My Path as a Drummer
My name’s Justin and I started drumming when I was nine years old. I got my mom to rent me a snare drum and ever since then I have been playing drums every day and loving it. When I first saw Joey Jordison (Drummer for Slipknot) play drums on YouTube I knew I wanted to be like him. I practiced on that snare drum until I had to give it back and that’s when I got my first real drum set. I got a teacher and a beginner’s book and although I wasn’t near good, I loved banging on that drum set. I’m 15 now but when I first started playing I was into metal and hard rock music but that changed greatly over the years.
Every day once I get home; I go right to my drum set and practice for at least an hour. I continue to do this every day because it’s my favorite thing to do in the world and for me there’s nothing more enjoyable, relaxing, and satisfying than drumming. It helps me express my creative side. I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and concepts I can apply to the drum set. Another reason why I love drumming is for the excitement of playing with a band and in front of an audience. When you are jamming with a group of friends it makes it easier to get really creative and do things you never thought you knew how to do. Playing in front of an audience is also really great because you can express your musicality to other people instead of just playing by yourself. The better you get the more fun it becomes.
My biggest inspiration was like I said, Joey Jordison. I wanted to play exactly like him and so I set my mind to it, got a teacher and practiced for 3 years until I was decent enough to play some of his songs. My first teacher helped me get me there by always making the lessons fun, shaping each lesson around what I want to do, and being extremely nice and patient. That is what I think makes a great teacher. If it weren’t for him I don’t know if I would still be playing drums now. For beginner drummers or beginners for any instrument, I think it’s very important for the drum teacher to do what my drum teacher did. Learning an instrument can be extremely hard and frustrating at some times. If the teacher doesn’t make it fun then the kid learning is most likely going to quit. Later on, my liking of genres started to change and I found myself not really liking metal anymore. I tried listening to other genres and I really liked rock. I kept with that for 2 years and eventually started listening to what I like now which is Funk, Fusion, Jazz and Classical music. My favourite drummers and inspirations right now are Carter Beauford, Benny Greb, Marco Minneman, and many more amazing drummers.
What keeps me motivated and inspired to play are the great drummers that I look up to. When I see Carter Beauford going crazy on his drum set it really makes me want to play along with him. Seeing other great musicians expressing great ideas and concepts it really just motivates me to practice more so I can get better faster. My current drum teacher really helps me keep practicing by challenging me with new genres and concepts while still keeping it fun. We usually go over warm ups and mental drumming techniques and then he lets me try to figure out a song by reading it. Right now we’re learning how to play Stay (Wasting Time) by Dave Matthews’s band which is a huge challenge for me but that just makes me want to practice it more.
I try to keep learning new genres to help diversify my knowledge. For example right now I’m practicing different ideas and concepts of the Latin groove “Clave” and practicing various African grooves. I think learning about different genres is interesting and is fun because I can jam to different artists and it helps me creatively when I’m improvising. Different genres also require different coordination which is really helpful as a drummer because you want all the coordination you can get.
To keep drumming fresh and new for me, I focus on different aspects of drumming. For example, maybe for one practice session I’ll mainly focus on drum theory and try to increase my sight-reading skill. For a different practice session I will focus on developing my independence on all different limbs by learning new genres or practicing to a syncopation book.
Some advice I’d give to drummers new to the drum set is to try to develop skill in as much as you can. There is so much to drumming that I could talk about it for days. A great musician doesn’t center himself into one genre. Great musicians try to be great at the entirety of the craft and there are so many resources to help you to do that. The most important thing is practice. That is the only way you will be able to truly learn your instrument and envelope yourself with the craft.