Do you dream of becoming a drummer, but you’re not sure you want to just work with one band of musicians? You don’t just have to work with one group—you can market yourself as a session drummer. These expert drummers find themselves recording and performing with many different bands and artists.
Drum Center of Portsmouth wants to help you get hired as a session drummer. We are the leading company in drum sets and accessories, and are dedicated to giving you everything you need to know to reach your potential as a session drummer.
What is a session drummer?
A session drummer, or more generally referred to as a session musician, is a musician who is hired to perform live or at recording sessions with a band. While many musicians only play with one band, session drummers are hired to play with many different bands. This means that they are professionals who need to have working knowledge of many different genres.
Session drummers can be as popular as any drummer from any single band. Famous session drummers, like Hal Blaine, get to work with a ton of different famous bands. Blaine himself recorded with the Ronettes, the Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas, and many other excellent groups from the 60’s.
But how can you begin your career as a session drummer, and how do you market yourself to be able to work with many different bands?
Learn different genres
The best session drummers are flexible in their approach to drumming. The more genres you know how to play in, the more gigs you will be able to book. Just make sure you’re proficient in different styles before you market yourself that way, because you don’t want to have false advertising.
You may also learn different instruments to broaden your scope in the industry. There are a huge number of drums and percussion instruments, so if you practice things like the marimba, the bongos, or the cowbell in addition to the drum set, you can find yourself recording more tracks and playing more shows.
Have a signature sound
Though you should learn different genres, having one sound that makes you stand out from other musicians is the way to get a good reputation. That means more people will come specifically to you when they need the sound you make.
If your preferred style ever goes out of fashion, that’s when it’s also good to have different genres under your belt. You can easily adapt to the musical environment while also honoring the natural progression of your interests and evolution of style.
Get the right equipment
Another thing that can help you show the world you’re a professional musician is investing in quality equipment to use. This means getting high quality drums, cymbals, and sticks. Here at Drum Center of Portsmouth, we sell this kind of professional equipment at low prices. That means that getting good equipment, even at the beginning of your career, is absolutely attainable.
Buying a wide variety of equipment also helps. This means you could produce different sounds for each gig you do, further demonstrating your versatility in expertise in the drums. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different instruments!
Be active on social media
Use social media platforms to your advantage: advertise your drumming expertise. Posting drumming videos online can help get you exposed to the right people, and land more gigs through them!
This isn’t just a way to show off your drumming, though. You should also act like a real, humble human being. If you show people the likeable, friendly sides of you in addition to your music prowess, it will help you get jobs and more importantly, make friends!
Keep up with people regularly, and don’t let the endgame of getting gigs getting in the way of making meaningful relationships. You friends will be able to give you encouragement and advice, which will help your health and your career in the long run.
Make a website and portfolio
Your website, on the other hand, can be a place where you can be charismatic and show off your musical chops a little. Make a website that highlights the great things about you, and has an archive of as many shows you have recorded. This can give people a glimpse into your style and what you’re like to work with!
You can even set up a way to book appointments with you online. That way, there is a fast, easy, and convenient way to get in contact with you. If you’re easier to reach, the easier you will be able to get jobs in the industry.
Be open to feedback
As a session drummer, you should know that the way you play a song initially isn’t always going to match the group’s vision. You should be able to adjust what you’re doing to fit the needs of the people who hired you. This doesn’t mean you stifle your own creativity and become a doormat, but working with different people allows for so many opportunities for collaboration.
The best session drummers are excited to try new, innovative beats and rhythms. On the other hand, they’re also grateful for simpler drum parts—anything to create musical cohesiveness with the rest of the band.
Becoming a session musician is a great way to get in the industry while also doing what you love—drumming. The life of a session drummer is exciting and spontaneous. Marketing yourself as such means you should be willing to be flexible, friendly, and professional!
You should be willing to work hard in this sort of career. Moving to cities with famous music scenes, like Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York, can also help you get more popular as a session drummer. Put yourself out there as a great person to work with, and you’ll be booking shows in no time.