Drumm beats his own path to jazz title

In a competition traditionally dominated by larger schools, senior Mason Drumm snatched the title of Oklahoma’s Outstanding University Jazz Musician of the Year.

Drumm is a Bible major at Oklahoma Christian University and has not only the gift of ministry, but also the gift of music. When asked about his motivations, Drumm speaks of a love for God partnered with a love for people that keeps him wanting to teach wherever he plays. Although he has played in many venues, including with a live band, Drumms’ primary passion is clear.

“Even though I’m a musician, I feel like God is calling me to focus my attention more on ministry,” Drumm said. “What’s great about ministry is that it can be done anywhere and everywhere, and it should.”

Drumm is devoted to the cause of Christ.

“As I’m out on a gig I’m also building relationships,” Drumm said. “And my hope is that through drumming I might be able to talk with people about Jesus. This is especially needed in the music culture that I’m a part of. Plus, I love drumming for God.”

Drumm has been playing the drums since he was 11 years old and has a special appreciation for jazz music.

“The history of [jazz]—the artists, the culture and, of course, the music itself—I think I liked it because it offered me something different,” Drumm said. “Most drummers, especially young ones, think drumming is all about playing loud and fast. Jazz sort of flips that idea on its head, and drumming becomes part of making music instead of trying to be impressive.”

Drumm was “discovered” at his middle school by Oklahoma Christian Professor of Music Heath Jones, who was also a clinician working with school bands.

“[Drumm] was a strong Christian when I met him,” Jones said. “[Drumm] said, ‘You work at a Christian university? … I always wanted to go to a Christian university.’ I said, ‘Well, look no further,’ and he came as soon as he was able to. This shows what kind of a person Mason is, a strong Christian and a great musician.”

The work ethic Drumm maintains toward ministry is the same kind of energy he brings to his music career. Consequently, Drumm won the title of college jazz musician of the year, an honor given by Oklahoma Music Educator’s Convention to the most qualified student musician in the state.

Every year Oklahoma educators meet at a music convention and select the student they believe to be the best for multiple age ranges. Drumm’s election as best university musician is not only a great honor for him, but is also a first in Oklahoma Christian history.

This is the first time an Oklahoma Christian student has won the statewide award.

The area’s larger bands have historically dominated the title, but this year Drumm beat them all.

Usually Oklahoma Christian’s jazz band performs at the high school competition as an exhibition group, creating feedback for Drumm’s musicianship. 

Drumm wants to encourage people to follow their own musical dreams.

“Do it,” Drumm said. “Music is different. If you want to go play football or something that’s great—but in 30 years will you still be playing? Probably not. But with music, I know guys that are over 70 years old and they still play. It’s a special … experience that lasts a lifetime.”

Drumm recognizes where his abilities originated.

“My talents and the opportunities and experiences that have opened up to me have all been through the grace of God,” Drumm said.

For those contemplating their next step, etiher in music or in ministry, Drumm offered guidance.

“My best advice would be to stay humble and remember Proverbs 3:6, ‘In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight,’” Drumm said.

Drumm encourages those who are striving to become better in their ministry.

“Remember where you place your identity,” Drumm said. “Your value is based not on how good or bad you are at this or that. Your value comes from being loved by God. Your identity is found in Christ.”

By Monica Williams, courtesy of The Talon