Expanding Your Influences As a Drummer

It’s quite common for drummers to be heavily influenced by a single drummer. Most drummers I know got a major itch to start drumming from their love of one particular band. For example, I was heavily inspired to pick up drums after playing Metallica’s S&M on repeat.

While watching Metallica’s S&M DVD at the time, I was absolutely glued to what Metallica’s drummer (Lars Ulrich) was doing behind the kit. I know that his drumming certainly wasn’t the most technical, and in fact, it was quite inconsistent across many of their shows. Drummer’s often don’t like to admit that Lars Ulrich was their inspiration to pick up the sticks, as he gets quite a bit of criticism from the drumming community, but I’ll admit it!

Be Inspired by Other Drummers and Genres

After picking up drums and following along with his drumming for quite a while, I realized that I really needed to expand my horizons quite a lot and start learning from other drummers and learning other songs.

While it’s totally cool to have one major influence as a drummer, you also really need to expand your influences and listen to other drummers as well, preferably outside the main genres you listen to. This will help you develop your own unique style and sound on the drums.

Who should you listen to? It is that’s totally up to you. You could start with our list of the best drummers to get some inspiration. Some of the most influential drummers in history are John Bonham, Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Neil Peart, Buddy Rich, and many more. There are, of course, many other great drummers out there, and it’s really up to you to explore and find other drummers that suit your particular style.

Why You Need to Expand Your Influences

Following one particular drummer too closely can result in you sounding like a second-grade clone of that particular drummer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as many drummers want to sound like their favorite drummer. However, it’s still important to find your own voice on the drums and not be afraid to experiment with other styles and sounds.

Listening to other genres of music can also help you come up with new and creative ideas for your own playing. If you are a rock drummer then listening to jazz or latin music can help you come up with new ways to play.

Expanding your influences will help you become a more well-rounded drummer, and help you develop your own unique playing style. So get out there and start listening to other drummers, and don’t be afraid to experiment with other genres of music while you’re at it!

Mike O'Connor
Mike O'Connor

I've been playing drums for over 18 years. I work as both a session drummer and a drum teacher, and I love to share my knowledge and tips on this site. You can also find me on the Electronic Drum Advisor YouTube channel.

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