Drum Beats in Church Songs

Hi All,

I am new to the forum. I started playing drums a few years ago, and keep progressing. I taught myself by using Drumeo. Play for my church now and do small gigs. This question might sound simple, but I am really trying to find out.

I can play 1&2&3&4& beats quite well when the snare hits on 2 and 4 beat. I can play this in different BPM and with different fills/rolls. I do not play by reading music really, mostly by ear.

Here is my question:

What are other very common beats that I should know? If any of you church drummers can give me some advice, would greatly appreciate it.

Do many songs play snare on 1 and 3 beat?
 
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JustJames

Platinum Member
Hi All,

Do many songs play snare on 1 and 3 beat?
Only if you have an audience full of people who clap on 1 and 3.

I'm an atheist, so be very careful playing any of these beats in a church, as I don't know what would happen. :)

The simplest way to spice up your grooves is to add some "ands" to the kick.

Try kick on 1...AND-3 or 1...3-AND for starters.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
That's a difficult to answer because, there is a whole world of beats that aren't simple KSKS, and there's an entirely different world of churches with varying musical genres.

Have you given consideration to undertaking a straightforward/traditional academic approach to the instrument? I started a 38, and it's been a lot of fun so far.
 
That's a difficult to answer because, there is a whole world of beats that aren't simple KSKS, and there's an entirely different world of churches with varying musical genres.

Have you given consideration to undertaking a straightforward/traditional academic approach to the instrument? I started a 38, and it's been a lot of fun so far.

Yes, I have. I am self-taught but been learning how to read sheet music. I Google everything though, and was just wanting to learn what beats most Southern Gospel, Contemporary, etc. are in. I am becoming a student of my craft, and just was wanting to learn some more beats. I am really young and always loved the drums. Thanks for the pointer.
 
Only if you have an audience full of people who clap on 1 and 3.

I'm an atheist, so be very careful playing any of these beats in a church, as I don't know what would happen. :)

The simplest way to spice up your grooves is to add some "ands" to the kick.

Try kick on 1...AND-3 or 1...3-AND for starters.

Thanks SO MUCH for the advice. So almost all songs are played on 2 and 4 for the snare? Its just a matter of putting the kick and ghost beats on different parts of the standard 1&2&3&4&?

No, worries. Atheist have more faith than me, really. I can never wrap my head around this universe coming from nothing. I say this in humbleness and in truth. It amazes me.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I've only been drumming for 2 years, so don't take me as any kind of authority, but in most rock/pop type music if you're playing snare on 2 and 4, kick on 1 and 3, most people in the audience will think you've nailed it.

If you're playing blues-y stuff, you should also learn to play grooves based on triplets (one-and-a, two-and-a, three-and-a, four-and-a) and shuffles (one-rest-a, two-rest-a, three-rest-a, four-rest-a).
 
I've only been drumming for 2 years, so don't take me as any kind of authority, but in most rock/pop type music if you're playing snare on 2 and 4, kick on 1 and 3, most people in the audience will think you've nailed it.

If you're playing blues-y stuff, you should also learn to play grooves based on triplets (one-and-a, two-and-a, three-and-a, four-and-a) and shuffles (one-rest-a, two-rest-a, three-rest-a, four-rest-a).

Thanks. That is helpful. I know other beats exists, especially overseas, but I have not heard any song played at our church with a different snare hit that 2 and 4. Tempo, fills, shuffles, etc. change, but not that constant 2 and 4.

Like on this video, isn't the drummer only playing the snare on 4 in the first song? He leaves out beat two with the snare. I can play this but not for sure what its called. Many versions of Amazing Grace have this exact same beat just slower tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrZtwO9WxgI
 
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Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Like on this video, isn't the drummer only playing the snare on 4 in the first song? He leaves out beat two with the snare. I can play this but not for sure what its called. Many versions of Amazing Grace have this exact same beat just slower tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrZtwO9WxgI
Sorry, I couldn't listen for too long.........I found myself rolling on the floor convulsing at the thought of my body being permeated by the holy spirit. I can only take it all my demons cried out in stubborn and immediate objection. But from the snippet I heard, no mate, he's playing the back beat on beat 3. That song is in 3/4 so there is no 4 count.

I believe quite a few of the older hymns were written in 3/4, so I suggest learning to identify different time signatures and feels (ie. 3/4, 6/8, 12/8, all being pretty common) rather than just focusing on "beats" per se. I'm told this approach is more favourable to the lord too.
 
Sorry, I couldn't listen for too long.........I found myself rolling on the floor convulsing at the thought of my body being permeated by the holy spirit. I can only take it all my demons cried out in stubborn and immediate objection. But from the snippet I heard, no mate, he's playing the back beat on beat 3. That song is in 3/4 so there is no 4 count.

I believe quite a few of the older hymns were written in 3/4, so I suggest learning to identify different time signatures and feels (ie. 3/4, 6/8, 12/8, all being pretty common) rather than just focusing on "beats" per se. I'm told this approach is more favourable to the lord too.

I call it the Holy Ghost. And He does that too demons. :)

Thanks for the term "time signatures". That is exactly what I have been looking for. I can play that song in that video but did not know what it was called. Its a 3/4 beat! So just count to 3 basically with kick on 1,2 and snare on 3. Will look up the others as well.

Again, thanks for taking the time to answer a "church" guy.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
I call it the Holy Ghost. And He does that too demons. :)
He's the greatest demon of all my friend. But now we're getting into an entirely different conversation that requires a bar, many beers and several hours of drunken debate.

So just count to 3 basically with kick on 1,2 and snare on 3. Will look up the others as well.
Yep. Simply counted 1 2 3 instead of 1 2 3 4. The overall feel of the tune will dictate where the back beat is placed. Sometimes it's on the 2 and the 3.

Again, thanks for taking the time to answer a "church" guy.
Not at all mate. My old man is a "born again" so I've given myself years of cheap entertainment by rattling his cage too. :)
 
He's the greatest demon of all my friend. But now we're getting into an entirely different conversation that requires a bar, many beers and several hours of drunken debate.



Yep. Simply counted 1 2 3 instead of 1 2 3 4. The overall feel of the tune will dictate where the back beat is placed. Sometimes it's on the 2 and the 3.



Not at all mate. My old man is a "born again" so I've given myself years of cheap entertainment by rattling his cage too. :)

Holy Ghost is powerful. No doubt.

Thanks so much. It totally makes sense. I looked up the "time signatures" and immediately I saw the "light" haha. I think most church songs are played 4/4 and 3/4.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
I can't give much advice on beats, but I have some equipment suggestions. Avoid zildjian k and sabian hh-type cymbals. Murat diril makes something truly unspeakable, so don't check them out at all, lest you be tempted by the darkness.

Spaun is known for making snares with certain qualities you might find appropriate. Also ozone crashes and a certain sabian china. And consider getting one of everything that bass drum Os and kickport makes.

If your church is ever looking to upgrade the drumkit, I think Andy might be able to do something for you in gopherwood.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
You playing traditional songs or more contemporary stuff? For the traditional a lot of kick is a single on 1 and double on 3. Contemporary stuff is more rock or alternate rock. Then too traditional keep the volume down and simple, and contemporary turn it up. Play with feel and keep it simple-play with the music and musicians-most aren't professional so time can get loose and you don't want to leave them behind-listen and if they get behind help them transition up. Then too traditional music often has lot of tempo changes so listen.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
There's a lot of variables that make it hard for all of us to give you one answer. I'm going to base mine on having played in four very different churches over the last ten years.

1) Play simpler if at all possible. Churches usually are not full of record company executives or fellow musicians. They are often full of folks who have issues clapping in time with the beat. Simple and direct usually does the job. I have lost track of the times I have been asked to play four-on-the-floor (kick drum just playing quarter notes) to get them clapping. Also keep in mind that depending on your church, you may have wildly varying levels of musicianship on stage with you, and getting too complex can confuse them as well.

2) Hang your hat on someone. They call it a "rhythm section" for a reason. In most church bands, that will include the drums, bass, rhythm/acoustic guitar, and the left hand of the piano player. One of these folks is bound to have a good sense of rhythm, and very often the acoustic/rhythm player is the worship leader too. Instead of picking a straight beat, you may wish to marry your bass drum rhythm with the rhythmic pattern he's strumming, or that the bass player is putting down. This creates a bit of a groove, and that makes it easier for the congregation to feel it and clap along. You will also find it easier to keep good time if you are sharing the load with a good partner.

3) Mind your time. This is a challenge for many worship teams, which as I mentioned before may have very fresh amateurs, experienced players, and/or even semi-pros all on the same stage. Those who have less formal training or experience can have issues rushing or dragging, and may not even know it. Be a master at setting and keeping a tempo for everyone else to stand firm on. Bring a click or have one on your phone to refer to (I have an in-ear setup with a mixer by my set, and I wire my phone in to have a private click track).

4) Play for the room. Not only are the worship team members often volunteer amateurs, but so too are the sound crew. They do their level best, but they may not be professional sound engineers with experience getting drum sound sin a live setting. You may be playing behind plexiglass as well, because someone thinks it makes the drums quieter. In any case, you can only play so loudly, and most times it's more desirable to keep the stage volume down, so that the sound guy doesn't think you have to be turned way down in the house mix. This makes the room drum sound only what you can muscle out, which is usually boomy and indistinct. Learn to play at a comfortable dynamic for everyone on the stage, and take advantage of the monitor situation as best you can. I have been fortunate to have in-ear monitoring most places I play, and I have a small mixer of my own to bring along if the church doesn't have in-ears -- at least I can get a direct feed into a channel and adjust that way.

5) Practice. This sounds like a no-brainer, but worship team rehearsals aren't the place for you to learn to do the song. Most worship leaders use some form of Planning Center Online these days and post the songs well in advance. YouTube becomes your best friend at this point. Not only do the original artists have their videos up, but there are a plethora of drum lesson versions of popular worship songs out there.

If you have other questions feel free to PM me. I'd be happy to speak with you more on the matter. Church drumming is my only gig right this second, and I play four to six services a month.
 
Thanks Alparrott and GetAgrippa!

Great tips. We do have a great acoustic player, and I do "hang my hat" on her. She has incredible rhythm.

Also, we play Southern Gospel, Contemporary, and Traditional. Its a great variety. I can play 2/4, 4/4, and 3/4 (Trying to learn more). I have played 3/4 a lot but never knew what it was called until yesterday (thanks pocket-full-of-gold). The term "time signatures" changed my drummer life (haha). I started playing by ear. I can listed too a beat and just play it. But I am trying to learn the terminology of music. So if a singer say the beat is 3/4, I know exactly what they mean.

Also, I muffle my drums with Gaffers tape and toilet paper (sounds crazy, I know), but it really works. Here is a video from Drumeo, which explains.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJVFtthcoCY

Thanks to ALL or all the replies and help!
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
Thanks. That is helpful. I know other beats exists, especially overseas, but I have not heard any song played at our church with a different snare hit that 2 and 4. Tempo, fills, shuffles, etc. change, but not that constant 2 and 4.

Like on this video, isn't the drummer only playing the snare on 4 in the first song? He leaves out beat two with the snare. I can play this but not for sure what its called. Many versions of Amazing Grace have this exact same beat just slower tempo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrZtwO9WxgI

The drummer in this video is a perfect example of so many things that you should NOT do while playing traditional hymns. As Alparrott points out, the key to playing traditional church songs is absolute simplicity. The traditional hymns do not call for flourishes of any kind. In fact, the flourishes horribly detract from the songs. Keep it simple. Very simple.

Once you move to contemporary Christian music, then you can ad lib to your heart's content if that's what the song calls for.

GeeDeeEmm
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You have a really great attitude and I bet you would really enjoy, and take to, having lessons from a capable drum teacher. You sound like you have a good ear....that's so essential. Combine that with some proper study and playing in live situations as much as you can....plus reading here on Drummerworld about what's really important to drummers....written by drummers....and you have a great recipe for fast improvement. Keep that attitude.

But if you really want to kick it in to high gear....record yourself every time you play live and listen back later as honestly as you can. Next time you play the same stuff, keep the good stuff, throw out the crap. Improvement by subtraction is an easy way to sound better. Get a teacher. Get a recorder. That's an investment in yourself that is well worth the dollars.
 
The drummer in this video is a perfect example of so many things that you should NOT do while playing traditional hymns. As Alparrott points out, the key to playing traditional church songs is absolute simplicity. The traditional hymns do not call for flourishes of any kind. In fact, the flourishes horribly detract from the songs. Keep it simple. Very simple.

Once you move to contemporary Christian music, then you can ad lib to your heart's content if that's what the song calls for.

GeeDeeEmm

Yes, I agree. It was just an example of the beat I was looking for. Was trying to find what "time signature" it was. Its 3/4 and thanks to "pocket-full-of gold" for telling me this. I can play it just did not know the name lol. Now if someone says, "Well play this song in 3/4" at 80 BPM, I know exactly what they want.
 
You have a really great attitude and I bet you would really enjoy, and take to, having lessons from a capable drum teacher. You sound like you have a good ear....that's so essential. Combine that with some proper study and playing in live situations as much as you can....plus reading here on Drummerworld about what's really important to drummers....written by drummers....and you have a great recipe for fast improvement. Keep that attitude.

But if you really want to kick it in to high gear....record yourself every time you play live and listen back later as honestly as you can. Next time you play the same stuff, keep the good stuff, throw out the crap. Improvement by subtraction is an easy way to sound better. Get a teacher. Get a recorder. That's an investment in yourself that is well worth the dollars.

Thanks for the kindness.

I have taken drum lessons, but I learn so much better on my own. Watching "how to videos" on Drumeo and looking everything up on YouTube. I also listen to music by ear and play it back. Recording myself is a great idea!! Going to implement this. I practice on my own with a metronome at various BPM. This has helped me a lot with consistency.
 
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