The Metronome, The Head & The Heart

By January 3, 2016Philosophizing

My first “gig” with Matt Morris was a studio session in Denver at Macy Sound Studios. He was recording 2 more songs to go on his debut album for Tennman Records, Justin Timberlake’s record label. No Pressure.

We set up the drums, I warmed up, played too much (excitement and nerves) and then we sat down to talk about the ideas Matt had about the song. I knew right off the bat it was going to be harder than I thought. After about an hour of trying to actually play something appropriate I knew we were wasting our time. I wasn’t going to get it. Matt was very patient and we continued to try for quite awhile after that, but we didn’t even get close. I thought I was fired from the gig – like, not gonna work with Matt anymore period.

The main problem was that in over 25 years of drumming, I had worked very little with the metronome. When you’re recording, either the metronome or another part of the recording is always playing. As a result every little deviation from time is heard and there were TONS of them in my takes. I either had to focus on the metronome OR on being creative. I hadn’t developed the skill of playing creatively with the click.

Today, for whatever reason, I was thinking about what it means to have the head and the heart connected. All this means is, to take the analogy of speech, do you mean what you say? Many of us say the right things without really meaning them. Many of us say the wrong things and knowingly go against our hearts. In these cases, our heads and hearts are not connected and our ability to communicate is hindered. People can tell; you can tell.

In music, we connect with what’s in the heart of the artist. If the artist has hangups, snags, blocks in their mind while they are playing, the heart will not transmit. In my case, I hadn’t developed the skill of playing with the metronome and my mind was blocking my ability to connect with my heart.

Btw, I realize there’s plenty of vague terminology here, but I hope the gist of it comes across despite semantic shortcomings and philosophical differences. You know what I’m saying?! Haha!


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