Every drummer wishes he/she could play as well as the professionals – so how do you achieve this goal? Is it years and years of tough grueling lessons and instruction? This is a question many ask themselves as they dive into the world of drumming. Do not get discouraged when you look at pro drummers like Travis Barker, Thomas Lang, or Mike Portnoy, instead be inspired. Every drummer is different in their own way and offers a new skill or style to the table. What we should learn though, is how these drummers became “professionals”, and how we should move closer to their level of drumming.
The term professional drummer is a very interesting term; it can have many different meanings. Most people think a professional drummer is one who has studied the drums through post secondary education and has graduated with some sort of certificate. This is not entirely true, as I have seen many drummers who have done this and still cannot play the drums very well at all. On the flip side, I have seen and heard many drummers who have never attended music school, and are classified as professionals. So to be more specific, I would say a professional drummer as one who is well educated on the instrument, and who plays for a living ( having a profession on the drums). This being said, any one of us can become professional drummers.
If you look at some famous drummers like Travis Barker, Neil Peart, and Steve Gadd, you will notice they are more than just drummers; they are musicians. They have an understanding for the style of music they play. This is something every drummer must have. On your journey to drumming like these pros, you should take the time to really listen to the music you are playing. Try to get a feel for the style, and try and think about what you are going to play.
Another big thing you should keep in mind is playing on time. The first thing you need to do as a drummer before anything else is work on your timing. This may mean playing simpler beats, just as long as the timing is on. If you listen to any great song, it’s not so much as the beat the drummer plays; it’s more the preciseness of the drumming that makes it good. Look at some of Travis Barkers drum beats. Some of these are very basic; however the beats are so tight the whole song sounds that much better. Before you go trying to play beats and fills you cannot play, work more on the preciseness of your playing. The Rock Drumming System is perfect for this type of training. It starts out with beginner beats, and moves all the way to more advanced grooves. The beats are played with a metronome so you can work on your timing.
Apart from being on time and being musical, a professional drummer knows many different styles. Believe it or not, Travis Barker started his drumming career in Jazz. In fact, most professionals start with jazz drumming and move on from there. Rock drumming is very popular these days, however do not limit yourself to it. Knowing many styles of drumming will increase your chances of getting work and gigs. In addition to this, your variety of drumming around the kit will increase big time. A great start to this is learning Jazz and Latin music on the drums. Both of these styles can be integrated into rock, and used to increase your skills as a rock drummer. The Jazz Drumming System and Latin Drumming System are perfect ways to learn these new styles of music!
So as you can see, it is not as hard as you think to drum like a professional. Learning some different styles of drumming, learning how to play on time, and learning how to listen to the music more is a great start. Like I said before, do not get discouraged and the skill levels of these drummers. Each drummer brings their own personal skills to the table. Just make sure you are practicing with the right tools, and learning the right skills a drummer needs to move up in the music world.