Thursday, February 21, 2008

Turning in my drumsticks?

Last night, I played some Rock Band online. I got an invite from Maizrim and SifuTed offering to let me play drums. Since the baby was just getting to sleep, I figured I should decline, and they switched around and graciously let me join as a guitarist. Had some more fun and started to play a few songs on hard difficulty, which increases the notes and adds the fifth fret. I still think there should be something in between. It's not fair to increase the number of notes and chords and add hand-shifting at the same time. Although my companions were complimenting my efforts, it was still humbling to be scoring a lower percentage on hard than they were on expert. (Even if I had just started on hard, and I had never played most of these songs before, where they've been practicing quite a bit.)

After the east-coasters went to bed, and my wife took the baby up to his bed, I decided to try and make some progress on my solo drum career. I forget what song I was playing, but it starts out with a fairly simple pattern, one that is taught in the training for drums: yellow on the beat, kick-drum orange on 1 and 3, and red on 2 and 4.

Could. Not. Do it. At the risk of sounding insensitive to those who are so afflicted: I felt retarded. I could not make my hands and foot work when they were supposed to.

After getting booed off the stage twice before the song even got started, I went into practice mode, where you can set the song section and speed. I put it on the intro only, and set it at 50% to start. That was fine. Increased to 70%. Took a few beats to get set, then fine. 80%, ok, definitely not perfect. 90%, not good.

Have I done this beat before? I'm pretty sure no, not at this speed. And this was only on medium. How on earth was SifuTed doing this stuff on Hard and Expert? For that matter, how do real drummers do it?

In training, it made it sound really easy. And, at a 5,000' level, it is: your right hand taps on every beat, your foot taps on the even beats, and your left hand taps on the odd beats (or vice-versa — it's hard to say which one is the downbeat when you're just trying to keep up with the scrolling track).

I don't quite know what the trick is, though. Can I get my right hand to just tap out the beat on autopilot so I can concentrate on alternating left hand/foot? Nope, my right hand doesn't seem to work on autopilot. Am I just thinking too much about it? Hard to say; I would imagine if I could get into the rhythm, it would start to fall into place, but I can't get there to find out.

In any case, I guess I affirmed from where my son gets his lack of coordination.

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