Dear drummer, the world understands your passion and desire to create great music, but practising your rudiments and tolerating leg pain doesn’t make you a better drummer. If you want to be a professional drummer, you don’t need to move mountains. All you need is this article and maybe several drumming lessons online. So in the meanwhile, these tips will help you produce better music.
1. Cymbals: A Drummer’s Constant Challenge
One of the many problems of drummers is dealing with a crummy-sounding set of cymbals. Sometimes, drummers try so hard to keep using them even if their cymbals are cracked. If you are one of these people, you don’t need to deal with such challenges at all. The secret to good-sounding cymbals is to avoid over-tightening.
When you set up your cymbals, the cymbal stands should have nylon sleeves and felt pads put on the threaded screw before you put the cymbals on. Avoid losing the nylon sleeves so the cymbals won’t touch the threads of the metal screw. If you don’t follow this tip, the cymbals will not just sound terrible; you will create a hole in the cymbal, too. Never over-tighten the installation of the final wing nut on your cymbal stand to avoid hampering your cymbal’s free swing.
2. Cleanliness Is Key to the Perfect Drum Sounds
Cleanliness is the key to making your drum set sound good even if it doesn’t carry a popular brand name. Make sure that you maintain the cleanliness of your drum set once a week. Use a soft, clean piece of cloth when cleaning the different parts. By doing this, you avoid having to disassemble your drum set for a more thorough maintenance procedure.
The secret to a sparkling drum set is chrome cleaner. Feel free to use Windex on plastic-wrapped shells. It is best to keep lacquer-finished wood shells shiny by using non-wax furniture polish on them.
3. Whoever Said Ailments Are Normal Is Misinformed
Since playing the drums is a physical activity, you may assume that developing blisters or calluses on your hands or feet are normal. Growing blisters and calluses are not at all normal. Playing the drums should be a safe hobby.
If you start growing blisters and calluses, it only means one thing: you are not playing the drums correctly. If you know how to properly play the drums, from holding the drumsticks to doing the most complex techniques, the silky soft skin of your hands and fingers will stay with you all throughout your drum-playing years.
4. Are You a Misled Knuckle Cracker?
You may be one of the many drummers who regularly crack your knuckles before playing the drums. If you think this is a way to warm up, then you are wrong. Stop the habit right away.
Cracking your knuckles before playing the drums tightens you up. It never loosens your fingers at all. If you can’t stop cracking your knuckles, be prepared to deal with arthritis sometime soon.
5. The Greatest Drummers Maintain Good Health
Since playing the drums requires you to use both pairs of limbs, it follows that it is indeed a physical sport. A lot of great drummers gave up their passion for playing the drums not because they got sick of it, but because they got sick because of it. Your golden age is never a hindrance to playing the drums the way young people do. If you want to keep playing until you grow old, now is the perfect time to take good care of your health. Eat food rich in fibre and avoid eating junk food. Vegetables must always be a part of your diet.
Lighten up on cakes and candies. Replace them with fruits. If you think water is a boring drink, then use your blender to prepare health shakes that taste exactly the way you like it. Quit your bad habits, like smoking and drinking, to be more physically active for drum-playing. Exercise regularly and stay fit.
6. Mathematics and Your Drum Set
If you hate everything that has to do with mathematics, get away from your drum set. When playing the drums, you need to think about odd and even numbers in the form of beats. Experiment with the beats by combining commonly used even phrases with the odd-time ones.
Playing a fill with six groups of four-four notes is an even-time phrase. To be more creative, try playing six groups of two-four or three-four notes. You can do the same technique and experiment some more on compositions with groups of 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 if you want to achieve challenging and unique drum patterns. Aside from rhythmic patterns, this technique works well for creative fills and drum solos.
7. By All Means, Listen!
Listening is one of the skills you have to possess as a drummer. Drummers repeatedly listen to a specific song before they do hands-on practice. Listening is the first step to becoming a successful drummer. If you want to be a versatile drummer, you need to listen to different songs, too. This means that you need to learn how to appreciate other genres in music. If you listen only to the genre you like, your skills will be limited.
If you want your song to be packed with the most creative and unique drum beats, you have to learn the other beats and techniques of other music genres. Only then can you mix and match the beats and techniques to create one chart-topping masterpiece.
8. Don’t Get Too Excited about Syncopation
Syncopation is a technique all drummers want to master. If you are in a room full of drummers, you can always employ syncopations in playing the drums to show your skills. Playing with your band in a gig or a concert is a different story.
If you are playing with a band, syncopation should always be supervised. Overdoing syncopated rhythms is as bad as playing the wrong patterns and fills. Do not forget that as a drummer, your role in the band is a groove maker and a timekeeper. Too much syncopation can ruin both. Your bandmates may not be able to follow your beats and the audience may not understand the tempo of the song.
9. Try Not to Be a Copycat
It is true that one of the many ways to become a good drummer is to listen to your own musical influences and emulate their techniques and styles. If you copy them note for note, then it’s possible for failure to come in.
Although imitating another drummer’s styles is a priceless form of flattery, it is the surest way to failure, too. You may want to master the styles of famous KISS drummer Eric Singer, but never let yourself be identified as a drummer who sounds exactly like Eric Singer.
Be original. Learn from your influences, but don’t imitate them. As a drummer, you should have your own unique sound and style. If every drummer wants to play like Eric Singer, do you think it would be exciting to hear countless songs sounding like Eric Singer? If you want to be remembered as a drummer, then create your own theme, sound and variations.
10. So You Want to Be a Famous Drummer
The secret to fame can be summarized in a cliché: word of mouth. Over and above all the other businesses in the world, finding a spot in the music business is definitely a challenge. Little do many people know that this solely relies on word of mouth. You can see this with the way some people in the music industry discover talents.
A famous singer will remember you if he or she sees you play the drums well. He or she can recommend you to other bands looking for a drummer or may recruit you to join his or her band instead. More often than not, that is the way a lot of professional drummers find a spot in the industry.
If you want to be a popular drummer, get out of your shell and play. Show your skills in as many gigs as you can, with as many musicians as possible. Don’t ever think about the money. If music is your passion, play the drums with or without pay. If you get discovered, music outfits and companies will pay you tenfold.
As a drummer, it is a shame not to know that pop, country, blues, jazz and rock, among other musical genres simply do not sound full and good enough without good drum accompaniment. You can sing a song without a rhythm guitar as long as a drum set is there to support your timing and beat.
In fact, the fascination of many musicians for playing the drums has created a subculture in music where musicians follow a trend in reinventing old sounds to come up with new genres. Because of the drums, new genres and cultures are born. Your drum set is the reason why music gets better every single day, so follow the tips above and learn to play like a pro.
Playing drums is something that takes effort to master. And similarly, other members of the band such as the guitarists have many things to Whine About. Vocalists on the other hand should also be able to bring it On Stage with their performances every time.