When you’re learning to play drums, you will discover several different genres and music styles. As you progress, you will want to be able to emulate a drummer’s style, and manipulate it to make it your own. Here, Baltimore, MD drum teacher Sean M. shares his tips to help you create your own signature sound…
When it comes to drumming, there are so many different types of licks, genres, fills, and techniques. While it’s a great idea to learn to play different drum styles, most drummers want to eventually develop their own signature sound. Here’s a quick guide to help you develop your own distinctive sound.
Essentially, developing an original style means making conscious decisions about what you’re doing on the drum set. It takes a long time to learn this type of control. A drummer needs to build a good amount of skill to be able to understand all of the possibilities on drums.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean you need to be able to play every lick in every style. The goal is to familiarize yourself with different techniques, combinations, grooves, and fills. Once you are familiar with all of these possibilities, you can begin to make personalized decisions and develop your own style.
Step 1: Listen
First and foremost, you must listen. Listen to everything you can find. Listen to drummers you like, and even drummers you don’t like. Figure out which techniques you want to learn. Again, your style is all about your preferences, and you develop these preferences by listening.
Step 2: Experiment
Now it’s time to take what you’ve heard and apply it during practice. This is the time to try a lot of different things at the drum kit. Switch from matched grip to traditional grip, try using the toms to play a fill, Play a new combo. Feel free to experiment and have fun, you may discover something new that sounds great!
Step 3: Refine
Once you’ve figured out your direction, it’s time to smooth things out. Now is the time to make decisions. Use everything you’ve gained from listening, practicing, and experimenting. This is the fun part; be whatever kind of drummer you want to be!
Just like many aspects of playing drums, developing your sound doesn’t happen overnight, so remember to be patient. Repeat this three-step process, practice hard, and have fun. Before you know it, you will improve your skills and develop your own signature sound.
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Sean M. teaches drums, guitar, and music theory in Baltimore, MD. He is currently studying music composition at the University of Maryland. Sean has been teaching private lessons since 2011. Learn more about Sean here!
Photo by James England