What Is The Hardest Genre To Play On Drums?

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The hardest genre to play on drums is widely considered to be jazz, then followed closely by metal. Here are some of the hardest genres to play on the drums.


Jazz is often regarded as the hardest genre to play on drums because of its intricate rhythms, improvisational nature, and intricate coordination. Key challenges include the following.

  • Complex Time Signatures: Jazz frequently uses irregular time signatures like 7/4 or 5/4, which require drummers to master subdivisions and maintain precise timing.
  • Syncopation: Jazz drummers navigate intricate syncopated rhythms and off-beat accents that demand an acute sense of groove and timing.
  • Swing Feel: Capturing the elusive “swing” feel in jazz requires a deep understanding of dynamics, ghost notes, and brushwork.
  • Extended Solos: Jazz drummers often take lengthy solos, testing their improvisational skills, creativity, and ability to adapt on the fly.

Progressive rock and metal

Progressive rock and metal genres push the boundaries of drumming with their virtuosic performances and complex song structures.

  • Odd Time Signatures: Frequent shifts between odd time signatures challenge drummers to maintain precision and consistency.
  • Polyrhythms: Progressive music often incorporates complex polyrhythms, where different rhythms overlap and require intense coordination.
  • Double Bass Drumming: Many metal drummers use a double bass pedal, demanding extraordinary footwork and stamina.
  • Challenging Fills: Elaborate and rapid fills are a signature of these genres, testing a drummer’s speed and accuracy.

Here is a deeper read on how do drummers play so fast.

Classical percussion

Classical percussion, including orchestral and contemporary classical music, requires both precision and versatility. Here are the challenges you will face for this genre on the drums.

  • Wide Range of Instruments: Classical percussionists must master a wide array of instruments, including marimba, xylophone, timpani, and various auxiliary percussion.
  • Reading Sheet Music: Reading complex classical sheet music and interpreting intricate rhythms is essential.
  • Orchestral Ensemble Playing: Coordinating with other musicians and adhering to the conductor’s direction is vital for an effective orchestral performance.
  • Solo Marimba Playing: Solo marimba pieces demand nuanced technique, stamina, and control.

Funk and fusion

Funk and fusion genres emphasize groove, pocket, and precision, often pushing drummers to maintain a deep sense of timing and control. Difficulties for this genre to play on the drum includes the following.

  • Pocket Playing: Funk drummers need to lock into a tight groove and maintain a solid pocket with the bass player.
  • Ghost Notes: Incorporating delicate ghost notes within a groove requires finesse and dynamic control.
  • Polyrhythmic Grooves: Funk and fusion may include complex polyrhythmic grooves that demand excellent coordination.
  • Diverse Styles: Fusion music often blends various genres, necessitating adaptability and the ability to switch between styles.


The question of the hardest genre to play on drums is a matter of personal perspective and experience. But generally speaking, the hardest genre to play on drums is jazz, because jazz has one of the biggest ranges of material to master to be a proficient drummer. Thankfully, with our drum lessons and the guidance of our tutors, you will be able to master any genre you wish to play.