5 Reasons Beginner Drummers Should Learn Jazz Drums

For beginner drummers, Jazz drumming is probably the most mysterious and misunderstood style of drumming out there. For decades, drummers everywhere have been intimidated to learn Jazz on the drums.

In this article, I’m going to share 5 ways learning Jazz drumming will change your playing for the better.

The Reputation Of Jazz Drumming

Over the years, I have grown tired of the negative reputation Jazz music and Jazz drumming have been painted with. There’s a real belief among drummers and especially beginner drummers, that you have to play Jazz or other styles of music. You can’t do both.

Most beginner drummers also think that Jazz drumming is for the chosen few. They think it’s so complicated, it’s not really that much fun anyway. So, why bother learning it? I created my entire online Jazz Drum School to challenge these beliefs.

Beginner drummers are often scared to learn Jazz on the drums.

The truth is, Jazz drumming is a lot of fun and learning it will make you a much better drummer for any style of drumming you want to play. That’s a fact. Here are 5 important reasons why:

  • Better drummer independence between limbs
  • Better drumming hand technique
  • Better ability to play many styles of drumming
  • Better understanding of music
  • Better drummer listening skills

No matter what style you play, improvement in any or all of these 5 areas will help you play better and get more playing opportunities.


You might also enjoy my article, The Most Popular Drummers Do This.


Next I’m going to share how each one of these will help you do this. Let’s start off with drummer independence.

Beginner drummers of any style will benefit from learning Jazz drumming.

Beginner Drummers’ Independence

Drummer independence or limb coordination is a real challenge for most beginner drummers. It’s just plain hard to get your hands and feet play different rhythms and dynamics simultaneously.

If you are frustrated with your drummer coordination I’ve got some great news! There are some tried and tested exercises that will quickly open up your drumming coordination. Learning these exercises will help you play the things you want to play and play with more creativity.

Of course there are hundreds of drummer independence exercises out there but I teach 8 that will change your drumming the fastest. In my Jazz Drumming Patterns Course, you can learn these 8 exercises and really level up your coordination skill on the drums.

Over time, these exercises will become a natural part of your drumming because they are all very musical and could actually be used in real music playing situations.

Beginner drummers often have trouble with their drumming independence. Jazz drumming will fix this.

Drumming Hand Technique

Most Jazz drummers and drummers with a heavy Jazz background, can play cool and innovative things with their hands.

They can also use their hands and feet like they’re having conversations between their limbs. This is one of the great things you’ll be able to do with better drummer independence.

One thing that also helps with “conversational” drummer independence, is having strong drumming hand technique. Being able to play a variety of rhythmic patterns between our hands at different dynamic levels is important.

It actually helps us learn to shape the overall sound of our drumming with both hands and feet. That’s because we learn dynamic control with our hands first and then can use it across the drum set.

Beginner drummers will learn great hand technique by playing Jazz on the drums.

Learning drumming rudiments is an important way of getting our hands together. It’s a whole lot more than that though. If we want to play what’s in our heads rather than being stuck playing the same old hand patterns, we have to learn how to think melodically with our drumming.

Using those drumming rudiments around the drums in rhythmic melodies is a great way to take that hand technique and fit it into the music we play.  Jazz drumming requires this approach.  

By learning drumming hand technique the Jazz drumming way, you can make all of your drum fills and drum solos so much more fun and interesting.

Drumming With Brushes

For beginner drummers, learning to play with drum brushes is a super way to get your hands stronger. In my Brushes Mastery Course, I focus on 17 essential drumming rudiments and how to use them with drum brushes.

The great news about learning all of this drumming hand technique with brushes, is that it will transform your drum stick playing. So learning to drum with brushes will be time well spent.

Learning drum brushes is a great way for beginner drummers to improve their hand technique.

Styles Of Drumming

Jazz drumming is really World drumming. That’s because we use so many styles of drumming on a typical gig. Below are just some of the many styles of drumming we play in Jazz music:

  • Jazz Swing
  • Bossa Nova
  • Jazz Waltz
  • Cha-Cha
  • 6/8 Afro-Cuban
  • Swinging Funk

Each of these styles of drumming require different feels, tempos, dynamics and limb coordination. They also require that we learn more about the structure of music so we know how to play them well in live music situations.

Since the beginning, Jazz drumming has always added other styles of drumming into the Jazz music repertoire. We use rhythms from West Africa, Cuba, Brazil and the US among other places.

For example, in recent years, Hip-Hop and Jazz have fused to create exciting new styles and drumming feels. To learn this unique drumming feel, check out my Jazz Funk Drumming Course.

Learning many different styles of drumming is a huge benefit for beginner drummers. It’s like having more colors to paint a picture. The more grooves you know, the more you can create interesting hybrid grooves and explore new ways to arrange and play songs.

To learn many of the drumming styles we use in Jazz and how to use them on a real Jazz gig, check out my Secrets of Jazz Drumming Course.

This course walks you through videos from one of my gigs. I share exactly what I play, how I play it, when I play it and why I play it. It’ll give you a much better picture of the drummer’s role in Jazz drumming and how to fill this role.

Beginner Drummers’ Understanding Of Music

Two of the biggest problems I see beginning drummers face are reading music and understanding how music is structured.

These skills are actually not all that complicated and there are patterns to guide us. Once we know those patterns and can see them on paper, we get a clear 180 degree view of the music.

This gets us deeper into the music and teaches us how we can play a song with more than just a series of drum beats and drum fills. Having a greater understanding of music lets us become a real part of a song’s performance. We can then connect better to the other musicians we are playing with as well.

Beginner drummers will benefit greatly from learning how to read drum charts.

You might also enjoy my article about how to read drummer sheet music.


Music Structure

For example, if I know a Jazz Swing song has a form of AABA. I know that during the melody, I could play in “2” on the hi-hat for the A’s and move to the ride cymbal for the B section.

This is a simple example but it shows that understanding the song form will help us to mark that form. Knowing that the B might be different from the A’s also helps us be more creative and respond differently to each section of the music.

We can easily take this knowledge of music structure and use it in Rock, Funk, R & B, Blues and any other style of drumming we want to play. All music has structure and knowing that opens new doors to play.

Reading Drum Notation For Beginner Drummers

For some reason, most beginner drummers freeze up when a drum chart (drum sheet music) is put in front of them. Drumming notation is actually not that complicated. In fact, I can teach it to you in a matter of minutes in my Intro To Jazz Drumming Course.

Think about it for a minute. Imagine if you could read anything placed in front of you in any style of music. Do you see how much more you could do with your drumming?

When you understand how to read basic musical rhythmic notation, many more drumming opportunities will come. You’ll also get to play with better musicians.

Learning how to listen really clears up a lot of problems that beginner drummers encounter.

Listening Skills For Beginner Drummers

“Don’t listen to yourself.” That’s what I constantly tell my beginner drummers. Instead, listen to what the other musicians are playing and you’ll know exactly what you should play.

Listening is one of the most powerful skills you can develop as a drummer. The players that can zero in on what other musicians are doing, know instinctively how to support what those musicians are playing. These are also the same drummers that get all of the gigs.

There’s an order to how I listen on a gig. I lay it out for you in detail in my Secrets of Jazz Drumming Course. For example, knowing how to listen to the bass player is critical. This listening skill alone will help you create better time and feel with any bass player.


Take a look at my article on listening, The Most Important Skill To Get Drumming Work.https://vonbaronmusic.com/drumming-work/


So often as beginner drummers, we get caught up in our own playing and try to “out hip” ourselves. Playing complicated drum fills or drum grooves that are too busy are alluring for sure.

It’s the seasoned, great-listening drummer though, that knows what to play at just the right time. These are the drummers that other musicians want to play with. That can be you too if you develop powerful performance listening skills.

Conclusion

So again, the 5 reasons for beginner drummers to learn Jazz drumming are:

  • Better drummer independence between limbs
  • Better drumming hand technique
  • Better ability to play many styles of drumming
  • Better understanding of music
  • Better drummer listening skills

There are of course many more but for this article I wanted to touch on 5 of the biggies. Whatever your style of drumming, I strongly encourage you to learn as much Jazz drumming as you can.

I know learning Jazz drumming will expand your playing. Whether you are a Rock drummer or an aspiring Jazz drummer, you need as many tools in your drumming toolkit as you can get.

Don’t underestimate what you can do. Jazz drumming is not for the chosen few, it’s for you! I also know my drumming courses can help you achieve great things on the drums. Keep swinging my friend!

Do you want to learn Jazz drumming but have been intimidated to start?


Learn to drum with brushes in the THE BRUSHES MASTERY COURSE. It’s the most complete online drum brushes course ever created.

Get ready for your Jazz drumming gigs. Download high-quality, effective DRUMLESS TRACKS. Improve your time, feel, comping and soloing. Learn to play better with real musicians.

Book some private ZOOM DRUM LESSONS to take your Jazz drumming to new heights.

Do you want to play Jazz on the drums?

Hey, I’m Von Baron. I’m determined to help you become an AMAZING Jazz drummer.  My only question is, are you ready?

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