Drums, you either have it or you don't...

peety777

Senior Member
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Are there some people who naturally excel at drumming more than others? Or can everyone get to a high standard/ pro level if they are willing to put the correct practice in?
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I think the answer to both questions is yes, although "correct practice" is open to interpretation.

I think there are people out there that practice really hard but they just haven't got it, or they're missing some crucial element e.g feel, which negates all the licks and things they learn.

But if they keep practicing, someday something will click and they'll get it, you'd hope.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Are there some people who naturally excel at drumming more than others?
Yes, I think so, like in many other fields, some have a natural talent, a gift, it's more easier for them than those who are not.

Or can everyone get to a high standard/ pro level if they are willing to put the correct practice in?
I've been at it for more than 30 years, and I'm not to a high standard, on the other hand, I didn't put the correct practice time in it, so there's no surprise here.

Pro level: While I understand what you meant, some pro drummer do not excel at drumming, some are very limited in what they do, but they've been lucky, at the right place at the right time, but it's a minority, most of the time they worked very hard to get were they are, with all the sacrifices involved, and that is were I went wrong... (sacrifices, that is...)
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I think the "craft" and the physical part you can learn - although some people are
more gifted than others.

The musical part of it (which is a big part of drumming, of course) is another pair of shoes.
Is it talent? Can it be learned? I think both. Clearly there are people more gifted with musical
talent - ideas, rhythmic or melodic sense, creativity, understanding. But clearly one's
musical abilities can be improved greatly, too.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Clearly there are people more gifted with musical
talent - ideas, rhythmic or melodic sense, creativity, understanding.
Very good point Matthias, those who excel at ideas, creativity can indeed bring something into music that is wonderful, inspired and extremely musical, without being "monsters" at their instruments.
 

SticksEasy

Senior Member
I think you have to have something special to excel in drumming, at least very quickly. I've been playing drums for about a decade, more or less. I've put in so much practice and effort, and quite frankly I'm just obsessed with drums. I'm a good time keeper - I was blessed with a good sense of timing, so for me practicing with a metronome is more about sharpening the knife, instead of forging it.

There's a guy here, a few years younger than me. He just started playing in highschool. And he is a super amazing drummer. He can do about everything young modern drummers strive to do, and stuff I've been trying to learn for years. His only downside is when he's playing with his band, he loses time a lot. It's so bad, that I honestly don't think he practices with a metronome.

So yes, I know it depends on the person.
 

Thud

Senior Member
I think that anyone can learn to play simply by applying themselves and working at it. It's just a question of doing the work. But to be an outstanding player I think you need talent. This is defined as "an ability that cannot be taught" or as Ginger Baker put it "You've either got it, or you haven't".

Then again some people have a little bit of talent, like me and others have it in great big bucketfuls. Such is life. But yeah... if you want to be a world famous drummer you have to have what it takes. Everyone else... have fun! What the hell!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Ok. Fripp. Self-declared as tone-deaf. Worked hard all his life and became one of the finest guitarists and musicians on Earth. It's not about talent it's about how much you work with what you have.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
he is a super amazing drummer.

he loses time a lot. It's so bad
somehow these two descriptions of the same person do not equate in my mind....



anyway....to the OP

I think there are some with natural aptitude who will excel faster and whom things will come easier to ...but this doesn't necessarily mean they will be better than those who put in the work and strive for greatness

it is important for everyone to understand their level of talent....accept it.....then push forward to improve

some are more naturally talented than others....this is just the way humans are

this does not mean the less talented will never be as good....this simply means they will have to work harder to reach some of their goals.....which usually galvanizes some extra qualities that the naturally talented whom things come easily to will never have



I have heard stories about John Coltrane and how he was not considered a natural player.......but he was a tireless practicer ....not only in the beginning....all the way through his career

Elvin Jones tells a story of how one New Years eve the bands gig was cancelled and the band spent the night snowed in at the hotel.
Elvin had the room connected to Johns and heard him practicing for hours and hours .....then suddenly the horn just stopped....so Elvin went next door to see if he was ok .
when he opened the door he saw Coltrane asleep still in his suit with the horn on his chest.
Elvin called his name to make sure he was ok.....Coltrane sat up , put the horn in his mouth and continued practicing until the sun came up
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think the thread title should read, either you have the desire, or you don't. It's not "it" per se, it's the desire to do "it"... that's the difference maker. I think anyone can learn to play the drums with the right guidance, but it has to be a burning desire inside oneself to want to keep developing it. As with most things, it's all in the head. Like I could learn to be a hurdler, but how good will I be if I really don't care about hurdling?

Drums just speak to some people and not others. Put me in the "it's how hard you work at it" camp. Most people can tap their feet. I'd say the great majority. How many people have a burning desire to really take that ability and grow it into what it takes to just kill it on the drums? They ones that have that desire are the ones who will work the hardest. It can all be boiled down to raw desire I think. There also has to be an element of growth and improvement built in. Some people have the ability, but have a hard time at actually improving. It's a mindset thing. It's exactly like any other worthwhile endeavor. It's the quality and quantity of energy you put into it.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
There's one important point to me: Every great musician has put hours and hours of
practice into his craft. But: You have to practice "properly", and you have to transform
all you are able to do into music, into art, into some story!


gvdadrummasum said:
I have heard stories about John Coltrane and how he was not considered a natural player.......but he was a tireless practicer ....not only in the beginning....all the way through his career
If he "only" practiced but hadn't any feel and talent for the music whatsoever,
he would have sounded on his records like someone who is sitting in his space and
racing scales up and down. ....which he didn't obviously :). So he did have the ears
and the understanding of what to do with what he'd practiced.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
somehow these two descriptions of the same person do not equate in my mind....

Agreed, unless this guy has amazing chops, but can't keep time. He would be hard to employ since keeping time is Job 1.
We all have skills, talents, etc., just not in the same field. What we do have though, in any field, can be improved upon with adequate work.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I've been thinking about this a lot recently. Are there some people who naturally excel at drumming more than others?
Yes, but not just because of talent. Work ethic and persistence are important, and interest, curiosity, a desire to learn. It also helps to be around a community of players who know what they're doing.

Or can everyone get to a high standard/ pro level if they are willing to put the correct practice in?
Pro level is not necessarily that high, so yes, I think most people who are interested enough to work hard at it for a period of several/many years can achieve that.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
A gift is just that. The gifted, in any discipline, not only find it easy but also are able to be inventive and original.
Because they find the mechanics of drumming easy they can spend most of there practice time expanding and exploring the limits of there skill.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
There's one important point to me: Every great musician has put hours and hours of
practice into his craft. But: You have to practice "properly", and you have to transform
all you are able to do into music, into art, into some story!



If he "only" practiced but hadn't any feel and talent for the music whatsoever,
he would have sounded on his records like someone who is sitting in his space and
racing scales up and down. ....which he didn't obviously :). So he did have the ears
and the understanding of what to do with what he'd practiced.
were you under some strange impression that I meant he "only " practiced

what musician on this planet "only" practices .....thats absolutely ridiculous

where in the world did this word "only" even come from ?
 
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drummerman42

Senior Member
In my opinion, just like everything else, I believe that there are some people who just naturally good, and then there are some people who just need to practice at it and keep practicing to get good and even excel to that level of greatness. I know that for myself, even with a good natural ability, I still feel the need to improve. I know that I have a ton of bad habits in playing and need the guidance to get rid of those bad habits. Bad habits such as slouching over when I'm playing, speeding up when not supposed to. Stuff like that. I sometimes feel very off balance, and as of right now, I'm currently working with any friend who is a great drum teacher to help break some of these bad habits, and make myself a better player. No matter how much raw talent you possess, you can always improve to make yourself better at your craft...
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
were you under some strange impression that I meant he "only " practiced

what musician on this planet "only" practices .....thats absolutely ridiculous

where in the world did this word "only" even come from ?
I don't meant to offend you! You're offended rather fast... My point isn't about
you, it's about Coltrane.
I believe you misunderstood me, I probably haven't expressed myself well.

Your point seemed to be a musician whom it didn't come to naturally.
My point wanted to get across that Coltrane IMO did have talent and feel
for music, because he didn't sound like just (or: only) playing scales, patterns
and other learned stuff, but he played meaningful notes, melodies, rhythms.
 
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