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The "Write" Thing To Do

Attempting to notate when you aren't sure the academy will approve...

   If you learn to write drum notation and you transcribe rhythms, beats and fills of any sort, your reading skills will improve DRASTICALLY.  Your listening skills will improve DRASTICALLY.  Your memory will improve DRASTICALLY.  Your understanding of song arrangement will improve DRASTICALLY.  Your drum vocabulary will improve...you guessed it...

   ...no, I'm saying it anyway - DRASTICALLY!

   Reading is truly half of the equation.  It's the left part of your brain working.  99.8% of students are stuck in this side of the brain and they wonder why they have no ideas or creative impulses?   The right part of your brain LISTENS and sees it in your head. 

   The fear of doing it wrong seems to be the primary obstacle.  Yet who ever has learned a video game by first reading the manual?  Do people shake in their boots at the thought of doing things wrong?  Why not?  Well because it's entertainment and because there is the re-start button WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT SO MANY PEOPLE DO WITH DRUMMING - acting like they can just start over when they make a mistake just like no gigging drummer ever...but I digress.

   If you have not done so, JUST DO IT!  In fact, do it with the easiest groove you can think of.  Not the whole song measure-for-measure, just the basic idea.  Another Brick In the Wall by Pink Floyd?  Beverly Hills by Weezer! Any Stones tune! 

   What if the beat changes?  What if there's some fancy cymbal work?  What if there's a drum fill?  Ignore any part you want.  Just write the basic idea.  That's it!

   It's not about perfectly representing every measure - it's about you knowing how to hear something and put it down on paper.  From that point you build as you learn a new tune, a new rhythm. 

   Is that too easy?  Try songs with two-measure phrases...'Vertigo' by U2, 'Only the Lonely' by The Motels, 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' by Yes.

   Getting better at it and want a challenge?  Try four-bar phrases: The chorus of 'You Give Love a Bad Name' by Bon Jovi, the verses of 'Bye Bye Love' by The Cars, or 'Living Loving Maid' by Led Zeppelin.

   What?  You want an 8 bar phrase?  Well Why didn't you say so!  Try the chorus of 'There's No One Like You' by The Scorpions.

   The more you write the more you hear music in "phrases".  Now, if only I wrote a book of beats divided by cymbal patterns and sorted by 1, 2 & 4-bar phrases all based on actual songs...

   Oh wait - I DID!

   Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms? I'm open to read your thoughts!