Monday, June 30, 2008

Rock Band and Real Drums

Here's why the phrase "new ways for you to transition from Expert to real instruments" in Dan Teasdale's interview got me so excited.

My technique on the drums is complete and total ass.

I saw my drum teacher play the drums for about fifteen seconds in my lesson last week, and it shattered any illusion I had that I even vaguely knew what I was doing. He was demonstrating how I didn't need to be moving my arms (at all) to be playing the drums, and it was astonishing. He wasn't even moving his wrists, really--he was holding the drumstick between his thumb and index finger, and using the last three fingers of his hand to provide all the acceleration.

It was insane. I expected some kind of rift to open up in the earth and swallow me whole.

This, of course, is why I've had so much trouble with my forearms in the last few months (getting better now, thankfully)--I've been beating on the drums like a caveman. To a certain extent, though, that's how you learn to play on the Rock Band kit, because there's just no rebound.

If you're wondering how different the Rock Band kit feels compared to a "real" kit, just go to your local drum shop (or music store) and sit down at a Roland electronic kit with mesh heads. You'll be amazed, because it's an entirely different experience.

So Rock band is quite good in terms of teaching rhythm and keeping time, but in terms of actual drum technique, the rock-hardness of the kit forces you into bad habits.

Because of all this, I've completely dismantled my "style," and I'm trying to relearn technique focusing entirely on my wrists and hands.

That doesn't sound complicated, but it's several orders of magnitude in terms of difference. And I'm doing it, but I am really, really going to suck at Rock Band for a while.

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