Hi, Modern Drummer people! My name is Chris Guglielmo, and I play drums in a band called Bayside. I play Ludwig drums, Sabian cymbals, Promark sticks, and Evans heads.
I remember getting my first set of drums in middle school. It was a CB-700 Percussion kit, and I used the bottom hi-hat cymbal as a ride, and had to use a double pedal to play “Brainstew” by Green Day. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The beauty about not knowing what you are doing is that it allows you to think outside the box. I can honestly say that if I had taken lessons firsthand I would not be the drummer that I am today.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel lessons are very important, but I am a strong believer in digging a little deeper within yourself to create a more natural approach. If you can sit and take the time to listen and figure out fills and complex parts on your own, you are already putting yourself into a great position as a drummer/musician.
Now imagine learning parts on your own without any help while later down the line introducing lessons. Your mind will explode as the notes you are now seeing, written on paper for the first time, will have already been played by you! You already know what it sounds like and now you will be seeing it, and you will already have an understanding of these rhythms and fills by listening to music and analyzing it on your own.
I always tell my new students and younger players that music is not meant to be over calculated, so don’t treat it that way. That is, unless you are in a math rock band and there is nothing wrong with that.
Another concept I enjoy delving into is what I like to call “the hits between the hits.” For me, personally, this is my favorite thought process when it comes to playing. You already know what your hands, body, and sticks are doing when you are hitting a drum or cymbal, but what’s going on in between those hits? What is your left hand doing? Are you playing ghost notes? What if you’re not playing ghost notes? Now what is your left hand doing with the empty space between that 2 and 4? This theory really applies to movement around the kit as a whole. It’s all about getting from point A to point B with as much ease and fluidity as possible.
Another way to think about “the hits between the hits” would be the concept of whenever you hit a downbeat, think about where your stick is before that hit. Is it on the upbeat or close to it? It really comes down to being a mindset and a specific approach to take towards playing rather than a practice.
Ask yourself these questions and remember the end goal is fluidity. Thanks Modern Drummer and you, the reader, for letting get my ideas out to our drumming community.
For more on the band and Chris Guglielmo, visit facebook.com/Bayside.