Worship Drumming 101: What's Your Motivation?

DSC_0217ClarkDisclaimer: I’ve served as the drummer on my church’s praise team for going on six years now and the experience has taught me quite a bit about playing the drums in a worship environment. By no means am I an expert, in fact, I am often frustrated by my lack of skills! However, I thought it might be beneficial to share some of the things I’ve learned over the years …. thus, Worship Drumming 101! 

What’s Your Motivation? 

Playing the drums in a worship setting such as your church is unlike any other music gig you will ever encounter. There are many wonderful reasons to join a praise team. Here are just a few:

1. To hone your skills: Praise teams provide a wonderful opportunity to develop and maintain your chops. When I first began playing in my church, I hadn’t played regularly in almost twenty years. Needless to say, I was rusty! I was greatly frustrated with my inability to do the things I used to take for granted. At times, I still find myself unable to reproduce with my hands and feet the music I’m hearing in my head, but I must admit I can feel myself getting a little better with the experience. Each week our team provides the music for two worship services and holds two or more practices .. it’s hard not to improve under those conditions. Additionally, while some are harder than others, the learning curve on most contemporary praise songs isn’t too steep, so it’s a good opportunity for a young or inexperienced drummer to learn.

2. It’s fun: You play the drums because it’s enjoyable, right? Playing on the praise team allows me the opportunity to do something I enjoy on a regular basis.

3. Relationships: When you are part of a team you will develop relationships with the other members of that team. The other members of our team have become some of my best friends in our church. It certainly beats banging on the drums alone in the privacy of my house!

4. It is an opportunity to serve others: Worship teams provide a vital function within a church … they help lead others in the worship of our Lord and Savior! This isn’t just the responsibility of the worship leader … believe me, the drummer has a big part to play in the process. Think about it, the drummer makes or breaks the worship experience. The whole thing can be ruined with a poorly timed fill or by playing a song too aggressively … however, a song that’s timed well and tightly played can help the worshiper get into the groove of worship.

5. It is an opportunity to worship our Lord: This is our best motivation for serving on the praise team. Every week I get to sit behind a drum kit and worship Jesus Christ! No other motivation even comes close to this one! What a blessing it is to worship Christ by doing something I love to do!

If you’re a drummer, let me encourage you to connect with the praise team in your local church. If there’s not an opening on the team, ask them if they need help with sound or with the stage crew. Eventually, such opportunities may turn into the chance to sit in and play. I promise you it will be worth it.