Book of the month: I Drum, Therefore I Am

Drummer, educator and author Smith has written one of a series of academic books on the psychology of music. Smith states: “Overall, this book aims to reach a deeper understanding of the identities, practices and learning of kit drummers from their own perspectives.” Image_02Selecting two simple study groups, teenage drummers (aged 13-19) and adults (over 30 and having played drums for at least 10 years), he looks at the historical context and the typical stereotypes of drummers (using several drummer jokes and the legendary ‘Troggs Tapes’ as evidence), also considering gender and ethnicity in relation to drumming and offering his own model, The Snowball Self, to describe how identity realisation and learning realisation work together.

Regarding the book’s target audience Smith says: “I hope that it will be of interest to sociologists of music and of music education, to music educators and to drummers.” The book is unapologetically academic and initially quite dry, becoming an easier read once initial terms and definitions have been discussed, with many of Smith’s observations possibly seeming obvious to the dedicated drummer, but perhaps more revelatory to non-drumming academics. Whether one finds it fascinating or merely deems it navel gazing will depend on one’s perspective.


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