Worship Musician Magazine November 2021 | Page 45

Of course , we want our drummers practicing their instrument in their own time with a metronome . Over time , this will improve their internal metronome more than anything else . But what about right here and now in our rehearsal as we prepare songs for the service … can anything be done ?
Yes , I believe it can ! With generally very positive results , I have found that these techniques have helped …
For the drummer who finds it difficult to add their playing to a previously established tempo from other instruments : Have them play their drum beat with their sticks on their legs ( not on the kit ) during the section of music before they come in . At the moment the drums enter the arrangement , they simply shift their sticks to the kit . Repeat as needed . No big drum fill entrance . Not even a cymbal . Just add the drum beat - typically on kick , high-hat and snare . Help them feel the joy of the constant time through the transition . If there ’ s improvement , shower them with compliments !
For the drummer who rushes fills ( like many , MANY drummers do ): While rehearsing an especially problematic song , have the drummer play only the simple , in-time drum beat as the band plays and sings . No drum fills . No crash cymbals . Don ’ t even switch from hi-hat to ride ! Help them feel the improved groove . They may never have played music this together before !
If tempos are fluctuating randomly throughout the song : consider having the drummer switch from sticks to soft-tipped mallets . Instead of playing snare and cymbals have them play just the kick drum and floor tom . Now that they ’ re playing more like a percussionist ( rather than a drummer with all the sizzle and excitement of cymbals ) they may be able to lean back into the good timing of other , more proficient instrumentalists around them .
If our groove improves , stop the song and ask other band members to make a comment about how much better the overall feel of the song is now . Lots of positive affirmation may help the drummer recognize the primacy of timekeeping and that actual drumming is a secondary role . Over time , and as they are able , slowly have them add extra elements , but in baby steps . Tightly closed hi-hats for verses . Slightly slushier for choruses . A single crash cymbal hit at the right moment . Ride cymbals instead of hi-hat . Simpler . shorter drum fills before adding anything longer and more elaborate .
Ultimately , we want our drummer - and every member of the team - to taste the higher joy that is possible through music . It can be fun for a drummer to play drums in a way that pleases him or herself . But it ’ s more fun to play drums in a band with great timing . It ’ s even more fun to experience that band ’ s well-timed songs engaging with a crowd of people - our congregation . But the highest joy I have found through music is to have the sense that I have played a small role in helping my congregation connect more deeply with Almighty God through our songs . Playing in time is a massive help towards achieving that goal .
This is my fourth article on the subject of Sonic Soup - the causes of it , and how to clean up the mess . To catch up with the previous articles , make sure you check out Sonic Soup or a SONIC EMBRACE ?, Sonic Soup - RESTS ARE GOLD and , Sonic Soup - Timekeeping .
Grant Norsworthy founder of MoreThanMusicMentor . com providing training for worshipping musicians .
MoreThanMusicMentor . com
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