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Personality of the Beat: Is it the Drums or the Drummer?

In addition to the different rhythms that make the music world go ‘round, there is always an element of creativity and style in any performance, drum jam or drum circle that reflects the personality of the drummer. For those who have experienced the mastery of drumming rudiments, there is a noticeable difference between the connection a drummer has to his or her instrument while practicing the basics, versus when that same drummer is performing or in the mix of the drum circle vibe. But, does the personality and style of the rhythm come from the drums being played, or, is the drummer’s personality the key factor in the groove?

When we play drums, the thrill of a drum roll or the pop of the djembe are motivational, bringing us alive as instruments of rhythm ourselves. This connection to the drums allows our own personality to shine through, encouraging other drummers or instrumentalists to follow along and include their own personality with the beat. The experience of drumming is a connection to the drum and the beat, both feeding back into the drummer as he or she delights with the rhythms being played.

However, this thrill can still only exist when the drum is the right drum; faking it with the wrong drum disallows the authenticity of the musical experience for both the musician and the audience (or, other musicians). The best rhythms are symbiotic experiences between the drummer(s) and the drum(s), where each hit is a multi-faceted understanding that showcases both the drum and the drummer, effortlessly. Getting to that point means a drummer must choose his or her drum wisely, defining the personality of the beat through the trial and error process of finding the right drum.

In short, to be a great drummer, it really helps to have a drum you love, because when you love your drum, your groove is unstoppable.

Does the snare drum roll give you chills? Does the snap of the djembe make you want to dance, or is it your own personality that brings the connection to the audience or participants? 

29th Oct 2014

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