Being a drummer puts you in the position of having a great opportunity. Once you reach a certain level in your playing, once all basic fancy independence is done (Which takes many years) the next step, especially if you want to work in a wide variety of genres, is to basically be a field researcher. Like an ethnomusicologist. Playing beats doesn’t make you proficient at a style. It makes you proficient at whatever “beat” you are working on. If you immerse yourself in the music, enjoy the music and listen to it until its a part of you the beats will be secondary. And thats how they should be….second nature. In order to perform in music! Beats really don’t cut it in most world music anyway since the element of improvisation weighs heavily in expression. In order to really function in a genre you need to learn the drumming vocabulary. Just to pick a genre that might be familiar as an example…Take Straight ahead Jazz. Do you perform exercises from Ted Reed book when you play the music? Obviously not.
Be an ethnomusicologist to live the full experience of each style. The rewards of this stretch way beyond just being able to function in a style you want to be a part of. Drumming is your key to expanding you humanity! Your world experience. Your knowledge of other cultures. Enriching your life in this way is the ultimate goal you should aim for and drumming is your ticket!!! Don’t just play a couple of beats and say you can play that style. You will be denying yourself of the true richness of drumming. That of being a portal to culture and the human experience.
Live to play