“Are you a good drummer?” This is a question I’ve been asked a lot. Just like “Are you are better drummer than person XY?” which I’ve heard even more times.
Maybe you’ve never been asked one of those two questions before. That’s perfectly fine, too.
However, in this article, I’d like to tell you what tells a good drummer from a bad drummer apart.
Please keep in mind that this topic is quite subjective as well as the following article. 😉
Psst ... That's what this article is about
A good drummer, for me …
1. Keeps his or her ears open, listens
To listen truely is a main factor in making music. I’ve got a nice question for my students on this by asking:
“What is the most important tool you can use as a good drummer or musician?”
Sometimes they overthink this one. Too bad! It’s actually as simple as that:
If you’re not Beethoven or Evelyn Glennie, you have to listen to the stuff going on around you. That’s THE important thing!
Sure, you might know great licks, complex grooves or impressive breaks. But if you play them at the wrong time, this will destroy the whole music experience.
Plus you’ll get the looks. If you already screwed up by overplaying, you know what I mean. 😉
2. And focuses on playing the music
The second point is closely related to the first one. If you carefully listen to the music played you’re able to respond to it.
As you know, each song is supposed to transport feelings and is regarded as a conversation between artists and audience.
Keep in mind to speak in the same language: If Jazz Standards are to be played don’t go for the crazy-double-bass-odd-meter-stuff.
Simply play the music. Also remember that drumming doesn’t need to be complex after all. The music rather has to be felt and it has to groove for sure.
A good drummer plays the music.
This also means: Keep it simple. Don’t overplay. Relax. Shut those thoughts down. At least try.
3. A good drummer has an equally well sense of time
“You have or you don’t have a good sense of time.” That’s a claim I’ve heard a lot. All I can say: No, I totally disagree. Here’s why:
You don’t happen to have a good timing. If you practice the right way you establish a good sense of time.
No magic, no talent. Simply practice drumming the right way if you want to become a good drummer.
4. And is prepared
May I tell you a little story from my musical past. 🙂 Well then, here it goes:
A bass playing friend of mine and I invited some musicians to a band audition in my rehearsal room. We wanted to form a new group. Of course, we talked about the songs we were going to play in this rehearsal. And everybody was totally fine with them.
When rehearsal day finally arrived, only two people were prepared. I don’t need to tell you that we never played with those guys again.
What you can learn from this story: Being a good drummer doesn’t necessarily mean you play on an outstanding level.
It simply means you are well-prepared for rehearsals, gigs or whatever is going on.
If you’re not, never mind your skills – you might not be even asked to play the gig.
5. A good drummer helps others sound great
Helping others sound great is also an important aspect of being a good drummer. You might wonder, however, how this can be achieved:
Making others sound great.
Well, in my humble opinion you have to open your ears, don’t overthink and react to the music that is played.
Some cleverly prepared practice time will help you get the skills needed for this. And some listening to the greats tells you what has worked so far. Of course, it’s up to your own gusto what you’ll be playing in the end. 😉
6. Stays curious and 7. keeps on learning!
Learning at least one new thing per day is a thing that you should do whether you want to become a good drummer or something else.
By doing so, you’re able to keep your mind fresh. This is one of the best life investments, at least if you ask me.
And you somehow did if you read this article, right? 😉