Can Drummers Write Music?


Well, is it true? Is it really that much of a stretch? A common misconception of drummers is that we are limited to rhythms and don't have a grasp of what else goes on in the music. Contrary to that belief, many drummers have great ears and a keen sense of what is happening around them. This level of attentiveness is what I believe makes a drummer special.

First, we are people. People who experience life everyday just like everyone else. Seeing that the majority of lyrical songs talk about some type of encounter, it’s right up our alley to share similar stories. Some drummers can also sing, so they’re able to really embrace the song writing process by writing music that they will actually perform in their own groups. I love seeing this! It takes the phrase, “give the drummer some” to the next level.

For those who may be unable to sing, they are still able to identify melody and paint a picture of the song in a way that is clear for a singer to interpret it. Beyond the rhythms, drummers are responsible [in my mind] for leading the band. Even when the music director isn’t sitting on the drummer’s throne, the way the performance is shaped is heavily driven by the way the drummer approaches each song — but this is more of a topic for a different post.

From a more rhythmic standpoint, I think drummers write with a very fresh sense of phrasing. Often times, depending on the types of gigs we play, much of that music is very similar in tempo and patterns. So when we get a chance to do our own thing, straying away from that can lead us to some interesting places. From song structure, to chord progressions, to time signatures, to the types of melodies, the perspective presented by a musician’s primary instrument is essential to having our own voices.

You can check out some of what goes on in my head here!