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3: Drums: Playing Parts

John-Paul Gentile

09:39 · Drums

JP teaches on the fundamentals of playing the song as a drummer. He teaches the logic behind prioritizing the kick drum pattern, creating smooth transitions and how to build into each part of the song.

Drums: Playing Parts

John-Paul Gentile

The biggest characteristic of the drums that defines each part is the base drum, or the kick pattern.

The kick pattern:
  • Is the most important tool to distinguish between parts – verse, chorus, bridge.
  • Should be distinct
  • Should be uniform within each of the sections (verse, chorus, bridge) to give room for the other musicians, to give the base player a solid grid to lock in to, and give the worship leader/vocalist a confident ground to stand on.

A good drummer will learn the drum part verbatim for every song their worship leader gives them, and focusing on the kick drum will note how it changes for each part of the song. The transitions between parts (e.g. verse to chorus) must be smooth.

The kick pattern is essential to supporting whatever section your in.

Knowing what your going to play before you move in to the next section is vital to keeping the whole band lock in. It keeps trust within the band.

  • You don’t play a fill to serve yourself or sound cool, you play a fill to transition, or serve the song, the worship leader or the song. The melody or rhythm of the leader’s transition from one part to another can be duplicated by the fill going into the next part – it will be a super-smooth transition.
  • The 90/10: you should have 90% in reserve, and 10% being showcased. An excellent worship drummer always exercises restraint. You serve the song. You play what is absolutely necessary in the moment, and you can always pull something out if you need it.
  • In worship music you don’t want drums to steal the attention of the congregation away from worshipping
  • Exercise stage awareness – watch the other team members.
  • Knowing when to add something a little more dynamic is key. In the biggest moment (e.g. biggest bridge into biggest chorus of the song) a Feature Fill wil probably be appropriate.
  • Simplicity is key
  • Brian Johnson tells his team members that you have to “earn your fills”. You have to be able to play 5 mins to a click, no fills, in perfect time before you can start playing fills.
  • The groove is more essential that playing the fill
  • As the drummer, your role is to serve.