm going to play. I just let it happen. When it's over, I can only remember parts of it - vaguely. It's as if I get onto a galloping horse, and I'm just holding on. I let my emotions carry me on. Where and when it will lead and end, I don't know. What gets me through from beginning to end is all the vocabulary of drumming that I have. When you learn something in drumming like a paradiddle for example, that is like learning a word. It's vocabulary. When you want to talk to someone, the more words you can access, the better you speak and communicate. The more you learn to play on the drums, the more you can communicate through your emotions when you play a solo. The more drummers you listen to, and the more books you learn from, the more drum vocabulary you have. The more you practice, the better able you are to express yourself with your drum vocabulary. Can you imagine how much Buddy Rich must have practiced or any of the other great drummers out there. That is the one key element that makes people great, and that is practice. If you want to be better, you have to practice more. After you get to that stage, the only limitation you have then is your imagination. Your creative ability. That is another thing that is important. There are drummers out there that are very fast and can play a lot of notes, but it seems they are lacking in creativity. Listen to more drummers, and copy more. Whenever I know I'm going to play a solo, I always get nervous. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I'll forget how to play suddenly, or that I'll drop a stick, or that I won't be able to think of anything to play. Sometimes a solo will just be thrust on me. The band just stops playing because it seems like a cool thing to do, and I have to just go for it. In all those situations, it is my experience from not only previous solos, but from all my practicing that gets me through. So, to sum it all up: I listen, watch, practice, study books, use my imagination and when the time comes I just jump in with all I have and let it go with all the emotion I have with a "Damn the torpedoes, full spead ahead" attitude until it's over. Then I try to figure out what I played. There are times when I'm going to play a long solo (10-15 minutes), and I have time to prepare that I sort of plan out places in the solo where I'm going to shift gears. For example, go into double bass playing or go into African beats or something like that, but how I'm going to get there or exactly when I'm going to do it is something I can't plan on with any accuracy. Once the solo starts it's as I said before, like hanging onto a wild horse and your not sure when or where it's going to stop. Lastly, I would like to add that whatever kind of solo you do, make sure you are having fun doing it.