(It’s guest post Friday! Here’s one from Jeff Jones, the drummer for Big Daddy Weave. Their song “Just the Way I Am” is one of my favorite songs. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffdrummer. If you want to write a guest post for SCL, here’s how!)
The 4 types of clappers. By Jeff Jones
Having played drums in over 1,500 concerts with my band Big Daddy Weave, you can imagine I have observed things from stage that render me speechless from time to time. I’ve seen full-out sprints run around the sanctuary, dance moves that defy description, and heard fish-shaped streamer clad tambourines played with technique to make a Juilliard-trained symphony percussionist green with envy.
However, nothing quite captures my attention from behind the drum set like the different methods of hand clapping displayed in the audience. I have narrowed the different methods down to 4 distinct categories. Make no mistake: There may be different versions within each category, but I have found these 4 to represent the majority.
1. The “I don’t want to be here” clap
You may “want” to be there, but this method suggests otherwise. This method may also be referred to as the “I’m only clapping because I don’t want to look foolish” clap. This clap is usually displayed with no more than a 5 inch lift. Elbows bent while the hands are held close to the body. Absolutely no other body movement is displayed. This is often the chosen method for those who were brought by a friend. I call this “the safe method.”
2. The “I have spent a lot of time clubbing in the past” clap
This method is not to be confused with the clapping often displayed by charismatic churches. There is a big difference. The hands are easily a foot and a half apart before brought together again. The “clubbing” clap is accompanied by a “side to side” dance step. This subtle dance allows the clapper to express their love for dancing (expressed in the past while clubbing), while still remaining calm enough for other audience members to not suspect their past involvement. When utilized by the male audience members, this usually is accompanied with the white man overbite. For the record, this is the loudest of all claps. In extreme cases, I have seen shoes removed.
3. The “Rapid pull away” clap
This clap is borrowed from the more soulful congregations. The clapper usually keeps one hand still at a 45 degree angle at chest level. The other hand makes contact for a split second only to return quickly to the fully extended position in the air. This is the most difficult of all clapping methods and requires a lot of rhythm to accomplish.
4. The “Biscuit Praise” clap
This clap is borrowed from the Pentecostal movement and is combined with the methods observed while watching Bill Gaither DVDs. This clap is the easiest to identify. The clapper holds the same position as the “I don’t want to be here” clapper, but the movement of the hands is where it differs. While holding the elbows in the traditional L-shape in front of the body, the top hand is switched back and forth between every clap. Imagine making homemade biscuits and shaping the dough with your hands alternating the top hand. This can also be combined with the “rapid pull away” to create a hybrid clap. Many would suggest this method is dying, but I have recently seen resurgence among the contemporary churches we visit. It is alive and well!
I usually fall between the “I don’t want to be here clap” and the “I have spent a lot of time clubbing in the past” clap. Depending on where I am, I spend more time on one above the other.
How do you clap?
Did I leave any styles off the list?
(Having played drums for Contemporary Christian Band Big Daddy Weave for 12 years, Jeff is also an author/speaker, blogger and small business owner. For more info on Jeff or to see what life is like on the road with Big Daddy Weave, you can visit www.Jeffdrummer.com and www.Customstix.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jeffdrummer)