Worship Band - The Drummer's Job

Adapted from a clinic taught by Jerry Tyson.  jerrytyson@earthlink.net

  • The Drummer / Aux Percussion is the bus by which the entire band must travel
    • In a worship band setting, the drummer is in charge of time
    • The Aux Percussionist enhances and intensifies the rhythmic motion in a song
    • Djembes, cajones, congas, timbales, shakers, tambourines, and triangles are all instruments which can bring a great deal of depth to a song
  • The Drummer and Percussionist must have good time and good feel
    • A metronome or drum machine is a necessary tool to use to help internalize one's time feel
    • Most all of the larger more popular bands are using a click track or drum machine to keep everyone on the same page and even to enhance the music by adding drum loops
  • Good technique is essential for good time and endurance
    • Bad technique can wear a drummer out quicker than anything and if the drummer begins to get tired the time will begin to slow down
  • Good visual communication is key to a drummer's success
    • If the drummer is not aware of his surroundings, he may miss a cut off or a great musical moment. This can be disastrous.
    • Don't bury your head or stare off into space, watch the Worship Leader for instruction and cues 
  • Avoid Playing too much
    • Complex rhythms are almost always a combination of many elements, not just one
    • Complex rhythms require a team to make them work
  • Be sensitive to the needs of your band
    • Be open to providing a little hi hat click for your vocalists or instrumentalists when needed
    • Know the tempos of all of the songs and be ready to count them off
    • Know all the transitions in your worship set, you are the bus
  • The Worship Leader has the final say
    • In some cases, the instrumentalists may have more musical experience than the person up front.  
    • Musical perfection is secondary to giving God the Glory he deserves. Much of this comes from attitude and servitude.
    • While input is healthy, and constructive criticism is part of the band dynamic, keep egos in check and realize the weighty responsibility a Worship Leader carries in ushering a congregation into the throne-room of Grace.
  • Don't overplay - LESS IS MORE


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