Being in a band.

What are some essential things you need to be in band? Should you have some technique? Yes, but you usually don’t need a lot. Should you be nice to others? Yes, but if someone other than the band director starts picking on you, you have the right to defend yourself. Should you have a working instrument? Yes, that is essential and not negotiable. But it doesn’t mean that instrument is yours. You can borrow a drum kit that happens to be already in the rehearsal space. Should you have prepared? Ah! Here we are, this is where I wanted to go.

Preparing for a band is THE most important thing for a drummer. After all, play an accompanying instrument. In other word, we live to be with other players. That means that we need to be prepared.

If your band is forming a repertoire of cover songs, listen to them and play them as much as possible. If you can find a way to write them down, it’ll help. If you can memorize them, that’s even better. Try to notice where the drum part is, but also what the rest of the band is doing in the recording. Do you hear the music swell, the singer push his voice, and yet the drummer isn’t dialing it up? Do you hear that? The music swells even more, and then, finally, the drummer goes crazy and lift up the whole thing like Atlas lifts up the world on his shoulder and throws it a million light years away. Did you get that? That’s a great effects, isn’t it? Try to remember that when you play the end of Bobby McGee.

Preparing for a band has a million different elements, not the least of which the time spent by yourself studying the songs. Everything goes smoothly after that. You can even be a fairly bad drummer and fool your way into a great band if you’re able to listen and remember. I think some people make a living doing just that.