Mastering an instrument can be quite a tricky business to delve into, and that applies to drums as well. All the rhythms, the proper skin bashing techniques, the notes, the tempo, the beat, the groove, the feel. A lot of that stuff is sort of up in the air and you have to really, really practice to get the groove under your skin and into your pocket.
And as much as it is difficult to become a renowned drummer with original music, it is also quite difficult to build yourself a name as a respectable studio musician. There are a few steps to stick by, but as always, the majority of the way is just you makin’ magic. This is how to become a session drummer, go!
How to become a session drummer
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
First and foremost, you will need to practice, practice, practice, and the first point of your practice routine is going to be tempo, tempo, tempo. One of the absolute priorities of a good session drummer is the ability to hold the tempo.
And we don’t mean hold the tempo for a few measly bars, we mean hold the tempo for the entire song! So many drummers out there kick off the tune with one tempo, and end it with another that it’s becoming ridiculous. Usually they start it slow and insecure, and then start bashing their hands off and end the song galloping away a million miles an hour.
These guys suck, but they also give you a chance to stand out. How? By getting a metronome and practicing! Find a good metronome with a headphone output, set the tempo, and groove until you’ve mastered it.
Dynamics, Dynamics, Dynamics
Once the tempo is out of the way, the next step of your practice, practice, practice routine are dynamics, dynamics, dynamics. Once again, this is the thing that so many drummers out there suck at, and once again a chance for you to shine.
Dynamics, they are a tricky bastard. Essentially, you will need to learn not to bash with maximum capacity at all times, because it’s not good for the song. As a matter of fact, that is just the thing you have to learn here – what is good for the song. When to build the power up, when to keep a tight, yet unnoticeable groove, and when to bring out the big guns. Once again, practice makes perfect, sir.
Be on Time, Not Just Music-Wise
You want to be a professional, then act like one. You’re not in a garage band where everyone has an equal saying any more, you’re a hired professional. And hire professional turn up on time and don’t waste their employers’ time by being late or by doing their job poorly.
However, always keep that artistic edge and drive for when you’re behind the kit, that’s the crucial ingredient that will make you stand out in the business, or at least one of them.
Connections, Connections, Connections
How to get connections, connections, connections? By standing out, standing out, standing out! Always make a good impression, but do NOT turn your performance into a wank fest either. Master the craft, be subtle and utilize maximum efficiency in your performance.
Additionally, stand out when you’re not performing. Be nice, be open to things, don’t be judgmental as you are an artist after all, and always, absolutely always have fun with what you’re doing. This way you will keep your head cool and the progress is bound to come on its own. Also, always take your client very seriously and deliver the task with maximum efficiency and professionalism. You’re there to bang those drums, what happens later is the matter you’re not supposed to delve into, so do your job right.
We’ve reached the end of our journey together, young dude, and only but a mere beginning of your own excruciating trek in which you work your butt off in not sitting behind a computer reading silly articles on the internet spewing obvious knowledge, but actually mastering your craft and separating yourself from all those guys who suck so much. You wanted to know how to be a session drummer, well, this is it! Get that dumb grin off your face and start practicing!