Left hand, right hand, kick..

DSCN0605To be a great drummer is to have balance, time, groove and independence.

It goes without saying, whether you are new or a pretty established player, working on these core principles can be a statement of how far an individual can be judged, for most of us this is a state of constant learning.

But, that does not mean that we don’t possess the attributes to be a great drummer, after all, individuality and our own level of ability makes us who we are; the more interesting and different a drummer plays can often go a lot further.

So as standards, we probably unfairly compare ourselves to our heroes or influences. Personally, I like to think of music as a whole and not just an individual instrument. It’s a totally different experience when isolating the drum tracks to a favourite song! I absolutely do pay more attention to what the drums are doing, whats been played, what beats or fills are being used, but I am brought to a drummer by the song in general. Therein lies the problem!

Comparisons can have a limiting effect, especially on those who are new and aspiring. There are naturally a lot of variables in trying to play like our favourite drummer, anything from the drums used, the room it was recorded in, the producer doing the recording to the player themselves. To replicate isn’t impossible but you are you and not them. I still don’t really understand when I hear things like,  I want to be able to play just like Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Mike Portnoy, Travis Barker, Lars Ulrich etc. Why? Although I have many influences and enjoy listening and getting inspiration from these drummers, I want to develop my own style and my own sound.

As a drum educator I believe in developing your sound, establishing what you need to get better and together we can learn from each other and make real progress. I believe in setting standards and achieving goals, but I am interested in musicality, natural playing and accompaniment.

There is a place for grading and taking performance and instrument exams. For those wishing to pursue a line of work in music, those wishing to go to college and study music or perhaps even just as a personal achievement, I am a big endorser for learning through Rock School or Trinity Guildhall. I have taken graded exams myself and am proud to have got to a level where I am but I don’t think I will ever stop learning.

Thinking of learning the drums can be a daunting prospect, like with anything new, there is a lot to think about and a lot to learn. For drums, developing muscle memory is a process than cannot be shortened. It takes time and patience to get comfortable with some techniques and to harness speed. As its often said but often overlooked, start SLOW!

Being balanced with both hands, having sound technique, pushing 3 way into 4 way coordination, developing independence and control  and having a strong sense of timing are at the heart of drumming.

Learning to play has to fit in with you and what YOU want to achieve. Whether this is unlocking how to play certain songs, for your own enjoyment, to understand how to use better technique, how to be more comfortable in your own ability, perhaps with your band, achieving grade 8 or just wanting to be a weekend hobbyist – there is no right or wrong.

Whatever your need, whatever your wish or direction playing the drums, Ghostnote Academy can provide bespoke lessons tailored to your specific goals.

So give it a try..pick up those sticks!! 🙂

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