A Critique of Defining A Worship Drummer
Go to any drum store, or peruse a drum catalogue or web site, you will find a lot of instructional DVDs or Videos on many different facets of drumming. There is drum instructional material on how to play the drums for any given musical genre, how to do fills, groves, soloing, double bass drumming, percussion, or whatever. You name it; there just might be an instructional DVD or Video for it. Well, there is one exception, Church Drumming. I have not had much success in finding instructional material on how to play the drums in a modern contemporary praise setting until I stumbled across an instructional DVD that was written, produced, and performed by Keith Banks back in 2006 entitled, Defining A Worship Drummer.
No one can ever accuse Keith of being stingy. His DVD gives his viewers their money’s worth with about 2 ½ hours of footage. Throughout this instructional piece, Keith alternated between a performance on the drums and a few teaching modules.
• The DVD is very positive and uplifting. Keith has a very good spirit and an infectious enthusiasm for praise drumming. His genuineness and sincerity is quite obvious;
• Keith did a good job of encouraging the viewer to have the right spirit, attitude, motivation, character, and integrity and perspective in general. Also, Keith referenced a lot Scriptures to support his teaching;
• In total, Keith performed five pieces. After you see him play, there will be no question that he is an accomplished drummer and is more than qualified to teach in this DVD. This is one bad cat with some nasty chops!
• I thought the teaching side of Keith’s DVD could have been a little less philosophical and a lot more practical. He never taught any special drumming techniques or nuances that would have been relevant to the praise genre, nor did he ever give any general drumming tips. Although encouraging your audience to have the right attitude and perspective is a good thing, and it is something that should be in this kind of instructional DVD, I think Keith could have made a better effort to balance out his teaching with both the philosophical and the practical sides of praise drumming;
• I think Keith could have used a better choice of words in his teaching vocabulary that would appeal to more of the mainstream of the Christian community who is into the contemporary praise scene. Using phrases like, “rhythms of deliverance,” and “prophesying on your instrument” may play well at Christ For the Nations and other like-minded denominations. However, if he is looking to widen his span of influence in the Evangelical community, I think it would be good if he would use the vocabulary and vernacular that most Evangelicals can relate to. I think Keith and I are in agreement as far as the end result goes, I just think there is a better way of saying the same thing. For example, instead of saying, “prophesying on your instrument,” I would have said something like, “be vessel for the Holy Spirit while you are playing your instrument so He can be manifested in the music.”
• The word, “worship” or a variation of it was mentioned several times in this DVD. However, Keith never gave the Biblical definition of the word. Nor, did he ever make the distinction between praise and worship. Most of the Scriptures that Keith referenced in his teaching addressed the topic of praise. Although he did reference the clichéd “worship in spirit and in truth” Scripture in John 4:23 & 24. However, this reference does actually define what worship is, it only declares that it will take place at some point in the future;
• I think Keith spent too much time splitting hairs over the difference between “performing” and “worshiping” (or “ministering.”) He insisted that when he is playing in a Christian venue, that he is not “performing” when playing the drums, but rather “worshipping.” I for one do not have a problem with admitting that I am performing when I play the drums in church. And the reason is, when I am playing in a praise setting, I am performing for the Lord, He is my focus. So, how can performing for God be a bad thing if He is at the center of your performance? Again, here is another example where Keith and I are probably in agreement on the end result, but are just using different words to convey the same point.
In spite of the weaknesses in Keith’s DVD, I think Defining A Worship Drummer is a product that would benefit any praise drummer and I would recommend purchasing it. I think Keith is owed a debt of gratitude for creating this DVD for no other reason than that he has stepped up and created a product in a vacuum where praise drumming instructional materials is sorely needed. At this point in time, Keith’s product is the only instructional DVD for Praise Drummers that I know of. If there are others out there, please let me know and I will review it as well. You can acquire a copy of Defining A Worship Drummer at: www.keithbanksmusic.com.