The Studio Drummer Chats!

Musicians! Is now the PERFECT time to learn a new instrument?

March 28, 2020 Jonathan Cazenave Season 3 Episode 7
The Studio Drummer Chats!
Musicians! Is now the PERFECT time to learn a new instrument?
Chapters
The Studio Drummer Chats!
Musicians! Is now the PERFECT time to learn a new instrument?
Mar 28, 2020 Season 3 Episode 7
Jonathan Cazenave

If EVER there was a time to learn an additional instrument to increase your awesomeness as a musician, it is NOW. Not convinced yet? Press Play.

The Studio Drummer Chats is creativity podcast that talks about Music, Creativity, Production, Drumming and apparently, learning a new instrument. It is available everywhere including, Spotify, Apple, Google, iheartradio, youtube etc.
Feel free to reach out on instagram @thestudiodrummer or Youtube @thestudiodrummer
Thanks for listening and please SUBSCRIBE. (and share it with 1 other person- thank you)

Show Notes Transcript

If EVER there was a time to learn an additional instrument to increase your awesomeness as a musician, it is NOW. Not convinced yet? Press Play.

The Studio Drummer Chats is creativity podcast that talks about Music, Creativity, Production, Drumming and apparently, learning a new instrument. It is available everywhere including, Spotify, Apple, Google, iheartradio, youtube etc.
Feel free to reach out on instagram @thestudiodrummer or Youtube @thestudiodrummer
Thanks for listening and please SUBSCRIBE. (and share it with 1 other person- thank you)

speaker 0:   0:00
Welcome to the studio drummer chats. This is a creativity podcast, and we talk about lots of different creative things. Ah, lot related to music, a lot related to musicians and composition. But also, sometimes we talk about things that apply if you're an artist or writer or any creative endeavor today, that was one for the musicians. I suppose there may be something in here that might apply to other disciplines, but the idea of today is if you're a musician and you play an instrument, should you take the time to learn a different instrument? I've been thinking about this concept for this podcast for several weeks now. Before all of the current news happened. That's going on right now in the world. But I started thinking, Well, this probably the best time ever to learn a new instrument if you're going to. If you are stuck at home more than usual, if you have more time on your hands than usual, you know there's lots of things we can do tow to kill time, quote unquote. But how about finding something that's going to make us a better player, make us a better artist, make us a better musician. I'm going to come at this from a couple of different angles. Initially, I was thinking that I would aim this at drummers saying, Drummers, should you learn how to play a melodic instrument? So that is the answer to that is, yes, you should but elaborate, of course, but also if you are a piano player or a guitar player, if you compose for other instruments, it certainly does help to have a basic understanding of how those instruments work. But I feel particularly that since most forms of pop music and I mean that in the big, broad general sense of pop music through the ages that encompasses everything that's ever been popular jazz or different cultures Latin music, everything, anything that's, you know, pop drums, air such an integral part of that. I feel like if you are a musician, that you should have a pretty good understanding of how the drums work. Not only will help you write better trump parts, which we all use sample drums these days to write drum parts, but also it will help you understand how to write better parts in the context of a song. In other words, what the drums can and can't do as they're interacting with the rest of music that will actually make your song better. Make your music better. Make the composition better. Hopefully, in many cases you're writing out a basic drum part in handing it over to a drummer toe. Add his or her creativity to it as well. There's so many good players out there, and collaboration is so easy these days, there's no reason not to. If you're a melodic player and you produce so right in the studio, you probably already have a pretty good idea of the roll of drums and pop and hip hop and various, you know, basic beat structure. But when I teach my guitar bass students, one of the things that I tell him pretty early on is that they're listening to drums. I want them to be aware of the fact that in most pop music, the snare is on two and four, and that's a kind of a great place to start. Um, you know, that's that's obviously a big generalization, but most of it probably 85% arm or snares on two and four and is a starting point I talk about the base from kind of being on one and three and everything else expanding outward and adding to from there. So if you are a new songwriter, new producer, new musician, you maybe even playing guitar, piano or singing for less than a year, you may not know that a lot of my students haven't ever even really thought about the drums in that way until I pointed out. So that's a great place to start, just the basic idea of where the beats typically fall for the drummer, and then a second step might be for a melodic instrumentalist. If you're a singer like Base, the guitar is to just kind of start paying a little more attention to the drums when you're listening to, you know, take one of your favorite songs, but some headphones on and do what I call zooming in. Zooming in is, ah, mental trick that I use when I'm focused, sing on one instrument and maybe tryingto listen to that part intensely or intensely. Um, and I kind of imagine hands and feet playing that part, and it allows me by visualizing this. It allows me to sort of turn everything else off into zoom in as it were on that instrument and focus on that instrument. And so I'm sort of imagining this this, ah, same trying to figure out a bass part. Imagine the hands playing space part. And, um, it allows me to focus solely on that part. Thing is, of course, with with YouTube these days, you can actually see it's a different views of different party of brain to different exercise, actually having the visual there. But if you really are interested in learning about the drums, it's so easy to pop up YouTube and pull up a drum cam of somebody doing a cover of one of your favorite songs. And you can really see, like what's happening with the bass drum and what's happening with snare what's happening with the right hand. So just buy some basic study. You may, uh, really gain a new insight into what's happening behind the drum set, and that might really help you as a producer and sometimes, of course, is a producer. We're tryingto produce something that's completely unreal. That doesn't sound anything like when an actual drummer would play. And that's cool, too. Just a different skill set. The next level would probably be, too. Takes some serious online lessons or take some lessons in person. Find a local instructor and start learning learning about some of the things you know technique. How to hold the sticks. Have they hit the drums? Where to put your feet on the bass drum pedals and all those kinds of things playing with metro gnomes and some of those things. And it's It's a really fun instrument if you're if you've ever considered it. If you're if you've never played drums and you play another instrument, you're a vocalist or something. Um, one of the great things about physically playing drums is it can really increase your internal clock in your sense of rhythm and your sense of the pulse in the music. It can make a huge difference in that, and for that reason, I really my guitar students are based students. I highly recommend after they've been playing for certain amount of time, depending on the student. But let's just say, after a few years, I highly recommend that they take some drum lessons at some point, just even if it's just a month's worth. Just tow, understand what's happening back there. But this since you get when you're pounding out a beat, the understanding that you get of what's happening there is a whole different level when you're actually doing it and you can internalize the pulse in a new way. Okay, so those are some reasons why a melodic player might want to learn how to play the drums. So now I'm going to talk about some reasons why a drummer might want to learn how to play a melodic instrument. Let me first say that if you are a serious drummer, I don't know what I mean by that, but just take it for whatever toward you. If you consider yourself a serious drama, whatever that means to you, whatever that means to me, then take stock of where you are and how much practice time you have currently. And I am saying this caveat because, hey, if you've been playing less than say five years, probably, uh, then you probably want to stick with the drums. Be if you're struggling to find time to practice now, you may just want to stick with the drums, but if you've been playing for a while, and you are looking for a new spark, a new depth of understanding as it comes to music. Um, then I do recommend that you learn a melodic instrument, one of the reasons why, you know, if you got a music school and even early on, if you're in a percussion program, you learn keyboard percussion for not familiar with that term. It's basically things like a xylophone and marimba that are laid out like a piano keyboard and one of the reasons you learn this is so that you can learn about melody and you can learn about trouble, Cliff. And you can learn how, uh, melody and rhythm kind of work together. So lots of programs air designed for drummers and percussionists beyond the drum set to teach them about melody. And often these programs teach them that simultaneously. A lot of the books that I teach out of that air geared towards my students that air in concert, band and marching and things like that. They're teaching them trouble class while they are, and then maybe, maybe later, even basic left that they're playing the larger scale keyboard percussion instruments. They're they're learning the melodic as they're learning the rhythmic. So while there's a longstanding precedent for what I'm talking about here, I think I'm really gearing this more towards those of you that play drum set but want to learn more about how music works so that it will make you a better drummer. So besides giving you a fresh perspective and sort of inspiring you in ways that you might not have ever imagined, what are some of the reasons why you wouldn't want to learn another instrument in a first and foremost, the role of a drummer is to keep time. In my opinion, the second sort of role of a drummer is to accentuate and color the music. To accentuate means to make more noticeable on prominent two color is a little more difficult to define, but I would point to really sort of brilliant and maybe a bit extreme examples of what I'm talking about. What 0.2 drummers like Mount New Cachet, especially his playing with Peter Gabriel Stewart Copeland. Those drummers are coloring the music coloring the song, and those drummers both have an incredible sense of what's happening musically around them. Stewart Copeland is of course, ah, well, respected composer in his own right, and Mount New also plays piano and composed as well. One of the biggest advantages of learning another instrument is that it can allow you to tune into one of the most important parts of music, and that is the melody. And you can make better choices about whether or not to accentuate the melody or play or not play with the melody. And those kinds of things should be a really choice when you're listening to a song and deciding what you are and are going to play. Pop music is the perfect example of that, because in a pop song typically in modern pop, the vocal is the most important thing. And so when I was here, pop song and I'm trying to decide what kind of drums to play or program or whatever. First thing, I'm listening to the vocal and the fact that I play their instruments and also saying, Help me tune into that, help me tune into the vocal in a way, in a deeper way. Then I would be able to if I didn't have those abilities. Another reason is if you ever have any desire to produce. Or if you have any desire to write songs, then absolutely want to be able to play a melodic instrument even on a basic level. If you're in a band and you want tohave say in song, writing within the context of original music and, yes, playing other, another instrument playing a melodic instrument will help you understand better what's going on and help you be a better contributor. So let me play Devil's Advocate here for a second and talk about maybe circumstances when you don't want to learn to play another instrument. If you've been playing less than five years, you probably want to focus strictly on playing the drums. Trump's are pretty difficult instrument to gain proficiency, and it takes some time. And, ah, so you know, five years, just a number. It varies greatly, but I'd say it's It's It's a landmark that you might think about. There's some rumors out there also, that it really just in love with just rhythm. Yeah, there are a lot of musical circumstances that really just need someone with awesome time, a good sound and the ability to just lay down the fat groove. There are a lot of styles of music that that that's all it really needs. And so if that's what you love to do, you know, maybe country Pop is a good example of that. A lot of just straight up pop music drums can be enough. The question might be. Do we want to broaden and deepen understanding of music in general? And the rewards are a better understanding of what you're playing to better ears and increased musical awareness. Okay, let's talk about a few ways to get started playing another instrument. First of all, if you already sing, if you enjoy singing, remember, that's another instrument. A voice is an absolutely on instrument. So if you like this thing one way you can increase your your musical awareness is start paying more attention to the melodies you're singing. You can download a piano app on your phone for free or even better by one. These little, like a Casio es a 46 or something to keep in your car. Keep around, and when you hear a melody that you're singing, tap it out on the keyboard. So take a look at it and figure out what it is that you're playing and you're putting multiple things together. At this point, you're singing the melody. You're looking at it on the piano, and you're gaining a better understanding of the distance between the notes. If your interests continues to grow, take a few piano lessons and learn some basic scales and chords. If you eventually want to ride and produce keyboard or piano is a great way to go for a lot of reasons. It's a great way to learn about how music works. Theory, intervals, things like that because of the way it's laid out. It's very clear and easy to see is compared to, like maybe a guitar. And it also is the instrument you will probably be triggering a lot of your sounds from. So if you decide you want to produce and write, you're going to be using a piano type keyboard a lot, most likely, so that's a great one to start with. If it interests you, let's say ultimately, take a look at whatever instrument kind of speaks to you if you really think like I love playing drums. But you know, I've always wanted to learn guitar, go for guitar because whatever is going to keep you interested and strike that fire and keep your passionate about playing and practicing that's going to be important. Base is a great way to go because, as we know, a lot of times bass and drums are interconnected. Base is a little bit easier than guitar because it only has four strings, and it's typically does not play chords as much. And it's also a very rhythmic instrument, so base is great if you have any desire whatsoever to play bass. That's a fantastic one toe. Learn to play. If you're currently taking drum lessons, your current drama instructor might be able to show you around The glockenspiel are the bell set or the more ember something like that. That's a great way to get into melody and keyboard percussion. And as much as I would highly recommend that you find a good local teacher that you really connect with and you like, don't let that be a barrier. If you're in an area where maybe there aren't that many teachers or you can't afford it by a guitar and inexpensive guitar and watch some YouTube videos, you can learn the basics of cords and scales. If you're determined to do so. There's plenty of good stuff on YouTube. It will not replace having a good instructor, I promise you that. But it's a great way to get started. And if you're really determined and you're really interested in it, you can learn a lot of what you need to. By doing that. Remember, the goal here, ultimately, is to expand your horizons as a musician. Hopefully, this episode was timely for you. If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands and you decide you want to learn a new instrument, this might give you some motivation and some reasons to do so. I want a highly recommend that you find a local teacher, if you can. There's also a lot of great instructors that teach via Skype in online. I'm one of those. It could be highly effective to learn that way. It's a different experience, but don't be afraid of it. Somebody that knows what they're doing can in teach you a lot, even over the Internet. But I really like the idea of you finding local teacher because it supports your local economy. It supports your local music teacher, which in the current environment that we're in right now is super important and it's a win win. You're doing something fun. You're becoming a better musician and you're supporting the arts. Hope you enjoyed this podcast. And if you did, please leave me a five star review on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this. And also please share this with one other musician. That helps me a lot. If you want to reach out to me, you can find me on Instagram at the studio drummer. If you're ever interested in online lessons via Skype or duo or face time, feel free to D m Me there. You can also check out some of the things I'm doing on YouTube at the studio drummer on YouTube, and I hope to talk to you soon.