What makes a good drummer?

Deafmoon

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Gary Chester said ‘to make it in the studio a person has to be able to play anything. Jazz, Rock, Latin, Show Tunes, Pop, R&B, Jingles, Film and some percussion for classical and world music as well. And do it all well.’ Is this a lost art today as there are so many more specialists in specific genres? Whatcha think?
 

charlesm

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Gary most likely said that during the heyday of the studio/session culture...probably c. late-'70s, '80s.

It's not like that anymore. Most of the pantheon of the great studios and jingle houses is now gone. It's all much more fractured, distributed to a million home studios and musicians working on their own.

The "factory industry" of music production is a thing of the past...and becoming ever more so. I don't think that most musicians realize what AI is going to bring in the coming years. Loops are already realistic enough. But AI tech is going to be able to emulate complete performances with very human elements...nuances of imperfection and feel, etc.

It's already at the point where all-around "studio musicians" are not really necessary the way they once were. When AI really takes hold, you'll be hearing complete performances that SOUND like people playing, and yet no human being is actually performing.

That said, I don't think that the world of LIVE music performance and composition is as threatened. I believe people will always want to witness real human expression and feel that they are affected on a human level vs. artificial.

So, although the world of *commercial* music production is in the midst of radical changes, by all means, keep deriving joy from your instrument and keep convening with others to create. I think that idea won't change.
 

notINtheband

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It’s difficult to impress a room full of drummers. Usually chops is the only thing they respond to.
The general public is a different animal. The same people that head to the restroom during the drum solo in an arena show may compliment the local bar band drummer on his playing. They only know how a performance made them feel.
I tell my drum students as they are building their skills, at a certain point you may start getting more compliments the fewer fills you play.
Fills bring the thrills, but groove pays the bills.
I’ve never gotten a gig from a set of complex fills. But pocket has kept me in local demand for as long as I’ve played.
 

Deafmoon

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It’s difficult to impress a room full of drummers. Usually chops is the only thing they respond to.
The general public is a different animal. The same people that head to the restroom during the drum solo in an arena show may compliment the local bar band drummer on his playing. They only know how a performance made them feel.
I tell my drum students as they are building their skills, at a certain point you may start getting more compliments the fewer fills you play.
Fills bring the thrills, but groove pays the bills.
I’ve never gotten a gig from a set of complex fills. But pocket has kept me in local demand for as long as I’ve played.
Agreed. It is how they feel. A drummer making a room full of people dance is the greatest drummer at that moment.
 

backtodrum

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Agreed. It is how they feel. A drummer making a room full of people dance is the greatest drummer at that moment.
For me anymore that's all I want to do is make the song feel good and drive people to want to move to the music. If they are dancing or even bopping their head to the music that's what does it for me. That's all need to feel that I've done my job...
 

Jhouse86

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Do you own drums? Do you own a vehicle? Can you stay sober for four hours on a Saturday night? You might be a good drummer!
2 out of 3!! That's the best odds I've had in years!! Today is Saturday right?
 

CaptainCrunch

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Beyond a baseline ability to move your limbs in (mostly) the way you want, a good drummer can hear what a song needs and has the humility to do it.

Also helpful to keep the lead singer just a little bit frightened of you so he keeps his stupid "No, no, do it like duh-nuh-nuh-naah-nuh-duh-nuh-nuh-nuh*crash*" suggestions to himself.
 

BennyK

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Good drummers perform within their limitations and recognize the how and what of those in the band and are always aware of where the 'one' is .
 

itsjjp

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In the context of a band, I'll begin with competent band mates. Next, give the music what it needs, with a proper tempo and good time, and do you. If you can't play a particular fill or passage, then create your own way to cover those bits. If you get the rest right, even the most discerning players will respect you. Keep the feel going and everyone will say, great drummer! even if you can't do it all per se.
 


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