Being a good drummer is all about technique, creativity, and experience. Most new drummers will make a grave mistake of trying to be “original” right off the bat while completely disregarding the basics.
That’s a great way to set yourself back and slow down your progress. So you’re probably wondering how to become a better drummer? Practice is always a good place to start.
Everybody talks about passion, and how important it is when it comes to playing drums. It’s a cliche statement at this point, but one that holds some truth. It’s easy to get lost in a routine, and completely forget why you even started playing drums in the first place.
Playing drums should always be fun, before anything else. If you lose your “passion,” any kind of progress becomes that much more difficult.
Practice, practice, practice
Most simple part of the answer is practice. Practice doesn’t always make “perfect,” but it definitely makes “better.” Spending a defined amount of time each day behind your drum set is the fastest way to iron out any issues you have with your technique. Practice is something that every drummer needs to do, no matter how good he is. It’s a way to develop new skills and hone the existing ones.
Speaking of which, it’s always a good idea to go back to basics from time to time, and spend some time going over them. Basics are everything when it comes to playing drums. Any guitar player will tell you that having a drummer who can play only the simplest beats, but can hold a rhythm like a machine is much better than someone who does all kinds crazy things on drums while constantly altering the tempo.
One thing to remember about practice is that you should balance it with band sessions. Sitting at home and going through your routine is great, but it won’t teach what it’s like to play with other musicians. Being able to read other musicians and anticipate their next move is essential to becoming a better drummer. You need to place yourself in such an environment as much as you can.
Creativity is what sets drummers apart. It’s the way you as a drummer can influence the overall aesthetic of a song. However creativity is largely drawn from experience, and that is something you can’t acquire over night. The fact that you may not have much experience shouldn’t stop you from using the experience of those who were in the game longer than you. Listen to more experienced drummers, they can be a great source of knowledge.
Drawing inspiration from your favorite drummers is a great way to develop a unique style of your own. Those who stop being inspired by their heroes are bound to hit a wall sooner or later. Listen to your favorite bands and try to figure out why the drums are played the way they are. Why certain details appear at specific points of the song and so on.
Being humble and aware of your skills is probably the most important factor to becoming better at just about anything. When you are aware of your own limitations, you will have a clear idea what you need to work on in order to become better.
Sometimes it takes an outside critic to draw our attention to our shortcomings, and it’s this moment where you have to set your ego aside and listen to what they have to say.
Be open to suggestions and criticism from other drummers, especially those who are more experienced or view things from a different angle. You don’t have to abandon your ways and completely adopt their methods, but you’ll at least know that there are other ways to achieve the same result.
Becoming a better drummer requires a combination of everything mentioned above plus a pinch of confidence. If feel like you have reached a temporary ceiling while developing your skill, take a break and asses things from all angles. It is quite frustrating, but that’s a part of the game.
The key is to recognize what’s happening, and not get demoralized. Hopefully this little guide helped you understand how to become a better drummer.