Arts & Entertainment, Music

Playing in Bands

Ringo Starr

Lesson time 12:20 min

From his time in The Beatles and beyond, Ringo talks about using drums to frame and elevate other musicians and singers. He also emphasizes the special energy of the first take, and trusting your first, if imperfect, approach to songs and fills.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Rory Storm and the Hurricanes · Joining the Beatles · The Beatles Years · Session Playing


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I've always been the band guy. You know, I just never wanted it to be like, okay, it's me. I want to play with you. That's-- drummers need to play with people, because it's really boring playing on your own. My main point when I play is I play with the singer. You've got to listen to the song. They don't need me, Yesterday ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba, you know, they don't need any madness when they're singing. Not any song. You have to listen. And it's something-- you know, it's not like I rehearse that. It's like, just came to me. That's what I do. I play with the singer. Anything else can be going on, of course. You attack it with it sometime and you can go off with, if we're coming up to the chorus. But I just don't boogie all over the singer. I listen to them, and I give them room. This is how I am and how I've been, that I only wanted to play. To this day, I love to play. I love to sit behind those buggers. I'm at home and backtracking to one of those memories I have, playing gigs and mom and Harry would come and visit. They'd come and watch. And she always said, you know, I always feel you're at your happiest, son, when you're playing. And I think that's a true thing. I just feel good about playing. I love making music with other people. It fills a lot of my soul. [MUSIC - RINGO STARR - "COOCHY COOCHY"] I've traveled all over, - I had been in a couple of other skiffle groups and none of them really worked. It was just what you did. Playing was all it was about. And playing with other people, I still believe today, that's what it's about. I did this audition for Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. And they put me in the band. Rory had a car, but the band, we were on the bus. I didn't have a car in the early days. And so I could only carry a snare. And so there'd always be a drummer there with the whole kit, and so you'd have to go around begging. Hey man, can I play your kit? You know, and sometimes they would and sometimes they wouldn't. So you just got on with it. You know, we were doing gigs around, but the next year, 1960 we got this big job to play three months at a holiday camp in England. Butlin's holiday camp. And so I left the factory and I became a musician. After we prayed Butlin's for three months and then we had nothing, but we got a few local gigs and then this guy, Koschmider from Hamburg, Germany was coming over to Liverpool to look for bands. And the first band to go over was Howie Casey. Sax player with his band. And the second band was the Beatles. And the third band was Rory and the Hurricanes. They showed us this dressing room in the Kaiserkeller, where we played. They said, oh, you live here. What? Live here? We've got suits. We're not going to live here on these dirt-riddled settees. So we all went down to the German Sea Mission and we shared a room. While we were there, Koschmider decided to put both bands on the Kaiserkeller, which was so great. You were on li...

About the Instructor

Music legend Ringo Starr helped create rock ’n’ roll drumming as we know it today. Now the 9-time Grammy Award winner wants to inspire new and seasoned drummers alike. Through demonstrations behind the kit and personal stories from his time in The Beatles, Ringo shares his principles for creative collaboration, finding your unique playing style, and embracing your musical journey with joy.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Ringo Starr

Legendary drummer Ringo Starr walks you through his approach to creative collaboration, playing with heart, and embracing your musical journey.

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