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The Music Schop is a resource for worship musicians and pastors. Song analysis of popular worship songs, theory lessons, reviews of worship resources, and tips and tricks for drummers, keyboard players, guitar players, bass players – the entire band. Written by Chris Schopmeyer.

Dynamic Drumming

I was beginning work today when I was distracted by the drumming on the track "Glory To God" from the North Point Live album Awake. This is Steve Fee's band including Brandon Coker on drums. I don't know Brandon, but I like his drumming here – specifically the dynamic energy he creates.  

In modern pop and rock music, I have found quality drummers create overall dynamics, soft vs. loud, not by how they play buy by what they play. Inexperienced drummers may approach a broken down or softer moment in a song by actually playing softer. This certainly seems reasonable, but is generally a bad idea. In live venues soft playing mostly gets lost in the mix  and generally creates a mushy, tentative tone. The great drummers maintain consistent velocity and tone across the drums at all times. 

Brandon creates a sense of dynamics here by washing out completely and going to a hi-hat groove at the chorus. Notice it is a groove, with a nice mix of accents and rhythmic variation. In bar four of the chorus he washes out completely with no groove. This is a great move because it builds anticipation. He comes in with a lot of velocity at bar 5. His kick stays consistently strong through the next four bars while he creates a crescendo feel with his snare and fills. Notice his kick, because it keeps the energy and confidence steady while the snare creates the build. All of this together really sets up the next chorus well. 

In modern popular styles of music, the good drummers create overall dynamics not by how they play, but by what they play. If you are a developing drummer, deal with softer moments by thinning out what you play, keeping your tone consistent. Everyone on stage and in the room will appreciate your leadership.