If you want to improve as a musician, you need to listen to good musicians.  This is actually one of the easiest things we can do to grow, but it's often overlooked.  I play drums so I'm going to talk in terms of drums and drummers, but this principle is true for any musician.

As a drummer, I want to listen to the best drummers I can as much as I can.  By listening to top notch drummers, my musical imagination is stretched.  Now I can't always play what they play just by listening, but over time I start to think like them.  And with practice, eventually things start to show up in my playing that resemble things I've heard and seen them do.  

Now, if I only listen to one band, I will eventually sound like the drummer for that band.  If I listen to lots of drummers from lots of different bands and different genres, my imagination grows evenly and I become a much more well-rounded drummer that can play lots of different styles.  This will make you a better drummer overall and will give you a greater appreciation of all music.  Don't be narrow-minded and arrogant about your style of music.  No genre is all-encompassing and no style is a complete waste of time.  All have unique facets that are beneficial to a drummers well-rounded growth.  

You might be wondering how you can listen to great drummers without spending tons of money on expanding your music library?  Well, there are lots of ways, but my favorite resource is a website called Drummerworld.  It offers videos and recordings of the worlds top drummers as well as transcriptions, forums, and many other resources and is completely free.

So be diligent and consistent in your practice, but make sure to also listen to great musicians. You'll grow faster and be a better musician for it.


Jonathan and I met in college and have been friends for almost 10 years. We played together in a college ensemble before I joined him in the rock megagroup Hope's Fish. Jonathan is a skilled drum educator and has played with church orchestras and praise teams, acoustic acts, and full-out rock explosions. He currently lives in Nashville, TN. 
I am glad to have him on board as a guest blogger at stickandstrum and know that he will teach and give insight into areas that I lack. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

                                          Check out Jonathan's current band, The Redding Shift

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