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  #1  
Old 04-22-2013, 08:06 AM
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Default Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

I'm new to playing with a band and they've had my count in a few songs. So far I've had to take a few seconds each time to hear the song in my head and then I try to click my sticks to that tempo. A few times even after trying this I was way too slow and realized after we started playing the song.

So I ask you, are there any insider tips to this? Does doing something like humming the song out loud help at all?
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:18 AM
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David Floegel David Floegel is offline
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

Hey man!

Good question - and honestly, I guess most drummers/musicians (even professional) have troubles from time to time with that.

Here are some tips:
- do some "tempo suggesting" exercises. Which means, set a random tempo (you don't see of course) and suggest which tempo it is. There are some iphone apps where you can set the difficulty, for example from easy(100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150 etc) to more difficult (100, 105, 110, 115, 120 etc). That will help you

- use a metronom to count in - there's nothing wrong with that. It's better to have a good/right tempo with using a metronom, than having a bad/wrong tempo because you think it's bad to count in with a metronom. Especially in live situations when the adrenalin is pumping through your vains you will tend to count in way too fast if you're not comfortable with live gigs.

- Sometimes a faster/slower tempo can exciting when playing live! I know a lot of bands who play their songs 5 - 15 bpm (or more) faster or even slower (unless they don't have a programmed light show or video sync or that stuff)

- Yes: Humming the song can help, in your head, things can sound totally different!


Just keep practicing!
Good luck!

David
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Old 04-22-2013, 10:06 AM
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NUTHA JASON NUTHA JASON is offline
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

sing the chorus. this is the part you will be most familiar with - then count off.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:24 AM
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Bad Tempered Clavier Bad Tempered Clavier is offline
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

Unless it's wildly inaccurate - i.e. 40bpm too fast or slow, or counting 4 beats into a song that starts in 3/4 - and as long as the tempo you pick doesn't waver noticeably throughout the song I say don't worry about it too much. I find that most bands settle into a song once they've played it a few times so the tempo, like the dynamics and general feel of the song, will become second nature after a while.

Occasionally I run into other musicians who believe it is the sole responsibility of the drummer to set the tempo and then bitch when I count in something other than what's in their heads. Well there's a short answer for that . . .
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

It's your job to know the tempos. As Nutha said, sing the chorus, or another part of the song that you can latch onto. Once you have that, if you can't extrapolate the tempo from that, I'm not sure what to say to you besides get a met and write the tempos down. Singing the song is how everyone I know does it, not just drummers.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

If I don't know the tune well, I write the tempo right on my set list and keep a metronome handy. It only takes a few seconds to set the tempo and hear a few clicks to check yourself before counting the song in.
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Old 04-22-2013, 02:47 PM
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  #7  
Old 04-22-2013, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

I agree with everyone you must be able to sing/hum the chorus or hook in your head.

I always have problems with tempos if I can't recall the catchy part of a song in my head so for me I just need to listen to a song on my own time till it's embedded between my ears :-)

Knowing the song in your head will ensure you start off at a closer tempo that everyone agrees on yet sometimes I find my singer wanting me to speed up tempo a tiny bit after we start the song.

Originals always seem a little harder to listen to because I don't always have a recording of one of our new songs.

Another issue is when we have a song that deliberately has a slower tempo than the chorus/hook part. So really knowing the song is the only fix!

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Old 04-22-2013, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

Wow great question...this one is going to help me out as well! I've learned something new today :) Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

Practice the set list until it becomes second nature. You will find that counting in the next song becomes easier, and you won't even have to think about it.

It all comes down to practice. I will bet that right now you could count your favorite song in within 5bpm without even thinking about it. That is the level that you need to know the songs you are playing.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

In the case of cover songs, it's pretty easy. But, it really depends on how well you know the song, and how disciplined you are when it's time to recall it. In my case, at age 56 and with a heavy background in '50-80s music, the oldies, classic & new wave hits are embedded in my soul (along with most album tracks by certain fave artists - try me on Beatles or Elvis Costello anytime!) I can recall parts, arrangements, and tempos on demand. But that's not enough. It's how I do it that helps with accuracy.

I don't hum or sing or tap my feet, because that's creating the song/tempo, and I'm probably affecting the song with various personal factors such as how tired I am, whether I like or dislike the song, etc. Instead, and this takes a somewhat conceptual approach... I listen to the song playback in my head. I hear it as if I was listening to a CD of the radio. No tapping, humming, grunting, or any other personal input from me, and it just takes a few bars of the most familar part of the song to me (usually the hook.) I hear it, and it's correct to within a few BPM, and usually in the correct key! With that same recall, I can correctly play a song I know, fills and all, even if I've never played it before. It just plays in my head while I play along to it.

Knowing a song and its tempo also helps call out tempos by #. When someone wants a song at 120bpm, I can nail it by hearing a known 120bpm song in my head, such as Dim All The Lights by Donna Summer. Need 98? I hear Eminence Front by The Who. 80bpm is We Will Rock You by Queen. Well, all are close enough. In my case, I know certain tempos because they're drilled into my head night after night, year after year on the road, and my hands and feet know those tempos.

Admittedly, all of this depends on being absolutely familiar with an existing song to recall it properly.

In the case of originals, it's just a matter of checking tempos with a metronome (for consistency) and getting the feel for those songs. Once they're burned into your heart and soul and hands & feet, you'll be able to recall them with just a few seconds of "playback" in your head. Or, and this is common, use a metronome to set the tempo so you can count it off the same each time. You don't have to play to the click, just get your countoff from there, and nobody can ever accuse you of starting too fast or slow. Of course, maintaining the tempo is the other half of the equation!

Bermuda
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:35 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

More threads on this topic:

http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ighlight=tempo
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ighlight=tempo
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...ighlight=tempo

Agreed on the humming a familiar part of the song. My number one trick. I tend to be the tempo enforcer in my current band.
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

I'd like to add a note to the concept of tempos. Our perception of a tempo when we're playing it, is typically slower than it actually is to the listener. What that means is, if a tempo feels really good and energetic when playing, it's probably a bit quick in reality. If a tempo feels like it's fast, it's actually very fast to the audience. But if a tempo feels a little relaxed, it's probably just right.

So always err towards a slightly laid-back count, and keep it there. If you're "hearing" the song correctly in the first place, it will actually seem a little slow, and that's typically where you want it.

Bermuda
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Old 04-22-2013, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Are there any tips or tricks to recalling the tempo of a song when you count your band in?

Listen to the songs hundreds of times so you can hum it in your head on demand.
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