“A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.” Abraham H. Maslow
Learning how to play the drums or any other instrument (electric guitar, bass guitar, saxophone, double bass…) is a great way to develop your creativity.
Music is a strong source of growth for brain plasticity which is at the base of musical learning. Thus, practising and listening to music activates and modifies different areas of the brain.
Music is a universally shared cognitive skill, with the exception of the 5% of the population with the disorder amusia. Thus, we don’t all speak the same language but can still understand each other and be linked together by listening to the same melody.
Becoming a drummer, listening to drum music, taking drum lessons, learning to read drum sheet music… allows you to develop your creativity in many different ways!
How to improve your inventiveness as a drummer? Creativity can be worked on just like technique (source: Groove3).
Musical instruments take work! You don’t become a pro at the snare and bass drum just because you want to.
When you start learning an instrument, it is important to acquire a certain technique before you can start improvising and let your creativity take over.
On the other hand, after learning the basics, it is possible to work on your imagination.
For example, in practising the paradiddle (one of the basic patterns of drumming), the first step will be to gain endurance, speed and dexterity. You’ll be working on the synchronization between your right and left hands.
However, it is possible to go further and work on dexterity and creativity.
In this way, when working the paradiddle with your hands, it is important to also work with your feet by adding a rhythmic bar. The purpose is to develop the independence of your hands and feet and it’s not easy to learn!
But this leads to the last stage of creativity. You can then create your own training exercises to work musical nuances. To achieve this, it is better to have a piece of paper on hand, as the goal is to analyze the rhythm that you create in order to perfectly master it.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to read music or a drum score to be able to write down your exercises.
There is a multitude of creative possibilities:
Start by working at a slow tempo and then accelerate with the metronome once you’ve mastered the exercise you’ve created.
You probably know that the sky is the limit with your imagination but learning the drums still requires a lot of work! Whether it’s with acoustic drums or an electric drum kit, have fun trying out different rhythms or invent your own!
Don’t hesitate to think outside the box! (Source: Youtube)
Whether an artist is a writer, painter or musician, the creative ones around us have some common features:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” Steve Jobs
Divergent thinking is in itself a technique of creativity, often used by musicians without their knowing. Whether it be the cello, clarinet, tambourine or flute, all instruments can be used creatively.
Drumming leads to the development of the two hemispheres of the brain, even more so than with other instruments, because the independent use of one’s hands and feet is more prominent with the drums and each side of the body is managed by a separate hemisphere.
In addition, a study by Charles Limb, coordinated by the University of San Francisco, highlighted the fact that creativity brings an emotional component. Certain emotions would thus favour creativity.
Indeed, the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex goes to sleep during improvisation. This area of the brain is in charge of planning and controlling behaviour.
Whatever your favourite kind of music and whether you take drum lessons or not, this percussion instrument will necessarily include some creativity.
Here are some tips to help realize your musical dreams!
Children don’t have any barriers to creativity!
Some general tips
Everyone can develop their creativity whether playing the trombone, folk guitar, harmonica or not playing an instrument at all.
Creativity, it seems, is the 21st century’s skill and there are many different ways available to develop it.
Here are several tips:
“We have discovered that even the most mundane activities can fuel the discovery of new insights, new thoughts, and new ways of expressing ideas in a variety of ways. The potential is infinite.” John Rink, Professor of Music Performance Studies at the University of Cambridge
Specific tips for drumming
Creative expression is realized through four postures: freedom, flexibility, being in the moment and giving/receiving the gift of the art form.
From this foundation comes advice for those wishing to start in the wonderful world of drumming:
A drum exercise to improve creativity
Learning to drum requires commitment from the drummer. And to develop your imagination, there is a simple exercise to try that can open the doors to new creative ideas.
This involves the connections between your influences.
Choose a famous drummer who inspires you (Mike Portnoy, John Bonham, Tony Royster, Vic Firth, Benny Greb, Larnell Lewis, Jared Falk…) who you find unique, talented or admire. From this drummer, look for three of the drummers who influenced him and so on.
By discovering the heroes of your heroes, you will develop your musical culture and your creativity.
But it’s not just about knowing the names of the artists who influenced your role-models. You’ll need to delve a little deeper.
Listen to the most significant musical pieces of the drummer and ask yourself some questions: what do you find similar between this drummer and your muse, how do you think he influenced your favorite drummer…
Then give some techniques a try of a drummer that you like (Jeff Porcaro), the reggae style of another (Stewart Copeland), the explosiveness and powerful strikes of others (Keith Moon)…
For example, Stewart Copeland was influenced by Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker and Frank Zappa.
Get out your drum sticks and play to improve your creativity!
What is divergent thought?
It is a method of thinking used to produce multiple creative ideas by imagining a multitude of possible solutions.