RichGriese.NET · Music / Drumming

Music / Drumming

Music is a powerful tool. Music is composed of rhythm, melody, and harmony. As a drummer, rhythm is the part of music that has always appealed to me. I believe rhythm is the “heart beat” of not just music, but of life, and has great power. It’s also accessible to everyone at any time.

Everyone has experienced the joy of clapping along to a song. When you’re doing that, you’re drumming. Let me say that again… you know how to clap, you’re an awesome clapper, so… you’re already a drummer. Since you’re already a drummer, I hope to convince you to explore the power of drumming further, and use it’s power to make your life happier.

As you listen, over time maybe you’ll evolve from listing only to listening and clapping, and one day further evolve to listening and doing a little more formal drumming with your hands, and eventually find and use the beauty of rhythm to make your life happier.

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Add joy to your life

Drumming is meditative. The repetitive practice of counting; 1, 2, 3, 4 or 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &, or even 1 da & da 2 da & da 3 da & da 4 da & da form a meditative background to push out the stress and worries of daily life, and provide a framework for further exercises with the hands. Hand patterns, like the magical “paradiddle” RLRRLRLLRLRRLRLL… the “mother of all rudiments”, help you concentrate, which in itself is one of the foundations of happiness. Counting, hand patterns, and the music you play along with are all combined into a total experience. All this helps you eventually achieve something like what in modern psychology is called a flow state, what ancient Greeks referred to as an ecstatic state, and Buddhists refer to as the jhānas.

The goal of this approach is to learn to enjoy music to the point that you feel connected to, or part of the music. To have the feeling of “dancing with your hands”, and over time, your entire body, an experience that will give you a feeling of inner joy.

Learning to drum should be fun. That means never losing site of the fact that you’re learning to play drums so that you can make music. And that means you should spend a lot of time playing along to actual music. Learning to drum will include a music appreciation element. And let’s face it, listening to music isn’t like eating liver… it’s enjoyable. I think, if practice and playing isn’t fun and enjoyable, the student will simply give up and take up fishing or hockey instead. So… play along to and listen to a lot of music. And because music is awesome, that’s gonna be… fun.

Practice… practice… practice…

It should go without saying… the more you play your drum, the better you will get. Practice will help you with your timing, and will also help you to get the exact sound you want each time you strike the drum. There is no substitute for practice. That’s good advice for pretty much anything in life, not just drumming.

A good length of time to practice each day, in the beginning, is about a half hour or about 7 songs. Use the links at the top of the page to start my big fat YouTube playlist at a random song, or the top, or put it on random yourself, but… try practicing along to about 6-8 songs each day.