Are we being dumbed down?

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I think it's both drumming and musical evolution. Each generation advances the instrument and artform just a bit farther than the last. As each advancement is achieved, it is documented. Now we have this pile of information that seems pretty overwhelming. No one can learn all of it.

Is it better to be a master of one or sufficient in all? That might depend on your path.

I think pick a few and go with it. That's what works for me. I'm all about metal, but if I find something cool or interesting from another genre I might go learn it and incorporate it into what I'm doing.

For cover band or studio drummers, maybe being sufficient at all is better than a master of one. Needing to span a greater portion of the musical spectrum would be much more useful than just being a master of one.

Neither is better. I don't think picking one path over the other dumbs us down in any way.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Hmm interesting conversation. So I think what is being said is that there is now so much information there is more broad conceptualization rather than the older ways of studying in detail every little facet? So are we dumbing down (or missing important points or glossing over important facts) by thinking in terms of concepts when the devil is in the details.
 

dmacc_2

Well-known member
Hmm interesting conversation. So I think what is being said is that there is now so much information there is more broad conceptualization rather than the older ways of studying in detail every little facet? So are we dumbing down (or missing important points or glossing over important facts) by thinking in terms of concepts when the devil is in the details.
It's all personal opinion, I guess...

My view is that it's so easy to get caught going down a rabbit hole in one particular element of the instrument. Technique is one example. Several books, video's, etc.. focus just on building technique.

I think it's also possible to focus on one genre. Books and videos abound on specific genres.

This is neither a good thing or a bad thing in my opinion. I think it all boils down to what are the goals of each individual.

What can be a bad thing is if that person continually gets distracted by ALL the various stuff that's out there and forgets to work on what their goals are. I realize goals can/do/should change, but at some point, if you never focus on anything, it's a hodge-podge of material that can possibly not lead to accomplishing much other than jumping around.

Also if the person wants to become a musician - at some point you have to ignore and put down all of the materials and play with others. All the hours spent on building technique, chops, control, independence become immediately irrelevant and what is relevant is the music.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I think about this a lot because I feel like I was waiting my whole life for the internet to come along. I've always been compulsive about getting into things and then wanting to know everything about them. When I started playing drums, I couldn't just type a drummer's name into a search engine and see him play. If I had this type of access to information back then, I wonder how things would have gone for me.

I think there's something to be said for having to work at figuring stuff out. I remember hearing this melodic figure Max Roach liked to play during solos and I always assumed it was some rudimental thing. I worked out a sticking pattern to play it and it found its way into my vocabulary. Then, 20 years later, I'm watching him play it on video and it wasn't what I thought at all. So I was doing it wrong... but was it really wrong? I'd argue I came up with my own thing being inspired by Max, but not just copying him. And that seems like what it's really all about, right?

I think there are advantages and disadvantages to the access we have now. Which is how I guess I view most things, come to think of it.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Another point I think is, who are we comparing the older fine drummers to? We can compare the new guys to the old guys, 30's to 50's, but we have no one to campare the old gus to. No recordings or video. Also todays kids can also see both generations that proceeded them. So much much more info. As for being dumbed down, I think we have the ability to separate the bits that we feel will help us and those that are more Expert Village like. I watch a ton of woodworking videos and can tell almost right away when a guy knows what he is talking about, and I am not swayed by the up or down votes. Manuals are great for learning the safety habits for a table saw, but watching a video on the subject puts it right there to see. I have learned who to listen to and not when it comes to drumming, and without debating, I don't think you can have too much info. Drum on.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Dumbed down by being provided with great methods for drumming figured out by masters...If people were confiscating drum method books for burning, then I would consider us being dumbed down. As it is we are very lucky. The only real difference is the amount of available info and how information is being accessed.

I think it's the opposite of being dumbed down. We are able to progress much faster thanks to the head start we were so generously given. It's definitely a good thing.

I feel we are being dumbed down in a lot of areas but learning music isn't one of them. Listening to mainstream Top 40 music could be considered by some to be a dumbing down experience but learning whatever music you're interested in seems to be encouraged.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
I can't hear (or read) "Dumbed Down" without thinking of the movie Idiocracy.
Of course, that applies to a much broader range than drumming, and also occurs in a different context.
But that's what being (or becoming) 'dummed down' means to me.

About drumming though - just because there are multiples sources of information available today
doesn't mean that someone who's exposed to them doesn't have to do the footwork.
You still gotta' work for it.
 
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One1

Well-known member
Book smarts vs street smarts. The ones who figure it out for themselves will always have greater appreciable understandings for what they are doing and therefore have more room to grow. This applies for anyone in any field. I once knew a guy who could rebuild PLC networks that control industrial machines, but couldn’t fix his VCR...... he wasn’t trained on how to. A naturally talented technician could figure it out.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Dumbed down by being provided with great methods for drumming figured out by masters...If people were confiscating drum method books for burning, then I would consider us being dumbed down. As it is we are very lucky. The only real difference is the amount of available info and how information is being accessed.

I think it's the opposite of being dumbed down. We are able to progress much faster thanks to the head start we were so generously given. It's definitely a good thing.

I feel we are being dumbed down in a lot of areas but learning music isn't one of them. Listening to mainstream Top 40 music could be considered by some to be a dumbing down experience but learning whatever music you're interested in seems to be encouraged.
I agree, I don't think we're being "dumbed down" at all by all of the resources available to us to use and learn from.

I do think, however, that we (ie. new and young drummers - particularly self-taught ones using the internet as their primary learning source) are being, if not "paralyzed" by the paradox of choice, amalgamated by it to the point where a new style of drumming is evolving faster than which music and songwriting in general is evolving.

So, yeah, drummers may be "better" than ever because of all of the resources available, but to what end? What's the point of doing, learning, evolving something if there's no practical use or, as a former teacher of my was known to say, "cash value" to it?

If anything, it seems like drumming today is getting ahead of itself when compared to other instruments and music as a whole.
 
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