Monday, December 3, 2007

Confessions of a Worship drummer 12/2/07

I dated this post because I'll probably re-use this title in the future.

A quick blurb on my background before I get into it. In addition to being the (now one of the) drummer(s) for Lifepoint I'm also the director of music for the main campus. I send out weekly emails to my team (which usually run the subject header music notes). I'll publish a separate post on this later, just wanted to clear some things up, on the music notes are coming from myself the music director and this (and subsequent referenced) postings are from myself the drummer.

If there are any other worship drummers out there I hope some of this helps.

For the first year I played drums for the church I was continually requested to play aggressively. Then I kept getting, play softer(I would assume they meant to play quieter), the easy solution? (for playing quieter, aggressive playing will only come from practice and confidence) Drumsticks! I started with 7a Manhattans from Vater, then later moved on to 7a's from VF, then to the American classic 5As (and 5ANs) then back to the 7A's with a bunch of signature sticks that I've tried in the middle of that muddle). I now (mainly) use a set of Steve Gadd Signature Drumsticks (From Vic Firth) I do use the plastic tipped sticks for two reasons, part of the reason is it gives a brighter sound when I'm riding on the cymbal, but the main reason is that's what they stock in our local Guitar Center.

Drumstick selection makes a huge difference on sound performance, Vic Firth, Vater, Pro-Mark all have great articles on stick selection, actually all of them have some great articles on drumming in general, but Vic Firth's site is content rich (Quicktime required for most of their media just a heads up). I personally like the Steve Gadd signature sticks because they've got a good feel, and have a very light touch, (and I mean light, I can hammer away when the mood hits and the volume never gets too out of control). If I were in a more rock oriented venue I'd probably switch back to either the 5A's of the 7A's (And when we get an auditorium instead of the gym we meet in I may do so anyway) but I have to admit that these are great sticks. (Mental note research what type of wood they're made out, they don't feel like hickory).

I'll cover more on drumming in general in a later post (I think that's becoming my signature expression) for now let me resume this post entitled confessions of a worship drummer.

Our worship set was
Point of Difference (Hillsong)
O Come All Ye Faithful
Silent Night
You Alone (Crowder)

Point of Difference was (for the most part) played as it's heard on the Hillsong cd.

O Come All Ye Faithful was played in 6/8 (with something of a shuffle waltz underneath) I personally prefer this in a 4/4 with a rock feel, but it didn't sound bad.

Silent Night was played with a jazz waltz (3/4 but with a 6/8 feel), in retrospect as my amazing ultra talented percussionist (see previous post) was playing bells I could have done one (or both) of these songs on hand drums... but I really didn't feel like bruising my hands... again.

You Alone was played in 3/4 (I take that back I think it was in 6/8) and is one of my favorite pieces in that time signature because, can't explain it, just love the way the groove feels. I think it's a R&B groove in 3/4 but don't quote me on it.

This was a nice easy Set-list for me, which is both nice, and occasionally unsatisfying. while I like the break, I also like the challenging set we (I) occasionally get to pull off, though there are times when I have to remind myself that I'm sitting there to worship through drumming, not just perform. Speaking of which I did find this resource for drummers to be inspiring and it was interesting to see some of the well known names in the industry who know who sits on the the throne (sorry drummer joke couldn't resist).

Current Stats:
Listening to: Feels so Good by Chuck Mangione
Reading: Never Give In
Watching: Nothing, but I did get 1/2 way through Band of Brothers over the weekend.

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