7 Tips For Drummers To Improve Their Live Performances

Posted by Mike Schumacher

Drumming is a very dynamic music instrument. With drums, cymbals, and sticks, there are many ways to create music. You can play solo or with other drummers to add more complexity.

Drummers have an amazing stage presence when they perform well. It looks very powerful and demanding, which can be a great thing for a performance.

Performance anxiety is a problem for many musicians. If you are feeling too nervous to perform, then there are some tips to reduce that anxiety.

Just like any other performance, the best way to prepare is by practicing and rehearsing your songs. Knowing the songs thoroughly will help you feel more comfortable on stage because you know what to expect.

This article will go into detail about some tips and tricks for improving your stage performance as a drummer.

Be in the moment

7 Tips for Drummers to Improve Their Live Performances

Being in the moment means not thinking about what you did last time or what you will do next time. It means not thinking about last week’s gig, last month’s gig, last year’s gig, or next week’s gig, next month’s gig, next year’s gig.

It means not thinking about what song comes next or whether you have a favorite part coming up.

It means not thinking about anything other than the song that is being played right now. It means absolutely pure concentration on what you are doing right at this very moment.

As a drummer, this is especially important because you may be playing several songs in a row that have similar beats and rhythms. If you are too focused on one particular song and one particular beat or rhythm, then you may end up missing the rest of them.

Slow down to go faster

7 Tips for Drummers to Improve Their Live Performances

A very common mistake made by drummers is to feel pressure to keep the beat fast. Many songs have a typical tempo, or speed, and feel that needs to be maintained.

It is really common for drummers to feel like they need to keep up with the bass or guitar, or other instruments in the song.

Remember that your role in the music is to provide a solid groove and creative fills. A great way to change up the song is by changing the tempo!

Using your hands and feet to play at different speeds is a great way to show your creativity. Adding in extra beats can make your transitions smoother and more noticeable.
As a general tip, try playing 12 beats slower per minute than what feels natural. This will help you play in longer bursts without fatigue.

Don’t worry about making mistakes

As mentioned earlier, keeping the rhythm is the most important part of being a drummer. Once you have established that you can keep the rhythm, then you can add some flair and solo sections.

Try not to push yourself too hard in these sections, as it can cost you the rhythm you have already established. Once again, it is all about balance!

Mistakes happen and there is no way to avoid them unless you know exactly what is going to happen before it does.

Drummers should not feel pressured to solo or add extra beats or moves unless they want to. Keeping things simple tends to make for better performances because there is not too much going on.

Pre-planning some beats and giving the rest up to instinct may help with this.

Connect with your bandmates

7 Tips for Drummers to Improve Their Live Performances

A key part of being a good drummer is understanding how your rhythms affect the other musicians in your band.

If you are playing a rhythm that the bass or guitar needs to hear to play their part, then your job is to make that as clear and easy as possible.

How you do this depends on the music and your band dynamics. If you are playing punk music where the drums are very dominant, then you can have more assertive beats. If you are playing jazz or mellow music, then softer hits and rim shots may be more appropriate.

It is important for drummers to know their limits and strengths. If you are better at hitting hard, then focus on being clear in those moments. If you have better timing, work on being precise in those moments. Both are important for showing your best performance!

Connecting with your bandmates means being aware of their musical style and helping them out when they need it.

Connect with your audience

7 Tips for Drummers to Improve Their Live Performances

A key part of being a great live drummer is having a connection with your audience. You do not have to love every song you play, but you have to love the people listening to you.

If you love your audience, then you will enjoy playing for them and putting in extra effort to make them enjoy your music. The best way to do this is by connecting with them.

Make eye contact and smile at them, this will make them feel appreciated and welcomed. Try incorporating some of their movements into your music or keep them in mind when you change beats.

If they are dancing and having fun, then you did your job as a drummer! Show off your smile and pride.

These tips are simple, but can make a big difference in how your audience feels about the performance.

Feel your emotion

7 Tips for Drummers to Improve Their Live Performances

As a drummer, you will spend a lot of time playing the rhythm of the song. You will be following the guitar or piano chords and the singer’s pitch, so your job is very important.

It is easy to get caught up in your own world when you are playing, but you need to feel your emotion.

You need to know when you are feeling upbeat and excited or when you are feeling more calm or sultry. The difference in these emotions can change your drumming quite a bit.

Your transitions need to feel natural and smooth as do your hits and rolls. All of this needs to come from inside of you so that you feel in control and it looks natural on stage.

Checking your emotional state before a performance can help with this.

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