Tonight at my drumming lesson my teacher said, “Okay, it’s time to work on your weaknesses.”
Normally he’s very encouraging and tells me I’m doing great – to the point where I’ve started to take it with a slight grain of salt as I know there are things I need to improve on. So it was quite a change this time.
My weaknesses are practising in time with a metronome, and transitions between grooves and fills, and grooves and other grooves.
I’ve tried practising with a metronome, but I find I just can’t stay in time to the clicks. I can play along with a song and keep perfect time. But when it’s just a metronome I drift all over the place and can’t home in on keeping beat with the clicks. I don’t understand why I find this so difficult – it must be some cognitive thing where I can’t process the solitary clicking noise into my beating time. My teacher suggested I start with a fairly slow beat – something I can easily keep pace with – and just let myself drift around with it, and keep going, not worrying too much about trying to stay on the pulse of the metronome. He thinks after a while I’ll naturally drift into time with it and start keeping an even beat in time with the clicks.
And to practice keeping a groove with fills for whole songs, I am to play along with random songs, and just try to keep the beat for the whole song, throwing in whatever fills I feel like when it feels like the song needs one. Don’t worry about copying the song’s drumming exactly, just do whatever I want as long as I stay in time throughout. That should be fun, at least, not like metronome work!