How to Drum in Context

Adapting your drumming to the room and context you are playing in is an important skill to have.

There are a few things you should analyze before you start to determine how you should play.

3 Details to Analyze Before Playing
  1. Size of the room: What's the size of the room you're playing in? Does it seat 10,000 people or does it seat 100, maybe 10. The size will determine your approach to playing.
  2. Proximity: How close are you to everybody? Is everybody on your team using in-ears or do you still have some people relying on wedges?
  3. Drums set up: Are the drums open? Do you have a drum screen? Is the front row of the congregation very close? Do the first three rows all have to have ear plugs?
Using the Proper Gear

What we're playing on and what we're playing with is going to have a huge impact on how that sound is presented. It's also determine the volume levels and db levels we produce on our kits.

If we're in a smaller room, the first thing to do is size everything down. Especially if you're hoping to avoid a drum screen, a drum cage, or electronic drums, size everything dow. Even the drums themselves, consider a compact kit. Consider having skins where you only have the top head on. You could take the resonant head off everything. Consider also an 18 inch kick drum, 10 and 14 inch toms, and even then tape the heads.

Also acquire some smaller stick sizes. If you can play real drums with real sticks, that's great. If you need to have hot rods or brushes, whatever it might be, just be willing to adapt on those for the sake of the context of the room. 

Having the Right Attitude

That's just it. Have the right attitude about what's best for the room and always be willing to adapt.

Befriend the Sound Tech

Make sure you're friends with your sound tech. You are going to change everybody's life in your church if the sound team is on your side. Ask them what they think is best and what they'd prefer you to do. In the end, they know what's best for the room.

Watch the video below for more tips on how to adapt your drumming for the room.

Jason Houtsma is the co-founder and guitar teacher at Worship Artistry, where he is helping musicians of every level answer the call to worship with passion and confidence. Jason has been leading worship and writing music since he was 15 years old and currently serves as Worship Pastor for Mosaic Church in Bellingham, WA. He is husband to Alli and father to Bjorn and Asher.

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