Think Like a Drummer: Developing Strong Rhythm for All Musicians

No matter what instrument you play, or if you sing, as a musician you need to develop a strong sense of rhythm and be able to execute simple or complex rhythmic figures with ease, consistency and authority.

In order to develop that you need to become very aware of how rhythm works on both mental and physical level. In other words, you have to imagine, speak, sing, tap, clap and play on whatever instrument any rhythm in any tempo in a strong, convincing way, which will make listeners engage, have an emotional response and hopefully even dance to your rhythm.

Rhythm has 4 components – pulse, meter, subdivision and syncopation. Working on improving each component, both individually and together is the key to developing strong rhythm.

And you could (and should) start the work before you even touch an instrument. Your body and your voice are powerful enough rhythmic generators and you can go very far with rhythms using only these (a great example of this is the incredible art of performing percussion using vocal syllables from India, called Konnakol).

Drummers (especially drum set players) usually develop great rhythm, because their instrument forces them to execute different rhythmic patterns with all four limbs. The level of limb coordination a good drummer has usually greatly surpasses the one of other musicians. Unless other musicians also work on their coordination. Doing this will make them think like a drummer and will greatly improve their abilities to execute good rhythm.

This workshop, developed by Borislav Petrov (a jazz, world-music drummer, specialized in Bulgarian odd meters) is designed to give you very practical concepts and exercises to develop fascinating rhythm. Only using your voice, limbs, a metronome and even better – actual music tracks.

Workshop video from “HKU Utrecht Conservatorium, the Netherlands 2019:

Workshop video from “Rhythm Alley” Taipei, Taiwan, 2017:

Workshop video from “Groove Atelier”, Sofia, Bulgaria 2014: