Rehearsal Week Two

Somebody Told Me – The Killers (2nd performance)

Clocks – Coldplay (1st performance)

In this video, our group is playing Clocks by Coldplay. We have been rehearsing this for a while (around four days in college) and also at home, individually. This is our first performance of this song.

Like Somebody Told Me, I also learnt this piece by ear, however this was harder seeing as I didn’t know any of the drums to it already like I did with our other songs. Despite this, I still managed to learn it fairly quickly as the drums are very repetitive and they only really change towards the end of the song when the main cymbal used is the crash.

Group Performance Strengths

Throughout the whole song, we used dynamics and varied our volume range. This is one of the targets we set after our last performance so we have acted well upon it to make this song and ones in the future more dynamically impressive! You can clearly see when we increase/decrease the volume (when we burst into the instrumental chorus after Lucy’s “Ooh aah’s” and when we all drop out for Tia’s keyboard solo). This is an important feature in live performances as it adds energy and vitality to the choruses and a sense of calm and softness to the keyboard solo.

The structure of this song was quite difficult to get to grips with as the whole song sounds very similar in terms of the melody and the rhythm. As the song is also so long, we decided to shorten it slightly so the structure would become easier for us to remember. This came in handy as after a couple tries using our new structure, the song flowed a lot better and everyone had more of an idea as to when to end the song or drop out etc.

Individual Performance Strengths

In this performance, I believe I showed confidence in my own playing. This was prominently shown when in places where some other members were going out of time, I kept the tempo consistent as this is one of the drummers most important roles in a group. I didn’t change tempo throughout and this made for a fluent and very natural-sounding song! When I noticed the tempo was slightly moving I attempted to move the rest of the band’s tempo to match back with mine and kept this same tempo in line. During Tia’s solo, I tapped my foot on the hi-hat to ensure she kept in time. This allowed the group to know exactly when they need to join back in.

As well as confidence, I showed good coordination in this piece. This can be seen during the first chorus when I use my left foot on the hi-hat as well as keeping the bass drum pattern the same throughout (considering the bass drum pattern can be quite repetitive and make my foot ache!) whilst also making sure my hands are doing the right rhythm. This created a slightly thicker texture as another cymbal was being played that isn’t in the studio version. It also made the tempo a lot easier to follow as the hi-hat was on every beat of the bar.

Group performance Improvements

One thing we need to learn is the more technical side of our performances. This means learning how to minimise feedback as if it was an actual performance, the audience would not be happy as this shows poor organisation and quality. We can stop this by getting help from our tutors and potentially learning how to not get feedback during our live sound tutorials. If feedback ever does occur, we need to know how to stop this as soon as it happens, so it is not ringing out for longer than it should.

To improve our performance even further, we should start thinking about how to make this song more ‘us’. Instead of it sounding like the studio version, we should think of ideas to make it more unique which will go down well with the audience as it shows our creativity and skills with our instruments. We have already taken things out of the structure as it was too repetitive however we could perhaps add an instrument solo (that isn’t in the studio version) or the singer could change the melody of the lyrics in some places too.

Individual Performance Improvements

To show my confidence off more, I need to perform more fills during this song and try to move away from doing the same rhythm on drums all the time. This is proving to be difficult as it is hard to improvise a fill between the feel of the drum groove and then get back into the groove again. Perhaps I should write out some fills so I am not improvising and then practice these fills at home along with the song so I can become more fluent in transitioning from the groove to the fill.

A final thing I need to work on for next time is my use of the hi-hat pedal during the chorus’. I try and do this in the video during the first chorus, but because I am still learning how to coordinate it, it made me go slightly wrong in some parts. I hope to be able to use it during all the choruses and most importantly feel confident about my coordination when I am using this technique. To do this, I will practice at home by myself as I don’t need the rest of the group to be playing to learn this part. I hope I can get it ready for filming day!

Moving To New York – The wombats (Early rehearsal)

This video shows us playing the popular indie rock song Moving To New York by The Wombats. It still needs some work however it is mostly finished, even though we haven’t been practising for too long (just over 1 live room session). A couple of people in the group (including me) already knew the song so this made things slightly easier.

Also like the two other songs, I learnt this by ear as I find that learning it on sheet music or through YouTube tutorials takes too long as you are learning it exactly how it sounds on the record. I don’t have much time to be learning them exact and I find that learning how I want adds a sense of differentiation to our songs. Learning it by ear gives me a challenge as I don’t get any help with it (even though I could).

Group Performance Strengths

One thing that impressed me in the group is the fact we were able to learn it in such a short space of time. The day before this video was shot, we rehearsed it and was a bit sceptical as to if this song will sound right. A factor of this was that we hadn’t practised the song together yet and some people were unsure of their parts. However the day after, we came into rehearsals and after a couple of run-throughs, it sounded almost perfect!

Another reason this rehearsal went well is the satisfying, very strong ending. during a lot of early rehearsals, people don’t often know where to finish because they don’t know the structure. However, with this, it seemed that everyone already knew the structure and when to drop out. An indicator of when to finish is when I start slowing the tempo down and this can be difficult sometimes as everyone starts slowing at different places and rates. Despite this, we still managed to all finish together which made the ending strong and convincing.

Individual Performance Strengths

During this song, I perform many fills; some of them improvised, some of them as to how they are heard on the record. This shows my confidence as a drummer and will hopefully impress the audience as these fills are very fast and quite technical because of this. The improvised fills add uniqueness to the song and express my creativity.

These drum grooves in the video are quite challenging because of the ghost notes during the verses making up a sort-of drum and bass type beat. Whilst my hands are very well coordinated in this, my feet were as well; during the verses, the hi-hat opens and closes very quickly on the ending two off-beats. The tempo of the song makes this groove significantly harder as it is around 164 bpm (vivace) which is very lively. I practised this sing slowed down at home before I came into rehearsals and I feel like this helped tremendously.

Group performance Improvements

For our next rehearsal, we need to make sure we learn the bridge. In the video, you can clearly see that this is a part we need to work on, including when the bridge kicks in and when it ends. Moreover, everyone needs to learn their parts to the bridge and make sure it is perfected by the time the filming day comes around.

As well as learning the bridge, we need to act and look more generally confident when we are performing so the audience knows we are enthusiastic and are actually enjoying our performance. This will probably come with more practice as we will gain confidence as we improve our songs. However if we work strictly on our confidence in our own time and at rehearsals when we are playing these songs, it will improve the final performance hugely.

Individual Performance Improvements

For the next rehearsals, I need to improve my own timing in some places. My timing doesn’t move too much during the video, however, I can tell in some places that it is definitely off. It needs to be more secure and feel tighter with the rest of the band, and I can do this by rehearsing both with the band and at home, with a metronome or at a slightly slower tempo. Perhaps I should leave out the difficult fills for now until I know I can perform them confidently in the final filming.

To make our performances more engaging, I need to communicate with the group more during the performance. This could simply be by reassuring everyone and making sure that they know their parts. Even though I have a mask on, I should improve my facial gestures for circumstances in performances when I am not wearing a mask. I need to smile more at the group to show enthusiasm and that I am enjoying being with the band and performing songs with them.

Targets for next week

– Begin to modify the songs so they seem unique and more our own. We need to start moving away from how it is exactly played in the studio version.

– Start to turn these songs into an actual set so we can swiftly move one song to another without hesitation and confusions.

– Learn our final song and have it perfected and embedded in the setlist by the time filming day comes around.