The history of Rhythm and Blues (R&B) has come a long way since the 20th century, and it is not stopping yet. Classic ensemble sounds incorporated with smooth beats, melodies, and lyrics have all but flourished in American culture from the beginning. The backbone of every R&B song is its drum beat – so what makes this different from other drumming styles?
If you are just beginning to hone your skills, then this article is a great place to start for some inspiration on how you can move forward. If you’re in the market for a new drum set, specialist music stores like Drum Center of Portsmouth have a huge selection for beginners and experts alike.
How Did R&B Begin?
What exactly does it take to be a great R&B drummer? The meat and bones of drumming for this genre could actually be said to be spirit and soul – something found in abundance in Blues music and adapted for R&B.
As African Americans sought civil liberties and freedom, music allowed them to present their identity and culture to the masses. This passageway gave rise to some of the most incredible artists we know today, including Michael Jackson, Prince, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston, Aaliyah, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and countless more.
To be a great beat maker, you have to know how the sound began. Becoming well versed in music from generations back will allow you to immerse yourself into the same understanding that allowed these sounds to evolve.
The Sounds of Many Cities
When developing your own personal sound, you should not only consider how far back in time you go but also consider the variety that you are listening to.
Keep in mind that the R&B scene developed in many of the major US urban environments, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. Each of these places being vastly different and far from one another, different styles developed as various artists were able to work with one another and play based on a communication with their surroundings.
Therefore, as you choose music to listen to, play it all – especially including what you don’t like to better inform what you do enjoy.
Gather Inspiration from All Around
The R&B scene was a scene because it was developed through a community of people – their foremost inspiration was one another.
The best part of making music is collaborating with friends and working from the sounds you create together, which is why it important for you to get out there and share your love of drumming. Ask to play with others and build a community of sound.
Playback and Repeat
Occasionally as you practice, you are going want to hear what you are making. Recording and listening to your sound will give you a perspective on the effect your music has on yourself and others.
As you play back, it is important to consider your own personal judgment above all. Take notes on what you like and do not like, which sounds you want to hear more of, and what other instruments might go well with what you are creating. Allow your process to evolve and grow with yourself as a drummer.
Let It All Out
Creativity stems from emotions and experiences. As your creative juices are flowing, allow them to take you on a journey – you might be surprised by what you produce when you let loose.
Feeling free in your expression is one the best things you can do to progress into the drummer that you want to be. Experimenting, creating exotic sounds, and just plain old messing around allows you to explore your musical voice.
A Few Words of Wisdom
During your trials, you might confront many parts of yourself that you did not think possible. You will mess up, and you will compare yourself to those before and around you.
Just know that mistakes and moments of doubt occur with every musician and every other form of artist. Creating is a learning process just as any other thing you take on in your life, and it will carry you through 1000 different versions of yourself.
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