A drum solo is a great time to really show off your skills and connect with your audience. Chances are, you will need to perform a solo at least once if you are a serious drummer, so it’s best to go in with the attitude of performing your drum solo like a boss. The confidence you create while preparing for your solo will radiate out to those watching, so here are some ways to make sure that confidence is genuine and rooted in solid musicianship.
First of all, make sure you start simple. Play a basic rhythm and build off it as you go. You don’t want to show all your skills up front; leave the audience wanting more and build upon their desire. Drumming is not just performance. For a show-stopping drum solo, you need to be willing to interact with those watching you. Court and romance them. Just like you wouldn’t pull all the stops out on a first date, don’t show every trick you have up your sticks in the first couple of minutes.
Introduce various elements of your drum kit as you go along. This helps break up any monotony and keeps listeners interested. Part of what makes people, drummers included, stand out in our minds is unpredictability. You want to be able to surprise your listeners every now and then. You want your drum solo to be a work in contrasts at times. Perhaps you will even give your audience a little flash during your drum solo, but don’t get carried away.
The biggest part of getting your drum solo down is practice. Maybe that should be taken as a given, but it’s a good reminder. If you want to drum solo like the big name drummers out there, you will need to practice like a pro. Good drummers aren’t born overnight; they practice for hours at a time. Get your piece ready and then practice it regularly. Practice it until it is second nature to you. Once you know your solo like the back of your hand, you will feel more comfortable behind your kit and can add some improvisation during your performance.
Think of your drum solo like a story. You need an introduction and then you build up to the climax. Once you reach the climax, you need to close the story well. You want people to not only remember your story but how they felt while you were sharing it with them. That is the beauty of a good drum solo, so practice and build from a simple, strong beginning. Whether during a drum solo or the rest of life, that should get you far.