Improvisation has always been a mysterious topic for me. The information available on it, at least in the drumming education world, seems far from definitive. The video at the bottom of this post will hopefully help a bit with some of that understanding, at least as it relates to drumming improvisation.
If you went to music school, particularly one of the those that produces jazz musicians, you most likely had no choice but to learn how to solo. So, somehow, hopefully, if you attended Juilliard or Manhattan School of Music, you understand it.
But, for those who haven’t had that level of education, the resources are spotty. So…
I’ve been on a mission to improve my ability to improvise and solo (yes, I know, I was a winner of the Modern Dummer drum solo contest, but I still feel my improvisation can improve), and along the way, I’ve been trying to share things with you. For example, you can have a look at How The Hell Do I Learn To Play Drum Solos? Part 1 – Vocabulary and “Drum Solo Sequences” and you’ll get a taste of how deeply I’ve been delving into this stuff.
I’m not going to explain the video you’re about to see. I believe that it lays things out for you. But the premise is that you need to learn some vocabulary that is useful and that you like. Then you should internalize the vocabulary to such an extent that you are able to be extremely comfortable and fluid. Then, work on putting things together very slowly, and find combinations that you like and write them down. Work on flow exercises with the vocabulary.
Eventually, mixtures of what you’ve internalized will start to come out of you when you try to improvise. Like–for example–the idea that I show you in the video.
The notation of that idea is here on this PDF: Combining Drumming Elements: Nasty Lick #138
Nuff said. Here’s the video: