View Full Version : Drummers/Piano players?

05-17-2003, 03:43 AM
How many drummers here also know how to play piano? And how important is it for drummers to learn piano?

05-17-2003, 03:56 AM
Well, i can't but piano is considered the best tool for harmony, if this kind of thing is an big element in your composing style it can help.
It is important for every drummer to have a sense of melody too, great drummers need to play in good songs!

What do you think?

05-17-2003, 09:43 AM
Sometimes, I really find myself putting my sticks down for a while to compose on the piano. It's an amazing tool and I love it.

We (drummers) have to be surrounded by good music. Let alone support the music with the beat. That's another reason why I love drummers so much...(Guitarists, I love you too! :))

05-19-2003, 09:15 AM
don't know...but i wishh..maybe i will enter to piano lessons!

05-19-2003, 08:13 PM
I've played trumpet for about 8-9 years, which really helped me musically for the drums. I know a lot more sheet music know-how than a lot of my drummer friends :)

05-20-2003, 09:48 AM
also i played saxophone...for 3 years more less....but it was time ago.

05-22-2003, 01:46 PM
I played violin for 6 years, now I play on drums in second grade music school, but on classic section (snare, marimba, vibraphone, etc.) Piano is great instrument, but I think every musican should try to play other instruments like guitar, maybe flute, and so on...

06-01-2003, 06:42 PM
Sorry I'm chiming in so late, but I'm new here.

When I studied Percussion Arts at Ball State University, it was *mandatory* that we study piano, string bass, and marimba. We also had the standard music theory and ear training.

While not a virtuoso on any of those, I did learn to appreciate these instruments (I also play guitar and trumpet).

The BIGGEST thing I got out of all this training is how to play FOR a song. So many drummers focus on speed, which is fine if your music requires in. It's definitely a good thing to have in your tool box. There are too many drummers out there who are unable to write decent parts for songs. They ignore the lyrics, the theme, and all the other cues essential to superior song-crafting.

I would say that a drummer should study piano AT LEAST. Branch out into other instruments if you can. You don't have to become Van Halen on the guitar, but know how to play along with a few Nirvana tunes or something.

That's my 2 cents' worth.

06-03-2003, 08:07 AM
I have studied both a little piano and a little violin....but the drums did it for me when I was 3 years old. Got the first set when I was 7 and was sold completely. Later on came the piano and violin, and I think it is nice to have at least tried other istruments.

06-03-2003, 01:50 PM
I've been playing piano and guitar since I could walk, but drums have been my main instrument since I was about 10.
I think it's very important to be able to play (or at least understand) a melodic instrument when you play drums, 'cause you'll know better what goes on in the music you play.

06-27-2003, 03:18 AM
I have played piano for about 4-5years being pretty serious to it, mostly classical piano. But nothing can compare to the drums :)
A funny thing occured to me when I started playing piano, after a couple of months I discovered I had "perfect pitch". Well, I canīt write down a song after hearing it one time, but I can identify notes exactly and sing a note on request...
...so,sometimes when I play drums, I hear melodies fly by that would fit in with the groove, and I write it down, so that has certainly helped me in a musical approach.

I wonder if Virgil has perfect pitch? does anyone know?

06-28-2003, 09:25 AM
Depends what you mean by "perfect pitch"...?

06-28-2003, 03:24 PM
Yes, perfect pitch in fact is when someone can hear an anchor note or can hear the key and reproduce the correct piches from that.
I think you mean Absolute pitch which is the production of an in tune note without any reference to other notes, or out of thin air.
Portnoy actually has PP but i don't know exactly how that helps with his drumming and/or orchestration of pieces because it more the rhythm of the melody that he hears etc.
I do know what you mean though jonberg, in a compostional sense, ya?

06-29-2003, 03:03 AM
This perfect/absolute pitch doesnīt help me drumwise, but in a compositional manner it helps sometimes like you say Jimi, for example when I hear a melody when Iīm walking on the street, I can figure out what it is etc...
...but it doesnīt make me a better musician at all. Itīs just an ability like photographic memory. Think to have that. Man, that would be so cool :)

06-29-2003, 10:28 AM
It helps you learn faster so it's good!
But photographic memory would be cool alright, you could read a book at work if you got bored or something, just take a quick glance at the page when the boss isn't looking :D

06-29-2003, 09:09 PM
I have near perfect pitch ;).

It's good, cos then I can tell guitarists that their guitars are out of tune, teehee.

And I can also hum a major or minor scale with the right intervals. Whether I actually start on a note that corresponds with the 440hz 'A' note is a different matter, the fact is that I can get the intervals right :p.

06-30-2003, 03:21 PM
Quite a lot of people have a good musical ear, that's a good thing.:) I think Virg is quite a master a composing drum tunes as he is playing.
As i've said before the best drummers can still play the worst music.:(

07-03-2003, 08:11 PM
Im a drummer but have also been playing guitar and it has really helped me out with melody etc especially listening to a lot of Thin Lizzy as they are great melodic players.

07-04-2003, 03:05 AM
A great Irish band! The first band i was in was a Thin Lizzy Tribute band.
Where are you from Cravletz?

07-10-2003, 01:47 PM
during high school i met a guitar player and was inpired to learn the instrument.
after some months i did learned it. then by college i got into it more like those fancy stuff eddie van halen would play.
joined a marching band, me on the snare. then i would fool around on the trumpet during breaks .

but drums was the main instrument i really wanted to master. still guitar and a little of bass playing and even some trumpet playing do makes things more broader. for some reason i wasn't interested to keyboard instruments even though we have a piano in the house.

07-16-2003, 04:34 AM
When Virgil visited Copenhagen in 2000 we held the clinic at the Conservatory, and at one point he sat down and played some crazy piano work. He is a great pianist as well!

07-16-2003, 10:48 AM
Can he play a few chords on the guitar too??

07-18-2003, 09:15 PM
Although Drums were my first instrument, when I was in high school, i started playing guitar cause the guitar player was crap, to fill in on the drums, we had our keyboard player (Phil Turcio, OTV) play drums. I tell you, it was hillarious, Phil had some great chops then (or so we thought), now when I hear the tapes, MAN were they crap, we were trying to emulate all the great drummers including Virg but it wasn't cutting it.

Always good to see the other instruments perspective, and really helps in writing. I find myself listening to the bass lines now when I hear a song.

11-24-2003, 01:43 AM
dropping in late ! but im also new and reading all the cool stuff in here. great board ..cool ppl !

I;ve been drumming for 22 years now (im 36) and played piano (like in synths etc) since i was 18. I've always wanted to compose music , i think most drummers want that. I approach drumming in a melodic way most of the time. the sound has to blend in. but sometimes it must also explode out of the music..like Virgil does. I love odd harmonics and perfectly placed bass notes. and drums doing something nasty underneath ! played with a big smile. it's gotta be fun ofcourse ! (sorry i left myself carrieing away :)

I composed myself alot of tunes and ideas (some are available trough my website www.vfx.nl) and what virgil does now by giving drum-concerts/clinics, i also do once in awhile. so i feel very connected to him. it's not as proffessional ofcourse like he does (who can haha)
Like christopher i can also put my sticks down and sit behind the piano and play all day long. and record, and play .and record ..and play......

have a nice one !

12-03-2003, 12:50 AM
I play guitar, bass, a little piano, sing aswell. I'm not saying I'm really great at it, but I find it useful when recording yout own ideas, for example.

- Brobjer

12-03-2003, 03:04 AM
I play drums, piano, and bass, although my set skills are way better than the other two. I use them for song writing. Once a drummer can play a melodic instrument he begins to work for the song. It's really easy to understand what kind of groove to play in a song if you play another instrument, you'll never get in the way of the music. Piano is very important, at the University of North Texas EVERYONE in the music program has to take at least one semester of piano lessons.

12-03-2003, 03:07 AM
BTW... if you really wanna learn dont freak out... I just started learning some songs on the piano like Dream On and Free Bird, and then some Dream Theater melodies. I can't really play anything that I havn't written. Bass is pretty easy to learn too. I just jammed out to Zeppelin, Foriegner, Alice in Chains, and Alicia Keys til I got pretty decent. Good Luck!

12-03-2003, 09:36 AM
I played the piano for longer than I have been playing the drums....as far back as I can remember I was taking piano lessons....I'm not very good at the piano though.....I never really enjoyed it when I was younger so I never practiced, but I played for long enough that I did develop some facitlity on the piano and can play songs, read and write music, etc...

01-09-2004, 06:25 PM
Over a month late, and going off on a tangent.... Perfect pitch is hearing a note and being able to identify it without any reference. Relative pitch is hearing a note and being able to "hear" what other notes are in the scale, etc. So basically, most people that have good musical ears have relative pitch, while perfect pitch remains far more uncommon. And, if one's relative pitch is good enough by itself, perfect pitch can be developed. I used to only have relative, but after a bit of theory and concentrated effort, I now have perfect pitch.

Like pretty much everyone else, I agree that learning another instrument to complement the drums is a great idea. I actually played violin for 4 years and piano for 5 before I even touched drums - I felt like I really had a head start.

Mack N Drum
01-11-2004, 12:27 AM
Well, I don't have PP pitch yet, but I do have a photographic memory (not bad for memorizing parts!).

I've been studying piano for the past 15-16 months, and I have to say that it's one of the best things that I've ever done. Now I can call myself a "complete musician" in light of drums only really being rhythm. The piano's a lot of fun and makes you more aware of pitch, intervals, etc. This has really leaked over into how I voice things on the kit whilst playing music.

After a recommendation from Jordan Rudess, I've been studying out of the Pop Piano Book by Mark Harrison. It's used and/or recommended at Berklee and it's the best book for learning contemporary styles/techniques/theory. I write all of the original lyrics and music for my own band and find music that much more fulfilling since starting piano.

scott h
01-18-2004, 04:27 AM
I don't think it's necessary to be able to play piano, but I think it IS necessary to have an understanding of music theory, especially to understand chords and progressions.
did you know John Blackwell Jr. (Prince) has Perfect Pitch. he says he sees colours and images associated with specific notes and chords...
some concert pianists with perfect pitch are unable to play a piano which is just slightly out of tune...ie. it can also be a curse!

01-19-2004, 03:15 AM
jimi hendrix saw colors too, i've been hearing alot about prince lately too, thats cool

01-19-2004, 07:45 AM
I know a blind girl-drummer who can hear what frequency bee's are flying in.
She can also tell in what pitch you are blowing into a beer-bottle!! (pretty much the same thing)

Her main crazy thing though is that when she is running ( I know , -...she is blind!!) between two buildings and clapping her hands at the same time,- she can tell exactly how far she is from either side!!

Mack N Drum
01-28-2004, 01:25 AM
I don't necessarily "see" colors when I hear chords, chord tones, etc., but I do see and associate them with images.

06-11-2004, 12:27 PM
Yes, perfect pich would be a great thing.. Do you know if it is possibble to learn?? But it is also a serious pain for people with pp when they hear someone playing out of tune. My friend plays oboe in a school orchestra and she told me their conducor hears every wrong note and it's a real problem for him.
Hearing intervals is not a pp. in music schools everybody have to be able to hear intervals, write dictations etc, but only a few have pp.

In music schools in Poland it is required that everybody plays piano as a second instrument (or as a principial of course) because it helps a lot in harmony, composition etc. I play the guitar, piano and oboe. each of these instruments teaches me something new and makes me better musician