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  #1  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:05 PM
lokariototal lokariototal is offline
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Default List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Hello,

I want to become a better drummer, but my learning right now is disorganized. I want to have a set plan, goals, or some guidance as to what I should be learning and mastering.

So my question is,

What would be a list of things that a drummer should learn, from basic level to advanced level, to become a good drummer?

For example:

Beginner:
-Sticking
-Hitting the snare/toms propperly
-Learning to play the bass pedal

Intermediate
-Rudiments
-Grooves
-Fills

Advanced
-Double bass speed
-Practicing at high BPMs
-Knowing grooves from around the World, jazz, etc.

So what would be like some sort of guidance, or guidelines that I could use to keep track of my progress, to know where I stand right now and what I should practice on to become a better drummer??

I need some guidance!! My progress is disorganized.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:23 PM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Looks like you answered your own question in your example.

Do you mean a good rock drummer? Jazz drummer? All around, and all styles mastered? Then I would have to ask you to define what is considered "good".

I play in a rock band and I do a pretty good job of it, but I haven't mastered my rudiments yet. Working on it...
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  #3  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:30 PM
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DrumEatDrum DrumEatDrum is online now
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

First off, you have to define what your goal is.

No is a master of everything. Some drummers can play a little of everything, some are great at certain styles but never touch other styles. Some people want to be a working drummer doing whatever gigs they can find, some just want to join a band and never play casuals.

What interests you? Jazz? Country? Extreme metal? Polkas?

Of course, many of us start out thinking we want to do it all, but reality tends to get in the way of that.

Anyhow, once you have a better grasp of where you are trying to go, it's easier to figure out the path to get there.
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  #4  
Old 03-20-2013, 08:33 PM
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Mad About Drums Mad About Drums is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by lokariototal View Post
Hello,

I want to become a better drummer, but my learning right now is disorganized. I want to have a set plan, goals, or some guidance as to what I should be learning and mastering.
Sounds to me you need a drum teacher... he/she will be able to help you with your questions and much more...
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  #5  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:03 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

You can be a good drummer with very limited technical skills-- you just need to be able to play a few basic time feels well, and know how to develop them and make them fit a song, and then find a musical situation where that will work. To get yourself on the path to being a versatile pro drummer, some general areas you should be working on are:

Snare drum
You can just buy beginning and intermediate snare drum books and play through them. There are good books by Roy Burns, Garwood Whaley, or Mitchell Peters for that.

Reading
You get this from doing your snare drum practice. Eventually you want to be learning to read actual drum charts. The sketches in the Groove Essentials books are a good place to start with that.

Studio funk language
Most of all forms of pop drumming derive from this one generic thing, which you can get from New Breed, or various other books. Rothman's Mini-Monster rock book covers much of this, and if you apply yourself you can master it in 1-3 years.

Jazz language
Not so much because you need to be a jazz drummer, but because the methods carry over into other areas, and make you a better drummer. Learning the common ways of using Ted Reed's Syncopation is good goal for your next few years of practice.

The other two big imperatives are to listen a lot and play (with people) a lot-- all good drummers do a lot of both.

That's it-- don't get too caught up in gradations of beginning/intermediate/advanced. All that truly matters is that people want to play with you, and that's a standard you can meet very early on.
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2013, 09:08 PM
T-rex T-rex is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

All I have to offer is this:

Practice hitting the drums in the center for the best tone. It sounds crazy simple but I wish someone had told me that when I was starting out. I still see tons of drummers try to record and they can't figure out why they have these crazy overtones everywhere and its because they have no accuracy. Hit a drum in the center then hit it about halfway between the center and the edge and you will hear the difference immediately. You may want that sound sometimes, but when you are playing the drums don't just flail around; be deliberate with where you place your hits.

Be conscious of how hard you are hitting the cymbals in comparison to the drums. Its easy to wail on the cymbals which makes you sound unbalanced. When you are practicing a groove or whatever practicing playing lightly on the hihat or ride while you are laying into the bass drum and snare.

Record your practices, or at least parts of them. It may be disheartening at first, but it will give you an (almost) unbiased view of what you sound like which will give you more insight into what things you really need to work on.

I guess what I am saying is that everything is important but you should concentrate on how you "sound" to others. Its easy to say, I can play a paradiddle at 180 BPM but much harder to hear whether you are really laying down a groove or not and that gets looked over a lot when people (myself included) start really focusing on technique etc.

Good luck, sounds like you are developing a plan so that's a good place to start.
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:08 PM
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dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad About Drums View Post
Sounds to me you need a drum teacher... he/she will be able to help you with your questions and much more...
Agreed!

A good teacher can put all things in focus for you.
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  #8  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:12 PM
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larryace larryace is online now
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

There are so many things to think about that you may overwhelm yourself.

I think the first thing you should tackle is how to move a drumstick efficiently. Of course that's JMO. What I really want to say is that working on one thing completely is far better than skimming the surface of 5 different things. So start at the very beginning and DON'T SKIP THE BASICS! The basics shouldn't even be called basics, people dismiss them too easily. The basics permeate ALL of your playing, so give them their due diligence.

To me the basics are:

Being able to work the sticks efficiently. There are many paths to the waterfall, you have to find yours.
Being able to play rudiments in time to a met
Learning how to read and understanding the note values.

Those 3 things could keep you busy for years. Approach drums like a musician approaches a pitched instrument, same way.
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  #9  
Old 03-20-2013, 10:19 PM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

To add to Larry's post - which I agree with - I'm going to also add listening skills.

I posted a while ago about the difference between listening skills and mechanical skills. Mechanical skills are something you can practice methodically, with books and schedules and I absolutely support learning in that way. Listening skills are a little more nebulous. The ability to respond to other musicians is something that a lot of drummers forget about and I've heard plenty of examples of drummers playing mechanically impressive music and forgetting that their job is part of a collective experience with other musicians.

There are ways of practicing listening. Transcribing music with annotations describing the actions of other players is one method. For instance, if you discover that the drummer is playing more loudly on a recording, it may be as a result of a guitarist engaging a distortion pedal or similar - note that down. Don't simply transcribe, but describe and explain. This is very effective in highly communicative music, like Jazz.

I'm a terrible transcriber but it's a method that I will suggest as an effective solution.

The other is to just listen to a lot of music and find other players. It's so important to work as part of the collective experience and the best way to practice that is to play.
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  #10  
Old 03-20-2013, 11:13 PM
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groove1 groove1 is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

To be a good working drummer, you need good people skills too. Sometimes a drummer everyone else likes working with gets the job over someone who might play a little better
but isn't friendly.
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  #11  
Old 03-20-2013, 11:29 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

to be a good drummer you need to be able to do one thing and one thing only

play music affectively

whatever style you choose to play

play it in such a way that others want to join you

thats it !!

whatever it takes to get there is up to your own discretion

choose wisely grasshoppper ...I'm confident you will
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  #12  
Old 03-20-2013, 11:39 PM
toddbishop toddbishop is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-rex View Post
Practice hitting the drums in the center for the best tone.
This is great, and I didn't want this to get lost in the giant stack of other great advice. Getting a good sound is a big deal, and doesn't get talked about enough.
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  #13  
Old 03-20-2013, 11:57 PM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Big ears.

The willingness to support other musicians and the ability to help them sound good.

Good feeling time. Not just metronomic time.

Getting a nice sound.

How to practice.

Enough facility/technique to express yourself in the music you want to play.

The ability to show up on time, in the right shoes, with your parts learned and appropriate gear in tow.

Great hair.

Big ears.
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2013, 12:01 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
Big ears.

The willingness to support other musicians and the ability to help them sound good.

Good feeling time. Not just metronomic time.

How to practice.

Enough facility/technique to express yourself in the music you want to play.

The ability to show up on time, in the right shoes, with your parts learned and appropriate gear in tow.

Great hair.

Big ears.
big ears is one of my all time favorite sayings

while studying with Joe Porcaro every time I entered and exited the room Joe would yell....BIG EARS!!!!.....while holding his hands to the sides of his head

he was a firm believer in the notion that if you had "big ears" the music would tell you exactly what to play

I too am a believer in this
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  #15  
Old 03-21-2013, 12:03 AM
Boomka Boomka is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
big ears is one of my all time favorite sayings

while studying with Joe Porcaro every time I entered and exited the room Joe would yell....BIG EARS!!!!.....while holding his hands to the sides of his head

he was a firm believer in the notion that if you had "big ears" the music would tell you exactly what to play

I too am a believer in this
Ha! I say that to my students all the time and make exactly the same gesture. If only I had some of Joe's other attributes.

You're a very fortunate man to study with Joe. I've never heard anything but great things. I remember reading some great stuff he wrote for MD many years ago. Always on the money.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:34 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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  #16  
Old 03-21-2013, 02:20 AM
Toolate Toolate is offline
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Default Re: List of things you have to master to be a good drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
There are so many things to think about that you may overwhelm yourself.

I think the first thing you should tackle is how to move a drumstick efficiently. Of course that's JMO. What I really want to say is that working on one thing completely is far better than skimming the surface of 5 different things. So start at the very beginning and DON'T SKIP THE BASICS! The basics shouldn't even be called basics, people dismiss them too easily. The basics permeate ALL of your playing, so give them their due diligence.

To me the basics are:

Being able to work the sticks efficiently. There are many paths to the waterfall, you have to find yours.
Being able to play rudiments in time to a met
Learning how to read and understanding the note values.

Those 3 things could keep you busy for years. Approach drums like a musician approaches a pitched instrument, same way.

AND- relax. Let the shoulders down, spend the time to develop the hand technique up front or you wont be able to progress. Always relaxed. Harder than it sounds...
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