How do I find my own drumming style?
Back in my early years as a drummer, I’ve been asking myself this question a lot.
I also know many other drummers would love to know more about this topic.
Could I find an answer to this frequently asked question, then?
And that’s why I’m going to share 5 savvy tips with you today.
They will help you find your own drum style, too.
Ready to express yourself? 🙂
What Is A Drumming Style?
You can learn many styles of playing the drums, including
- Rock or metal drumming,
- Latin drumming or
- Jazz drumming.
Also, open-handed drumming and playing odd meters are considered drum styles by many.
And no, this list is definitely not complete.
There are literally thousands of drum styles you can play.
That’s because each overarching style can be split into subgenres.
For example, metal drumming can be split up into
- Heavy Metal,
- Speed Metal or
- Djent drumming.
Also, the art of playing the drums is developping in general.
Let’s also not forget that you can mix and match different drum styles to create one of your own.
But how can you do so?
Tip 1: Mimic The Style Of Your Favorite Drummers
I’m sure you look up to drummers whose styles you love, right?
Maybe you get inspired by listening to
- Cindy Blackman,
- Neil Peart,
- Bonzo or
other world-class drummers.
This brings me to my first tip to finding your own drumming style:
Actively listen to the greats and learn from them.
You can do so by
- watching videos or listening to music with them drumming,
- follow your idols on social media or watch documentaries
- or enrolling in their online courses or lessons (if offered).
Perhaps your drumming idols have also published some drum books or other instructional material.
Even if that’s not the case, I’m sure you’ll find transcriptions of their playing.
By learning about and from your idols, you will better understand what and why they do what they do.
This knowledge can be used as an inspiring basis for your own drumming style.
However, you don’t need to look up to famous drum idols.
After all, many aspects of life can be a huge inspiration to you.
2. Tip: Keep Your Ears Open
To establish your own voice as a drummer, you can literally learn from every other musician.
May it be
- a guitarist like Jimi Hendrix (I really LOVE his style!)
- a music producer
- or a classical composer.
You know best what inspires you.
Literally, this can be everyone and everything.
Maybe you find inspiration for your drumming style in
- books or
Keep your ears and mind open!
You often don’t know what inspires you until it does.
3. Tip: Embrace The Uncertain Outcome
Doing things differently than before can be a challenge.
It can make you feel uneasy and insecure.
That’s because you will likely take a big step out of your comfort zone.
Plus, the outcome is uncertain.
Worth your effort?
That’s my third tip for finding your unique drumming style, then:
Be brave and face the uncertainty of this adventure.
You literally don’t know how your drumming style will turn out.
It is likely to evolve over time.
That’s because as a drummer and human being, you will change over time as well.
A drum teacher of mine once told me:
“Manu, you play the way you are.”
I think that’s true, at least in some way.
Tip 4: Your Drumming Style Is Up To You
You know these awesome drummers just doing their thing?
At the same time, you might feel insecure about yourself:
You just don’t sound like them.
I totally see your point here.
However, your drumming style is about how you want to express yourself:
- If you love many notes and fast speed, great!
- You’re more into a lot of space between your notes? Awesome as well!
Comparing yourself to other drummers is something we all do at some point in our lives.
I think that’s safe to say.
And I also believe it’s perfectly fine.
Yet, it’s crucial not to get too deep into the comparison game.
- self-doubt and
- declining joy
start to impact your drumming.
If you want to express yourself as a drummer, my fourth tip for this reason is:
Learn to love your drumming style. And own it.
There is no better or worse.
I’m sure you know that nobody is able to please everybody?
Even your drumming idol’s playing isn’t loved by every person on this planet.
Why try the impossible, then?
Tip 5: Enjoy The Journey While Establishing Your Drumming Style
Playing the drums is more than a passion for many of us.
It’s a way of life.
Life tends to be wonderful, but it also has downsides.
Finding your own drumming style for this reason will be fun, yet challenging.
It can be a lifelong journey.
And yes, I hear you:
World-class drummers are known for their unique styles.
They worked it out and are praised for it.
But can we really be sure that our idols are finished with working on their style?
I can’t be sure, but I think they keep on learning.
After all, famous drummers are normal people like you and me.
Aside from the praise and fame, I think it’s important to not forget that.
Will a drummer’s journey ever be finished?
Well, I leave this question open for an answer.
Finding your own drumming style is a process.
You will work it out over time.
That’s one of my most important lessons:
Your way of playing the drums will unfold itself.
You don’t need to rush anything.
Keep on practicing and enjoy the journey.
Everything else will unfold over time.