Do you try to count while playing a song, whether you’re playing along to a record or playing with your band? Then do you get panicked and frustrated when you realize you’ve miscounted and you don’t remember how much longer to play a particular pattern or when that fill coming up starts?
Then everything just becomes chaos and anxiety because you realized you’ve failed at counting yet again. How will you ever REALLY learn the song where you know when everything is coming?
I’VE BEEN THERE. Time and time again. I’ve also spent time in the classical percussion world where you have to count every bar because you’re reading sheet music, and that's scary sometimes.
But do we really need to be counting bars while playing music on the drums? Here’s my short answer:
Let’s unpack this a little, because I really want to help you learn songs well and play them the right way - yet not have to freak out about counting. YOU CAN DO THIS....
I remember playing a church rehearsal when I was in college where I was struggling to remember what was coming next in the song. I had a chord chart next to me with some notes I’d scribbled, but they weren’t doing me much good. I felt clueless as to what to play at the end of each song section, because I wasn’t really sure what kind of fill should happen. Sometimes I wasn't actually 100% sure what was coming next, so that made it pretty tough to know whether to play a fill. Everything felt like a stressful mess, and I was honestly pretty lost. I was faking my way through the song, but I probably sounded anything but professional.
I remember that particular week when I was in school, and I was so busy that I literally was scrambling to listen to the songs for Sunday in the car on the way to the rehearsal. My phone wouldn’t plug into the radio of my 1997 Honda Accord, so I had it sitting in the cupholder blasting the songs loudly enough to hear while driving. I...