Superstition by Stevie Wonder

This past week or so I’ve been working on songs for a dep gig with a great band of local musician friends I’ve had the pleasure of working with on and off for some years. Their set is comprised of classic R&B, motown, funk and soul material, with some of the world’s top drummers in the chair on the original recordings – and so my job here is proving to be once again an enjoyable challenge!

One particular song on the list is a firm favourite with many and varied cover bands – and one which I have played on lots of occasions with several different outfits, but I would have to say that its truly sublime feel has proved to be one of the most elusive and revisited grooves with which I have ever wrestled to the point where, to date, I’ve never been happy with how I play it! …and this track was originally recorded by a guy who probably wouldn’t consider the drum kit to be his first instrument! Continue reading

What is the role of the drummer?

Advice for drummers: what is the role of the drummer?

An important and fundamental question we should pose ourselves as drummers – especially if taking early steps in playing drums – is ‘what is the role of the drummer?’ This is actually quite a difficult one to pin down as answers can be subjective and at least partly reliant on genre & context, but common responses might be: to keep time; to hold the band together or to create a rhythmic framework; to structure dynamics or perhaps to signal changes within the music. To whittle the focus of our art down to one catch-all phrase could be to deliver a great injustice to the history and players of our instrument. The role of the drummer – even in the simplest of conditions – is all these things, and so much more. Continue reading

Good Practice

Practice Tips for Drummers

Practice time is often at a premium, so I thought I would offer a few words and ideas on getting the best out of the time you do have.

It is also quickly worth mentioning – for the benefit of those readers who don’t practice at all: don’t sell yourself short! Developing your skill as a musician plays a big part in enhancing the joy of playing and if you can kick-start some kind of regular practice routine, I would guarantee you’ll get more reward from your drumming. Practice really does work! Continue reading