September 27, 2008

Differences between drums and the rest of the music world

The topic of today's blog post is, I believe, and interesting one. Being in the drumming business for a few years now, I have naturally notice many differences in the musical lives of drummers, from what is required of them to how they are treated. I am sure that most other musicians have at least a couple times thought something like "what is up with those drummers?" or "why are they doing that?", among other things. So I have decided to bring to you this list, as not only a drummer but a musician and a listener. Hopefully, this list will continue to grow as time goes on. Observe, absorb, consider, and enjoy, my friends!

-Drummers have to fight for the main position in a band. Everybody else can sit down easily with several other saxophones, trumpets, violins, or any other instrument and all play at the same time. If you are not the best drummer in the room, you are probably going to be waiting around for a while.

-Drummers have a lot of stuff to worry about. If we are the last ones ready (which is often the case), it is because we are switching instruments, adjusting equipment, and fussing with music.

-Is it your tempo? Nope, its our tempo.

-Everybody can hear the drums. Most other musicians have a safety net of people playing the same thing all around them to cover their mistakes. A drummer plays something entirely different, usually by him/her self, and often quite loudly. Don't mess up.

-The drummer usually has to play the crappiest instrument. All you other musicians can bring your fancy Selmers and Suzukis from home, but we have to deal with some piece of junk somebody donated to the school 20 years ago, and has been overused and unappreciated ever since.

-With the previous note in mind, the main difference between drums and other instruments is that when a drum is broken, you can still play it.

-There is proof that drums is the most awesome instrument. Have you ever heard of anybody who hangs around the woodwind section asking to play their clarinets?

-You can tune a drum to whatever note you want.

-If the drummers are screwing around in the back of band class, its not to make anybody angry or to get attention, but because they have been resting for 67 measures and are bored.

-We gotta improvise. Making up the music is not a form of rebellion or a way to revive a boring piece, but a finely honed skill that is invaluable to drummers everywhere.

-Don't forget about the rest of the rhythm section! The main reason that other rhythm instruments (bass, piano, etc) are so difficult to play is because they sometimes have to improvise like drummers. In the right key.

Some things that non-drummers should know. Important!

- Our instruments are NOT your tables. Tables are cheap. Percussion instruments are expensive.

-You are not a drummer. Lots of people can hit drums. Just because you can hold a stick improperly and read music does not mean you can join the ranks of the elite. Please stop trying.

-We love you guys, but you don't know a darned thing about rhythm. Its okay, if drummers had to learn about pitches and key signatures as well, we might not have learned a darn thing about rhythm either. Just make sure you listen to us.

-Drummers are not born being more awesome than everybody else. We work really hard to earn that right.

- This next note is especially important for marching band. Your instrument weighs about the same as one of our drumsticks. We still stand most of the time (I know I do). Quit complaining.

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