Write Now: For Drummers, Playing In Pocket Takes Skill
Often these words are mentioned in different contexts, all of which are valid.
Talk with a baseball player and the pocket may mean the part of the glove where baseball sits best between the base of thumb and the base of the index finger. Because of hand size, different gloves have different pockets.
In football, one can hear announcers say that the quarterback needs to stay in the pocket longer or the quarterback had to scramble because the pocket collapsed. A pocket for a quarterback is when he attempts a pass, and has defensive lineman rushing from left and right, has time to view the whole field in front of him and make a decision on what receiver will catch his pass. If the quarterback’s offensive line is good, then his pocket is wider, and he has more time to throw a pass. If the offensive line is good, but the defensive line is better, then the pocket may collapse.
In billiards, the pocket may mean one of the six collection points on a pool table. Some tables have a net to collect the balls while other tables have a return system that allows each ball after being sunk to return to a central location at one of the four sides.
In clothing, what would we do if some of our clothes did not have pockets? Well, we would carry a lot less. But our shirts, pants, backpacks, and jackets may contain pockets in which we can store different items like keys, money, glasses, and cellular phones.
The pocket also has its place in music as well.
When a musician says that “a drummer plays in the pocket,” it means the tempo or groove doesn’t waver. It could be a slow, medium or fast song but other musicians always know where they are because the drummer is playing in the pocket.
It doesn’t matter what genre of music is being played — country, jazz, fusion, rock, and pop — the drummer serves the song by setting a great groove and playing in the pocket. And you have heard drummers who play in the pocket. They are not flashy, but they keep steady time, and other band members use that steadiness when playing solos because no matter how fast or slow the soloist is playing, he can always come back to the song at any point because the drummer’s tempo allows him to.
The drummer is the foundation and if he has a strong pocket, then the band may be as strong as well.
For example, it’s frustrating to hear a cover band play a well-known song at three different tempos because the drummer has a problem with establishing and keeping time. If the drummer can’t find the pocket, then the other members won’t either. It doesn’t matter what genre.
If a drummer or any musician wants to develop better time, practice with a metronome. The metronome’s pocket will never waver.
It is that easy.
It is that hard.