Ok, so I've been learning recently from Jeff (and I've been told this before) that I need to internalize the music. I have to have it in my head and heart first so I can play it back internally and then start to play it.
I've been doing this with guitar since I started learning last year. Now, I have to do this with drums too.
You need to know the song pretty well and get to know your part in it. You need to know it well enough to play it back in your hear before you start playing. This helps you to start playing it correctly. It reminds me of the luge competitors or skiing competitors in the olympics; you see them rehearsing the course in their heads just before they go down the slope.
Strum Patterns and Drum Grooves
The basic idea is to get to know the intro and how the instrument you play sounds. For drums, it's listening to a key part in the intro, maybe the guitar, to find the pattern. For example, maybe the guitar is playing a strum pattern that matches the drum groove to a certain extent. The rest of the song has grooves to learn too, but usually if you learn the start, the rest will follow along.
From playing the guitar (acoustic electric), I know that a lot of strumming is moving your hand up and down corresponding to the beat: it could be the quarter notes or eighth notes or even sixteenth notes. But, while moving your hand up and down, you only touch the strings some of the movements. So, the strumming ends up having a unique "beat" for the song. Sometimes the drums follow this "beat" or groove.
Home Grown Tomatoes
So, this brings me to "Home Grown Tomatoes," a song by Guy Clark. One of the family friendly radio stations here (star991fm.com) has a morning show where they play this song around this time of the year and combine it with lots of humor. It's a fun little song. I just showed it to my dad on youtube yesterday and decided, "hey, why shouldn't I learn to play it." I looked it up and found that it only has 3 chords. Today I played it for my dad, family, and extended family who came here for Father's day. I'm hoping to learn it well enough to play at the Independence day picnic we're invited to this year. I need to work on internalizing it. (now I've come full circle)