I probably have quite a few posts on rest. From the top of my head I can remember a protected post named, “Sleepless Rest.”
I probably posted quite a few more on how I probably need more rest or how thankful I am for rest etc etc. Today I want to post on my one year break from ministry.
I remember talking to DL during one rehearsal, he asked if I have been practicing. I answered that I have been working on quite a lot of different things from before.
When I was serving twice a month in R-AGE, the things I had to work on was drastically different. I had to work on click discipline and being in the pocket a lot more. I had to prepare for sets during my practice time. I almost never ever worked on drum fills or chops because I knew that it was secondary to nailing the groove and beats down. Besides, after playing for so many years, certain fill-ins are so ingrained in me that I play without thinking about it.
This year, I had quite a lot of freedom. I was at most serving once a month. The rest of the time I had to practice, I spent on working on things that I never had the time to. Things like sextuplet chops, quintuplet chops, 32 note fills, odd time signatures, buzz rolls, push-pull technique, groups of 3/5 in a 16th note fill, open hand technique and basic polyrhythms are just a few things I worked on this year.
I must admit that not all will be used in a song. I mean, I have yet to find a song situation that would require me to pull out a quintuplet fill. There was once JK asked me what should he teach someone under him. I told him certain things and techniques that I thought was cool and useful. He then made a statement, “I want to teach what is needed.”
Kinda like I don’t want to teach something that is unnecessary. It kinda thrown me off a bit. I think that if you have been playing long enough, you will reach a point where you think you are pretty stable. You are able to keep time effectively, you are able to play and lead the band. Your grooves and fills are stable enough to get you by. Once you reach this point, if you are satisfied with your playing, you will stop trying to be better and I find that as a musician, that will be the start of the end as a musician. A musician should always want to improve. If you manage to be stable in one instrument, why not try another one? If you manage to play triplets, why not try developing a triplet fill that is usable in a song?
How are certain techniques unnecessary? Just because 80% of the songs you play don’t need you to use this certain pattern or technique doesn’t mean you don’t need it. What about the other 20%? Are you just going to stay there and be unable to play these songs properly?
And seriously, I never thought that playing an eighth note and eighth note triplet polyrhythm will be so useful in my playing for worship songs! Or more recently, I noticed with a cleaner buzz rolls technique, I am able to give nicer ghost notes feel.
I may not be as accurate and tight as when I was playing regularly, but I can safely say that I sound better now. Sometimes a perspective shift can help a lot in playing. I now don’t worry as much about being totally on time because I realised that you don’t have to be. Sometimes it is the flaws and out of time bits that makes it nice and beautiful. Certain things just works. You don’t have to be the best musician to play music. You just need to be playing until you improve.
As a result of the break, I was also involved in a lot more projects. Things like the Christmas marching band piece. It really forced me to practice certain things that I never would. Man, I really do love buzz rolls. HAHA
Thank you God for making me a better musician every year. Help me to continue to grow! Thank you Lord!