Learn It By Heart

Learn It For Your Heart

This week I was reading the blog post by Ryan, my good buddy and keyboard extraordinaire. In his latest blog, he talked about tips to help memorize your music. I couldn't agree more with what he said: "ultimately, the better you memorize and the more you practice, the more free you will feel during worship."

Put those sticks down

One thing that helps me know a song better is to listen intently to it long before I start playing it. Before you even pick up a pair of sticks to play along, just sit down with some headphones and listen through it a few times to pay attention to what's going on. This way, you're not getting in the way with all of your banging while you're just learning and you can hear all of the parts.

Don't practice until you get it right.  Practice until you can't get it wrong.

Climb in

There are guys who go through middle and high school playing drums in drum line and become probably some of the best and most technical drummers. But it seems like when it comes to playing a kit, they can't do it without a music stand. Now, I know this isn't how everyone is, but it's just something I've noticed from experience. Every time I've been in a worship service and have seen the drummer glued to a music stand, the vibe seems stiff and it feels like a lot of the emotion is lost. I think it's so important that we learn our songs for worship and practice them until we know them forwards and backwards.  Then when we play at worship, we can climb into the songs we're playing and be a part of them, instead of looking at a piece of paper to try to see what's coming next.


Memorization is a skill that will come with time and practice. Pay attention to the mapping of these worship tunes and you'll quickly see that most of them have the same structure. Now, the more you play the worship style, the better you will understand this as well. Someone once told me something that has stuck with me: "don't practice it until you get it right, Practice it until you CAN'T get it wrong."

Now go practice that worship set list and get it in your brain. And for some applicable memorization skills, go check out Ryan's blog.  Peace out!

Josh Ward is a versatile drummer of 18 years and heavily involved with the worship team at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. He is a husband to Rosie, dad to Amos and drum instructor for WorshipArtistry.com

Learn It By Heart

Login to post comments


Thank You!

Hey Josh!
I just wanted you to know that your drum lessons have been a huge help and a blessing to me! I recently learned how to play drums (at age 41), and trying to listen to a song and then play what I heard only discouraged me and robbed me of the joy I thought I'd have in playing! Your lessons have really given me a desire and a fire to learn songs & also have helped me to enjoy playing!
I just wanted to thank you for the time you put into the videos and also for sharing your talent with us and helping us learn and get better!

Day = Made

Reading this comment seriously made my day! Thank you so much and I'm glad that the videos/teaching have helped. If you ever need anything please don't hesitate to reach out.


Great thoughts here. I've been using the excuse ( not to memorize ) that we don't get our setlists until one or two days prior to rehearsal ( Thursday before Sunday service ). But most weeks the songs are not new, so I guess I can't use that one anymore. :-)

An as a fellow drummer I can

An as a fellow drummer I can say it's true even though there's been more times I don't practice enough. But when I do, the difference is very clear.