Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Are drummers really musicians?

Yes. Of course drummers are musicians! Drummers have such a massive role in music, and it is straight up wrong to not consider them on the same level as the rest of the band. Do they have a rather specialized role? Yes. Does it take a massive amount of skill, creativity, and musicianship to pull it all off? Yes. Drums can be an incredibly expressive instrument. From a slight tweak in tone, to a subtle emphasis on one beat over another. It changes the entire sound of a band. That influence over your audience is the essence of being a musician. Controlling the emotion and conversation of a piece of music. “I enjoy playing the band as the band. I ‘be’ the whole band and I’m playing the drums, I’m playing the guitar, I’m playing the saxophone. To me, the most wonderful thing about playing music is that.” - Chick Corea It is true, not all drummers are as well versed in harmony, melody, and music theory... but the good ones sure are. Harrison from Hillsong gives some pointers to drummers looking to up their game in overall musicianship. He explains the importance of being able to think like every other instrument in the band at any given point. You need to be aware of everything going on around you to be able to play your instrument best. 1. Listening Obviously listening is an important factor. Two things on listening – 1. I need to listen to what our Musical Director is telling us and 2. what the other musicians are playing. Breaking this down, the Musical Director prepares me for the ebbs and flows in structure, so I will make my choice as to how I build into whatever that next moment is. Listening to the other musicians, I hear melodies and rhythms in the chord progressions, so I will make my choice as to how I will compliment that with a homo-rhythmic (same rhythm) pattern on the kit. This helps create unity with the other players and makes for a great musical journey. I love seeing the other’s faces when they hear me imitate their line with the same rhythm. It makes things refreshing and fun. Via Listening is so important! Unless you are playing a solo, you should never really be the center of attention. I was at a gig a week ago where an inexperienced drummer has decided this was the best time to show off his newfound ability of triplet paradiddle fills. Fantastic. You have great chops! But now is NOT THE TIME! Being able to be a part of the fabric and support the rest of the music happening around you is what will get you called back to play the next gig. Knowing when to shine, and when to support is so important, and listening is one of the biggest factors in knowing how you should be playing. 2. Watching Watching is obviously another key factor. At any given moment, things might have to abruptly shift [...]

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