Using Dynamics in Your Drumming

Dynamics is one of the most important tools you have as a drummer. Building and cutting back a song changes the whole mood and atmosphere. In a worship set, if a song is up tempo the whole way through there maybe no room for people to slow down and think or reflect, or if its too laid back the whole time people might get bored. But be careful though, not to have to much happening, you don’t want to take people on a fast roller coaster! The dynamics you use should flow with the song.

Your Part

Why does this fall on you? Because you have the easiest control of the volume that you produce. It is easiest for you to be the main one building and cutting back. Team members will also find it easier to fit in with you and build with you rather than them building and you following them. Whether its a building fill into a chorus or a cut back to the ride into a free worship time, what you play will have a lasting effect on the atmosphere that has been created. Its a big resposibility to have but with practice you will gain confidence. Work with the team to help you grow in confidence.


It is important therefore to follow leader. Work out signals, if needed, for building or cutting back. Learn the best way to use these dynamics. Listen to songs that build and cut back for ideas on how to do this smoothly and well. Whether is on the ride or a quiet tom beat there are many many options to build and cut back. A couple of examples are Surrender and Even Greater by Planetshakers. The drummer is also very good at helping to create space in the songs.

Not Just Worship Songs

Every song should have dynamics throughout them. In most cases the chorus is stronger then the verses, so maybe you open the hi-hat or use the ride, but usually you need to increase the energy. For example when you build up for a chorus, hit into the chorus and keep it up rather then build up to it then dropping out when you come into it. Work out where the climax of the song is. For example if the climax is in the bridge you dont want to be going all out in the chorus. There are always exceptions and sometimes the worship leader will want to do a song differently every now and again. Listen to different songs and their dynamics. Get an idea of what are good ways of using dynamics. Don’t be afraid to pound out a chorus! More about this later…


An Introduction to Church Drumming

So you’ve started drumming at your church? Maybe you’ve been around for a while? Good on you for using the talent God has gifted to you! Don’t forget to always keep developing that talent. Even if you have a few weeks off the roster at church, practice at home so you can keep improving your skills. And especially if you think you’ve got everything sorted, don’t stop practising, you can always improve! If you are part of a big church don’t be disheartened if you don’t initially appear on the roster often. Everyone needs time to merge into a team.

God Centre

Right, first things first. It always helps to dedicate your time drumming to God and put Him at the center. Pray alone and with your team before and after a service. Even if you practice alone you can ask to be shown where you can improve. Worship Him with your playing. Submit yourself to God and always remember why you are playing in the team. Its not to glorify you, but always to glorify God. You are a vessel who God is using to help others worship Him. In this you will be uplifted and be uplifting at the same time.


There will be times when people will complain, whether its directly to you or through someone else, hopefully you receive some good feedback just as often! Learn to take praise and criticism in the same hand. Don’t get a big head from the praise, but at the same time don’t be scared off by the criticism. God uses both of these to develop you as a person as well as your drumming. Listen to what people have to say. Talk to your worship pastor or experienced members in your team if there is something bothering you. They will be able to say, ‘yeah, that is true’ or ‘no don’t worry too much about that’. If it’s a specific drumming issue, talk to an experienced drummer.


Another important thing is to listen to the songs that you are playing at church. Especially the ones you aren’t confident with. Get familiar with the songs but not with the structure of the songs. Know them off by heart. Learn the words. Listen to your part. Play along with them. Listen again. Play some more. Listen to the different dynamics of the songs. See what other drummers do. Listen again. Play along again. Learning dynamics is a important part of your drumming at church, especially in a ‘worship set’. More about this later…