"But, I don't think any arranger should ever write a drum part for a drummer because if a drummer can't create his own interpretation of the chart and he plays everything that's written, he becomes mechanical; he has no freedom." - Buddy Rich
Drumming is one of those unique pastimes that has the ability to awaken an all-encompassing passion in a drummer. Many people start out drumming simply because they want to try something new.
However, the majority of first-timers also soon find themselves developing a passion for making music with their garage drum kits and begin discovering what a truly infectious hobby drumming is. Something that began as a New Year's resolution or a simple outlet for one's anger can soon become a focal point in one's life.
Learning a percussion instrument like the drums also has a key redeeming feature - anyone can play! Regardless of your age, height, weight, or even the style of music you prefer, almost anyone can master a short drum solo with a little bit of practice. In fact, according to a study undertaken in Wales, 39% of primary school aged students were identified as learning to play the drums in 2017.
The drums have become increasingly popular as an instrument since the invention of the modern drum kit, which led the way for the mass production of drums by manufacturers and introduced drums to a mainstream audience. The modern drum kit also helped to expand a range of musical genres, including rock, pop and heavy metal.
However, not only is drumming a popular pastime, but scientists have also proven a link with drumming and higher intelligence levels. It's official - drumming makes you brainier! Why has drumming been linked to more advanced cognitive abilities? Drummers are rhythmically minded, able to achieve incredible feats in terms of improvisation but can also keep a steady beat in spite of what other band members may be doing.
So put down your popcorn, step away from the TV and pick up those drumsticks because drumming could do your brain more good than you might think!
What is the best drum solo for first-time drummers?
As a first time drummer, the prospect of picking up a pair of drumsticks and striking the drums to a beat can seem incredibly daunting.
Whilst online drum tutorials can help you learn the basics, if you really want to be able to play the drums with other bandmates then you will have to master a few tunes. The best songs for first-timers to learn are songs that have clear drum solos that allow the drummer to keep a steady beat and do not encourage too much improvisation.
Although improvisation is an amazing skill to have and the mark of an impressive drummer, keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day! Do not try to put to much emphasis on song difficulty when learning your first drum solo, otherwise you may become disheartened and give up easily. It is important to find a simple song that will help you to gain confidence as a musician.
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Music to Suit You
Actually, most popular music songs can be simplified into just a few beats, so you can turn almost any song into a drum solo with a bit of a rhythmical workaround. What matters most when starting out drumming is that you enjoy it. Find a song that you like and start to simplify the beats down so that you can create your own drum solo with simple drum beats and use of the single pedal.
Catchy songs with strong choruses are really good for helping you to find the beat easily.
Examples of Beginner's Drum Solos
This is a short run-down of good drum solos for beginner's, but actually almost anything goes!
- Survivor - Eye of the Tiger drum solo
- Pokemon - Theme Tune drum solo
- AC/DC - Back in Black drum solo
- Michael Jackson - Billie Jean drum solo
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Which drum solos are best suited to more advanced players?
Whilst you should steer clear of drum solos that leave too much room for improvisation when starting out as a drummer, if you are an experienced drummer and have advanced to much higher levels then songs that don't tie you down to much and allow improvisation are a great way to show off your skills and expand your range.
Even if you haven't been learning to drum that long, but find you have a bit of a musical talent for drumming - then you will want to look for music that encourages you to improvise.
Rhythmically complex music, which has frequent changes in time signatures, particularly drum solos where the drummer has to play cross rhythms and triplets in different signatures is not something for the light hearted! Trying to keep a steady beat as time signatures change is a hardened skilled and the mark of an experienced drummer.
Drum solos where the drummer has to play the double bass at an incredibly high speed or where the drummer has to switch between playing complicated rhythms with drum sticks to bongos-style with bare hands are incredible to watch and listen to as an audience member but technically challenging for a musician and suited too much more advanced drummers.
Play to Your Weaknesses
Depending on your own unique skill-set you may find some drum solos more challenging than others whilst other advanced players may not agree. Each drummer has his own talents and weakness, as you become more advanced at playing the drums it is always good to find music that pushes you to the limits.
Don't stick to simple songs that do not need improvisation and do not change time signatures, focus on songs that you find challenging and use them as a means to overcome your weaknesses as a player. Before you know it, your weaknesses may just have become your strengths!
Examples of Advanced Drum Solos
Here are a few examples of drum solos to keep you on your rhythmical toes!
- Led Zeppelin - Moby Dick drum solo
- Dream Theater - Dance of Eternity drum solo
- Tool - Ticks and Leeches drum solo
- Journey - Don't Stop Believing drum solo
- The Ventures - Wipeout drum solo
What are Some of the Best Drum Solos Ever?
Defining which songs have the best drum solos ever is really somewhat of a subjective feat, which makes listing them quite a challenge. After all, one man's straw is another man's gold!
From rock, to pop, to jazz, to heavy metal to classical - musical tastes differ so much. At the end of the day, the best drum solos will be ones that show incredible technical and rhythmical skill whilst also conforming to your own musical tastes.
However, when it comes to drumming, there are still some really memorable drumming solos that are classics for a reason. From tunes smashed out by Gene Krupa, Ginger Baker, John Bonham and Keith Moon to those played by the likes of Travis Barker - a wide range of listeners can appreciate the drumming stamina that these top players are able to achieve, which has made them go down in drumming history.
Examples of the Best Drum Solos
Some memorable drum solos include these smash hits:
- Blink 182 - I Miss You drum solo
- Jimi Hendrix - If 6 Was 9
- The Beatles - The End
- Phill Collins - In The Air Tonight
Examples of influential musicians and some of the greatest drummers who helped make some of the best drum solos in history include these stars from the drumming world:
- Tony Williams
- Ringo Star
- Mitch Mitchell
- Bill Bruford
- Max Roach
- Carter Beauford
- Billy Cobham
- Dennis Chambers
- Peter Erskine
- Geddy Lee
- Mike Portnoy
- Chad Smith
- Joey Jordison
- Mike Mangini
- George Kollias
- Taylor Hawkins
- Carmine Appice
- Dave Lombardo
- Charlie Watts
- Brann Dailor
- Gavin Harrison
- Phil Collins
- Dave Grohl
- Steve Gadd
- Tom Sawyer
- Josh Freese
- Tommy Aldridge
- Virgil Donati
- Elvin Jones
- Jojo Mayer
- Jeff Porcaro
- Matt Cameron
- Alex Van Halen
- Gene Hoglan
- Roger Taylor
- Max Weinberg
- Tomas Haake
- Bill Ward
- Mick Fleetwood
- Tim Alexander
- Nicko McBrain
- Chris Adler
- Jimmy Chamberlin
- Simon Phillips
- Joe Morello
- Vinnie Paul
What Makes a Song Good for Drumming?
So, we know there are some really great drummers out there. But what does it take to be one?
Practice and passion!
Oh, and trying to find the right music for your level too! A drummer is only as good as the music he plays, so if you are drumming to music that you are not passionate about or does not suit your level then you really won't get very far.
The best songs for drumming to are ones that you really love to listen to. These are songs that you can play over and over again until the rhythm gets underneath your skin and you still will not tire of playing them. Songs that allow simplicity and simple use of the double bass if you are a beginner or songs that are nothing short of rhythmical labyrinths and cross-beat mindfields if you are an old-time drummer!
Most drumming songs can be adapted to your musical level if you know how. And if you don't, well you can always look for the help of a handy drumming instructor or drumming tutor to guide you on your drumming journey.
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Drum Solos: Definitions
All musicians - and drummers are no exception - will need to take on a new set of musical vocabulary if they want to improve in their playing. This is a given and one of the challenges of being a percussionist. Not only do you have to learn an instrument, you also have to learn a new language!
Also known as a cross-beat, a cross-rhythm is when one rhythm is played whilst 'crossing over' or at the same time as another rhythm is played.
A time signature is a means of expressing rhythm in theoretical music. When you see the clef next time you look at sheet musical you will be able to tell how many beats should be played for a particular measure.