When you’re learning to play drums you will find many artists you want to emulate. This is a great way to get started, but eventually you will want to develop your own drumming style. Here, San Diego, CA drum teacher Maegan W. shares her tips to help you develop your own unique style…
When it comes to learning drums, what is style, and how do we develop our own drum style? Read on for the answers to these important questions.
When you think about any drummer who has made a name for himself (or herself), or made an impact on drumming and music as a whole, it’s usually because he stands out in some way, and has a distinct drum style that people recognize.
The most successful drummers are well known and recognized everywhere. You can figure out who is playing by the first eight bars of a song. Their sound is so well defined, that even non-drummers notice their signature sounds, fills, and style.
There’s a big difference between being inspired by other drummers, and simply copying their sound. It’s great to have musical influences, but you need to take this a step further and develop your own drum style.
We all have our individual sound and purpose. Sometimes, we’re afraid to express ourselves, so we play it safe and copy other people. The truth is, however, once you find, develop, and express your unique voice, you will have found what makes you valuable as a drummer.
Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate drummer, these tips will help you develop your own unique drum style.
So how do we find our voice or sound? Believe it or not, we find it by listening. Turn off the music, and just play. Express whatever comes to you. Don’t worry about how it sounds initially, just try everything that comes to mind.
Play freely, and have fun. When you hear something you like, repeat it over and over to lock it in. This is now one of your signatures.
Really get in the zone for this process. When we connect with music in this way, something magical happens. This concept may seem weird to you, but I assure you, most of your favorite drummers do the same thing when they practice.
2. Add Your Own Twist
At this point, you’re ready to start playing with some music. Play along with a song, but also incorporate what you have discovered as your sounds and fills.
If there are fills or ideas that you have adopted from other drummers, try adding your own twist. You can take basic ideas and do simple things that completely change the way something sounds.
Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to drumming. Be creative, take chances, and try something new!
Until next time, happy drumming!
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Maegan W. teaches drums, songwriting, and more in San Diego, CA. She earned a degree in Percussion from the Musician’s Institute, and has been teaching private lessons since 2004. Learn more about Maegan here!
Photo by FXR