Research Output

When Is A Drummer Not A Drummer? Developing Coordination , Musicianship And Creativity Through Electronic Drum Performance

  Many drummers now embrace technology to enhance and extend their setup, and what they can offer their band. Thus, it is important that drum kit education addresses this phenomenon and explores how to use these technologies creatively. However, traditional drum kit pedagogy is still firmly rooted in developing confidence in the performance of rudimental patterns or coordination exercises, and applying these to a traditional drum kit layout. What if it was possible to teach these core dexterities whilst developing multiple musicianship skills and creativities?

This chapter explores an unorthodox and innovative pedagogic approach to teaching the functionality of drum trigger units and music software, and the creative possibilities they afford, through exploration and development of a technology-led solo electronic drum kit performance.

This chapter sets forth a curriculum and blended learning approach to delivery that actively engages learners in a series of face to face and online activities which are designed to: encourage student engagement with instrumental study; promote deep learning in an area of drumming that will, for many, be new and unfamiliar; and, encourage and support the development and deployment of higher order thinking skills such as synthesis and analysis. A detailed description of the series of self-directed activities students undertake to create, develop, learn and perform their electronic drum kit performance is also provided alongside some creative solutions to working with electronic drum kit equipment and music software.

Finally, this chapter explores methods of sharing these performance projects with the wider musical community through a unique notation system and examines the challenges associated with the transfer of project data (hardware and software setups) between technologies produced by different manufacturers.

  • Date:

    04 April 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • Library of Congress:

    M1 Music

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    781 General principles & musical forms

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Stillie, B. (2019). When Is A Drummer Not A Drummer? Developing Coordination , Musicianship And Creativity Through Electronic Drum Performance. In Z. Moir, B. Powell, & G. Dylan Smith (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education Perspectives and Practices, 189-201. Bloomsbury Publishing




Pop music, music education, pop music pedagogy, electronic drumming,

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