How To Play Like You're Not Wearing In-Ears

Drums
Turn it up

The first time you put on in-ears, it's a rude awakening. 

It's always important for a drummer to feel the band and monitor mixes are a big part of making that happen. Here' how feel like you're not in a room by yourself.

Turn it up

Drums are so loud we often feel like we shouldn't actually need them in our monitor mix but nothing could be further from the truth. If you can't hear yourself you either play louder to remedy the situation (think trying to talk quietly to someone with music pumping in your ears) or you play so timidly no one can lock into your groove. Confidence is key so don't be afraid to bring your own mics into the mix. Just be sure you don't let them overwhelm everything else.

In one ear and out the other

If you can't pipe in your drum mics (because maybe they aren't mic'd) you can leave one bud in and one bud out. It gives a much more live sound and helps you feel like you aren't stuck in a box.

Try Learning These Popular Tunes

We Believe

Strong lead and simple acoustic strumming
So much fun!! Get ready to let loose in the chorus!!
Great Worship Rock Anthem!
Time for the ARP!
Album: 
You Hold It All
Song Key: 
C
BPM: 
132

This Is Amazing Grace

Effect heavy lead and simple rhythm keep this rockin'.
Watch that groove on the second verse!
16ths to make you happy!
Epic synth!
Album: 
The Ascension
Song Key: 
B♭
BPM: 
98

Good Good Father

Tons of work for both acoustic and lead. Check that bonus chapter!
Just simple grooves to support this song.
Great groove in the bridge.
Relax with some easy chords and melodies!
Song Key: 
A
BPM: 
145

Holy Spirit

Beautiful acoustic picking and some strong lead work
Toms..Toms.....and more toms!! Fun song!
5 string lows.
Four Chord Song!!!
Album: 
If We're Honest
Song Key: 
D
BPM: 
72

Conclusion

Monitor mixes dramatically affect the way we play so it's important to put the time into making it sound right. If you feel like you're bugging your soundman too much, talk to them in advance and let them know how important it is to you. Maybe you can show up early to get things dialed. Just remember to be polite about it. Want to work on your drum chops? Sign up for a Worship Artistry account here and step up your playing.  

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Comments

One ear in one out

Guys please don't use one in ear monitor in one out its so bad for your hearing research shows it damages your hearing as our brains cannot cope with different high volume levels. As a sufferer of tinnitus and hearing loss please look after your hearing once it's gone it's gone and I wouldn't wish anyone to suffer tinnitus

1 in / 1 out

I'm sorry, but I just joined this group, and while I'm sure the author of this piece is very knowledgeable, the "one in/one out" statement should be removed. Horrible advice for anyone on stage, not just drummers.

One Ear Out

Totally agree .. this is an emergency only thing to do and should not be a matter of routine!!

Cue Mix Trick

Here is a in-ear mixing trick for you...

1. Pan things where you want you want them. Center: Kick, bass, lead vocal, snare, etc. L-R: Keys, guitar one left, guitar two right, etc
2. Turn the send volume for each instrument to 12 o'clock.
3. Turn the kick and snare up to 1 o'clock.

This will get your cue mix 90% of the way there toward a useable, musical mix....and allows the band to begin practice/run through almost immediately. You can then jump on headphones when you have a moment and tweak from there. Try it.

Also...if the stage volume at church is so loud as to risk damage to one's hearing from simply pulling one ear out....then you attend one rockin' church.

one ear

The issue isn't that you'd hurt your hearing without the in ears in... the issue is that there is a 6dB boost perceived when you have both in vs one. This means that you have to have it 6dB louder in the one ear to perceive the same level of volume as if you had both in. So, you are in danger of hurting the ear that has the earphone in, not the one that is out. hearing loss from headphones is very possible, and it's important to keep the volume as low as possible...

One Ear - Drum Loudness

Unfortunately many churches rely on Drum Cages to control the drummer’s volume/dynamics.

The drum volume levels in these contraptions is deafening!

Ergo the need for IEMs and sound isolating ear gear.

It ain’t the rockin church .. it’s the cage.

Learning how to play the Cajon

Play the cajon

Interpreting time with the metronome.

I've played live with the click for only a few months now and but have spent years with the metronome in the practice room. I'm finding it very difficult to play musical with the metronome. It feels like I'm spending a lot of energy trying to make my playing be perfect in time and less focus on the groove. I'm wondering if anyone with lots of live click experience can give some tips on how to interpret the click musically.

Probably important to note that I'm a guitar player and a singer.

metronome

Ha, I only wish I had discovered playing live with the click earlier. After a couple of decades of 'being' the metronome, my left hand pounding out tempo and rhythm to hold together tempo when things were struggling, it was so incredibly freeing to just hear it, and be able to just have fun making music...

I think you just have to play with it more. Live, eat, and breathe with it. Assuming your drummer is sticking with it, it shouldn't be that difficult. I think if there is a feeling of shifting ahead and behind it, that will improve with time.

Generally, just think of the metronome as a pulsing kick drum... it may help to have a click sound that isn't annoying too... we like something that sounds more like a rim click, and not like a digital bell or a wimpy quiet pulse...

I hope this helps

The main thing is that it takes time, but one helpful tip is that you can follow other band members in the song if you trust they'll be in time with the metronome. For example, I often follow the drums when playing a lead guitar part knowing he will be time with the metronome. I often do the same thing with other band members as well if I trust they have their part down (bass, keys, etc.). This can help the overall sound "sound" more natural.

Metronome

Stick with it .. it’ll come .. and when it does you just may love it! A metronome is the great truth teller.

Often a rushing player thinks the drummer is dragging. A slow singer may feel the drummer is rushing. Sometimes both at the same time!

The metronome can either “settle”the debate or help the varying “Time Bandits” find a tempo that they can feel together.

There are songs or even parts in songs that require the drummer to let the song breath and flow in “band time” so situate your Metronome Gear in a way that allows you easy and fast access to resetting it to the song if/when necessary.

Best wishes .. I hope it works well for ya!

Tips from a small church

Here are some tips that our church has learned from implementing in-ear monitors, I hope this helps others:

- Always run stereo and use panning. If you run mono you're going to be really limited and constantly fighting volume levels for each vocalist and instrument.

- Use ambient effects to simulate an instrument being far away or closer (think of this as your Z-axis, and panning as your X-axis). A little bit here can go a long way, so don't go crazy.

- Quality is key, avoid using cheap ear-buds that people having laying around their house. The same goes for headphone amps and such, we fought our mix for weeks one time to only find out the headphone amp was killing the quality of the signal.

- Use an ambient mic to pickup the congregation and/or the band. This helps you feel like you're not in a box. Two mics are even better for a stereo sound.

- EQ your monitor sends appropriately for your in-ears. The frequency response for in-ears is way different than mains, and will require special tweaking. For example, a lot of headphones exaggerate the 6kHz range.

- Use the same brand of in-ears for each band member if you can, otherwise what you hear will be different than the next person. This is especially important if you can't afford separate monitor mixes for each band member.