Video: How to Play Modern Pop Drums with Aaron Spears of Ariana Grande's Band

Growing up playing gospel music—with his church band from his youngest years, and later with The Gideon Band—instilled a powerful sense of groove and soul into Aaron Spears' playing.

Today, Spears is here to show how to combine that flare and feel into modern pop drumming, without getting in the way of the track audiences already know, love, and expect to hear. which Spears also has a long history of playing.

Spears also has a long history of playing with some of the world's biggest pop stars. Back in 2003, the chops Spears developed throughout his gospel days caught the ear of none other than Usher, who took him on a world tour and paved the way for a decade-plus of huge gigs. These have included Ariana Grande, Lil Wayne, Carrie Underwood, Chaka Khan, Lady Gaga, and more.

Performing with artists at the top of their pop stardom is, of course, not quite the same as vamping out a gospel break. Audiences may want to hear the perfect sampled snap instead of your ghost-note-heavy snare work. Artists may expect you to play like a programmed drum grid instead of a human limited to just two arms and two feet.

But by combining his respect for pop forms with his individuality, character, and complexity, Spears continues to bring flair and soul into his pop playing.

Be sure to watch the full video above. If you need some help incorporating samples into your own drumming, check out previous articles and videos: "How to Create a Hybrid Drum Set with the Roland SPD-SX" and "How Rock Bands Can Incorporate Sampling Into Their Live Sound."

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