You Don’t Practice A Drum Solo??

Hehehehe …. So I’ve heard this particular one several times and from very reputable drummers at that. But it’s not entirely accurate that you shouldn’t plan/practice a drum solo. A drum solo can come very well practiced, and very well rehearsed. Thoroughly rehearsed!
Aaron Spears‘ “Caught Up” performance was not spontaneous. It was practiced for. Tony Taylor’s Drum Off performance wasn’t spontaneous either. It was very well rehearsed. Tony Royster junior’s Evolution performance wasn’t spontaneous either. It was well planned.
So it is not true that a performance shouldn’t be practiced. The thing is when you build a drum solo, you only have to bring your audience in, make your audience enjoy it and believe that everything happening is happening in real time.
A drum solo is a performance art. Drama is an example of performance art. You don’t get on stage and just hope to “flow” moving from one line to another. You must have practiced to flow such that the audience enjoy it and believe they’re watching it in real time.
So contrary to popular belief, planning a Drum Solo doesn’t take out the fun or the spontaneity. It actually opens you up to spontaneous variations.
It is said that during the auditions that leads to the selection of Drummers for the DrumOff competition, some drummers come in so fully prepared that it is obvious that they’ve been building this particular drum solo and it’s attendant ideas for years. Quite easily, they fare better than the guys who show up and hope to give stellar performance. They do better than the guys who have been taught that planning a performance is totally wrong.
Going to the DrumOff Auditions to just “do it as it comes” would leave you coming back years after years on end with little progress.
Let me ask you…If you were invited to the Grammy Awards as the closing performance, you would go there and “do it as it comes”? Of course not.
In reality, the only time that a performance may probably not need any plan is the one for which “nothing much is at stake.” Yet I believe you’re supposed to bring your “A game” every time, to every situation.
You won’t always be able to plan a performance.
Therefore, always have a ready to go performance in your hat.
That’s how to make a plan appear spontaneous.