Skills Required of Drummers and Guitarists

For centuries, music has taken many forms in society. People in all areas of the world regularly discover new ways to make melodies and create unique sounds. This behavior can be seen in guitarists and drummers alike. While both instrumentalists are fairly commonplace, the variations of style are limitless. Though the two are appreciated in fluctuating degrees, both drums and guitar require a great deal of skill to play well. They work together seamlessly and share several fundamentals in spite of their nearly countless differences. Coordination, dexterity, basic technique, and endurance are all factors of maximum significance in guitar as well as percussion.

One of the most crucial skills necessary to play drums or guitar is coordination. Even the simplest riffs and beats require the player’s ability to do more than one job at a time. For example, guitarists consistently work with both hands performing separate tasks simultaneously. One hand must press down specific strings while the other hand strums, and these placements are ever-changing. It is an absolute necessity for the instrumentalist to be familiar with his or her guitar in order to play with fluidity. Otherwise, without this fluidity, the difference between beautiful music and unappealing noise is clearly outlined. The same is true for percussionists. Proper drummers must be completely comfortable with their drum kits. At any given time, drumming involves the right and left hand as well as one or both feet to all move in separate manners at once. These individual strikes combine to create the music with which the listener is familiar. In the case of both instruments, music is the result of synchronized note sequences. For a tune to be present, the capability to foster collaboration must be present.

The aforementioned coordination skill is merely an applied combination of central physical skills. Among these is dexterity. One’s level of dexterity is a major determinant in the level of talent exhibited. A dexterous individual possesses agility and can maneuver with ease. As such, it is key in contributing to the player’s amount of comfort with his or her instrument. Dexterity plays a notable role in the job of a guitarist. With this stringed instrument, it is critical that one is nimble and efficient with movements along the fretboard. A practiced player is in complete control of his or her fingers, and thus is enabled to create dynamic sounds while exerting minimal effort. Guitarists operate in a smaller scale than drummers, but dexterity holds equal importance in percussion. Drummers must maintain total, undisputed authority over their limbs while striking pieces of the set. Volume control is a vital aspect of percussion in music. That control is a matter of directing the force of each impact to correspond to degrees ranging from ghost notes to booming accents. Where each strike falls on this scale is determined solely by the player’s sense for strength behind the motion. Furthermore, variation in drumming can only be achieved through traveling between different parts of the kit. Such behavior calls for solid dexterity. Like a muscle, dexterity is strengthened with time and repetition.

In addition to the necessary physical abilities required of musicians, instrument-specific techniques are needed. These basic techniques build the foundation of music for guitars and drums. Over time, guitarists become familiar with numerous chords. A chord is a combination of musical tones created by pressing down specific strings concurrently. There are copious amounts of chords, and each of them acts as a building block in the composition of melodies. Drummers also use basic components to create music. In percussion, these components are referred to as rudiments. Rudiments are simply sets of patterns consisting of a serious of strikes in a defined order. Songs on the drums are played through a sequence of rudiments just as guitarists use a sequence of chords. Both instrumentalists must familiarize themselves with these fundamental techniques in order to fabricate music.

Even with stable skills and knowledge, instrumentalists must have endurance in order to avoid being withheld from progressing in their respective trades. Once musicians understand and employ their technical training, an abundance of practice is imperative. This way, the instrument can be played steadily for a respectable amount of time. Playing guitar can provoke several different types of fatigue from wrist pain to finger soreness. The most effective way to overcome these obstacles is repeated confrontation with them. Likewise, physical endurance is paramount in drumming. Percussionists can tire swiftly after only minutes of playing, as the act involves a full range of motion in the arms as well as continuous, strenuous tasks with the legs. As each muscle strengthens over time, the instrumentalist’s amount of endurance grows. Though the type of endurance needed in guitarists and drummers varies, the weight of the trait remains the same.

Despite the numerous differences between guitars and drums, both require coordination, dexterity, basic technique, and endurance. The two instruments are played through similar ideas and fundamentals. In both cases, music results from combining these essential skills and methods. As musicians become comfortable with the concepts, an endless supply of variation and creativity can emerge regardless of which instrument they play.

Why should you buy kids drums?

Toddlers are the children aging between 1 and 3and are often also called as 1 year. During these years, children change from grumpy infants to clumsy toddlers who lively explorers of their world. A toddler develops in these main areas:

Physical development: In these years, a child becomes stronger and starts to look longer and leaner.

Cognitive development: A child this age makes great strides in being able to catch and thinking capacity. They will many W & H questions at you. In these years, they learn to follow you, replicate you and also learn their small rhymes and few alphabets too. In this stage, it is important to get a drum set for kids to enhance their cognitive sense, motor sense, touching and hearing sense.

Moreover, drums make children enjoy fun along with the above said medical information. Kid drum set will be colorful, and toy-music in which it will induce the children to play more.

Emotional and social development: Between the ages of 1 and 3, they gradually learn how to manage their feelings. Wherever they are, he/she will search for mom every now and then.

Language: By age 2, most children can say at least 50 words. By age 3, a child may know some five hundreds of words and be able to carry on conversations and babble their own stories.

Sensory and motor development: By age 2, most children can walk up stairs one at a time, kick a ball, and draw simple strokes with a pencil.

Each child grows and gains skills at his or her own pace. It is common for a child to be ahead in one area, such as language, but a little behind in another. Learning by playing is a different concept that can make the children to grasp the things easily and keep in memory forever.

Drum Corps International Rolls Out 2017 Season

Though the concept of marching bands and more specifically, drum and bugle corps, dates well before the 20th century, since 1972, Drum Corps International has provided youth enrichment and entertainment for millions in the United States. Around the globe, other organizations have followed the DCI model.

So what is a “drum and bugle corps”? Most people easily identify with their high school marching band, but drum corps goes a huge step further. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, Drum Corps International is the governing body to a collective of individual drum and bugle corps groups across the United States. DCI sanctioned competitions, the Summer Music Games, brings the corps to competition, leading to a week-long finals event in August. The groups, usually independent non-profits, are classified as World Class (the elite groups with a maximum of 150 members), Open Class (smaller and easier to become a member), and International Class (for non-U.S. groups).

Let’s get one thing straight. Drum corps is not high school marching band. The most notable difference is the absence of woodwind instruments. Drum corps musicians are “buglers” and percussionists. However, the term “bugle” is a misnomer in the world of drums and bugle corps. It has been decades since a true bugle was used. Traditionally, American drum corps use two-valved, vertical piston, bell-front brass instruments, ranging in voice from soprano to contra bass. More recently, groups have added instruments beyond those in the key of G to include B-flat and F instruments, as well as three and four-valved instruments. Compliment massive percussion sections and the brass sections with a group of flag, rifle, and saber-spinning dancers-the colorguard-and you have a drum corps. The tempos, movement, gymnastics and music combine for what can almost be described as acrobatic.

After auditions in the late fall and early winter, youth between the ages of 13 and 21 meet regularly through the winter to rehearse and prepare their summer show. In late May and early June, the kids finally come together for “every days” where they are together for the remainder of the summer, rehearsing and traveling to competition.

As the elite drum and bugle corps groups, World Class drum corps sometimes overshadow Open Class and International Class. The current World Class champion is the Blue Devils from Concord, California. This group is so well organized, it has two feeder corps for alternate musicians and younger musicians-sort of a farm league as one would see in professional baseball. Mirroring its big brother corps, Blue Devils B is the current Open Class champions. Blue Devils were followed in the 2009 World Class championships by Carolina Crown, a former Division II champion (Division II became Open Class), The Cadets in third place, The Cavaliers in fourth place, and Santa Clara Vanguard in fifth place. These groups are consistently among the top twelve corps.

This season we can expect exciting shows from all the corps, but to highlight the top five:

Blue Devils-apparently a well guarded secret as of this publication, the Blue Devils show will reportedly revolve around a “Reflections” theme and include the use of mirrors on the field.

Carolina Crown-“A Second Chance” features the second symphonies of composers Mahler, Khatchaturian, Marquez, and Elgar.

The Cavaliers-“Mad World”, an avant garde show including music by Roland Orzabal, Peter Graham, Pat Metheney, and Charlie Chaplin.

The Cadets-“Toy Soldier” which includes pieces focused on, you guessed it, toy soldiers, such as Babes in Toyland.

Santa Clara Vanguard-“Bartok” a show comprising selections from Bela Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra” and “Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta.”

These five shows for 2017 represent the complexity and sophistication of musical skill the thousands of young adults in drum corps have. Unfortunately, West Coast fans do not have the same number of opportunities to catch a drum corps show as their East coast counterparts. As the summer progresses, corps from Western states start migrating east for the week of finals in Indianapolis.

Drumming 101: Wrist Technique

If you are new to drumming, you likely use more arm than you have to when playing. Over time, you’ll learn that just as much if not more power can be applied to the drums by wrist movement alone as opposed a full body workout.

I used to play like Animal from the Muppets. I also used to be of the mindset that if you weren’t hitting the skins as hard as you possibly could, you weren’t playing the drums with enough heart. The result of that thinking were broken sticks, busted heads, and bloody, cramped-up hands.

Well, nobody has time for that.

Now, almost twenty years later, I rarely wear myself out while drumming, even if it’s an intense session. Why? Mostly because I use wrists instead of arms when I play. I’m pretty hardheaded; had I learned this lesson after only five years of play, I would be really good today. As it stands, I’m only pretty good.

Where I used to let my arms flail wildly, I now keep them poised in largely the same place over the drum set and let my wrists and hands do most of the work. Doing so has greatly increased my roll speed, it has greatly increased my stamina, and it has given me a vast amount of control over what I’m doing. In short, it works.

Practice on your snare. Poise your arms comfortably so that the tips of both sticks just rest on the head of the snare. Then make up a rhythm (or, if you are familiar with rudiments, use one of those) and do it over and over, concentrating hard on not moving your elbows or shoulders even a tiny bit.

Slowly speed up until you are right at the edge of difficult, and then keep that pace for a while, speeding up again only when you are comfortable at the previous pace. Before long, your sticks will be flying and you’ll be accurately doing what your mind wants to do instead of fumbling the sticks like a caveman and wondering why you aren’t improving.

In a very short time, you will be incorporating wrist movement into all sorts of little techniques that you never considered before when you were trying to murder the drums by bludgeoning. Check out ‘drum technique’ videos on YouTube, and you’ll see what I mean. Pay close attention to the arms and wrists of the drummer you are watching; you will find they are doing all the work.

Bedford, New York Drummer Finds Her Groove

In an occupation dominated by men, 26 year old drummer Jen Clarke of Bedford stands out. On more than one occasion she’s been confronted with comments like, “What are you carrying those for your boyfriend,” she says. She’s not worried either way because anyone who’s caught her pounding away at local bars like Jackson Wheeler in Pleasantville and Pete’s Saloon in Elmsford probably has found themselves banging on their steering wheels in similar fashion after last call goes out.

Ms. Clarke describes herself as a “groove drummer” or someone who’s there to make the band sound good, and “not just to show off your chops,” she says. Still, before actually finding her niche, a lot of random banging went on between her first drum set in the fifth grade and The River Bottom Nightmare band at 14. “I didn’t really start studying the instrument until four or five years ago,” says Ms. Clarke.

She recently returned from two years of studying at the prestigious University of North Texas, which boasts one of the nation’s best jazz programs. While working toward her liberal studies degree at SUNY Purchase, she hooked up with an ensemble group in White Plains, and “sat back and listened,” she says. After eight months of patience, she began to play with numerous tri-state area musicians and bands such as The Wallbangers and The Geoff Hartwell Band.

In addition, Ms. Clarke has played solo gigs with Lew Soloff of Blood Sweat and Tears and Carmen Leggio of the Buddy Rich Band. She can also be heard on several CD’s, including one to be released in August called, “Future Blues : A Tribute to Paramount Records.

So do big city names like these make her nervous? Working with such professionals raises the level of her game. In contrast, she says, “I’d like to think, I raise the level of theirs too.” On the other hand, as a club musician, she’s seen her share of seedy environments, but she always gets a thrill from helping to pull it together with the band in hopes that the opportunity arises, she says, “to lay it out there and play your ass off.”

Ms. Clarke’s not even deterred by one enthusiastic gentlemen who points this huge zoom lens at her on the occasional gigs. “You got to love him,” she says about her dad.

In so much, she fondly recalls his consistent lament whenever she would descend to the basement. “Oh the banging,” she recalls, and eventually both her parents came around to the life she chose. “I don’t think they were thrilled that that’s the career I chose but they are the type of parents that are just like whatever makes you happy makes us happy,” she says.

Still, she doesn’t sit down and write music but she loves being one of the working pieces of a band that creates a sound together as a unit. Her part, Ms. Clarke says, “is to give it shape and direction and excitement.

Ms. Clarke has never been prone to getting involved in artistic meltdowns and prides herself on being easy going and flexible on these collaborative efforts. “If I meet someone I am creatively connected to, I will open up to them,” she says.

Mostly she wants to know what’s expected of her so she can get it done for the band. Getting it done, while she’s not performing or tutoring music lessons twice a week, also means staying current and being influenced by as wide a variety of sources as possible. She sees herself a chameleon who hopefully can draw on all these sources and adapt to whatever the musical situation demands. Looking forward, she wants to go on “playing good music, with good musicians and making good money.”

The Crazy World of Drummers: The Nice Guys of Rock

Drummers are likeable… Keith Moon, Charlie Watts, Ringo Starr, Mick Fleetwood, Mitch Mitchell, Dave Grohl, etc. Drummers are also probably the least vain members of a rock group. They aren’t pretentious, because they just want to bash things. They also probably feel inclined to try and get noticed at the back, behind the prima donna lead singer and strutting peacock of a lead guitarist.

The laconic Charlie Watts, unlike his Rolling Stone bandmate and frontman Mick Jagger, has never been a rock star who went in search of the limelight. At parties he’d be the one who preferred chatting to ‘normal’ folk and displaying his artistic talent by drawing them.

Ringo Starr was probably the most popular Beatle. Paul McCartney was savaged and accused of breaking up the Beatles. John Lennon spoke his mind and upset a few people (even if they often deserved to be upset) and George Harrison was criticized for his beliefs. Ringo made people laugh and, no, that wasn’t his drumming.

Tragedies and Triumphs

Losing an arm in a car accident would normally end a drummer’s career, but not Def Leppard’s Rick Allen. Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott reckons Rick is a better drummer now than when he had two arms. Okay, he has had some assistance from electronics, but the man’s determination, described in the (tiresome) vernacular, has been ‘awesome’.

Former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt had too many drinks in 1973 and fell several floors. Ending up in a wheelchair hasn’t dampened Wyatt’s musical creativity and he’s widely respected across the board for both his talent and guts.

Dave Grohl, when in Nirvana, had to live through the hellish scenario of his singer, guitarist and the band’s chief songwriter committing suicide. It’s a tribute to Grohl’s resilience that Kurt Cobain’s death somehow galvanized the Foo Fighters frontman to greater musical heights. Almost uniquely in rock history he switched successfully from drums to guitar.

Some drummers eventually used up their nine lives. Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and the Who’s Keith Moon packed half a dozen lifetimes into their time on Earth, which ended in their early 30s. Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson went for a swim in 1983, after a hard day’s drinking, and never came back alive. He was only 39.

Drummers in the Eye of the Storm

Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones had a hard act to follow in replacing Keith Moon in the Who. Even harder when frontman Roger Daltrey was still pining for Keith and rubbishing Jones. Moon was such a force of nature that nobody was really going to be up to scratch.

Phil Collins of Genesis also found out that it’s hard trying to replace a legend, when he played with Led Zeppelin at Live Aid in 1985. The Led Zeppelin reunion was missing the late, lamented drummer John Bonham. Guitarist Jimmy Page (intriguingly said to be “dribbling” by Collins) asked Phil whether he knew the Led Zep songs and how they went. Phil answered. Jimmy said: “No. No.” A bit unnerving for Collins, who had just flown in from London on Concorde, after playing at the London leg of the event. Led Zeppelin refused to let footage of their performance appear again and blamed what they saw as a bad performance mainly on Collins. Well, it seemed a good comeback to me and Phil Collins still reckoned he knew his parts.

The magnificent Ginger Baker still has a volatile nature though he’s in his early 70s. His antipathy towards bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce made their deciding to join guitarist Eric Clapton to form ’60s supergroup Cream all the more surprising.

Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood survived tempestuous times with Fleetwood Mac, but is best remembered, in the UK at least, for being a co-presenter, with glamour girl Samantha Fox, at the shambolic 1989 Brit Awards.

A Quiet Drummer

Some drummers are, paradoxically, quiet people. Well, one that I can think of. Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook used to be provoked out of his quietude by the mischievous Pistols singer Johnny Rotten, who called Cook too “church mousy” quiet. Cook seemed a bit out of place alongside Rotten, bassist Sid Vicious and guitarist Steve Jones, who could all be called, euphemistically, ‘wild’. Cook hated meeting the Press and the pervading antagonistic atmosphere, whereas Rotten reveled in it.

I wanted a drum as a little boy. But I never got one, so I’m just jealous of drummers, really.

My Friend the Drummer

Some of the deepest levels that my mind has reached have been when listening to music. There are so many intricacies and nuances that can be perceived from just one song of any artist that it is almost impossible to learn everything. There was one artist that I became very particular too. With this artist I listened to the way in which he played, his mannerisms, how aggressive he was, how he interacted with other musicians, and what notes he did or did not play. I listened to this artist so much that I began to see how much he was like me.

To me his music had all the proper elements. I could listen to it in any mood. The instrument of focus is the drums. I realized this instrument really symbolized who I was because of the sound, position, and the manner played. The drums are always at the back of the band, because the drums would drown out other instruments. I usually sit at the back of the room or I am not the most up front person, so it suits my personality. The drums can keep the rhythm soft or aggressive, can be the loudest instrument or the softest (thus being the one in charge or allowing for someone else to be heard). When played in certain ways multiple notions, feelings, and interactions can be created. I feel that most people tend to think I am soft spoken, but once they get to know me they see that I have an aggressive personality. The drums can produce multi-tonal notes, polyrhythms, and cross rhythms that cannot be produced by any other instrument. The notes have almost no duration like any melodic instrument. The sound is either there or it is not. Elvin Jones, one of the world’s most prestigious jazz drummers demonstrates all of these qualities within the drums.

Elvin Jones is a deceased jazz drummer who played with many of the great influential jazz artists (Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and even played in a house band while in the United States Military). Elvin and I have many similar qualities. We both began listening to music at a very young age. Although, I was not interested in jazz at a young age, the more I listened to music the more experience and understanding I gained of how people play together, which later led to my appreciation of jazz. Elvin and I also both play the drums. I fell in love with his style of playing because he enjoys playing the same way I do. Since I started playing the drums, I always liked being able to play what I wanted to play, when I wanted to play it, and how I wanted to play it. I wanted the music to be ultimately free with no restrictions. This is exactly how all of Elvin’s style of music is played. Many believe that there is no real rhyme or reason to his music or it is controversial because it is not very orthodox. It takes a while to realize that there is a deeper meaning and more to be heard within the music. To the average listener, the song has no rhyme or reason. However to the listener who has heard the song more than a thousand times, learns that the music flows and interacts with other instruments. Finally, since we both play the same instrument, we both have to practice.

I have been listening to Elvin for many years. I listen to different albums when I am feeling in different moods. Most often I listened to the most free-sounding album I could find (free meaning that there is no pulse indicated in the music, the time signature can switch, it is essentially wherever the musicians want to go with the music). To me, this music was like deciphering a puzzle. The music was something to occupy my mind. Trying to figure out how the instruments interact so the music made sense completely enticed me and required full attention. I would completely concentrate on Elvin, because I could understand his instrument. I could understand the way rhythmic instruments worked, but not the role that harmony, melody, and chords played. So I had to use Elvin as a device to figure out what was going on in the music. I used this as my escape.

Elvin was my escape and I had used him many times when I was stressed out or wanted to take a break from situations that were a strain on the mind. Elvin was the perfect escape and never judged any situation, only presented the listener with a new one. It was the perfect thing to listen to when you wanted to escape or reflect on a stressful moment and make it a better time in life. Elvin and I had gone through many hard times together. There was a time when my uncle had an aneurysm at a young age and I knew nothing of his condition. There was no communication to me. It took a while before if I knew he was even alive. This meant I had a lot of time to reflect, listening to my favorite music, and thinking about good memories that were had. Finally when I did learn that he was going to be fine, I had Elvin to thank for keeping me busy. There was more than one incident when the music was there to take me away, but not all situations have to be bad. When I would become stressed from arguing with parents (when I was younger) about who was right and who was wrong, I always had Elvin’s music and ways to show me what was right. He had given me something to aspire to and work towards. Whenever there were daily stressors and I had free time, I could go out and practice my drums attempting to be like Elvin.

I think that my friend Elvin is the best friend that there can be. It combines all of the aspects that you could ever need and it sticks with me for life. Plus whenever I am not playing the music, my favorite tune for the week will still be stuck in my head. His music benefited me in every way possible. Even if there was poor performance on the sports field and everyone blamed the music. It seemed like the whole school was asking me why I bothered to play music when I had so much potential. I felt like everyone was out to get me, trying to get me to do something I didn’t want to do. The difference was that music was always with you. When playing a sport, you can’t really get to know anybody, just watch and learn. One moment you have the ball and in the glory and then off to someone else. Music whether your on it or off it is always there and Elvin’s flowing rhythms were always in my head.

Unfortunately, the aspiring dream to become Elvin dwindled and reality had to set in. There can only be one Elvin Jones and unfortunately jazz music is fading fast (despite what most jazz players now like to think). For me, I had to face facts and that I had an opportunity to go to college. This opportunity will hopefully bring me a high earning job sometime later in life. However, the music is still with me, so my relationship with Elvin Jones still continues and he remains in my head. The relationship continues and playing drums is a skill I will never lose and the relationship is something that I will never forget. Ultimately, Elvin and I are equal because we enjoy spending life doing what makes us the happiest, and that is playing the instrument.