I felt this nauseating feeling rising up from my 8 year old gut to my tight throat as my mom pulled the van into the parking lot. This was day 3, and things hadn’t gotten any better. My parents had insisted that I’d be fine and that I’d get over it, but I wasn’t feeling any less terrified than I was two days ago. These people I had to face every day this week were trying to kill me, and I couldn’t come up with an escape plan. But today was day 3, Wednesday. Only 2 more days and this agonizing week of swim lessons would be over.
My fear of water wasn’t going anywhere, and it looked like I’d be living the rest of my life forever fearing drowning. This was embarrassing as an 8 year old, because all my friends were learning how to swim and were diving head first off the diving board. But I was the kid curled up in a ball in tears on the concrete - a good 6 feet from the edge of the pool. I was terrified just to jump into the pool without...
If you’re totally honest with yourself, what do you think the biggest obstacle is standing in the way of your growth on the drums? I have an idea what it might be, but think hard for a moment before you keep reading…
Feeling demotivated because you feel like you don’t have enough time to practice nor the right resources to make sure you’re practicing the right things the right way. So as a result you don’t really practice much, and when you do you’re not getting much done.
Now I know I’m speaking to a wide audience, but this is something I’ve personally faced and seen a lot of other drummers face, too. If this is you, we want to help you break past this. Know this one thing:
You have to “show up” to your practice space, and you have to put in the work on a regular basis in order to grow.
Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? But here’s the key. You have to show up and put in the...
You as a drummer are only as good as your feet (technically speaking, at least).
You could be a drum corps marching band extraordinaire and blaze through every hybrid rudiment ever conjured up, but if your right foot can’t play in time….where does that leave you on drumset?
If you’re struggling to play fast on the bass drum…Or you’re able to play fast - but not clean and loud - today’s solution is for you. The best thing about this is that it works for any kind of foot technique, whether you’re heel-up or heel-down.
Here’s what we’re covering in today’s video!
We all have our favorite earbuds, speakers, or headphones that we enjoy using to listen to our favorite music. But many of us face the challenge of struggling to hear what the drums are actually doing on recordings.
Sometimes it’s tough to discern the kick pattern, and sometimes it’s really hard to tell if you’re hearing snare ghosting or additional hihat notes. And oftentimes there are so many layered parts on a recording that it’s tough to pick out what you should actually play on the drums.
#1) Explore how a higher quality pair of in-ears or headphones can make detailed listening easier
#2) Teach you strategies for listening more deeply and picking out parts - with whatever headphones you may have
Here’s an important listening / “mixing” truth you need to understand:
Turning up the bass on a recording doesn’t always make it easier to hear...
“We as a band need to practice messing up.”
This was the statement my friend and I landed on over coffee the other day. He’s the worship leader at my church, and we were talking about ways for us to grow musically as a worship band.
The best bands are not the best because they never mess up. They’re the best because they know how to handle and hide mistakes. Sometimes we fear mistakes so much that our primary goal is avoiding them, rather than learning how to recover from them. You can try and try and try to never mess up, but it’s going to happen. The key in no longer fearing the mistakes is knowing how you’ll handle them. So we were brainstorming ways to actually practice doing this in rehearsal.
Believe it or not, Sunday rolled around and we didn’t have to intentionally practice messing up in order for a good old-fashioned, accidental mess-up to happen.
Now I want you to think about something for a moment… What’s the...
Today’s post is serving a purpose none other than to give you a super nerdy, detailed breakdown of every piece of essential drumming and recording gear I use regularly here in my home studio. I hope you enjoy!
We’ll break this up into categories to keep things organized. Here’s what I’ll cover:
*Quick note: I don’t have any official gear endorsements. So know that these are all genuinely my favorite things that I paid for with my money. :) Also, you’ll find that I’m a gear minimalist.
Drums & Cymbals
My main studio kit is a Gretsch Renown (gloss natural finish), which is maple shells with Gretsch’s “silver sealer” on the insides. These drums are smaller than standard rock sizes, but I believe they’re more versatile as a result (topic for another email or video!). The kick is 20”x16”, the two toms that I use...
There’s an important practicing truth that is the key to really mastering anything on the drums. Without following this key truth, you’ll never fully learn something to your best ability. What’s interesting, though, is that a percussion piece written for solo gong actually teaches us a lot about this piece of “practice wisdom.”
“Having Never Written a Note for Percussion” by James Tenney is a solo percussion piece consisting of one note:
The instructions are simply to play a roll on any instrument for a “very long" time. Generally the instrument of choice is a gong because of how interesting and complex its tones are. So most of the time, a percussionist will sit down on the floor in front of the hanging gong, poised to play a very, very long single stroke roll with two large mallets on the face of the gong. Here’s a video of a good performance of the piece if you want to check it out.
So what can this piece teach...
A recent survey response I received from one of you guys blew my mind… But it made me realize something interesting.
A few weeks ago I emailed out to you a survey asking you questions about what your struggles and goals are on the drums. Someone’s response read like this:
SURVEY QUESTION: If you could accomplish anything in your drumming in 2021, what would it be? (Your biggest drumming dream!)
RESPONSE: Play live
SURVEY QUESTION: What is your biggest fear that you worry about all the time as you’re learning drums?
RESPONSE: Playing live
Wait a second… you mean the biggest, most exciting, ultimate dream… is also the greatest fear? For a minute I thought this was crazy. Then I looked back at my own life.
In middle school my biggest dream was to play drums in a rock band. I got to high school and had the opportunity to literally play drums in a rock band… and I was terrified. Thankfully I faced my fears and did it....
Time to get real with you guys. The last several emails I’ve sent out have been about dealing with failure - overcoming it and using it to learn. The truth that I’ve tried to reiterate is that you’re never going to avoid failure, no matter how good you are at something. However, you can use the failure to learn and to overcome.
I failed at being a good drummer the other day at a rehearsal, and I’d like to share this story with you since I think it might help you out.
Speaking of avoiding mistakes, check out this video while you're here about the "5 toxic drummer habits you MUST avoid at all cost."
Ok on with today's story!
We were rehearsing this moderate-tempo, four-on-the-floor song that was very long and repetitive. The tune also didn’t have a lot of dynamic contrast throughout…It built up after a minute or so then stayed up the rest of the song. I launched into the first chorus, enjoying the rock ’n roll, driving feel. When the second...
“Yeah… he…um- definitely has some…potential,” the music store employee gingerly observed after I laid down my very first sick beats on a real drumset.
The only problem was, my 12-year-old beats were not sick. At least not in a good way. I had no coordination and no idea how to hold my sticks. I actually remember just hitting everything I could as fast as I could in my nervous excitement. After all, I didn’t know when my next opportunity might be. Getting a drumset was way out of my reach. I was already pretty involved with playing piano, which I’d been learning since 3rd grade. My parents weren’t eager to sign me up for a second instrument, and I doubt they wanted the noise around the house either. Playing the drums and becoming a drummer was a very, very far-off dream at the time. Getting a drumset wasn’t going to be a quick and easy process for me…
Everybody dreams of something. Maybe you dream of retiring so you have...