Learning How to Improvise

Can you go with the flow? One thing I learned as a percussionist and drummer is the importance of learning how to improvise. This skill has come in handy in life as well. Being flexible can not only boost your success, it can preserve your sanity.

You can’t always predict changes, so being able to quickly pivot and go with the flow can come in really handy. If you’re too rigid and stuck with the way things “should be” or what you’re used to, you’ll be really disappointed. You also may miss out on opportunities and possibilities.

As a “percussionist and drummer on call,” I’ve often played with bands that I not only never practiced with, I had no idea what songs they were going to be playing! Little did I know that my ability to play by ear would come in handy in business as well. It pays to know how to pivot!

Unlocking creativity

I was recently asked on a Facebook Live interview if drumming can help boost creativity. I replied “You bet!” Although I talk a lot about how drumming helps right-brained creative types focus better, it can help your more left-brained, sequential types as well.

Drumming helps with brain integration. This means that it helps both sides of your brain synch up and work together. If you’re more analytical and left-brained, you may have trouble coming up with creative ideas and solutions. This is what I call the “just the facts Ma’am” types of people. Everything is black and white. Seeing possibilities and thinking outside of the box may be difficult.

Enter the process of freestyle drumming or improvisation. This is where you hear the beat but you add your own spin on things. In a private or group session, I call this a “jam.” Participants or clients can follow my beat or they can create their own. We do this without music. The result is always very interesting and very cool. It’s also very freeing.

In this video, I demonstrate how a drummer may need to improvise if the lead singer decides to switch things up. This has happened to me more than once and can really catch you off-guard! What you need to do is:

1. Listen
2. Pay attention
3. Switch up your beat!

How about you?

Are you feeling stuck or holding onto the way you think things should be? Do you need to talk? Or drum? I’m here for you. I’m not only a certified drum therapist but I’m also a mentor and a Stephen’s Minister. No, I’m not going to hit you over the head with the Bible but I will listen and encourage you.

Book your free call and let’s chat!

Dori the Drum ChickDori Staehle, MBA is from the Raleigh, NC area and is a certified drum therapist, percussionist, mentor, ADHD specialist, Toca percussion artist, inspirational speaker and author, and owner of Next Stage Drumming. She helps kids and adults focus, feel better, and find their joy so they can rise up and rock the Next Stage of their lives. Dori can provide her encouraging and interactive programs virtually to individuals and groups all over the world.