No matter what kind of music you enjoy, you have probably noticed the constant beat that is present in your favourite songs. Drums play a major role in music and cultural events, this is what makes them a fascinating instrument.
History of drums
Drums have been part of human history and music for thousands of years. Humans would use percussion instruments and drums to produce musical sounds, these were used both for communication and as an accompaniment for dancing. The human desire for rhythm developed from cultural events and religious ceremonies until the modern drum kit used today for rock, pop, or jazz music.
What is a set of drums?
There are plenty of drum kits and sets and possibilities depending on the type of music you want to play. The first drums were made of natural materials and objects, such as wood, and alligator skin. But as humans developed new tools and materials, the drum set evolved as well, being created with synthetic materials and more resistant ones as well. This allows for many percussion and drum sets and types, such as the bass, snare and sticks to be created to produce a variety of sounds and the richness of music we know today.
Who are the most famous drummers of all time?
Rolling Stones magazine has gathered a list of the 100 best drummers of all time, here we will narrow it down to some of the most known according to their music style to give you a small overview, but we encourage you to keep digging into the drum history and the famous drummers of all time. The following drummers have the highest level of all time, so do not feel discouraged when trying to play these beats. In order to improve your level, it is best to have a private tutor that will adapt to your level and needs, as well as your favourite music style.
“He was the first rock drummer, in very many ways,” Neil Peart told NPR of Gene Krupa in 2015. “He was the first drummer to command the spotlight and the first drummer to be celebrated for his solos… He did fundamentally easy things, but always made them look spectacular.” Krupa's flailing attack, four-on-the-floor bass-drum tattoo and manically funky cowbell work – influenced by New Orleans drummers Baby Dodds and Zutty Singleton – drove Benny Goodman's innovative Thirties big band to new heights and in the process inspired a generation of future rock giants, including Keith Moon and John Bonham.
On the very first cut of the very first Led Zeppelin LP, John Bonham changed rock drumming forever. Esteemed for his speed, power, fast single-footed kick drumming, distinctive sound, and feel for the groove, he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock drummers in history.
The “greatest Keith Moon-type drummer in the world,” as he described himself, abhorred the repetition of rote rock drumming – as well as the repetition in life in general. Moon, the inspiration for the Muppets character Animal, smashed drum kits and hotel rooms with a ferocity suggesting he was more a performance artist than a mere rock “sticks man.” He famously refused to play drum solos and instead treated drums as the Who's lead instrument.
Gifted with immense talent, and cursed with a temper to match, Ginger Baker combined jazz training with a powerful polyrhythmic style in the world's first, and best, power trio. While clashing constantly with Cream bandmates Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton, the London-born drummer introduced showmanship to the rock world with double-kick virtuosity and extended solos.
Blackman was born in Ohio in 1959 and initially studied in Boston, Blackman made a name for herself alongside Lenny Kravitz. She has earned her spurs in the music world, both in jazz and rock music. She is a versatile drummer who plays very deep, raw jazz grooves. This has helped her grow his fan base, with millions of people listening to her music. In the 80s, Blackman founded and led his band, then played the drums with Lenny Kravitz from 1993 to 2004. His drumming art enabled her to be featured in many releases and tour the world.
As the percussionist behind Phil Spector’s “Wall Of Sound,” Blaine laid down one of the most recognizable beats in popular music, but Blaine’s true legacy is his chameleon-like adaptability to any session – and not only behind a conventional kit. For the Beach Boys’ “Caroline, No,” he banged Sparkletts water jugs, and on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” he dragged tire chains across a concrete floor.
She is known to be among one of the first professional drummers in the United States, born in Mount Calvary in 1912. She looked at the style of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich and, over time, achieved a technical brilliance on the drums that is almost unmistakable. Viola Smith was widely known for his many swing bands, orchestral works, and also in pop music projects. Her thrilling performances with a drum made people refer to her as the fastest drumming girl.
Hip Hop and Funk
Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jabo” Starks
At the height of his band's rhythmic revolutions, Brown's percussion section was anchored by not one but two master drummers: the woefully underrated John “Jabo” Starks and Mr. Funky Drummer himself, Clyde Stubblefield. Starks began his career backing jazz and blues players, Stubblefield was an R&B man and, by coincidence, the two started with Brown's band just weeks apart. Each brought a distinctive style that complemented the other. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson once told Rolling Stone that “Starks was the Beatles to Clyde's Stones. A clean shuffle drummer to Clyde's free-jazz left hand.” Together, their partnership would help shape some of Brown's greatest songs, including “Cold Sweat,” “Superbad” and of course “Funky Drummer.” Their innovations would be felt again as they dictated the entire feel of hip-hop's Golden Era.
Al Jackson Jr.
Al Jackson Jr., the session drummer for the legendary soul label Stax, was known as “the Human Timekeeper” until his death in 1975 at the age of 40. During that era, Jackson's distinctively swinging but crisp grooves propelled legendary sides from Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Al Green (with whom Jackson co-wrote the hit “Let's Stay Together”); and as his reputation grew, superstars from outside the R&B world like Eric Clapton began demanding Jackson's percussive genius.
Why you should learn to play the drums
There is plenty more to learn about drums, but if you feel already inspired, and you are a beginner you should start with songs that are easy to not feel discouraged. Remember that learning a new skill as difficult as the drum can be challenging at first, it will require concentration, discipline, dedication, and coordination. That's why it is best to start with easy songs that will slowly help you find how rhythm and coordination work.
Note that, it takes most beginners at least 4-6 months to get decent at playing drum basics. To become a good enough drummer, it usually takes at least 10 to 12 months, if not more, even for the quickest of learners.
Because drums are so versatile, they can be a great instrument to teach to younger kids, this allows them to express themselves and explore different music styles and allow them to develop their senses and creativity as well. For adults, learning to play an instrument can bring many health benefits related to anxiety, depression, or fatigue.
If you are an adult and want to start going beyond the basics of drumming, we recommend you find a specific song, artist, or album that you are fond of and a drum tutor that will guide you in this rhythmic adventure, whether you find yourself in London, we are confident that you will find a Superprof tutor that adapts to your needs!
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