Do you feel like people who can't play drums are "less" of a musician?

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
What exactly is a musician?
Is Steve Gadd a musician?
Was Elvis Presley a musician?
I'm in two bands. I play drums with a band about once a week for $75. I'm I a musician?
My drum teacher friend teaches drums three nights a week. He has not played drums with anyone for many years. Is he a musician?
My 4 year old granddaughter walks around the house all day playing her harmonica. Is she a musician?



Platinum Member
Better question... Is a conductor a musician?
Good Lord, yes. Absolutely. To be a half-way decent conductor requires intimate knowledge about every instrument in the ensemble, intimate knowledge of the score and its context, etc. etc.

It's no coincidence that most of the greatest conductors have also been superb players that have later progressed to conducting.


Platinum Member
Good Lord, yes. Absolutely.
Apologies. I was trying to lend perspective to the OP by asking an even dumber question than the one asked.. Just like the OP was being sarcastic and asking an even dumber question than the one asked in this thread. It's a reconciliation method where an answer becomes clearer as increasingly dumb analogous questions are asked. Problem solving via parody.

Is a dog barking at a metronome a musician?
Is a mime playing an imaginary violin a musician?
Is a fully armored medieval knight falling down a spiral staircase in lighthouse a musician?

Damn my east coast sarcasm.... Sorry.
Not necessarily in my view. I'm a firm believer that there's a few differences between a musician and guitarists, bassists, drummers...
To me, a musician serves the music being played. While certain the ability to play different instruments may benefit how to write or perform in a song (guitar for melody, drums for tempo and keeping time...), the important thing is how each musician interacts with each other, and works to the same goal: creating a piece of music.
I for one can play only a few chords on guitar, but can hum a melody as an idea. I can't sing well, but can write lead and backing vocals...

Basically, musicianship in my opinion, is working with others and playing for the song. Regardless of what your ability is on an instrument, you can still contribute to the song.

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
I was going to post a thread asking if Recognition plays any part in caring about your abilities, but i'll just hi-jack here. Well is it? For me i can groove without other musicians and enjoy it, sometimes i prefer it, sometimes i wish singers would just shut up! Is anyone that says Awesome or Absolutely less of a musician ? Absolutely.
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Silver Member
I wouldn't say they're less of a musician.

I'd say they're suffering from an unfortunate disability and we should pity them.


If a lesser musician learned to play the drums they would be more of a musician, so I agree with what you are saying.


Gold Member
Yes, it always perplexes me when a "musician" is unable to string together a reasonable arrangement on rhythmic instruments. Though drummers aren't immune to this criticism either, in the sense that I've known a number of drummers who could't play a shaker or guiro.


Senior Member
Everything started with the drums, like literally everything. The universe started out with "the big bang" not "the big twang."