#9 Choosing Your Instrument: Drum Kit

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The drummer in any band is a rhythm specialist, and you had better know what you are doing, like knowing the tempo of each song you are playing because it’s the drummer that will get the blame if it’s to fast or to slow.

The drummer is like the engine in a car, it’s what makes it move and the drummer has the foot on the pedal. Cover songs are easier to learn because you can listen and play along to the original track. If your band are writing their own material, this can be very funny or frustrating, because the songwriter, has to try and describe what he hears in his head and could go, something like this; “Eh it’s a kinda funky retro thing with a hip hop beat” Never say this; “I don’t have a clue what your talking about” because you will just get a funny look and he/she will say the same thing again. The right thing to say is this; “Yeah I’ve got it great idea, could you play the song again and I’ll join in” All you have to do now, is find the beat, on the bass drum and lean on the accents from the guitar or piano and play along. This isn’t perfect but it’s a hundred times easier, than trying to work out what is in someone’s head.

Practicing at home with an acoustic drum kit, is a good way to annoy family and neighbours alike. I got around this issue by purchasing two drum kits, an electric kit for practice and an acoustic kit for live work. I used a good pair of head phones with the electronic kit, and avoided all the noise complaints. The electric kit was second hand and it really didn’t sound that great, but was good enough for practicing on, and the acoustic kit was decent.

The only gigs I ever did, playing the drums was as a replacement stand in drummer, but I must confess that I preferred being on front stage rather than at the back with the rhythm section. I can still play the drums, but haven’t done so for years,  my regular drummer is a top session musician, who can read music , and can work out the beats per minute thing on the sheet music. All I have to do is tell him, the type of beat I want, and off he goes.

The next blog will examine the role of the vocalist.

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