Well, this is the white elephant in the room for so many, isn’t it?
Now, some of you that read this will be thinking…
“Yeah, so what?”
Others of you are thinking…
“Has this guy lost his mind?”
Let it be known—
- I have not lost my mind.
- I am a fan of drums in church.
- …with some caveats.
I have been a drummer for the last 16 years of my life, which is a bit depressing to admit.
Having travelled a lot playing music, I have seen my fair share of church drummers.
I’ve really seen it across the spectrum. Some fit the “church drummer” stereotype…and many more do not.
Here is one thing I do know: Bands need percussion.
And, not every church has a pool of awesome drummers just waiting to take the stage. So, I think there is a way to introduce percussion into the worship band, even if you’ve never had it before, and even if you don’t have anyone in your church who is a drummer yet.
Stage 1: The Cajon
It’s really hard to go wrong with a cajon, and a person with some interest in playing the drums.
If you don’t know, the cajon is a sweet little box that a person sits on and plays with their hands or a pair of brushes.
Some of them even have snare drum sounds built in. So you have the basics: A kick sound, and a snare sound.
You can take a person with no prior experience and have them begin practicing with this at home…and they will probably be ready to join the band live within a matter of weeks.
Stage 2: Electric Drumset
Nothing can be more distracting than a drummer whose volume cannot be controlled.
Over time, good drummers will be able to control their own volume…and will know when do so…and will do it automatically.
But maybe your drummer is ready to graduate from the cajon to the kit. Electric drums would be a great stepping stone.
Your sound guy can control the volume; the more confident your drummer gets, the more he can blend naturally into the rest of the band.
Stage 3: The Acoustic Drumset
Personally, I don’t think you can beat the sound of an acoustic drumset in the live worship band—or any band, for that matter.
The sound is richer, fuller, and is able to be manipulated to fit the musical context in a way that neither a cajon nor an electric set can.
But as Uncle Ben Parker said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Truthfully, acoustic drums/drummers can get a bit unwieldy at times. I know, because I am one, and I do… 🙂
There is an art to playing drums well; and, especially, in a way that complements the rest of the music.
One thing you can do to ease the transition a bit is get a drum shield off of Amazon or an online music store.
This will allow the sound from the drums themselves to be dampened for the people in immediate proximity, and, once again, give the sound men more control over what the majority of folks in the room are hearing.
It’s a really great transition piece. Many churches even use a little soundproofed “box” for a more permanent solution.
So, do I think your church needs drums? Maybe.
It definitely needs percussion. What it adds to the music cannot be understated.
By the way, these are exactly the kinds of questions and discussions we have inside of Worship By Numbers. It’s more than just about how to play music by numbers…
It’s about how to create the worship experience, and how to bring the band together in a way they never have been before…even the drummers! 😉
Here’s the link to get started for free: www.WorshipByNumbers.com