Hello, and welcome to my website, The Church Drummer! Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy it and get a lot out of it! Don’t hesitate to leave your own comments, but, please also remember to be courteous! Whilst this is a public forum, it is one that seeks to promote the worship and glory of Jesus Christ both in content and attitude. Thanks for your co-operation and enjoy the site!
Taken from Bob Kauflin’s website, Worship Matters. His book title of the same name fantastic and I would (humbly!) recommend to all people in worship teams.
I’ve been musing recently about how we express our musical opinions. Why do we feel so strongly about songs, bands, and styles? And why do we draw conclusions so quickly? Nope. Don’t like it. That stinks. I can’t stand that kind of music. You like that stuff? Is there anything wrong with raving about the music/artists we love and being swift to trash those we despise?
If we’re Christians, yes. Let me suggest ten reasons why musical forbearance might be good for our souls.
1. Being a self-appointed music critic is often just a sign of pride.Using outrageous or exaggerated words to put down certain songs, styles, or artists can be a symptom of selfishness, laziness, or arrogance. We don’t want to spend time investigating whether or not our assessment is accurate because we’re too busy sharing our opinions. (Prov. 18:2)
2. Music doesn’t define us. Why do we become offended when someone critiques our favorite song, group, or style of music? Because they’re insulting “our” music, which means they’re insulting us. That’s idolatry. Music isn’t our life — Christ is. (Col. 3:4).
3. Great songs don’t always sound great the first time through.Some songs require repeated listenings to appreciate their value. Albums and songs often grow on us over time. Is all the best music always instantly accessible or appealing? I hope not.
4. The introduction to a song isn’t the same thing as the song.The first twenty seconds of a song usually doesn’t represent the whole song. It just introduces it. Deciding we don’t like a song from the start can keep us from hearing something we might truly enjoy or benefit from.
5. Listening to music the masses have never heard of doesn’t make us better. Some of us derive a particular joy in finding and listening to obscure, undiscovered artists. As if being unknown was admirable in and of itself. Some bands are undiscovered because they’re not very good. And if we do happen to discover a talented unknown band, it’s an opportunity to serve others, not look down on them.
6. Listening to music that is massively popular doesn’t make us better. This is the opposite craving of the previous point. It’s the mindset that says if the song or artist hasn’t been on the radio, at the top of the charts, or on TV, it’s not worth listening to.
7. Learning to appreciate unfamiliar music is one way to prefer others. Why does everyone have to like the music I like? What might I learn about my friends by patiently seeking to understand why they like the music they do? (Phil. 2:4)
8. Learning to like other kinds of music can open my eyes to God’s creativity. In his book, Music Through the Eyes of Faith, Harold Best addresses musical elitists. “Among all this stuff that needs aesthetic redeeming, there is also goodness, a whole lot of integrity and honesty, from which they themselves can learn.” (p. 89) That means I can actually enjoy music that is less sophisticated than what I’d ordinarily listen to.
9. We may have to eat our words. It’s happened more than a few times. I mouth off about how bad a song is, and later on start to think it’s actually pretty good. Or I tear up a song on my blog and later find myself talking to a person who loves it or the person who wrote it. Oops.
10. We might be missing an opportunity to be grateful for God’s gifts. Our tendency is to assume that God’s gifts all look and sound the same. They don’t. What would happen if the first time we heard a song we sought to be grateful rather than critical?
Let me be clear. No song is above evaluation and there are truly bad songs. We just might serve others and ourselves more effectively if we expressed our musical opinions with a little more grace.
[originally posted Dec. 7, 2008]
Quite a funny poster! Which one are you?
On the subject of practising, here are a few useful tips from one of Hillsong’s top drummers, Rolf Wam Fjell:
1. Take a 10 min run before practicing. Benefit: mentally more alert and physically firing up your systems.
2. Eat a banana before practicing / playing. Benefit: quick carbs + potassium straight to your system. Benefit: More power.
3. Do a proper carb load before big events. Lots of pasta etc. And drink MUCH water. Benefit: sustained energy.
4. Track your progress. Week one paradiddles @ 120bpm. Week two paraddidles @ 127bpm etc. Benefit: systematic progress.
I thought the MusicAdemy article on top 10 do’s and don’ts for drummers in Church was really good. But I thought I’d also share one further thing I’ve encountered in my journey so far…but it is a major thing.
LISTENING. I don’t mean listening and learning the set list for Sunday. I don’t mean on a lyrical point of view. I mean listening to music. Lots of music. Not just the latest worship albums. Secular music. To be blunt, I can barely get through a Hillsong and Jesus Culture album (and others) and not feel slightly bored by the third or fourth song. Yes, they both (as well as other artists) have a distinctive (worshipful) sound, and that’s no major flaw, but a huge strength! I’m not here to criticize them, nor could I justifiably, because of the impact they and others have had on Worship music. But it’s mainstream stuff. For the masses. And it sounds great. The lyrics are brilliant, the musicianship is fantastic. But…how did they form their sound? Through extensive listening…to secular music predominantly! Of course I don’t want to make this sound like an exercise, but why not challenge yourself to listen to more and more music? Funk, rock, metal, jazz, fusion, Latin pop, R&B, etc etc? Learn from great musicians, listen to great drummers, enjoy expanding your horizons. Do your research. With so much music available online there are virtually no boundaries. You’ll find that it’s really helpful in your development as a musician. Enjoy!
What about this for a listening exercise, check out these bands:
Steve Gadd is one of my favourite drummers of all time. Actually, one of my favourite musicians of all time. Steve changed the way drums were played. Of course, many before him led the way: Buddy Rich with his technical and musical brilliance, Louie Bellson and Gene Krupa swinging the big bands, Max Roach’s melodic philosophy, Roy Haynes snap, crackle and pop, Elvin Jones polyrhythmic phrases etc etc. The list could and should go on. But back to Gadd. He is a one-off. He is a pocket master. His individual style saw him being elevated as a drummer and emulated. He took marching band rudiments and made them groove in rock, pop jazz, funk, fusion, big band, latin and more. He played musically and thought only to enhance the music. He never over-played or missed a beat. He always meant what he executed. He could totally beast his chops with artists like Steely Dan and Michel Petrucciani. He could just lay back and swing playing crotchets and you would still recognise his sound. He could groove on his Yamaha drums and you would recognise the tone and the way he hit them. He influenced countless drummers and raised the bar with how drums should sound and support the band.
For this first article in a series before my videos go up online I would like to highlight Steve Gadd, one of the most important drummers of all time.
Modern Drummer has always been my favourite drum magazine. It is packed with such useful information in every issue, and is the first point of reference I use when researching and need some help. Enjoy this article from Modern Drummer’s website.
by Jeff Schaller
One could argue that no music form highlights the drummer more than funk. The fat grooves, the dirty backbeats, the snap of a tight snare, the syncopated hits with a stellar horn section, the deep pocket against a smooth bass line…you’re probably groovin’ in your seat just thinking about it. Funk music is all about the beat, and it’s no coincidence that many of our most influential drummers have made a name for themselves playing the style. If you want to learn the essence of the style, here are ten classic albums you should definitely check out.
Dyke & the Blazers
So Sharp! (Kent)
Drummer: James Gadson
Drum Solos – A Short Story
The following is a short story about my own experience of drum soloing. I’ve watched many great drummers play drum solos, from my first experience of watching Keith Moon smashing a drum kit to pieces in ‘My Generation’ to the many drum instructional DVDs that are out there today and I’ve collected, there have been a lot of influences of mine who have inspired me to get creative behind the drums. I’ve seen many drum solos on which I’ve just been amazed by the drummers technique, finesse, charisma and control behind their instrument. First, Travis Barker and Tre Cool (as pop-punk was at its peak in the early 2000s), then Bonham and Moon took control of my mind as I turned to The Who and Led Zeppelinto inspire me. Next it was Rush and the creative beats of one Neil Peart, and then, as I started taking drum lessons at the age of 16, my tutor introduced me to four guys : Tony Williams, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. The research then began as I found out about Buddy Rich, Billy Cobham, Thomas Lang, Steve Smith and many more drummers. Drummerworld.com hadn’t long been on the go and I was glued to it.
JazzGospelCentral.com : What would you say as to how your Christian faith has impacted the music that you write and how you perform?
John: Heavily. I’ve done a lot of writing. I’ve done a lot of music for the church that I go to [Trinity Presbyterian Church in Rye, NY, where he serves as a deacon]. If you remember Songs, Stories and Spirituals, there’s a strings and voices version of “In the Bleak Midwinter.” I wrote that originally at my church. I’ve written a lot of music for the church like that, a ton of stuff that I’ll eventually make available because people at other churches will ask me can we do that arrangement you did of such and such. I’ve done a lot of re-harmonization of hymns, as well. And, I continue to do that because that music is important to me. I think that when you believe in the God of creation and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, when you have that kind of faith, and you even scratch the surface of what an unspeakable and unfathomable creative force that is, that changes your music a lot.
1 Corinthians 1:25
“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Paul calls the divine ordaining and encompassing of the cross of Jesus Christ the foolishnessand weakness of God (1 Corinthians 1:25). He is being ironical, of course, for he knows Christ to be God’s wisdom and power (verse 24). He is insisting that the word of the cross appears as folly to those who have not understood it. He is making a positive theological point as well, namely, that the death of God’s Son on Calvary shows how completely God, in love to mankind, was willing to hide His glory and become vulnerable to shame and dishonour. Now God in love calls men to embrace and boast of this foolish-seeming, weak-looking, disreputable event of the Cross as the means of their salvation. It is a challenge to sinful pride of both mind and heart.
Similarly, God in love calls us to humble ourselves by bowing to Holy Scripture, which also has an appearance of foolishness and weakness when judged by some human standards, yet it is truly His Word and the means of our knowing Him as Saviour. God first humbled Himself for our salvation in the Incarnation and on the cross and now He humbles Himself for our knowledge of salvation by addressing us in and through the often humanly unimpressive words of the Bible.
The classical name for the quality of God in which whereby He lovingly identifies with what is beneath Him is condescension (patronizing), and the etymological (study of words) significance is “coming down to be with.” The condescension of God in becoming a baby Jew, in being executed on a Roman gibbet, and in proclaiming His goodness and His gospel to us via the down-to-earth, unliterary, often rustic words of the sixty-six canonical books, is one and the same and spells the same reality throughout: love to the uttermost.
Excerpts taken from ‘The J.I Packer Classic Collection:’ “Honouring the Written Word of God.”