Drummers VS Percussionists! Are they the same or is there a difference?

At first glance, you would probably think that there is no distinction between Drummers and Percussionists. After all, whether it is Drum set, Xylophone, Claves, Tenor Drums, Timpani or Timbales, all those instruments are played by hitting them.

So that makes Drummers and Percussionists the same right?

But I’ve also heard that there is a very clear difference.

From what I’ve seen in my experience, Drummers are categorized as such because:

  • They usually just play one drum or one instrument

  • They play some type of battery instrument in Marching Band or they play drum set

  • A lot of times, drummers can’t read music, like Drum set players

  • Crude, immature and simple minded

By contrast, Percussionists:

  • Can play more than one percussive instrument

  • Can read music and play scales

  • Usually goes to school to study concert percussion

  • Sophisticated, very musical and more cultured

Frankly, I think that’s all BS. Percussion encompasses all instruments that you hit…and that even includes Piano.

I believe people make these distinctions to put Percussionists, or anyone who plays multiple percussive instruments and Concert Percussionists in a higher class.

But no one instrument is better than the other and no musician is better than an another by virtue of what they play. So why create a hierarchy even within a certain instrument class?

What do you think?

For more perspective on this topic, make sure you watch the video down below:

Karl Arrieta