I know there are many concepts that relate to drums in worship. The discipline of being a great musician is a lifelong endeavor. But let’s look at four essentials that are really the corner tent pegs that hold it together. All I have ever taught on the subject of drums in worship seem to be built on these. As we move into the fall season many of you are returning to school or a new pace of life. How about making it a time to re-center your drumming routine as well? Here we go!

“You gotta’ have heart… lots of heart.”
These words from an old song still have the most profound meaning. I believe that playing with passion and purpose is felt by you, your band, and the people listening.

This is even more critical when it comes to worship. Playing with excellence is great to a certain degree. Sure, we all want to be as perfect as we can be. But ultimately, we must be worshipping when we play. Everything has to be built on this. Remember the 11th commandment – “Thou Shalt Not Play Thy Drums in Vain.”

Work on your “chops.”
You knew I wouldn’t leave this out. This is the technical side of your playing. And it will always be important. As much as your “heart being in it” is vital, so is your ability to do the job well. Keep working on your skill! Practice! Learn the songs you play in great detail. Using a metronome when you practice is most critical. Don’t be content with anything less than your absolute best. “Thou Shalt Honor Thy Gifting.”

Team spirit is the next pillar for a great worship musician.
Don’t get trapped thinking of yourself. This applies to both musical and relational aspects of your drumming. Look for ways to build people up. When you’re playing, listen to what the rest of the band sounds like and connect to the vibe. Get into what the others are doing.

Be a team player in every way. When you’re just hanging out as a group of friends, a kind word or maybe helping out when you see a need can have a huge impact.

If you feel there is a spiritual void and no one is giving much attention to prayer and heart issues, you might be the one to draw the team into fellowship time. Always strive to be the encourager! “Thou Shalt Honor Your Brothers and Sisters.”

Last, but not least, be sure to “play to the room.”
You could be a great drummer with incredible skill, have the passion to worship, and totally be a team player, but if you don’t adjust to the acoustics of the room you’ve failed. Usually this means being too loud, but on rare occasions you might be playing too softly to get the band to sound good together. Sometimes you have to dig in a little bit to get the band to gel. Always ask the engineer if your volume is OK in the room. “Thou Shalt Not Kill the Worship Atmosphere.”

At every conference or clinic these are the most discussed topics amongst players, worship leaders, and pastors. Really! You have to get this! Make these the cornerstones of your calling and you’ll truly be the drummer/ musician/ human being the Lord has called you to be.

Blessings to you as you continue to build your life and drumming on a solid foundation.


  1. I’ve never known drums to be “too soft.” 95% of the time, at least, they are far too loud! The melody gets covered up while drummers bang away like they were playing with a heavy metal band. Tone it down! Drums should be a soft and gentle accent. If one notices the drums without a specific intent to hear them, then they are too loud!

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