Jon Skaggs

Worship Drums: Find the Downbeat!

Back in the days of piano/organ I vividly recall playing along with a mindless organist who couldn’t find the downbeat. It was unreal – I felt like pulling out my hair because he simply couldn’t play a song with the right number of beats in the measure and I was constantly trying to figure out where he was.

Have you ever played with a drummer like that – a guy who plays with so many fills he gets lost and turns a 4/4 measure into a 5/4 measure?

Jon Skaggs (drummer for Christian artists like Brandon Heath, Nichole Nordeman, Aaron Shust and Casting Crowns) writes about this on his blog, and offers these tips:

  • Practice by taking one tom away at a time. Or all of them.
  • Listen to what professional drummers in Pop, Country, and Top 40 music do.
  • If you’re playing a cover song then simply copy the fills that the drummer played on the record.
  • Learn to groove, keep your fills from speeding you up or slowing you down into the next measure.
  • Knowing how to play simply and tastefully is what makes you a professional player.


Essential reading for worship leaders since 2002.


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