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Thread: The Church Drummers Thread

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by marko138 View Post
    I dont have much to add here b/c I don't play in a church band...far from it actually...but our last 2 shows have been at the same church. Not religious affiliated shows, just a place where they let us play heavy metal.

    churches have great acoustics! dont they?

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyle102565 View Post
    churches have great acoustics! dont they?
    I'll tell ya what, the first show we played there (when that pic was taken) my drums sounded incredible from the driver seat. The 2nd show we played there they put up some acoustic foam in the corners and on the walls. Just small squares sporadically placed around the room. The drums didn't sound nearly as good to me that time.

    But the band after us used my drums. They sounded awesome out front.

  3. #53

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    I played in a church this last weekend - big building with sound treatment. It's a modern church that is set up for contemporary music and rather than being set up like an older traditional church sanctuary with lots of hard surfaces and natural reverb, it's set up like a good auditorium. The kit was sitting on a platform off to the left (right side, looking at the stage) and was behind a big 6' Clearsonic 6-panel shield. Given the size and acoustics of the room, drum volume should not have been an issue, but at one point I was told I needed to back off - not sure why. Maybe I was playing too loudly because I thought I had the freedom. Later I was told that I was downright controlled compared to some of the other drummers who play there.

    In any case, it was nice playing in a setup like that - even though I backed off, I wasn't exactly tickling the drums - the main thing I did to back off was to go to lighter sticks. Since this was a sub situation for me, I figured that it was best to simply comply with what I was being asked to do - I didn't try to add my own flavor to anything either, I simply played the parts like the CDs as much as I could.

    But anyway, there you go - volume is this ever-persistent issue with church drumming, and it was no different even in a church where I wouldn't have thought it was going to be an issue.
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  4. #54

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    Aside from the volume thing, how do you guys approach your parts? I tend to try to cover the parts from the recordings as much as I can.
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  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    Aside from the volume thing, how do you guys approach your parts? I tend to try to cover the parts from the recordings as much as I can.
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  6. #56

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    When we are learning a new song, we'll practice it until it's almost identical to the recording. Once we get it down, we'll add our own flavor to it.

    I got to go to a church a few days ago, they had been wanting us to go hear their praise band for awhile now, so we went. They were okay, the drummer was very busy, pretty good, but annoying really. A little goes a long way i guess, I'm learning that more and more My goal when I do a difficult fill in a service, is to do it, make it sound clean, but not draw attention. Concerts are a different story
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  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    I played in a church this last weekend - big building with sound treatment. It's a modern church that is set up for contemporary music and rather than being set up like an older traditional church sanctuary with lots of hard surfaces and natural reverb, it's set up like a good auditorium. The kit was sitting on a platform off to the left (right side, looking at the stage) and was behind a big 6' Clearsonic 6-panel shield. Given the size and acoustics of the room, drum volume should not have been an issue, but at one point I was told I needed to back off - not sure why. Maybe I was playing too loudly because I thought I had the freedom. Later I was told that I was downright controlled compared to some of the other drummers who play there.

    In any case, it was nice playing in a setup like that - even though I backed off, I wasn't exactly tickling the drums - the main thing I did to back off was to go to lighter sticks. Since this was a sub situation for me, I figured that it was best to simply comply with what I was being asked to do - I didn't try to add my own flavor to anything either, I simply played the parts like the CDs as much as I could.

    But anyway, there you go - volume is this ever-persistent issue with church drumming, and it was no different even in a church where I wouldn't have thought it was going to be an issue.
    Sounds like a dream venue, i've always wanted to play in a large soundtreated room like that and hear the theatrical effects of it drivers seat of the kit. I think the reason behind complaints vs compliments has largely to do with the listener, some people find obnoxious what others find necessary. It depends on the person's ear, but I say you should play the way you normally play. If someone in the audience doesn't like it, they know where the door is.
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  8. #58

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    We actually told someone that at our church once. We play contemporary stuff as well, and so it's a lot louder. Hillsong, Crowder, Fee, all of them. Anyways, some lady came in and said her old church would softly tap a piano and pick at a harp, and was actually quite peeved that we were there to rock out for the man upstairs. So peeved in fact, that she went to our arts director who had just planned the entire service flow and said it wasn't worship, right to his face. Well...

    She got dealt a big fat can of telling off from him. He gave her the standard religious talk about what "worship" is, and then got stern and said "If you really think it's too loud, there is another service in a smaller venue right down the hall. If that doesn't solve the problem, nothing here will except for earplugs. I won't change a service that hundreds enjoy." And IMO it was totally right, he shouldn't have to, and she was a snob. Made Sean look like a freakin' BA though. It's nice to see people sticking up for what is awesome.

    Other campuses of my church do have limits, which is unfortunate. But they aren't in a giant gymnasium with a multi-thousand dollar stage built in.
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  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmNotATable View Post
    We actually told someone that at our church once. We play contemporary stuff as well, and so it's a lot louder. Hillsong, Crowder, Fee, all of them. Anyways, some lady came in and said her old church would softly tap a piano and pick at a harp, and was actually quite peeved that we were there to rock out for the man upstairs. So peeved in fact, that she went to our arts director who had just planned the entire service flow and said it wasn't worship, right to his face. Well...

    She got dealt a big fat can of telling off from him. He gave her the standard religious talk about what "worship" is, and then got stern and said "If you really think it's too loud, there is another service in a smaller venue right down the hall. If that doesn't solve the problem, nothing here will except for earplugs. I won't change a service that hundreds enjoy." And IMO it was totally right, he shouldn't have to, and she was a snob. Made Sean look like a freakin' BA though. It's nice to see people sticking up for what is awesome.

    Other campuses of my church do have limits, which is unfortunate. But they aren't in a giant gymnasium with a multi-thousand dollar stage built in.
    We have had people like that, different people react differently, it just depends on how they were raised and what they grew up on. I've gone to churches that have 'rap worship', not for me, but whatever floats their boat We play anything from Hillsong, Tomlin, Gateway, Houghton, to hymns and southern gospel Houghton's stuff inparticular is really fun to play haha Now back to topic; One of my previous churches used to be a HUGE gym. We could never get the music LOUD enough, we didn't have a lot of equipment, and we didn't have drum mics. So they leveled off the volume with the drums, which worked fairly good. When we got a donation, we bought a cheap set of Nady mics, for like $150. I had those Pdp's sounding AMAZING, especially with the given equipment. Those were the days.....I wish I didn't move But, even though we are playing in a super small church, the overall band is better.
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  10. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by trickg View Post
    Aside from the volume thing, how do you guys approach your parts? I tend to try to cover the parts from the recordings as much as I can.

    I figure the parts of a worship song are recorded with them keeping in mind that it will be played by musicians of all skill levels, so they keep it real simple. I always put my own take on it. It is funny to hear the original songs on the radio, and say, "Hey! We play it better than that!"
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  11. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by =^-..-^= View Post
    I figure the parts of a worship song are recorded with them keeping in mind that it will be played by musicians of all skill levels, so they keep it real simple. I always put my own take on it. It is funny to hear the original songs on the radio, and say, "Hey! We play it better than that!"
    I've noticed some artists like that. That's why I usually like some of the live stuff better than the recordings when buying music.
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  12. #62

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    I always wondered about the "We've been getting complaints." comment, usually from the worship leader. Does that mean ONE complaint from one disgruntled parishoner, or a slew of them, and good Christians aren't truthful emough to come up to the offending musician and say something, or is the complaint in their mind?

    In 30 years of church drumming in various churches, I've never heard anything but compliments from my fellow church goers about how my drumming enhanced the worship experience. Is the congregation ready to go places in worship the leader maybe isn't? I always go to people I know will be honest and ask if I was too loud, and they usually say I wasn't loud ENOUGH.

    Ahhh, the challenges of church drumming
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  13. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by =^-..-^= View Post
    I always wondered about the "We've been getting complaints." comment, usually from the worship leader. Does that mean ONE complaint from one disgruntled parishoner, or a slew of them, and good Christians aren't truthful emough to come up to the offending musician and say something, or is the complaint in their mind?

    In 30 years of church drumming in various churches, I've never heard anything but compliments from my fellow church goers about how my drumming enhanced the worship experience. Is the congregation ready to go places in worship the leader maybe isn't? I always go to people I know will be honest and ask if I was too loud, and they usually say I wasn't loud ENOUGH.

    Ahhh, the challenges of church drumming
    Yep I understand where you're coming from....A church I played at a couple years ago used to be worried about being too loud...when I used the e-kit there..sometimes they'd have it so low you could hear the stick hitting the mesh head ..lol..funny thing is..when they did turn it up or when I brought the a-kit in.. I never got any complaints from the congregation...in fact some of the people that gave me the most compliments were the older people in the congregation...go figure..sometimes I think church staff worry too much about things they shouldn't..

  14. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmNotATable View Post
    We actually told someone that at our church once. We play contemporary stuff as well, and so it's a lot louder. Hillsong, Crowder, Fee, all of them. Anyways, some lady came in and said her old church would softly tap a piano and pick at a harp, and was actually quite peeved that we were there to rock out for the man upstairs. So peeved in fact, that she went to our arts director who had just planned the entire service flow and said it wasn't worship, right to his face. Well...
    In my denomination, there are some people that feel that nothing but that standard hymns are appropriate for worship. I tell them that many of those standards were written by Charles Wesley, and he simply wrote new words to songs that were sung in the pubs. Why? Because the people were already familiar with the songs in the pubs, and it made Wesley's songs easier to sing. His songs were actually the contemporary songs of their time. It will be interesting to see how many of the current contemporary songs will become sacred standards with time, and how any of the contemporay instruments will become standards as well.
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  15. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastor_bob View Post
    In my denomination, there are some people that feel that nothing but that standard hymns are appropriate for worship. I tell them that many of those standards were written by Charles Wesley, and he simply wrote new words to songs that were sung in the pubs. Why? Because the people were already familiar with the songs in the pubs, and it made Wesley's songs easier to sing. His songs were actually the contemporary songs of their time.
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  16. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastor_bob View Post
    In my denomination, there are some people that feel that nothing but that standard hymns are appropriate for worship. I tell them that many of those standards were written by Charles Wesley, and he simply wrote new words to songs that were sung in the pubs. Why? Because the people were already familiar with the songs in the pubs, and it made Wesley's songs easier to sing. His songs were actually the contemporary songs of their time. It will be interesting to see how many of the current contemporary songs will become sacred standards with time, and how any of the contemporay instruments will become standards as well.
    My denomination is exactly like that. Are you familiar with the hymn "One day"? We haven't played it in years, but it was a song I used to hear when I was little. We happened to hear the Casting Crowns song "Glorious Day", which is a basically contemporary version of that song. So we decided to play it at our next service. It went very well, for the younger crowd anyways, the older crowds still said it wasn't appropriate for church. Why? Because of the instruments, it has nothing to do with the meanings or words.

    Some people are so stuck in their old ways Oh well, and yes, I do often wonder about which of these contemporary songs will become sacred to some, like some hymns are to those old folks. Haha which reminds me, the song "My chains are gone"(Which is one of the songs that I would put in that category), we did last Sunday, some of the old people threw a ROYAL FIT! Ah well, I suppose you can't please everyone
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  17. #67

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    Good thread. I'm in a Christian band and we play in different places, sometimes inside, sometimes outside. Sometimes 4pc, sometimes 5 (rare). Sometimes electric, sometimes acoustic. Occasionally asked to play a Cajon or Djembe (not happening - nothing against them, just not for me). Never allowed to tune or adjust them even when they sound horrible. And then we come to the dreaded fish bowl. Even though the vast majority of drummers in this thread seem to love them (sarcasm) I don't.

    We started playing in a new church a few weeks ago. At first I walk in and see a DW set with EC2 heads and think "nice". I hit the bass drum and it sounds like the beater hit a brick wall since 65% of the inside is stuffed with a king sized pillow. I hit the floor tom and it makes a sound worse than flatulence. I ask the worship leader there if he would like me to tune the drums and he replies that they are already tuned to specific notes. Note: my lip is still healing from biting it. The good news, the snare is nice and tight.

    On to the playing experience. I am totally enclosed in a fish bowl and can't hear a thing outside of it. I have to wear headphones, because the drums are defening loud inside the fishbowl (I'm not heavy handed BTW) and there is no monitor available. For some reason, the instruments fade in and out even though the sound guy is not touching the board. Last week, the beater came flying off the bass drum pedal in the middle of a song leaving me playing the bass line with my right hand on the floor tom that sounds like the gaseous omission from a warthog.

    I love playing the drums, but this experience is too much like stress. Hey, but at least they aren't electric drums.

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  18. #68

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    OMG, that experience would pretty much make me not wanna play @ church! My old church went the rubber drum route, with Joe "storm door salesman who's ministry is messing up church sound on Sundays" at the board. The sound of the sticks hitting the pads was louder than the sample coming through the mains. You'll notice that I said that is my OLD church.

    Anyway, where I'm at now, they insist on the whale tank in front of the drums. One thing that helps is to move that plexi beast from Hell out a couple feet in front of the drums so you don't get a headache from all that high end. Funny, the whale tank seems to creep another few inches farther from my kit every Sunday. I now have a 3' walkspace to put my cymbals on. Last Sunday, everyone "forgot" to put the screen up, and then I could actually play to the real stage volume, not what the monitor was telling me. It was great!

    Anyway, little gremlins come in during the week, walk all over the sound board, and mess up my monitor mix. Then I have to look like a tool and ask for my mix back in between songs at practice. If there are ANY vocals (except the leaders) in there, they are usually a little bit behind the beat and will mess me up. Lately, I just give up and run a mike in front of the leader's guitar amp direct to my monitor's mike input. If I can hear his guitar, I can stay on time.

    All of this tech stuff can certainly hinder your attitude of worship, and my attitude has not been the best some weeks because of these issues, but you have to remember why you are there and whom the sacrifice is for. Fortunately, God uses it anyway, despite our attitude, unless it gets really bad. When a lady at the old church said to me after service, " I can tell you don't like those electric drums nad you weren't having fun up there." I knew it was time to stop playing.
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  19. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastor_bob View Post
    In my denomination, there are some people that feel that nothing but that standard hymns are appropriate for worship. I tell them that many of those standards were written by Charles Wesley, and he simply wrote new words to songs that were sung in the pubs. Why? Because the people were already familiar with the songs in the pubs, and it made Wesley's songs easier to sing. His songs were actually the contemporary songs of their time. It will be interesting to see how many of the current contemporary songs will become sacred standards with time, and how any of the contemporay instruments will become standards as well.
    That's actually pretty neat! I know there are some songs that Hillsong does that are essentially modernized versions of hymns. Jesus Paid It All comes to mind first. Interesting facts, PB.
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  20. #70

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    Well, I've been playing in church and youth group for several years now and I've had my fair share of compliments and complaints. My church used to meet in a school hall (one of those basket ball halls) and the sound used to just reverberate and the drums would sound ten times as loud as what I was playing. For a while, we only had two small sheets of perspex in front of the kit that did absolutely nothing for the sound, until one day a big gust of wind blew them over and they fell on the floor, both cracked. We had no perspex for a while and me being young and naive just played loud n had a good time and as a result, got a fair few complaints. The sound guy built a perspex/wood/foam wall to replace what we had before. That was there for a fair few months until I accidentally broke it .

    About a year n a half ago, our church merged with another church that had their own building with a proper inbuilt sound system and everything. Since playing there, I haven't gotten a single complaint. It's so much better than the basket ball hall hahaha. They did have a few panels of perspex up in front of the kit but it was a bit dodgy and I'm now surrounded by a better quality crescent moon of perspex lol. Man it gets hot behind there though. I nicked a fan out of one of the storage rooms to use while I play lol.
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  21. #71

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    My first and generally only requirement for playing any gig, including at the various churches I play at, are that the drums be in tune. If not, I WILL tune them. What happens when you amplify a badly tuned drum? You get nasty noise. I sat in at a church this past weekend. I was invited by the guitar player, who's a friend of mine. The drums were tuned very poorly. I didn't even ask. I proceeded to tune all the drums to where they sang, full bodied. No one said anything until after we were finished. The sound guy came up to me and said those drums never sounded so good. I said it wasn't me, or my playing, it was the tuning. I've been invited back, but my schedule may not allow it. My regular church provides the drums, a Pearl birch kit, which I have freedom to tune how I want.

  22. #72

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    Very interesting thread. I, for about two years drummed in a church band. The church originally used a theatre setting in a school. The band played on the stage and besides a sound guy that knew nothing about running sound, there was never any sound issues. However, the church moved into their current home, where the service is in a gymnasium. All of a sudden, the drums were too loud. I compensated with hot rod sticks and generally softer playing. They tried the drum shield, but between the set up crew and storing, the shield was damaged. Overall, the drums were kept at a decent volume. I used to practice while everyone was setting up, with the Ipod, and really play. It warmed me up and I came down when the band warmed up. Now, I have changed churches and play bass in a new band which seems to work really well for us.
    Last edited by bassist learning drums; 10-04-2011 at 07:50 AM.

  23. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassist learning drums View Post
    I used to practice while everyone was setting up, with the Ipod, and really play. It warmed me up and I came down when the band warmed up.
    I usually do that before every service I try and get there about 30 minutes or so before they start showing up for practice.
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  24. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by =^-..-^= View Post
    All of this tech stuff can certainly hinder your attitude of worship, and my attitude has not been the best some weeks because of these issues, but you have to remember why you are there and whom the sacrifice is for. Fortunately, God uses it anyway, despite our attitude, unless it gets really bad. When a lady at the old church said to me after service, " I can tell you don't like those electric drums nad you weren't having fun up there." I knew it was time to stop playing.
    I think this raises a completely new set of issues worth discussing in this thread (if the moderators allow it). It's not just that "church drummers" deal with unique issues of volume control, sound shields, and all that. It's that drumming as a part of a worship service is completely different in its *function* -- and consequently completely different in its *execution* -- than performance drumming. At a concert, a drummer who you never notice is, to that degree, not a very impressive drummer. But in a worship service, a drummer who gets noticed is not doing the job well. The point is to create an atmosphere conducive to worship, and one that facilitates the congregation (individually and collectively) in hearing God speak to them. If your playing makes people think, "Man, that guy is really good on the drums...", then you're performing, you're not leading people in worship.

    To me, that's the kind of issue that makes "Church Drumming" worthy of its own thread. Church drumming really is something different.
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  25. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by soren-k View Post
    I think this raises a completely new set of issues worth discussing in this thread (if the moderators allow it). It's not just that "church drummers" deal with unique issues of volume control, sound shields, and all that. It's that drumming as a part of a worship service is completely different in its *function* -- and consequently completely different in its *execution* -- than performance drumming. At a concert, a drummer who you never notice is, to that degree, not a very impressive drummer. But in a worship service, a drummer who gets noticed is not doing the job well. The point is to create an atmosphere conducive to worship, and one that facilitates the congregation (individually and collectively) in hearing God speak to them. If your playing makes people think, "Man, that guy is really good on the drums...", then you're performing, you're not leading people in worship.

    To me, that's the kind of issue that makes "Church Drumming" worthy of its own thread. Church drumming really is something different.
    I completely agree, and I don't believe it's hurting anything, just don't get too off topic, keep it on the drumming aspect of the discussion. I've been in services where every instrument was going off, and depending on how good the musicians are, it was either really annoying, or quite impressive. To me, a successful church drummer is one that can do complicated runs, solos, grooves, etc...And not turn a head. Same goes with all the other musicians. That to me is one of the biggest differences between drummers and church drummers.
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