- This is Stephen Taylor,
and I wanna talk to you about drumming in church.
Now this is something that thousands of drummers do
around the world every week.
For some of you, like me, this is your first gig.
This is your first opportunity to play in front of people.
I've been playing in churches
since I first picked up the sticks.
I grew up a pastor's son,
and the first weekend I got my drum set,
I played four times in churches.
I played a youth retreat,
I played two services, I played all, a men's event,
like I was playing in church from the time I started,
so this is something that I have a lot of experience in,
and a lot of you have to do this on a weekly basis.
Now, some churches choose to hire their musicians,
so some of you who may say I'll never play in a church,
may one day get a call,
and you may have to go play in a church
that you're not familiar with.
Maybe you don't share the same faith.
So we need to know some guidelines
for playing in that environment.
Now the first one, and to me this is the golden rule
of playing in a church or a house or worship
if we wanna make this a more global type of a term,
you have to realize that it's not about you.
It is not about the drummers.
It's not about you coming and imposing
what you think should happen in the music, okay?
You need to understand that,
and if we understand that from the front,
then it makes everything else afterwards a lot easier.
Have a good attitude.
It's not about you.
Be conducive to the environment.
It's not about you.
It's about serving what's going on in the music.
Really it's always about that with music.
Now the second thing that you have to understand
whenever you play in an environment like this is
it's a group event, okay?
So this is not like your band just doing
some solo stuff.
This is a group event.
Many churches, people come, and it's a place of worship.
They want to interact with the songs that are happening,
whether they be traditional hymns,
whether it be a full orchestra,
whatever the setting may be,
you will oftentimes have people interacting with you.
And knowing that it's a group event,
you have to play a little bit different.
So you've got Joe the mechanic that he works a nine to five,
and he works on cars, and when it comes to working on cars,
man, he is killer.
But when it comes to something as simple as
finding the beat to a song, eh, not so good.
So we have to realize that,
and we have to understand that that is going to
kind of direct how we actually play in that environment.
Now the third thing I would say is watch your fills.
Now I'm not telling you you can't do fills.
It's music, we need to add what needs to be added
in the times that it needs to be added,
but what I'm talking about is we need to make sure
that we're playing the proper fills
in the proper places.
So in other words, I don't need to play a leading fill
in the middle of a verse
because again, this goes back to the first,
or the second, rule that we had,
and that is, it's a group event.
If I play a leading fill,
then those people sitting there are gonna think,
oh, that means we're going to the chorus,
and so maybe they'll start,
I've actually watched this happen,
and I play a fill in the wrong place,
and people start singing the next section
when we haven't really moved, okay?
So you have to understand, what is a leading fill?
Well, something like this.
So if I'm playing a groove, (drumming)
that is what is called a leading fill.
It leads the listener's ear to the next section.
It also ques the band that we're making a big movement.
So I'm not gonna do that in the middle of a verse, okay?
It doesn't really sound good to go, (drumming)
generally, that means that we're going somewhere else.
It's a bigger fill for a bigger movement.
Now what would be an acceptable fill
for maybe in the middle of a verse?
Something like this, it's what I call like a hiccup,
or an interruption. (drumming)
It's not a big enough fill
that it's gonna interrupt the flow of the music,
but it also gives a little variation
to what's been going on.
Again, it's not that we can't play fills,
it's that we just need to understand where they're going
and put them in their proper places.
So the fourth thing is, we are responsible for the time.
You are responsible for the time,
and I know a lotta people go,
oh, everybody's responsible for the time.
Yeah, but again, this goes back to that rule number one,
it's not about you, and rule number two,
this is a group event.
When it's a group event,
and every group needs a leader, don't they?
And you're like, well, that's what the song leader's for,
yeah, true, he's supposed to lead the people with the words,
but who's gonna lead the rhythm?
That's your job.
So we have to make sure that everybody stays together,
and that can sometimes be a challenging job
because sometimes you have people across stage
who are getting some slapback from other people
that are singing in the congregation.
So I'm going to make sure that everybody is together
and that the congregation is following us.
And if I notice that a singer,
you've had this happen to you,
all of a sudden Suzy, she's such a sweet lady,
and all of a sudden, she just starts draggin',
she's really a weight, and she's holding us down.
You don't need to sit there and go,
aw, man, kinda wish she'd sing,
sometimes she's getting slapback from those walls,
and she can't hear that she's dragging.
So it's your job, because remember,
it's not about you, and you're responsible for the time,
and this is a group event,
it is your job to help her out a little bit.
So especially on softer songs
that maybe doesn't have a lot of percussion,
I'm gonna sneak in there,
and I'm gonna maybe play a hi-hat real softly,
maybe I'll come in with the brushes
and give her some type of rhythm.
Maybe I'll come in with a shaker,
but I'm gonna make sure that we all stay together
because if I don't, then guess what,
it's a plane crash, and we're all dead, not just her.
And you can't go, well, it was her fault
because remember, it's not about you.
See all these go together.
We have to understand that playing in these places is
just a little bit different than playing in other places.
So the fifth one that I would like to bring up is
dynamics, dynamics, dynamics.
All too often, I've been in a service,
or I've gone to visit a church,
and many times they will put you in the aquarium,
they'll put you in the box,
they could put plexiglass all around you.
They do that so they can isolate the sound,
and they do that because sometimes they have a drummer
that can't control their volume.
So you have to realize the environment you're in.
If I have a singer standing right in front me,
and I don't have any drum cage, guess what?
Their mic's gonna pick up some of my drums.
I have to understand the acoustics
of the environment I'm in.
So if we're in a smaller room,
I'm not gonna sit there and play, (heavy drumming)
I'm gonna realize that oh yeah, we're in a smaller room,
I should maybe, (light drumming)
and sometimes we actually have to make further adjustments.
Sometimes we have to play with special sticks.
Sometimes they'll actually ask you to play percussion
instead of playing a drum set.
Maybe sometimes with brushes.
Again, it's not about you, it's a group event.
It's making sure that the group is having a community event.
They're having a community time together,
and you're helping facilitate that, okay?
So if you can remember it's not about you,
this is a group event,
you need to be careful where you're putting your fills
and what fills you're playing,
you need to remember that you're responsible for the time,
and you also need to remember your dynamics.
If you can do those five things,
man, you're gonna go a long way in playing
in that environment and really fitting in
and being a benefit to the gig.
Again, I'm Stephen Taylor,
I'm a satellite teacher here at Drumeo.
I also run my own YouTube channel
and my own website where I do lessons.
You can check out all those links below.
Hopefully these tips have helped you.