Can "feel" be taught or does it more likely come from within?

jda

Gold Member
home is where the heart is



lol
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
It comes from listening more than anything else, so one of the ways it may be taught is by listening to recordings, and discussing them.

Also you have to be aware that written music has to be interpreted.

I've seen students who had a decent feel, and kind of lost it for a while when starting to learn how to read.

When first learning how to read, most people will try to be too precise and place all the notes on a grid, which doesn't work most of the time.

When I teach someone how to hear the beats and their placement when listening to music, there's not much to be talked about. Just doing it together will do the trick. It's probably the same with feel.

going off of this, I do think that feel is gained by listening and big picture awareness, but it is executed properly by understanding subdivision, counting, beat placement etc.

someone mentioned a guy who was playing duple time in a shuffle... I wonder if that guy does not know the difference between duple and triple feel?

while playing bass, i have encountered many drummers who don't get the feel of a song b/c they don't know how to count and/or subdivide the beat. Fills get wonky b/c of not carrying the pulse and the proper subdivision that the feel requires into the fill

I also know - from personal experience of learning a multitude of feels within genres over the years - that knowing wat the other instruments roles are within a given feel helps immensely. Like knowing that the bass line in a coutry 2-step is much different than the bass line in a swing felt in 2, even though both feels are nearly the same. I remember the first time we learned Whiskey River....what a crazy mish-mash of back beat "phat" funk and old school country 2!!! I took me longer to get that feel down than much of the jazz stuff I play...

same with a fast, D-beat style punk beat, which is WAAYY different than a fast pop punk beat, even though they can both sound nearly the same, or look the same oi paper
 

River19

Senior Member
IMHO......it's the difference between "playing drums" and "playing music". I would like to think I am a musician whose primary instrument is the drums vs. "I'm a drummer".

Play to support the song, the music etc. if not, then what are you really doing?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I feel that feel feels like a giant hole and trap of a thread because we will fill with it with our subjective feelings on topic of feel. And since it's subjective it will be different for many drummers who may feel differently in their feel of a song.
Feelings
Wo-o-o feelings
Wo-o-o feelings
Again in my arms
Feelings,
Feelings like I've never lost you
And feelings like I've never have you
Again in my heart

Actually I equate "feel" with just good taste in playing to a song. Feel feels more like a blind man trying to find his way. Playing tastefully sounds like something I wanna eat. LOL. I've raised the question before "how do you teach a drummer to play tastefully" because you can have great technique and chops but if deaf to the feel of song it sounds off.
I feel you, bro 😉
 

Otto

Platinum Member
The assessment that 'it did not fit' is yours not the original performers....and is subjective.

Yes, the evaluation of musical feel is indeed learned...you can effect your own assessment of subjective art....its called 'taste'.

Can you change someone else's musical expression?...sure!...its usually done through employment. The method is conversation and financial incentive along with proper hiring...usually leading to watered down art that sounds like most popular music.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
This might be a slight hi-jack diversion but I would love to hear about the specifics of your changes in feel. I'm just recently making the same transition and am curious about your experience and what it might reach me about my own.
I’ll bite

I went from playing more rock and soul to playing country. I had a pretty good swing feel and blues/ Basie shuffle but on the country shuffles I listened to the notes are tighter, not as broad. Merle Haggard vs Art Blakey
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
I learned feel by listening to lots of music. I can only speak for myself. Peace and goodwill.
 

Erberderber

Senior Member
Referring to the OP, doesn't that just come down to musical intelligence and making the right choices? I think some people get really bogged down with trying to stand out when they play. So it seems we're going back to the old 'serve the song' premise again. Maybe the guy just should have saved all those chops for his solo.

I watched a band a few weeks ago whose drummer avoided all that funny stuff and left a lot of open space. He really made the songs breathe.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
The assessment that 'it did not fit' is yours not the original performers....and is subjective.

Yes, the evaluation of musical feel is indeed learned...you can effect your own assessment of subjective art....its called 'taste'.

Can you change someone else's musical expression?...sure!...its usually done through employment. The method is conversation and financial incentive along with proper hiring...usually leading to watered down art that sounds like most popular music.
If you don’t want the gig, nobody is holding a gun to your head or stopping you from starting your own thing. But if you take the gig, play the gig and learn the stylistic touches so it doesn’t sound watered down. Someone going into business for themselves is the quickest way to sounding watered down.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I’ll bite

I went from playing more rock and soul to playing country. I had a pretty good swing feel and blues/ Basie shuffle but on the country shuffles I listened to the notes are tighter, not as broad. Merle Haggard vs Art Blakey
Sounds about right to me, at least for drums and bass.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Feel is individual in my experience and at best you can learn or be taught the components of someone else's feel and get it mostly down.

It's a lot like talking. We don't try to do it and we're all speaking the same language, but all you need to do is hear a part of a sentence from someone you know well, and you'd recognize it for what it is because of all the little un-intentional or intentional inflections, habits, and style.

That said, I think that many times musician's personal style ends up being heavily influenced by our own heroes and inspirations.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
Obtuse answer… thinking about someone iconic …

I think if you really try, you can inhabit someone’s vibe. You will never be that person obviously, but I think if you want, say, Levon Helm’s thing that badly, that you go out of your way for years to play like him, you can do it.

Weird thing is it will never be much of anything. Won’t be you. Won’t be him. Just some weird imitation. But yeah, it’s possible
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
Obtuse answer… thinking about someone iconic …

I think if you really try, you can inhabit someone’s vibe. You will never be that person obviously, but I think if you want, say, Levon Helm’s thing that badly, that you go out of your way for years to play like him, you can do it.

Weird thing is it will never be much of anything. Won’t be you. Won’t be him. Just some weird imitation. But yeah, it’s possible
Doesn’t have to be a weird imitation, though. One could take Levon’s vibe and put it to different sounding music from The Band and I think it would be pretty cool, actually. I may just do that for my punk hip hop jazz stuff. Where’s my banjo?
 

s1212z

Silver Member
I really wanted to make the music I was playing sound the best that it could be
I think this says a super important part of the equation right here. The other would alot of listening and an openness try new things and working with other musicians within their strengths, to make group effort best we can...the band and individual have to be symbiotic for 'feel' to exist IMHO. Then maybe there are finer points such as taste, texture, space, beat placement, limb dynamic balance, consistency, melodic sense and calm self assurance to execute it in the musicality soup...but I think less of these are less cognitive in the moment but rather sub-conscience playing what we dig that just comes out, so there are shades of our influences as well where it's hard to hide what we love in other drummers. If we get to a point of personal development of something unique, we can work on what we can do in the context that presents itself with some individuality. And of course you need the technique to the point get that presentation that you want...so there is the constant self-improvement that is always striving which returns to the original quote above once again. I don't know about teaching, but the drum teachers I've had which are not many, we would talk about this stuff all the time in casual conversation but in hindsight, these were all important topics to discuss that helped shape my thinking and discover new music or try new things.
 

A J

Well-known Member
The terms "feel" and "timing" are almost one in the same. There are some musically gifted people who have no sense of time.

A local guitar player is one such dude. A few times a year, I share a stage with him. He's all over the place:
- Impossible to follow.
- Zero communication skills.
- Oblivious to anyone else around him.

At one point, the lead guy pulled me and the bassist aside and told us to not play when this dude is in the spotlight.
 

jaymandude

Active Member
The terms "feel" and "timing" are almost one in the same. There are some musically gifted people who have no sense of time.

A local guitar player is one such dude. A few times a year, I share a stage with him. He's all over the place:
- Impossible to follow.
- Zero communication skills.
- Oblivious to anyone else around him.

At one point, the lead guy pulled me and the bassist aside and told us to not play when this dude is in the spotlight.
That person is inherently not musically gifted. Not to me.
 
Top