How can you expand your opportunities to be the best drummer you can be? Most drummers will say by practicing... and by practicing a lot.
While it is true that practice is essential, the key to expanding your capabilities is by developing your versatility. It's all about using the skills that you already possess and channeling them towards related fields.
Since your most basic skill is playing the drums you will find that there are other instruments that you can easily adapt your skill to because you already possess musical ability. For example, instead of limiting yourself to just the drums, why not expand your talents to include the guitar, bass, or keyboard?
Why would you want to do this? Because you can increase your musical scope and be able to come to a greater understanding of music for one reason. Another reason is to develop greater communication among your band mates.
You may think you may not have the time to become an excellent guitarist, or anything else, but that's not true. It's not true because you don't have to become excellent at anything else. You just need to develop a little understanding, that's all.
In my earlier days of drumming I was very frustrated with my band mates. I was full of ideas concerning the structure of our music, but I just couldn't get them across. I didn't "know" their instrument, or the language they used for their particular instrument in order to get my ideas understood.
If I had taken the time back then to get a little understanding of the instruments they were playing I could have eliminated quite a bit of my frustrations. I may have been able to deliver my ideas and had them implemented without any problem, therefore, improving our songs.
In my opinion it is very important to get a little acquainted with other instruments in order to be the best drummer you can be. Others may disagree! But, that's okay, it's just my opinion.
There is an old joke that goes like this...
Question: "What do you call someone who travels around with musicians?"
Answer: "A drummer!"
Ha! Ha! Ha! Very funny! I hate that joke, but unfortunately, for the most part, it's true.
But, this doesn't have to be you. It's your choice, are you going to be "just a drummer" or a quality musician?
An argument could be made that a drummer should solely focus on just being that... a drummer. I agree completely! I believe part of focusing on being a great drummer is expanding his or her knowledge of music, not just their "playing" of the drums.
I could go on and on about how you, as a drummer, can become more versatile. You must simply start with your most basic skill, which is playing the drums, and then expand on it by getting a little acquainted with some other musical instruments. This is an excellent way of ensuring that you develop your musicianship to it's fullest potential.
The world is a very competitive place and we must continue to be competitive. We don't want to put all our eggs in one basket so take a little time to get to know some other instruments.
If we take our drumming skills and add some variety to it like learning a little guitar, bass, or keyboard we will be surprised at how much more rounded we will become and not be classified as "just a drummer."
About the Author
Dan Brown has been drumming since 1976. Get his FREE report "Mind Your Drumming: 10 Attitudes That Will Make You a Star" when you subscribe to his FREE Weekly Drum Smart Newsletter...