To all you wonderful drummers out there - please don't take this the wrong way because we can't do without you, and I mean this more in fun than a criticism: Do all drummers feel that as soon as they sit behind the drums they have to pick up the sticks and start playing, very loudly, no matter what is going on around them? All conversation has to stop, the guitarists have to stop tuning, because the drummer can't sit without playing. It's like an itch that needs scratching. We have very talented drummers (and I love them dearly, honestly!) but they all seem to have this inability to control the urge to play, and they drown everything else out. They don't want electronic drums because they won't be able to 'express themselves'. So - are all drummers like this?
Yes drummers are ALWAYS like this. It is as a result of the fall I think.
And can I suggest Bi-lateral amputation.
Only joking! I guess this is all down to relationship and being able to talk sincerely about practical issues like being aware of the needs of others. All tappered with a good deal of patience. Hot rods and brushes are also an option if the drum volume swamps the mix. Amputation really is a last resort.
yes they all feel the need to make their presense known. As in "I am here now the music can really start" What is funnnier than this is I grew up with a drummer that liked to watch his shadow while he played instead of the leader...problem? for most drummers yes, but this guy was amazing, never missed a beat or a drum! Later on as we grew up we found out he was and alien from the planet of "I play every instrument known to man"!!! He is truly a great musician and worship pastor now. But not to get off topic, what ever you do, dont put them in a clear plexyglass box, they will just play louder!
My daughter drums in our Church and to be honest all three drummers there are very good at quiet. They use rods rather than solid sticks. I would like the whole band to be a bit louder and rocky. However, the sound is a compromise for the members of the congregation who down want it pushed to much. At home kate is loud as she is working towards going to ACM to study drums and she plays trumpet as well.
As a guitarist who doesn't play in church that much I'm always playing/fiddling in lulls in rehersals as it's the often the first time that year (or ever) that I've seen that song.
So many negative responses to drumming and fiddling (the instrumental equivalent of chewing gum, which I presume is outlawed in rehearsals)!
I am privileged to work with one of the finest high school directors in our area. The class is like a home, a village, a special communion. There is almost always a buzz of something, there are irrelevant questions; but when she says "focus" we focus. She is frequently ill, and we see a lot of "subs." I direct (since the subs usually don't know music), and the sub keeps order. But music is not like other subjects, which require quiet mouths and open ears. Music requires open ears and open hearts, and you make lots of noise -- you experiment, you try things out, you hone and whittle. The subs don't get it; they think you're supposed to be quiet when not singing -- so the kids start trying to whisper WHILE we're singing, and lose focus. The more musical a sub is, the higher the level of background noise seems to be permissible.
But it is weird about drums. One of our best singers is a hack drummer; he sometimes provides warmups with "rhythm", and just like your big-time drummers, he doesn't quit. He's a A+ student, a wrestler, extremely self-disciplined in everything -- except drums.
I've got no trouble keeping quiet at the drums. It comes from my drum background. I started off in a symphonic band setting, so I'd just follow the notated drum parts and that was all. Improvisation was not accepted in those days, not when there are another 30-60 more musicians to coordinate with! :) So I am used to sitting still and waiting for the right moment to play.
Not everything in the symphonic band setting was ideal though. I remember sitting in back crunching on snacks while someone counts the 147 bars rest, then hurriedly brushing off the crumbs, grabbing the drum sticks, playing for 2 bars, then returning to the snacks. Can't do that in church! :D
Who would make an oboist play a plastic oboe, or a violinst an electric violin with a digital readout telling them their "A" is in tune? What organist would choose even a very fine digi-box over a real Schlicker pipe organ, with 2,040-pipe stereo filling the room? Despite the colossal problems of putting drum kits (designed to be heard over the chatter and dulled senses of a night club) into a church, it's hard to beat the glory of Zildjian mystery-wonder-Turkish-delight-subtlety-of-joy coursing through the air to your eardrums.
I've just seen my first e-drum set, and in its context (a tiny music area in a Gothic church with singing-friendly acoustics), it is wonderful! The drummer has his own amp and is really considerate of everyone around him; and the drum kit sounds real, not the psssh-psssh thing that made everyone hate electric drums when they first came out. Hate, hate. Hate, hate. No longer hate.
I know that pipe organs are just synthesized musical instruments, and trumpets are just synthesized ram's horns, and probably shophar players despise those "fake" instruments in the orchestra, and shepherds who still gut their sheep or cats for their harp strings despise the tinny, phony metal sound of a guitar. But there is a niceness of tone to well-made acoustic things that is... just plain lovely, and quiet to the ears and soul.
I've noticed percussionists are almost always called "drummers" these days. Is a drummer a percussionist that doesn't know how to get louder or softer, or follow the breathing of the lead singer (but performs like a drummer in a marching band)? What sort of terminology do you use, folks, to describe the man/woman with the sticks and brushes? Who's the best drummer you ever worked with, and what made him/her so great? Can we balance this discussion with some good words for the people who carry the beat?
Hi Greg "Who's the best drummer you ever worked with, and what made him/her so great? Can we balance this discussion with some good words for the people who carry the beat?"
The best drummer I've ever worked with is the one who prompted this discussion in the first place. I love playing when he drums - his timing is always perfect and he puts so much expression into his playing that it inspires the rest of the band to do the same. Technically he is faultless and the sound of the band is so much better when he plays, we are all much tighter.
Now if only he had the same self-control during practice time .... :)
Guitars have to tune their instruments; the drummer has to tune his head. Like my friend Kurt James, a drummer-philosopher, said, "Greg, drums are loud. It is their nature." The generosity of this drummer in providing music that truly helps people sing perhaps outweighs the momentary irritation of bang-crash-ding...bump bumpbumpbump... tick ticktick... snk... (tune tom) bp bp bp... ka-thump (it's ready) ~(:<)
Hey, I haven't read all six pages of replies so this may be a bit redundant...I believe it has to do with what the group(worship team) culture is. Have I, as a leader made my expectations for practice known and do I enforce them(tactfully)? I'd say to the drummer that if you really, really have to play, come early and rock out. Then, when people come and are tuning, stuff like that, "sticks and picks down."
It seems to me that alot of these issues have to do with attitude. Most of us worship people are volenteers at our church, right? So, I think we and others on our team need to be reminded often that it really is a privilege and not a right to be involved and that there is a responsibility we carry in that. I don't really care how awesome a drummer/anyone is if they have a bad attitude. I'll take the not so good drummer/person with the right heart and attitude anyday.