This week I did a lesson for the song "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" by Chris Tomlin. This recording doesn't actually have any drums in it so I decided to write a drum part. Sometimes when we play songs in a worship set depending on the mood and situation they may need some subtle movement behind them. Below are the two main things I listen for when I have to add drums or percussion to a song that originally doesn't have any on it.
Overall Feel And Groove:
This particular recording is piano driven for the first half so I listen and pay close attention to the groove and rhythm the piano is creating. The song starts off tender and soft and we don't want to mess that up so I started with the shaker in the first chorus. Grooves should always build so make sure you give the song somewhere to go.
Follow The Leader
In the second verse the guitars kick in and begin to hold down the rhythm. I want to follow this lift without stepping all over it so I added a kick on 1 emphasize the bass changes and a subtle cross stick on 2 and 4 to keep with the momentum of the guitar. In the next chorus, the bass begins to walk around a little more so I pick it up as well with a stronger kick pattern. The piano begins to crescendo so I do the same with hats and snare to mirror the intensity. Finally I kill the groove as all the instruments drop off.
Free Song Tutorials Are A Click Away
When a song can be carried without the drums, it has all the information you need to create a groove. Pay attention to dynamics, follow the lead instruments rhythm and be careful to play simply. Try listening to some songs that only have piano or acoustic guitar and just work on your listening skills and see how you do. It's also a good idea to pay attention to the vocals as well and not get in the way of those either. Don't have a Worship Artistry account? Try it free here.
Try It With These Song Lessons
Song Key: G
Song Key: A