The Drummer Gene?

Chromium

Senior Member
Here's a thought... Is there perhaps a drummer gene?

I got to thinking that we all know some people are more able to hold a beat, and and that their (our) timing and ability to keep to a grove is perhaps more enhanced than in many others. I suppose what I'm saying is that it might be down to our individual nature and we may be genetically predisposed to become drummers; something I'm going to call 'the drummer gene'.

Would you agree that's possible, or do you think it's all training and practice?

Are we born with it? An ability to recognise or produce rhythms?

The old nature vs nurture debate... Your thoughts?
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I don't know if it's my gene TBH, I think if it was I would be a much better drummer, but I can say this, even years before I started drumming I was naturally attracted by the drums, when I listened to music, I was always fascinated by the drums, what they brought up in the music.

People have an attraction for certain things in life, perhaps it's what it is, just an attraction, something you really like, even if you're not born with it or gifted for it.

I think it's possible that some of us have a drummer gene, especially if there was(were) drummer(s) ancestor(s) within the family tree, there's no drummer before me in my family line, so I don't think it's in my gene.

I've always liked arty things, drawing, painting and such like, my mother was pretty good at it herself and my father could build almost anything, both did it with a passion second to none, could this be the reason why I like arty things, I don't know, maybe...

My wife excel in languages but she cannot draw or paint at all, the funny thing is, my daughter is both good at arty things and languages, so perhaps yes, some gene get passed on to our children who in turn pass it on to their kids and so on...

But for me I think I fall into the "it's all training and practice" category as far as drumming is concerned, still it is by far my biggest passion in my life alongside music.

Just my 2c on the topic :)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't know. I think some people are more predisposed to musicality. I don't know of any musical excursions in my family before my generation. My sister played the piano, even my older brother tried his hand at guitar. I was the only one who kept with it into adulthood. I also think it is the availability of instruments and enough leisure time to explore them. Previous generations didn't enjoy the comfy lifestyle I was afforded. I didn't have to worry about basic needs, so I was free to indulge my inclinations. I know that music grabbed me almost immediately, I was still soiling myself when I realized how much loved music. I feel I was born with the desire, the skill is being worked on as we speak. I was provided instruments, but the rest was all me. My parents tolerated it. For that I am thankful.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
I don't think it's genetic, just like I don't think playing guitar is genetic, or playing the clarinet is genetic. I think it has to do with how much someone is exposed to the elements necessary for the task at hand. For example, a young child that listens to a lot of music should, theoretically, be able to "pick up" music quicker than somebody raised with little to none. It's not just about, "Oh, they listen to a lot of singers, so they can sing," or, "they listen to rap so they should be able to drum steadily without wavering." It also takes trying stuff out. How many of us were "air drummers" or banged on pots and pans when we were little? I think the desire to emote through music has to do with environment, as well as exposure to opportunities and the desire to work up a skill set. After that, it's about dedication, persistence, and direction.

The phrase "they're a natural" simply means, to me, that the person's mind was already pre-wired for the task at hand in some other way. My 7 year old son is quickly advancing as a piano player. When he started playing, there was some "natural ability" that was noted. I blame the parents, exposing him to a LOT of music, playing drums with him from an early age, and having countless discussions around the topic of music, rhythm, harmony, theory, dynamics, expressiveness, time...etc.
 

The Black Page Dude

Senior Member
I would call it a creative gene vs a drummer gene. And to go a step further, perhaps it is not a gene, but rather, our "creative" brain is wired to more easily create the neural pathways and dendrite connections that control creative thought and co-ordination?

There are some compelling arguments for brain plasticity out there, hard to say if we are prewired or are actually more open to suggestion/influence at certain points of our lives. And based on the influences/suggestions our brain does it's job to wire and rewire in order to further facilitate the tasks and challenges we choose to take on.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
I don't think it's genetic, just like I don't think playing guitar is genetic, or playing the clarinet is genetic. I think it has to do with how much someone is exposed to the elements necessary for the task at hand. For example, a young child that listens to a lot of music should, theoretically, be able to "pick up" music quicker than somebody raised with little to none. It's not just about, "Oh, they listen to a lot of singers, so they can sing," or, "they listen to rap so they should be able to drum steadily without wavering." It also takes trying stuff out. How many of us were "air drummers" or banged on pots and pans when we were little? I think the desire to emote through music has to do with environment, as well as exposure to opportunities and the desire to work up a skill set. After that, it's about dedication, persistence, and direction.

The phrase "they're a natural" simply means, to me, that the person's mind was already pre-wired for the task at hand in some other way. My 7 year old son is quickly advancing as a piano player. When he started playing, there was some "natural ability" that was noted. I blame the parents, exposing him to a LOT of music, playing drums with him from an early age, and having countless discussions around the topic of music, rhythm, harmony, theory, dynamics, expressiveness, time...etc.
This is it. A predisposition to musical qualities in a childs early development. There isn't a drumming gene.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
There is a "Drummer Gene," it just hasn't been identified yet. =)

I've spent my whole life pounding out rhythms on what ever I could get my grubby little paws on... because I'm a drummer. I've only played the drums (on a kit) for about 7 years now - less than a year on my acoustic - and I'm learning all the time. But, the PASSION has been there for as long as I can remember.

My mom used to tell me that when I was little (2 years, 4 1/2 months to be exact), I would pound my hands and feet when the Beatles made there U.S. debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. And my grandma's pot an pans were always in danger.

Drums are the only instrument that truly intrigues, fascinates, frustrates and that I am totally in love with all at the same time. I can play the guitar, but the drums - any drums - always get my attention.

And that's all I have to say about that.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I don't think so. Some people just have a knack, you know? I was a born drummer, learning to play was nothing for me, really. I had good time and good ears; it was almost somehow familiar to me, and there's never been anyone musical in my family.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
It is a gene that allows us to always tap our foot on 2 and 4 :)

There is probably a genetic link of some sort that defines a person who is motivated by rhythm rather than melody.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Interesting question. My sister and I were exposed to the same music growing up. Our father was a talented musician and our mother has no talent for anything musical. She has an OK voice, as does my sister who also has no talent and listens to country music almost exclusively. My sister and I are total opposites in so many ways. It's almost unimaginable that we were raised by the same parents. None of her kids have any talent either. My drumming skills are the result of a lot of hard work, but it did seem to come easy to me considering the lack of woodshedding. We blame a lot of stuff on genetic predispositions and it's often an excuse for bad behavior and psychological problems as well as gifts. Hard to say about genetic predisposition to rhythm. I'd like to say yes. Some things skip a generation, some things are only in the boys and other things are only in the girls. Some things get passed from mother to son or from father to daughter. Who can say for sure?
 

toddmc

Gold Member
The only drummer gene I'm aware of is Gene Krupa and Gene Hoagland (sp?)
That would be "Hoglan" Larry but thanks for playing!
Back on topic- stop me if this sounds familiar "I was always banging on pots and pans when I was x years old so I took up the drums". I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suppose there may be a genetic component involved.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I posed this question to some scientists I know who are working on the human genome mapping project. They told me that when they were analyzing DNA sequences, there was in fact a gene that was labeled drummer.

;P
 

chipotle

Senior Member
Yes.

It began as a genetic defect back in prehistoric times. Someone started pounding a log with a stick. The rest of the folks liked the pounding and took special care of the log pounder's offspring. Eventually the genetic defect became quite common and as a result of one long concert a spark ignited some leaves and fire was thus discovered. So it was that people progressed thanks to the original drummer.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Here's a thought... Is there perhaps a drummer gene?

I got to thinking that we all know some people are more able to hold a beat, and and that their (our) timing and ability to keep to a grove is perhaps more enhanced than in many others. I suppose what I'm saying is that it might be down to our individual nature and we may be genetically predisposed to become drummers; something I'm going to call 'the drummer gene'.

Would you agree that's possible, or do you think it's all training and practice?

Are we born with it? An ability to recognise or produce rhythms?

The old nature vs nurture debate... Your thoughts?
Clearly, some people are naturally better at music and others are naturally drawn to it. Really great musicians are both, but someone can be naturally drawn to it but have no special ability for it. The nice thing about music is that anyone can do it very well if they are willing to apply the time and effort to learn it.
 

xsarith

Senior Member
I think that there could possible be drummer gene, I say this because recently I discovered I have a half brother, who guess what also played drums (however he stopped) also his little brother (again my half brother) has a fascination towards drums. I also discovered that one of my uncles I didn't know about was a touring drummer, so maybe drumming somehow runs in the blood.

I also think people have a predisposition towards music and just arts in general that make them an already built in sense of rhythm, timing, notes and scales, ect. but in no way do I think that anyone can be more skilled than someone because they're already inclined that way compared to someone who isn't. I'm sure there are many musicians who can run circles around other musicians because they've put the practice and dedication in.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Dunno, but in my experience many musicians have other musicians in their family or
ancestry, same with visual artists. No other drummers in my family but there were six generations of pipe organ builders on my dad's side.
 
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