This article will discuss why drummers are smarter than the average person – and maybe even smarter than the smartest ones.
This is actually a bit of an uncomfortable topic for me. I’ve heard it from drummers since I was in my teens. But I’ve never really known why.
Now I’m a bit older, and I have some theories.
When I say “the average person,” I don’t mean the average drummer. The average drummer is far from the average person.
Drummers are, in fact, the most individual people on the planet. So to say that “the average drummer is not the smartest” doesn’t make sense.
It’s actually the exact opposite.
People will tell you how the average drummer can’t even program an iPod – in fact; they have a very valid point. But we’re not talking about an average drummer here.
We’re talking about the smartest people on the planet.
Why do drummers have this intelligence?
I mean the intelligence that can come from human intelligence. An individual intelligence that’s not your average, run-of-the-mill, brain-dead IQ.
And the answer is there, in the following points.
We can integrate more information than you can imagine
We already covered the possibility that drummers have more information than ordinary people. But there’s actually much more.
With a drummer’s music knowledge, they are equipped with an extra layer of intelligence that you can’t even imagine.
Think about a person who’s in awe of a symphony, or a movie score, or a life-changing novel. How many will actually sit down and listen to those types of things?
What drummers know about music, song structure, and most styles of music is a miracle. But they do it anyway.
The reason why drummers can handle so much information is that they can digest the different elements that make up a song and then put it all together in their minds.
Drummers know all about the components of a song.
- They know the lyrics.
- They know the structure.
- They know the story.
- They know the characters.
- They know how all of those factors are interacting to create a great song.
If you weren’t a drummer, and you were listening to a symphony for the first time, and you didn’t know what those notes meant, and you didn’t know the order. You didn’t know what key to play the song in, and you didn’t know the instruments, and you didn’t know where the hell this song was going, and you didn’t know where they were going with the orchestra, and you didn’t know anything about music, you wouldn’t be able to follow the symphony.
If you had to play a song without the music, you couldn’t do it.
- Because you don’t know the story
- Because you don’t know what key it’s in
- Because you don’t know what key the singer is going to sing in
- Because you don’t know anything about instruments
You wouldn’t be able to do it because you don’t have the information to understand it. But a drummer does.
How do I know this?
I’ve been doing it since I was 11 years old. I can tell you which key the singer is singing in, and I can tell you when the instruments are coming in. I know when the character is coming on when the city is coming on, when the third act is coming on, and when the movie is ending.
I know all of these things.
When a normal person doesn’t know any of these things, it’s almost impossible for them to understand music. And they wouldn’t even try.
They wouldn’t even think about it. That’s how well I know this stuff.
When I was 12, I was playing in my first high school band. I played the drums.
But the other kids played the other instruments.
And I was the youngest. But they had their own way of doing things.
When they had a song, they would learn it on the fly. They would play the chords, and then they would play the bass line, and then they would play the melody, and then they would play the drums.
It was chaos.
I wanted to learn it on the fly. So I did.
But I wasn’t the best drummer in the world. In fact, I wasn’t even the best drummer in our band. But I made up for it in intelligence.
I was able to learn the parts on the fly.
Why are they different?
The difference between the average musician and the average drummer is that I don’t just play the parts. I play the complete thing.
If you don’t know any of the music, you would never be able to play it. I’m doing the entire thing. That takes a lot of practice.
But it takes a different kind of intelligence to understand the mechanics of how all the elements of the song are put together.
The average person can’t do that. They don’t know the architecture of the song.
The best singer in the world can’t do that.
The best orchestrators can’t do that.
Most of them don’t know what any of those notes mean. But drummers know the concepts of the songs.
They know what keys they’re in.
That’s why I’m able to understand these things on the fly.
- When the singer comes in, we play the melody. That’s the first section of the song.
- When the orchestra comes in, we’re in different sections.
- When the movie is going on, we’re in different sections.
- When the show is ending, we’re in different sections.
And that’s how I know all of this stuff.
Drummers and guitarists
The drummers have two parts to their brains that their brains are working. The first part is the muscle area that controls the foot on the drumhead.
This area controls the moving of the left and right foot. The second part of the brain is the subconscious.
This area controls the arms and hands that are not controlled by the brain.
The subconscious area is the area that controls actions that the body performs without anyone telling it to.
Guitarists are well known for having a stronger inner subconscious than other musicians. Bassists, on the other hand, are known for having the strongest outer subconscious.
This is because the basses are heard at louder levels than other instruments. The drums are a shallow frequency, so their subconscious tends to be stronger than other instruments.
The subconscious is used to control body parts that aren’t controlled by the brain. Think of a guitar player hitting the strings on the guitar.
The brain controls the strings, but the hands that hold the guitar and rhythm are not. If a guitar player is lucky, then the subconscious takes control of the fingers, and the player can play the song. If a guitar player is unlucky, then the fingers and the hands have a mind of their own.
Drums are a much different story. Drummers are the ones who control the percussion instruments and the rhythm.
The other instruments have an outer subconscious that they use to control the left and right hands. They are used as a vehicle to help the drums.
The inner subconscious is used to control the left and right hands of a drummer. If a drummer can learn to control his inner subconscious, he can use it to direct the drums’ left and right hands.
This will allow him to play the complex rhythms required to play the music of many popular musical genres more easily.
The purpose of the inner subconscious is not to control the instruments’ performance but to control the way the person performs on the drums.
For instance, a drummer who learns to control the rhythms of the drums and the movements of his hands will be able to play better than a drummer who never masters the rhythm of the drums. A drummer who can control the drumhead while playing the drums can create something awe-inspiring and unique.
This is not what the brain would think of when you think about controlling the instruments’ performance, but it is what the subconscious thinks of.