A Drummer's Most Important Quality

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
What's a drummer's most important quality? Aside from the ability to drum, which is native to the state of being a drummer, I believe confidence to be the requisite trait every drummer must possess. While all musicians must be confident to an extent, a drummer's self-assurance is of singular significance. We're expected to display a contained yet transparent cockiness, a subtle swagger that communicates to our fellow musicians, "There's nothing to worry about here. Leave the metronome to me, and we'll be just fine." A drummer can't waver in mentality or execution. Every stroke must be decisive and meaningful. All hesitation is potentially deadly. If a drummer doesn't carry out his or her duties with composite conviction, everything else gets wishy-washy. The music takes a lethal dive.

What do you consider a drummer's most important quality?
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Drummers should make it look fun not like work. I always say watch Krupa and Moon, They both smile and are playful in their approach. Makes it fun to watch them. Also Steve Moore (the mad drummer). He's way over the top. Keeps the beat perfect, but does stuff while playing that has nothing to do with anything but having fun and making fun of "what NOT to do" when playing drums. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of phenomenal drummers that can out stick any of us like Buddy Rich. But they (Buddy especially) are so into technique that it looks like work or at least exercising at the local gym. Smile, improvise, do the unexpected and entertain the crowd is my motto.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
What's a drummer's most important quality? Aside from the ability to drum, which is native to the state of being a drummer, I believe confidence to be the requisite trait every drummer must possess. While all musicians must be confident to an extent, a drummer's self-assurance is of singular significance. We're expected to display a contained yet transparent cockiness, a subtle swagger that communicates to our fellow musicians, "There's nothing to worry about here. Leave the metronome to me, and we'll be just fine." A drummer can't waver in mentality or execution. Every stroke must be decisive and meaningful. All hesitation is potentially deadly. If a drummer doesn't carry out his or her duties with composite conviction, everything else gets wishy-washy. The music takes a lethal dive.

What do you consider a drummer's most important quality?
^^^^^^^^^
This!!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Great responses all around so far.

John, I, too, like festive drummers. Traffic cops with drumsticks bore me.

Steady Freddy, if a drummer can't keep time, he might as well be a plumber.

Bermuda, musicality is everything. We're musicians, not barbarians beating pan-like objects.

MntnMan62, we see eye to eye. Nothing more to add.

planoranger, if a drummer isn't a reliable gentleman, his skills are of no use to him.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Confidence, I agree if I had to pick one. But it would have to be backed up by ability, which is another thing altogether, and what brings me to my point. We have to do numerous things equally well to be considered good. Timekeeping (tempo and meter) Dynamics. Appropriate-ness. Overall volume apart from dynamics. Execution. Authentic-ness of genre. Overall working knowledge of songs. No gear failures. I could go on and on. Which is most important? It's the sheer number of things we are aware of and can do at once...that's how we are ultimately rated. Out of anyone in the band, we have to be everything to everybody.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Confidence, I agree if I had to pick one. But it would have to be backed up by ability, which is another thing altogether, and what brings me to my point. We have to do numerous things equally well to be considered good. Timekeeping (tempo and meter) Dynamics. Appropriate-ness. Overall volume apart from dynamics. Execution. Authentic-ness of genre. Overall working knowledge of songs. No gear failures. I could go on and on. Which is most important? It's the sheer number of things we are aware of and can do at once...that's how we are ultimately rated. Out of anyone in the band, we have to be everything to everybody.
Holy Mackrel Saphire! I thought I was just playing drums.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Confidence, I agree if I had to pick one. But it would have to be backed up by ability, which is another thing altogether, and what brings me to my point. We have to do numerous things equally well to be considered good. Timekeeping (tempo and meter) Dynamics. Appropriate-ness. Overall volume apart from dynamics. Execution. Authentic-ness of genre. Overall working knowledge of songs. No gear failures. I could go on and on. Which is most important? It's the sheer number of things we are aware of and can do at once...that's how we are ultimately rated. Out of anyone in the band, we have to be everything to everybody.
Well stated, Larry, For drumming to work at all, countless elements have to fall into place simultaneously. We often take for granted just how intricate and involved drumming can be. At the same time, we're frequently guilty of overcomplicating our mission, taking ourselves so seriously that a mock fatalism seems to stalk our every step. This raises another important trait for drummers: balance. It's critical to differentiate between what matters and what doesn't. Otherwise, we invest ourselves in the trite and overlook the pertinent.

"Out of anyone in the band, we have to be everything to everybody."

I'm tempted to have that quip engraved on my resonant bass head.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
To me, the most important thing is knowing what to play. i.e. musicianship and musical understanding. There’s no point being able to maintain blast beats @200bpm if you’re playing standards in a jazz trio during dinner.

Next is interpersonal skills and professionalism.
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Natural Born Ability, the rest is just Cheese! .....oh yeah . and Drink'n Smok'n ,Womaniz'n all done in the most charming way of course coz bad guys Finish last.. Apparently.. Owning a Fast Car or 2.. Yay though I Walk through the Valley of Guitarists and Keyboard Programmers I will fear no Evil Music Biz Types.. Amen..
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Taste, I've seen drummers that have insane ability but they're unable to reign it in, I've also seen drummers that couldn't do anything technical if they had a gun to their head but are the better drummer because they have taste.

As I get older the more I'm finding that along with the bassist, if you do your job well you don't get noticed. I like that, let the guitarists a and singers deal with the public!
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
Hygiene.

:)


Okay, really it's double pedalling that is most important. And a snare that cuts through anything happening on stage. And if you're playing jazz, it's important to look contorted.
 
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