Is the drummer the leader of the band?

Historically, the drummer has been considered a background player. The drums are not considered a “lead instrument”.  A lead instrument being a guitar or piano or any other instrument that can carry the melody and chords of the song. The drums are an instrument that provides support to singers and guitar players and piano players.  Because of the nature of the instrument, drummers have not been considered the leader of the band.

Now … there have always been exceptions and this was based on the ability or personality or additional skills of the drummer. Here are a few examples …

My premise is that a drummer can become a leader of the band by knowing their instrument and some basic musical knowledge. For drummers, the fundamentals include playing “good time”, some level of dynamics range, and ability to play styles. Given this and some basic knowledge of song form, this can make a drummer a much stronger leader.

For most drummers, they count off the band. This is a good start to becoming the leader. If you don’t count off your band … change that. Get a metronome, record the tempos of all your songs … and next time a song is called … dial up the tempo and count off the song.

A second way to become a leader of the band is to know song form. Song form is … intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc.   Every song has a different form but they all … usually have a intro, verse and chorus. If you know this for the song, you can help the rest of the band stay on track.

A  more advanced form of this can include knowing how many bars [measures] are in each section. Knowing this you can setup transitions of the song and build dynamnics.

Knowing how to do these simple things can help you become a stronger leader in your band. Every player has their part and the drummer can enhance the band by incorporating these simple things.

Have fun.


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