The Eight Essentials of Drummer Mastery

Drummers can be classified into four skill categories. The lowest category is drummers. These have no style, no technique and only one level of dynamics - LOUD! They are the reason drummers are notorious in general and, unfortunately, give a long life to jokes like "we have five musicians and a drummer in the band".

The next level is the middle. They are nothing but nothing good either. Just mediocre.

The third level is competent musicians. They play great as part of a band, but something is missing from them, which is some magic, the feeling that you see (and hear) a really great drummer. Personally, only a few drummers have awakened this feeling in me - some of the fourth category are, for example, Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson, Joe Morello and Steve Gadd. These are really from the category of masters. They have everything they need. They are at the very top.

I have discovered eight basic elements needed to become a drum master. See what these elements are, and maybe someday I will include you in the list of those who belong to this elusive elite.

Here are the eight basic elements that make up the skill of a drummer:

Clear pace
The first and most important thing is the ability to play exactly according to the tempo. You can develop this ability by playing along with the metronome every time you practice on the pad. Without a clear time base, you will never build clear breaks.

Musicality is something that comes to some by itself, while others learn it for a very long time. Here's the key to musicality: listen to as much music as you can, and when playing with other musicians, listen to each of them and try to enrich the overall sound of the orchestra, but never overwhelm it.

Learn to play most musical styles, and play each with your own unique feel, including solos and fills. This ability is developed by listening to the best bands representing various musical genres.

Never overplay
Notes are good, but pauses are even better. Develop the ability to play fills in the right places, but also learn to step into the background when necessary and let the other members of the group show themselves.

Good dynamics
Many drummers have a tendency to pump at high volumes but die in quiet places. Constantly work on yourself to "pump" at all dynamic levels, from ultra-quiet to mega-loud.

Strong breaks
Develop the fastest parrying game with the best coordination you can. What for? Then, that you should be able to play whatever comes to your mind. If you have a great idea in the middle of a song and don't execute it properly, that great idea will ruin the whole drive. The best drummers can play anything they can think of on the spot, effortlessly. This is what we should strive for.

"Early Bird"
While this is not directly related to your performance on the stage, it is directly related to the number of opportunities to appear on it! No front man likes to entertain the audience for hours until the drummer deigns to complete his preparations. Try to arrive at the concert with plenty of time to set up your drums, plus at least 20 minutes to relax before the show.

Positive attitude
The eighth and final basic element of a drummer's skill. Optimists exude a kind of contagious energy that makes everyone around them feel wonderful and play great. This ability is very noticeable in Louis Bellson.

Pessimists, on the other hand, suck you dry. But life is too short to waste time on this. Don't hang around with these "negative" types, and if you yourself have such a tendency, try to change. It might not be easy, but you have to do something about it if you want it to stick together.

Here is my take on exactly what you need to join the ranks of the elite master drummers. Try to work on one of the main elements every week, and then, perhaps, somehow "suddenly and suddenly" you will notice yourself among the world's drum masters. Good luck!
See you soon, and stay relaxed.