More than a beat


I am watching this fascinating documentary series called the "Art of Drumming".


As a music lover, I was astounded by my lack of understanding and knowledge of what drumming and drummers are to music.

Yes of course I knew about them keeping the beat and, alongside the bass, being the rhythm section, but never really understood the intricacies of how a drummer's brain may process things in a slightly different way than the rest of the band.


It was in a recent live podcast that I did with The Blizzards that their drummer, Dec Murphy, remarked that sometimes when people tell him how great the song was and how much they loved the lyrics, he finds himself saying, "What lyrics?" While he was obviously joking, he went on to explain how he "sees the music" from a different angle than the rest of the band.

And something similar comes across the documentary.

Legendary drummers from band such as Deep Purple to Red Hot Chili Peppers, talk about their styles and how one slight change on a classic beat creates a "hook" that becomes your own...

The documentary got me to reflect on a couple of things.


First of all, never assume anything.


For years I have assumed something about drumming that was not completely correct and I choose not to explore it further, happy to wallow in my ignorance.

This week I have started to re-listen to some of the tunes discussed in the series and pay more attention to the drum beat, knowing that there is more to it than the simple rhythm that I have forever associated with it.


And secondly, that in a group/team situation, never underestimate anyone's contribution.

I had assumed that Ringo Starr was the "lesser Beatle", only to find out that what he did for drumming is rather special, innovative and groundbreaking...

What do I know!!


So here I am, listening back to The Beatles, Cream, Miles Davis and many others that I thought I "knew by heart!!".


And I am trying to decipher the drumbeat, to hear the music that comes from the drum-kit, try to hear behind the lyrics and the lead guitars.


And when I am sitting with clients, in a group and/or team coaching session, making sure that the "drummer" in the room doesn't feel he/she is only there to keep the tempo and that the rest of us can understand every syncopation and double/triple beat, every snare, cymbal and... you get the gist.


"She said, “It’s really not my habit to intrude

Furthermore, I hope my meaning

Won’t be lost or misconstrued

But I’ll repeat myself

At the risk of being crude

There must be fifty ways

To leave your lover

Fifty ways to leave your lover”


Paul Simon, 50 ways to leave your lover. Steve Gadd, Drums



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