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  #1  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:03 PM
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Default Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

It seems to me that drummers would have at least average to above average math skills. Are there drummers with dismal math skills out there? If so do you consider yourself a good drummer?
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2018, 04:13 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
It seems to me that drummers would have at least average to above average math skills. Are there drummers with dismal math skills out there? If so do you consider yourself a good drummer?
Yes, I have terrible math skills.

Do I consider myself a good drummer? I get paid to play, so I guess I consider myself a drummer who's "good enough." :)

Last edited by PorkPieGuy; 08-30-2018 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I bet there are some. I don't forsee Steven Adler being good at math. Last interview I saw with him he could barely even talk. Always liked his drumming though.

Other guesses would be:
Travis Barker
Keith Moon (RIP)
Lars Ulrich
Bill Ward

Now all these guys are good drummers. Spectacular, ground breaking, no. But very competent on their instrument.

Hell, throw Ginger Baker in there too. He seems too intolerant to learn math.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Hell, throw Ginger Baker in there too. He seems too intolerant to learn math.
I think he's too intolerant for about 95% of what a normal life entails.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

You can suck at math and have a really great feel for time and be an awesome drummer. I know several engineers, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, you name it. They are geniuses at mat, but not one of them can clap in time!
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  #6  
Old 08-30-2018, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I'm not understanding the question.

What's the correlation between math skills and drumming?
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2018, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Old 08-30-2018, 07:15 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Being able to count and do sub-divisions....I think one could learn that without a lot of math.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by Macarina View Post
I'm not understanding the question.

What's the correlation between math skills and drumming?
Counting 1,2,3,4 over 8,12,16 or 32 bars.

Maybe counting 3, 5, 7 or 9. But thats not music, that's Jazz.

Just kidding, I love Jazz.
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2018, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Where do you think odd time originated?

Dudes that couldn't count just making stuff up and repeating it a few times until someone who could count wrote it all down and used it to be original....

I thought everyone knew this? LOL

(Personally, I suck at math and numbers scare me. But I love words so I drum to the words... If it is an instrumental I make up words.)

Seriously though, I would bet that quite a few cats who are bad at numbers are some of the most talented, original and dynamic drummer there are. Specifially because they're approach is NOT mathematical.
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Old 08-30-2018, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by Macarina View Post
I'm not understanding the question.

What's the correlation between math skills and drumming?

I don't know. It is something I suspect though. Half time double time, 4 on the floor, etc. all relate to basic math.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2018, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

It is pretty much a "given" that superior musicians typically have very good math skills, for all the reasons given-counting, subdivisions, etc.

I have even seen this posted in the high schools I have worked at.

Now, I believe there may be people out there who for whatever ever reason don't have proven "math skills"-but have the underlying understanding of the concepts and naturally relate them to their playing.
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Old 08-30-2018, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

With common core math, this should be really interesting going into the future. Let's see. We have 4 beats and we need to get it to 8! Hmmm, we'll first have to see how we can get 4 to fit into 10, oh yes, twice, so if we take two away from 10, we end up with 8...wait....what were we doing again? 16th notes? Anyone have a scroll to write on? LOL!
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2018, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Yes. I hate "doing" math. But somehow I can bust out poly-rhythms and play compound stuff without really counting or doing any type of add/subtract/multiply on purpose. It's more about how my body feels the music and reacts to it.

I suppose a drum solo could potentially be mathematical since there's nothing else going on to play off. I also suspect lots of times in really "progg-y" bands the guys are doing a lot of counting and maybe a little less listening due to all the counter-point or intentional mathy-stuff. But that's not how I do it. I intentionally stayed away from all types of "advanced" math classes in school so I'm definitely not a guy with math skills on paper.
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Old 08-30-2018, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I think so, yes. I think some guys are gifted enough in the feel and ear departments to make it all work, even the complicated stuff. Also, somehow I have a hard time believing doc is all that challenged at math. We should have a math off. Dont you math off to me boy!
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2018, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

If you can count to four you can play most popular music music.
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  #17  
Old 08-30-2018, 10:43 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by Steady Freddy View Post
If you can count to four you can play most popular music music.
For a single bar, at least. The real goal is to count to 6000 in groups of 4.
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  #18  
Old 08-30-2018, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I am terrible at math! People keep telling me I am a good drummer. Peace and goodwill.
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2018, 12:07 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
For a single bar, at least. The real goal is to count to 6000 in groups of 4.
That's 1500 groups.

BPM=60. X=4/4. Y=6/8. 1 beat=1 measure

Yolanda plays drums. The song she is learning is 5:00 minutes long. 1/3 of the song is 4/4 and 2/3 is 6/8, each measure being equal, how many measures is each section of the song?
Solve for X and Y.

I have a feeling GetAgrippa will get the answer really quickly.
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Last edited by MrInsanePolack; 08-31-2018 at 12:55 AM. Reason: Added parameter for simplicity
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  #20  
Old 08-31-2018, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

So there are 300 beats and measures over 5 minutes-1/3 are in 4/4 (100 measures) an 2/3 in 6/68 (200 measures)? Wait I thought I made it clear I was an idiot. I'm still working on 13/8 lol.
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  #21  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by GetAgrippa View Post
So there are 300 beats and measures over 5 minutes-1/3 are in 4/4 (100 measures) an 2/3 in 6/68 (200 measures)? Wait I thought I made it clear I was an idiot. I'm still working on 13/8 lol.
I knew you wouldn't let me down!

Maybe that was too easy...
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  #22  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I regularly visit a remote Aboriginal Community. In many cases English is their second or third language. I have seen some very good drummers who's levels of numeracy ( and literacy) , would be very poor by our standards.
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  #23  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:21 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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I regularly visit a remote Aboriginal Community. In many cases English is their second or third language. I have seen some very good drummers who's levels of numeracy ( and literacy) , would be very poor by our standards.
Bam!

That about says it all.
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  #24  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I don’t know what people consider “math skills” but arithmetic isn’t exactly difficult math.

So I would say that math skills are not neeeed. The most difficult mathematical concept in music would be polyrhythms and all that is is the commutative property of multiplication.
4x3 is the same as 3x4
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  #25  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I suck at math, but I can balance my checkbook.
I'm a mediocre drummer.
Maybe there's a support group I can join?
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  #26  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
I don’t know what people consider “math skills” but arithmetic isn’t exactly difficult math.

So I would say that math skills are not neeeed. The most difficult mathematical concept in music would be polyrhythms and all that is is the commutative property of multiplication.
4x3 is the same as 3x4
Don't you need to define your terms? 4 beats in 3 measures is not equal to 3 beats in 4 measures. Or 4 dogs X 3 bowls of food (.66 bowls each) is not the same as 3 dogs X 4 bowls of food (1.33 bowls each).

I'm just messing with you. I love math!
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  #27  
Old 08-31-2018, 02:58 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Maybe the question should be: is math ability inherent in great drummers who read and or write music?
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  #28  
Old 08-31-2018, 03:26 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

You can suck at math as long as you have a "good time" machine-no not a calculator I'm talking internal "time" machine-or metronome. Yes the fourth dimension-the one Larry controls (it's his thread)-he controls the horizontal and vertical-and it's about "time" we talk about the real issue. One of his personal favorites, which is timeless, and that is "time". If you are playing in 4/4, 6/8, or 12/8 the time signature don't matter if not in time it sounds like shit and who can tell what the time signature is.
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  #29  
Old 08-31-2018, 04:16 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Humans; and literally everything in the world around us are absolutely surrounded and drenched in rhythm. It's at the core of what makes our blood get through our bodies and it's something we are all much more in tune with than we realize. It's more a function of patterns, cycles and intervals than it is directly "math".

Rudimentary and complex "math" is also indeed all around us wherever we choose to see or apply it. A dog can calculate volume in the same way we can, instantly choosing to go after the larger bowl of food, and we don't need to understand it to make these "inherent" sort of decisions. I think this is the sort of "inherent" math we use when playing most music types that we're familiar with. It just happens because our brains are amazing; as Larry said, no better proof than the aboriginals who barely think about the concept of math drumming in complex poly-rhythms.

Mathematics, is more like a field of study the way we're defining it here. Being "good" at it; that is understanding advanced forms of it just means you've spent lots of time doing it. Just like prog-rock for example, unless you need to play that type of music or apply those advanced forms of math to say, rocket (or other) science/stat research, most people wouldn't need that advanced knowledge to go along and live life, or play music.

That made sense in my head. Hopefully translates.
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  #30  
Old 08-31-2018, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

I would argue that there are quite many people who don't know much math, or don't like math, yet have a mind that can understand math.

For me, that thing that causes me to be good at math is visual spacial awareness. Math is all about relating things, and I would guess that any type of spacial awareness, including auditory, would go along with a good ability to recognize patterns and relationships (aka math).
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Old 08-31-2018, 04:51 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
It is pretty much a "given" that superior musicians typically have very good math skills, for all the reasons given-counting, subdivisions, etc.

I have even seen this posted in the high schools I have worked at.

Now, I believe there may be people out there who for whatever ever reason don't have proven "math skills"-but have the underlying understanding of the concepts and naturally relate them to their playing.
Colaiuta got as far as Algebra 1 in high school.
I got through calculus.
He's a better drummer than me,so it's all relative.
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  #32  
Old 08-31-2018, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

So if you’ve got a calculator you’ll be a shit hot drummer, yeah?

Even if you can’t use calculus to figure out the area underneath your bass drum hoop curve?

Last edited by Pocket-full-of-gold; 08-31-2018 at 08:37 AM.
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  #33  
Old 08-31-2018, 11:39 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Let me know if you find out how being good at math relates to drums at all.

Unless you mean being able to count to 4 means you're good at math, of course.
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  #34  
Old 08-31-2018, 12:10 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

If you can't count then you'll be bad at life never mind drumming!

Music is a different kind of counting but there's lots of songs you play with feel that you don't know the time signature.

For example, The Beatles - All You Need Is Love
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Old 08-31-2018, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Let me know if you find out how being good at math relates to drums at all.

Unless you mean being able to count to 4 means you're good at math, of course.
True story, when I first started out with music, I didn't even get the concept of counting to 4. I knew that music was cyclical, and I knew that we always counted to 4 before starting to play, but I didn't put the two things together in that the pulse you counted off relates to the tempo and length of the cycle.

So you don't even really have to count at all if you just pay attention to the rhythms in what you're playing.
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Old 08-31-2018, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

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Even if you can’t use calculus to figure out the area underneath your bass drum hoop curve?
That would be geometry.
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  #37  
Old 08-31-2018, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

Here's a link to a recent thread posted on the forum: http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=144264

So, I ask, if you can play this, do you have good "math skills"? I would say yes.

Conversely, if you have bad "math skills", could you still play it? I'm not sure, but I think the ability to calculate compound additions would help quite a bit.
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Old 08-31-2018, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

The Fibonacci Sequence is cool. It's the snail shell in a mathematical sequence. 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, 3+5=8, 5+8=13, 8+13=21, so on and so forth. It forms a perfect spiral and is endless. It's the last two digits of the previous problem added together. Never seen it in a rhythm, but why not?
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  #39  
Old 09-01-2018, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

In school/college I failed Maths three times. Once in my final 'GCSE' year, again in college and again at a night class.

It's never set me back in life as I'm pretty nifty with a calculator. I just know from experience it's not one of my strong points.

With drums I'm more of a feel drummer anyway. I can work out subdivisions but I don't link that to general Math situations as it's completely different, it's more so playing around with different times/metronomes over the years so I'm comfortable in that situation.

Give me some math away from the kit and I fall to pieces. I don't consider myself a good drummer anyway.
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Old 09-01-2018, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Can you be a good drummer with bad math skills?

absolutely. If you can count to 4, or count to 3,5,7,8,9,12 your fine.

It's not like I pull out a calculator when I'm subdividing adding up fractions haha.

the first many years of drumming is counting to 3,4,and 6.

counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and doesn't require me to divide by 2 or anything.


rhythm and limb independence is achieved by practice.
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