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Drum Forums => Drum Forum - Drum Talk - Drum Techniques => Topic started by: KenSanders on March 24, 2009, 01:04:30 PM



Title: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: KenSanders on March 24, 2009, 01:04:30 PM
I recently had a conversation with some other musicians, and this question came up: “Does studying and playing another instrument make you a better drummer?”  ???

My response was “yes.”  I think piano, especially helps teach you some musical fundamentals such as keys, chords, scales, phrasing and even some theory.  Additionally, when you play drums and understand the way the other musicians are thinking as they build to the bridge in a tune, or pause (without any drum flourishes) to let the tune breathe; then it just makes more sense to you.  It also makes you more aware of when to……and when not to……play a drum fill.  :o

If you are going to write songs, then piano (and often guitar) are good instruments to help frame the structure of the tune and demonstrate your idea to others.  :)

Is it mandatory to play some melodic instrument in order to become a good drummer?   “No, it isn’t.”  But there is no question that an enhanced understanding of melody and other instruments benefits your total musical knowledge.  Maybe that’s one more reason to be a well-rounded musician, not just a musican who only plays drums.


Title: Re: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: Tomm on March 24, 2009, 05:44:02 PM
I totally agree with you on these points Ken.  I play guitar and keys also.  Although I have never wanted to be anything more than a drummer (except for one time when I toyed with the idea of playing bass).

I highly recommend to EVERY drummer, for more reasons than I have time to list, ...learn at least one melodic instrument's fundamentals at least.  You will appreciate your talents as a drummer more so than anything else you can do.


Title: Re: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: Johnathan on March 25, 2009, 08:40:58 AM
I agree, I also play Guitar but I am sure had I taken piano as well I would have a more comprehesive understanding of the technical aspect of music of which would open further creativity.


Title: Re: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: Tomm on March 25, 2009, 06:34:48 PM
I neglected to add, and in a way John (if I may) brought it to mind.  A fundamental ability to read and understand the concepts of music, has also made a big difference in my abilities to know what I'm doing and why when I'm playing drums in any type of music, especially Jazz,


Title: Re: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: KenSanders on March 29, 2009, 10:25:04 AM
In my opinion, those who desire to be a knowledgeable musician, need knowledge and experience with music theory, chart reading, chart writing, chord structures, scales, and some degree of ability with a melodic instrument.

I use my keyboards a lot, for doing charts for my bands, finding the best keys and chord inversions for my music, and of course, just trying new ideas for original arrangements.

Playing another instrument is not a must.......but it is a BIG advantage to becoming a more musical drummer. 



Title: Re: Does playing another instrument help make you a better drummer?
Post by: KenSanders on May 01, 2011, 06:08:20 PM
I believe many readers would be surprised to learn that so many of today's best known drummers are very accomplished on other melodic instruments.   Eddie Bayers, Alex Van Halen, Neal Peart, Dave Weckl, just to name a few.....and on and on. 

With the popularity of home recording equipment, it is sometimes convenient to demo your own concepts for later work on projects with other musicians too. 

Of course, when you are writing charts for your band it really helps to know basic piano concepts.