Our drumming comes from those who came before us, and I use both Rhapsody and YouTube as regular learning tools to further my appreciation of the percussive past. I was given a small MP3 player a couple of years ago with a Rhapsody subscription, and I was blown away by all the music that was available.

I started compiling a list of my favorite drummers and began to listen to them and the drummers who they listed as influences. When I read about a new name I’m unfamiliar with, both Rhapsody and YouTube serve as great ways to get caught up with the latest talent.

My iTouch is also a good tool for watching drum videos anywhere I can get Wi-Fi. It’s a fun way to pass the time at dinner while waiting out the brutal traffic of Los Angeles.

YouTube is especially cool for doing keyword searches on types of drumming. There are examples from literally all over the world. Some are raw, some are very well polished. I love digging in to find the obscure…

The really cool stuff for me are the odd meter/polyrhythm YouTube videos, and there are no shortage of them. Here’s where I think drummers can contribute greatly to the world knowledge and exploration, on any level. We’re all seeking our way, and I love seeing what people do with this stuff.

I have noticed one thing that concerns me about some of the drum solo videos. There are no shortage of chops drummers out there, but many times, the videos being posted have no dynamics, very little musical composition, and they are just machine-gun fire for the most part. I wish the young extraordinary talent coming up would do less of this and put more focus and attention on clarity and musicality.

This is not sour grapes, by the way. I spent many years developing speed and power, but it took many MORE years to develop the musical end. So, I am speaking from the perspective of one of those guys who used to just wail and flail, offering just a small bit of advice to younger drummers to focus on the musical composition of your solos. We get hired to keep time first and foremost, and this does tend to suppress our own outlets for speed and power expression, to which we are certainly entitled (equally I might add) as musicians.

But what we don’t want to do is further perpetuate the myth that drummers are NOT musicians and can’t think in musical terms. When you hear or see a drummer really nail the musical truth, it’s pretty intense.  By studying Rhapsody and YouTube, I believe we can further ourselves quite a bit in this regard.