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Learning Songs - Should You Learn the Exact Drum Part?

I've gotten this question quite a bit since I started posting the gigging drummer series. When learning a drum part, should we learn it and play it EXACTLY like the recording every time? Should we ignore the recording altogether? Is there a happy medium??!

I've been doing paid cover song gigs (stage shows, clubs, weddings, artists, etc.) since the age of 16. So I have A LOT of experience in this area. Here's the first thing...learning a new song and the parts that are played is a way to learn a new player. To really dig into their style. Secondly, it's a way to learn a new style. To learn what the main players in that style do and how they approach the songs.

Many times there are smaller genres within a large genre and the differences have to do with the small nuances in a player's parts. It's a fantastic learning tool. And thirdly...we have to leave room for our own selves to shine through!! Some take this too far and completely ignore the original parts. I don't agree with this for the most part, but there is a happy medium (for me anyway).

This is a really important topic. I have friends that play stadiums on a weekly basis...and they are literally playing a "cover" gig. They were hired by an artist to play that artist's songs and represent the album live. But they still manage to put a lot of themselves into the show!!

You can check out the gigging drummer series here.

I hope you found this discussion on learning and playing drum parts helpful!!

Make sure you check back next week for another video!!

In the meantime, please sign up for my free program "30 Days to Better Doubles."

Also check out my website and my YouTube channel for more lessons!!


Stephen Taylor - MU Educator


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