Behind every song that stirs your soul, there’s a drummer keeping a beat. Whether you listen to pop, rock, jazz, country, hip-hop or soul, it’s a drummer who makes all your favorite songs get up and move. That’s why every October 10th, we celebrate National Hug a Drummer Day — a day for giving these hardworking, talented, and often underappreciated musicians their day in the spotlight!
National Hug a Drummer Day - History
First drummers' Hall of Fame
Modern Drummer Magazine created the first Hall of Fame specifically for drummers, inducting big-band phenomenon Gene Krupa as its first member.
The first drumming bandleader
Drummer Chick Webb formed a band in Harlem, making him the first prominent bandleader who played the drums. This paved the way for recognition of the modern celebrity drummer.
The first modern drum kit
William Ludwig opened a company and patented the kick-drum pedal, leading to the first "drum kit" as we know it today. During the Dixieland era, space and money constraints led bands to consolidate their drums in one space so that one percussionist could play them all.
National Hug a Drummer Day Activities
1. Listen to some of the greats
The art of drumming has a long, rich history shaped by many towering figures. Pick up some records or surf the Internet, and bask in the talents of history-making drummers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, who elevated drumming to the complex and varied art form it is today.
2. Donate to your local school band
It's no secret that many public schools' arts programs suffer from lack of funds, and drum equipment is particularly expensive. Make a donation to your local school district's music program to help the next generation of drummers find their groove!
3. Hug a drummer you know
Hug a Drummer Day isn't just a clever name! Find a drummer you know, amateur or professional, and give him or her some love for the sacrifice of their art.
3 Crazy-But-True Drumming Facts
1. Drumming is great exercise
Drumming is great cardio and can burn more calories in half an hour than swimming, hiking, or weight lifting.
2. Somebody once drummed for over half a week straight
Kunto Hartono of Indonesia drummed for a total of more than 122 consecutive hours — a world record.
3. The king of all drum kits
It has 813 pieces — and takes 15 people around four hours to set it up. You would need over an hour to strike each individual piece.
Why We Love National Hug a Drummer Day
A. Drummers have more talent than you think
Drummers are often looked down upon as crude, unskilled, and unmusical. Research shows, however, that their dexterity and coordination rivals that of any musician, and they actually score higher in abstract reasoning and problem-solving than many other types of musicians.
B. Drummers suffer for their art
Drumming is harder on one's physical health than almost any other musical instrument. Hearing difficulties are very common: A study by the Percussive Arts society found that more than half of professional drummers suffer from tinnitus. Carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, and frayed tendons also run rampant in the drumming community.
C. Drummers need more love!
Despite playing a vital role in popular music, drummers typically earn less pay, accrue fewer performing and composing credits, and achieve less popular recognition than other musicians. They deserve more recognition than they get!