Some, or most, of you know about the variety of instructional music-minus vinyls, CDs, DVDs, and YouTube clips that provide us drummers with an opportunity to play along with our favorite tracks and to be the “guest drummer”, for lack of a better analogy.
I think this is one of the most creative, expressive, interpretive, and liberating techniques to help build one’s listening and improvisational skills without having to worry about mimicking anyone. I studied with Charles Perry, one of the creators of the seminal music-minus-one instructional series called Music Minus One – 8 Men in Search of a Drummer. Charles never pushed that technique on me but nevertheless I did explore it when I was younger. But I recently re-discovered it and I’m find it to an enlightening experience.
Sometimes I would get tired of playing along to a lot my favorite drummers, trying to mix in and nail every beat and every fill exactly as the original drummer only to get frustrated with myself. I was never a good mimic but I was always good at interpreting music, always injecting my own feel in to every thing I played.
When I recently re-discovered this music minus technique, I got immediately addicted to it. But I’m not playing to those music minus instructional materials. I’m actually poring through my collection of music (all 49,000+ tracks) to find music with no drums or percussion and use those tracks as the basis. And there is a treasure trove of material out there for the picking dating back to early recordings to the most current across all genres of music.
See what you can find in your music library or online. You Tube has some channels dedicated to this.