Rehearsal Week One

This group has me on drums, Morgan on bass, Lucy on vocals, Meg on electric guitar and Tia on keys. In this video, we play Somebody Told Me by The Killers. We have been rehearsing this for the past two days and this video was our first performance to an audience.

I learnt my part solely by ear; I didn’t use any forms of sheet music or tutorials. As I already knew this song it made it easier for me to learn as I knew the structure, therefore I just had to gain a secure understanding of the drums. This did not take too long as this song on drums can be quite repetitive and there are not many fills to learn. I practiced before coming into college so I had an advantage when it came to rehearsing.

The group and even individual rehearsals I believe went very well; we managed to get the song finished in just one day at college and then polished it off the day after, just before this performance. During individual practice, me and Morgan practiced together as bass and drums always need to work together and follow each other to get a strong foundation to the song. During group rehearsals, we struggled with the bridge. It took a while for us to get this part down but using communication and helping each other where we can, we managed to overcome this hurdle!

The day after this performance, we started to work on our second song; Clocks by Coldplay. We got round to finishing the song but it still needs to be polished and perfected. Once its done, we will perform and record it next week and evaluate it after.

Group Performance Strengths

In the showing, I found that we had a strong pulse throughout and showed a sense of togetherness; the timing was very on point in most places. This was done through our hours of rehearsing and making sure everything is spot on for our first performance. If we didn’t rehearse as much as we did, we would have definitely struggled with timing a lot more. I feel like mine and Morgan’s practices together helped a lot as the bass and drums are inseparably linked to each other; if us two went out of time, the whole group would follow.

Another strength that was pointed out to us as a group by a peer was that we all seemed confident in our own ability. We all know exactly what we are doing even though we are all challenging ourselves. Knowing this, we were able to give a convincing performance without too many issues.

A final thing that went very well was the stops that occur throughout the song. These were very precise, especially the ending two stabs; we all finish at the exact same time and this shows we all have a secure understanding of the structure. However these stabs took a while to perfect as we sometimes finished at slightly different times.

Individual Performance Strengths

One thing I feel like I did well was being able to learn the song without using any sheet music or tutorials. Doing this in such a short space of time was difficult but I feel like it made me a lot more confident in myself knowing I learnt it without any help and assistance from others.

Another thing that worked well was my small improvisations in the form of fills. These fills were not in the song and I played them when I felt was necessary to make the song interesting and different to the original record. I feel like this worked very well as it made the song unique and made me feel more confident that I can improvise when I feel I need to.

I also had a very strong beat through the whole song and the tempo didn’t change throughout, even when I was doing improvised fills and challenging grooves. I was synchronised very well with the rest of the band, therefore adding to the feel and expression communicated in the performance.

Group Performance Improvements

One thing we could have done better was our communication. This is both with us as a band and with the audience. This is because we never really looked at the audience. To improve on this, we need to use gestures towards the audience more and maybe talk with them before and after the song to engage them and put on a better show. We also need to show our enthusiasm off more by communicating with each other. This could be done by simply looking up each other to make sure everything is going well and every one knows what they are doing.

Another thing pointed out to us was our lack of dynamic range. Our volume stayed fairly the same in the whole song which meant that sometimes some instruments drowned out other ones. To stop this, the drums and bass could move to a lower dynamic during the verses and bridge so the keys and vocals can be heard more. We could also add crescendos and diminuendos to make the song further unique and this would also mean we can transition better to the verses and choruses etc.

As well as this, one final thing we need to work on is the introduction to the bridge and the bar of rest we did in the performance. This empty bar should have a synth in it however this hasn’t been learnt yet. To me, without this synth, it sounds like the song has finished which the band knows it clearly hasn’t, but the audience might not know this. The intro to the bridge seems a bit messy so we need to polish that up by practicing it together more.

Individual Performance Improvements

I must get used to using an electric drum kit for rehearsals and performances as I am mostly used to using acoustic kits for these things. It may seem minor but this will make a huge difference to my playing as I am used to using drums with a much larger surface area, compared to the electric drum heads which are a lot smaller. This meant that I was sometimes missing the drums and cymbals and this would make me go out of time or be confused as to what I need to do next.

Another thing I could do better next time is to use rudiments in my fills to further show my technical ability and understanding of advanced musical approach. I could use things like doubles and different variations of paradiddles in my fills instead of just using singles all the time. This would make for a more convincing performance overall.

Targets For Next Week

– Improve communication with both the rest of my group and audience to make our performances more convincing.

– Work on musical techniques such as changing our dynamic range in certain places to make our song more original and unique.

– Use more challenging rudiments during fills and even some grooves instead of just using singles all the time to make myself more confident in improvising.