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Becoming a drummer can be an exciting career option for you. You get to tour with local bands or create your own music scene and dictate which direction your career will go. However, becoming a drummer is not easy. Established drummers have done a lot of work and invested energy, time, and money into becoming the drummers they are today. With some time and perseverance, you can become an established drummer yourself. So, how do you go about doing this?
Practice a Lot
Even when playing for big bands, the best drummers are always practising. There is always something new to learn, and practising helps keep the passion and fire alive. For beginners, the first thing to do is learn how to play the drums. You can then find a space that you can use to practice. Pirate have put together a detailed guide to help you learn how to play drums, and they also provide spaces for drummers who want to hone their skills.
You will likely be required to play a lot of cover music if you join a band. Memorising music gives you a lot of material that you can fill a gig with. Additionally, listening to and memorising different types of music can help you expand your skills. Playing the music you memorise will solidify the basics you learn, as well as different patterns and how different types of music are composed and played.
To help solidify your skills further, try to play with your eyes closed. Doing this helps your hands, legs, and arms become more accustomed to playing so you can play no matter what the lighting conditions are.
Play Easy Music at First
There are a lot of patterns you need to learn before you become a competent drummer. You will hear these different patterns and styles whenever you listen to music. Because you are just starting, do not stress yourself trying to play these more intricate patterns and styles. Remember that steady progress is better than giving up because you find the advanced patterns too hard to master.
Play Local Gigs
Most people who need a drummer will not hire you if they do not know how you play. Performing at local shows and taking all the gigs you can when starting will help people learn about you. It is also an excellent way for you to meet other drummers who can introduce you to employers in the future. Playing local gigs is also a great way to sell your music and merchandise, market yourself and build a fanbase. Having such a fanbase can also motivate you to keep pushing yourself.
Allow Yourself to Be Your True Self
A lot of drummers make the mistake of trying to sound like the top drummer at the moment. This is a huge mistake because those drummers have their own sound and fans, and no one wants to hear someone else play the same sounds over and over. Also, it is easy to be labelled an imitator and a fraud, which will make it much harder to make your name out there.
Instead, allow yourself to be your true self. Play your unique style, allow yourself to be weird and let people love you organically. Express yourself, have fun, interact with your fans, and wait for the phone to ring.
Talk to Musicians
Once you are competent enough with drumming, a great place to start is talking to musicians. Musicians are the best option if you are looking for gigs in and around where you live. Musicians also refer drummers to other musicians and bands all the time, and this is why it is so important that you get in touch with a few to have them hear what you can do.
Collaborate with Other Drummers
It is a lot more difficult to find drummers to collaborate with other drummers because most bands do not want to risk unsettling the band. However, talking to a few bands to see whether you can fill in for their drummer for a few songs can be a great way to keep learning, understand how bands work together and get your name out there. If you have any openings, call other drummers to work with you. Doing so will make them more likely to reciprocate by pointing you to great opportunities when they arise.
Learn to Network
In the music industry, people will forget about you if you do not show up. Also, no one wants to book a drummer they do not see often because it is likely they cannot pull a crowd since people do not know them. Always make an appearance everywhere you can. Learn to network, be social, be confident, be honest and always be yourself. Listen to when people talk and do not be too desperate as this puts people off.
Do not forget to hand people your business card or your social media information so they can find you if they need you. Finally, learn to introduce people to other people. Doing this helps other people see you as the centre of activity and will want to be associated with you.
The single biggest marketing tool right now is social media. If you are not on social media, you are losing out. Open an account with all major social media platforms and be active. Post your gigs, videos, audios and more so people can get a feel of how you play. Interact with your fans and answer their questions.
Social media can also be a great place to sell your music and merchandise so you can reach even more people. You can also give your fans early access to gigs and discounted ticket prices, incentivising them to talk about you to their friends.
Undoubtedly, becoming a successful drummer is a lot of work. It takes practice, patience, and perseverance. The most important things to remember are to never stop practising, learn to market yourself, and always be open to working with others in the music industry.