A discussion on improving you're general playing by identifying issues.
In a previous article we discussed Categorizing Your Playing and we broke drumming down into 12 different areas, all of which were important to your overall drumming ability. Through this page I will briefly discuss some tips on how to spot these problems.
To spot issues in your playing you really need to take a step back and watch and listen to yourself playing as an outsider would. When you are playing you will often get caught up in the 'mechanical' aspects of drumming such as sticking and counting so it can be hard to watch out for issues such as accuracy of strikes or dynamic levels. Below are four top tips on how to get around this.
1. Use A Mirror
Having a mirror next to your kit may make you look a bit like a narcissist but it is actually a great way to see what you are actually doing. It will allow you to see important elements such as stick height, posture, flaws in your set up, parts of your body you are tensing up and wether you are pulling any stupid faces. If you spot any of these issues, resolve one at a time. Trying to work out several problems can be frustrating and demotivating. One you feel you have ironed out those particular kinks it's worth still keeping an eye on them. It's really easy to fall back into old habbits.
2. Film Yourself Playing
This is much like the previous tip except it allows you to watch yourself while not actually playing. This will let you really look for those problems areas without the distraction of remembering what you are doing. Be really critical, it's the best way to improve.
3. Record Audio Of Yourself Playing
Again, this is much like the previous tip but it removes the disctration of focusing on more mechanical elements. Listen out for any parts of the kit that may sound too soft in relation to others (most commonly the snare), any slips in timing (particularly on switches between sections) and any signs of speeding up or slowing down.
4. Listen To What Others Tell You
I should add to that title 'especially what other drummers tell you'. It can be very easy when someone points out a flaw to let your ego kick in and ignore any criticisms. Always take on board comments about your playing then go back to recordings or the mirror and see if you agree.