How do I tell the band what I want?

As an artist, you are not expected to be an expert at every instrument– that’s why you have a band! So if you’re unsure how to make the drums sound the way you want, have no fear– you hired the drummer because he or she is an expert at drums and is experienced at writing drum parts. All you have to do is listen carefully and attentively to what your band plays, individually and as a unit, and communicate effectively how it makes you feel when performing the song. Effective communication is a true skill and will help you in all aspects of your music.

That said, while everyone communicates differently, learning the language of music is an invaluable tool to you. Perhaps classical music theory isn’t for everyone, but a healthy understanding of the harmony in your songs– that is, what chords and notes you’re playing (and not playing)– can be a boon to arranging and preparing a band. Learning to differentiate between the kick and snare drum, between the hi-hat and the ride cymbals will streamline communication with drummers (insert caveman-drummer joke) and instantly gain your respect in their eyes.

Have some good experiences communicating with musicians? Horror stories about drummers who just don’t get it? Add your comments below, along with anything else you’d like to see on this blog!

Next week, we’ll take a look at how maintaining a positive vibe can bring out the most in everyone’s creativity, and take your music to the next level. If you enjoy these posts, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss one!

Other posts in this series:
Finding the Right Musicians
Preparing Songs For Your Band
Do I Need Charts For My Band?
Scheduling Rehearsals
Maintaining a Good Vibe

Justin Goldner is a bassist, guitarist, producer, songwriter, language junkie and lover of culture in all its manifestations. He hurls snarky remarks into the Twitter-void via @JusBass.

  1. As someone without much of a formal training in music, I have been pretty happy with the results when I just mouth the sounds I want, such as telling the drummer I want “boom-chick-chicka-boom-shht” (that would be kick and hi hats) and also mimicking what you want the other person to play on your own instrument. So I’ve found that not being conversant in technical vocab doesn’t slow you down so long as you have a clear idea of what you want and aren’t afraid to make funny sounds to describe it.

  1. April 18th, 2013