Can you stick to your time, drummer? You making me playing in the wrong timing...

Often, we drummers got "scolded" by not keeping the time.
Yes, no doubt we held more responsible on keeping the time, but when timing is out, are we really the one to blame?
Once incident, I play with my metronome and I'm in time with metronome (of course!), but one of my band member said I'm not following the tempo and making him playing in the wrong timing. I chose to defend myself, telling him I'm using metronome and I'm following the metronome, and I suggest to band members if possible all of us should have a professional metronome which everyone can hear the click and following it, straight away, the person fired me, "isn't it your job to keep timing? We other instruments got solos to do. Just keep your timing. Aren't we busy enough?"
Wow... Lol... no worry, We're still stick like a glue in the band and I swallowed my upset and bear the responsible of keeping the timing... hehe...
What about you guys? Any suggestion or encouragement for me?
Blessings to all of you~!

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Replies to This Discussion

Unfortunately I don't think the volunteers we have are professional session guys. I find many classically trained individuals have trouble playing 'in a groove'. They are more concerned getting the right notes out, rather than staying in time. Also with our instrument, it's very obvious when you are 'out'. An electric guitarist can be out, and say it's intentional. An out of time stick hit is just wrong.

One time the leader, who was leading with guitar cut a whole bar in half at the end of the chorus, and was upset that the rest of us were not coming in the right time at the next verse. I had to count it out and to this day he swears he did it before like that and the drummer previously had no issues. I have no idea what the other drummer played. It was 3/4 which I think made it even more challenging to begin with.

I don't know if you can hold the group accountable to a metronome. Also without background video sync (which is why some bands needs very tight, click tracks), being a little free with the time is fine. (Within reason!)

Do you have a bassist? I find I have more ground to stand on when I 'groove' with the bassist and we tell the rest of the band we're setting tempo. With a good rhythm section, even if a worship leader that sings and plays guitar gets a little excited, they can eventually make it back into time. (Kinda weird funk thing.) Sync up the bass drum with the bass and lay down a solid foundation. Everyone will hopefully eventually come on board.

Ultimately I find I play two different roles depending on the maturity of the leader. With newer leaders, I merely play 'with' the team. With more veteran, skilled players, I layout/pound out the beats and they play 'on top'. I have to admit #2 is way more fun!

Lastly I learned when I recording a track for a CD that what you play makes a difference. In one the click track was in reverse, with the clap on 1 (vs. 2). It was physically in time, but feel was so off. We tried so hard to bear it, but eventually we just fixed the click track, because it was so unnatural. What you play makes a difference. Ghost notes, bass drum, high-hat stick-work. Sometimes when you're playing different accents, it totally throws things off, as the accents suck in other instruments to emphasize the same beats like a black-whole. Straight. Syncopated. Behind the beat.... etc. If the team is going to accent something, it's got to be clean and same beat. Maybe this was what your band member was playing.

So.. Groove over exact time. It's like the cool kats from Motown.. it's a 'feel' thing. ;)
As a drummer and out of respect to fellow drummers, since I also play other instruments in addition to drums, I totally understand the importance of understanding the tempo especially when I want to take off on a song--especially when I feel the music. It is still possible for the others to do what their doing without speeding up or dragging and they should understand that "your job to keep the timing" (as it was probably stated sarcastically by that person who fired his or her attack at you) ought to be reinforced with what the timing IS. Those who prefer to be ignorant to timing, are already ignorant to the principles of the basic fundamentals which will keep them from being a solid group.
If you were playing to a click, then your band member needs to grow up.

As a guitar player, I have always had a tendency to speed up on certain parts of the song. I, too, used to blame my drummer until he just smiled at me one day and held up his metronome and said, "Sorry, but I'm dead on." These days, I tell my drummer (currently my 14-year-old son is my drummer and he's awesome with timing) "You set the beat, and we will follow. If I go off, STAY ON THE BEAT and I will come back to you."

My advice would be to always practice with your metronome so that you are really steady, and then just calmly ignore the screamers. They'll eventually come into line...or into time!
It's all about listening to one another. I had a worship leader that couldn't play in 6/8 time. So I'd have to come in and he'd jump back into 6. Famous One just doesn't work in 4/4:) Before using a click track, I'd keep a metronome on my kick drum where I could see it ,and keep the time close to the tempo established. My one arguement with click tracks is they don't allow the music to breathe.
Live music will always have challenges and never be perfect. We give our best and God will honor that.

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