Technique Tuesday: Importance of a Beat

It’s a common misconception among musicians that the drummer is the least important part of a band. They make drummers the butts of so many jokes. Here’s why they’re wrong.

Obviously, we keep time. I don’t have to explain that to you. But I think our role as musicians goes deeper than that. Think of any song on mainstream radio right now, and it most likely has a unique or very prominent beat. Look at Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” or No Doubt’s “Hella Good”.

The first thing you hear is the beat, and it grabs your attention. Once the song has your attention, courtesy of the beat, you listen to melody next, then lyrics. Something had to initially grab your attention.

In my opinion, drummers are time-keepers yes, but also attention-grabbers. What do you think?


PSBob Lefsetz (@lefsetz) twittered this last week, and I thought it fit well with this post: “An amazing drummer makes a huge difference.

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1 Comment

  1. If I may be the egomaniac that I am, the drummer is the most important member in the band. But unfortunately, we don’t get the respect that we really deserve. We’re like the unsung heroes of the band.

    What’s making the people tap their feet and dance? It’s the groove. And who supplies the groove? The drummer.

    On top of that, who controls the way people dance through the dynamics? That’s right, the drummer. We can get people to dance in a calm manner or in a aggressive manner.

    If there was an orchestra playing, how chaotic do you think it would be without rhythm, so people know where they are meant to be?

    Most importantly, rhythm is such an important factor of everyday life. Following rhythm is like following a cycle, like waking up in the morning and drinking coffee, or taking your route to get to work, or when the sun rises and sets.

    Speaking as a drummer, being able to set a time cycle and rhythm, much like the sun rising and setting through an instrument is an awesome privilege.

    I have commented on this once before the site, but I’ll say it again: I disagree on the whole “drummers are the time-keepers”. I do believe it’s everybody’s role in the band to keep time. The reason why you hear bands slowing down and speeding up is because everybody in the band is following one person and depending on them to keep time, and that person is the drummer. Plus if everybody in the band is keeping solid time, if the drummer goes out of it, they’ll be able to realise that they’re out of time. Like I said before, rhythm is an important part of life, and other musicians should take note of that and perhaps make rhythm and time an important part of their playing.

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