david santistevan


Practical Pointers for Drummers

I cannot think of a more important instrument in a band than the drums. Drumming with a band poses a whole new set of challenges besides playing rudiments and reading grooves. Outlined here are a few pointers to keep in mind, that if followed, could save your band from destruction  – and your leader will love you for it!

LESS IS MORE – I think a general fact about musicians is that we are overly impressed with ourselves. As drummers, our minds are preoccupied with how to impress the audience with as many fills as is humanly possible. Though cool fills are awesome in their place, they can destroy good music. Play in such a way that you don’t draw too much attention to yourself. Realize you are a part of the whole – there is more going on that just your beat. Play in such a way that the bass player can follow your patterns. This will cause your drumming to speak. I always tell drummers – play the simplest groove as if it’s the coolest sound the world has ever heard. Delight in the simplicity of a straight hi-hat pattern. Revel in playing the kick drum just on beat one. Listen to the pros – they do some crazy stuff, but it’s timely. They play basics extremely well. Drums are the foundation. If you are difficult to follow the music will sound terrible; but play the simple stuff really well and you may be in Nashville before you know it.

TEMPO IS KEY – This is probably the most important quality of a good drummer – they keep a solid tempo. They practice. They practice with a metronome. No matter how good you think you are, don’t assume you have solid tempo. It comes through hard work and practice with a click track. Drummers have many tendencies I’ve noticed: rushing or dragging the beat with outrageous, inconsistent kick patterns, too many fills, and a lack of listening to the other musicians. Your job is to create a pocket that the other musicians can lock into. Don’t you love that responsibility?

FROM THE HEARTA personal goal and pursuit of my life is to bring everything I do into the focus of worship. I challenge you, make it a focus of yours to worship in what you play. Mentally engage yourself with God in every groove, fill, and play with passion. Some guys have all the techniques mastered, but lack passion and it is lifeless. This may sound hyper-spiritual to you, but how else do we “acknowledge God in all our ways”? Let your love for God be what drives your drumming. Let God “speak” through your playing to a broken heart that needs to know Jesus. This stuff is possible with God. It is not with you, but within the Holy Spirit, who has anointed you. Rock on.


November 26, 2008 - Posted by | Band, Worship

1 Comment »

  1. Amen!!! I don’t think there is anything more you could say. I think that the three points you made are like the laws of drumming.

    Comment by Brendon Robinson | November 26, 2008 | Reply

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