Let us face it, drummers are vain people. After all, apart from the kings we are the only people who do their work sitting on a throne. However, even that privilege does not seem to be enough for most of us, we want to show off, and we want to create sensations and enthralling experiences.
Frankly, there is nothing wrong with that. A drum kit is one of the most mysterious instruments for most of the people in your audience – showing them how cool you are while you are playing this weird set of bowls and plates will take their breath away; they are going to melt in joy.
Just Feeling Comfortable on the Stage
Before you can become the “showman” of your gig, you have to embrace the most important thing regarding the stage presence of any musician: you have to make sure that you feel comfortable on stage.
Think of a stand-up comedian: it does not matter how many good jokes he knows how to tell, as long as he cannot deliver an ensuring sense of security and overall joy on stage, his jokes will not kick. Also, it does not matter if you know all the drum stick tricks that there are to learn – those tricks should only be the spice of your stage presence.
So what is important, then? Being cool in general, having a short chat with your audience every now and then, smiling between songs and allowing yourself to have fun – these are the basics. Once you are all right with these, you can step your game up.
Showing just how good of a drummer you are
The basis of anything you do behind your drum set should be a very good command of musical knowledge. To return to the example with the comedian: it does not matter how comfortable on feels on the stage, without knowing some good jokes he still cannot be considered a good comedian.
As such, you also need to be a hell of a drummer. However, there are small tricks that you can always do. That is, switching between cross-handed and regular-handed playing of hi-hat-based beats will simply radiate the fact that it does not matter how you have to play it, you can still rock the beat.
If there is a moment when you need a cymbal buzz, you should not play it on just one crash on the left. Open your arms wide apart, put on a scary grin and play two cymbals simultaneously. Also, if there is a slightly longer pause, you can stand on your stool and maybe just look at the audience.
The obvious part: learning a few drum stick tricks
Spinning the drum stick, throwing it up, then catching it while in the air are all small little tricks that drummers want to have in their arsenal. There are a number of ways you can spin your drum stick. There are upward and downward spins, some are directed from your thumb while others should be controlled only with the four fingers apart from your thumb.
In general, the basis of learning these tricks is finding the balance point of drum sticks – after you have found that and have played for a good while, spinning and throwing up drum sticks will just be something that you do automatically.
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How to keep yourself from exaggerating this “showmanship” thing?
Showmanship is important in the toolbox of musicians – however, it should not be overdone. I know a drummer who installed mirrors in his rehearsal room just so that he could make sure that he bands his head just like Travis Barker. Having idols and installing mirrors in a room are both accepted things – but maybe this connection is not.
You should have mirrors so that you can check your technique and posture constantly and you should have idols because of what they are doing musically, in most cases. You should not let your essence down the drain just because you want to look cool. You are quite cool just as you are right now.