This question recently came up at lessons. "What is pocket?"
My definition: Pocket is the skill to synchronize with the bassist in such a way that the resulting beat/groove fills the dance floor with smiling faces.
It has many prerequisites.
1. Basic drum technique and coordination. Super chops, though helpful, are not necessarily required.
2. An equally skilled bassist. Pocket is a team effort.
3. Sophisticated aural skills: If you can't hear it in the playing of others you are unlikely to be able to hear it or create it in your own playing.
4. A desire to please others. "Drum sport", another branch of drumming, is more concerned with flash and visual magic over Pocket. In short pleasing oneself and/or showing off. Pocket is about inspiring movement and joy in a listener, in short pleasing others.
A young musician goes to an audition. She is keen, she has practiced, mastered her time, learned the repertoire, paid her dues. She is ready she thinks.
The band members quiz her." Can you play 32nd note paradiddles with your feet?"
She eagerly responds, "Of course, now do I have the gig?"
"Why, I actually won a drum contest doing that."
"That's why we fired the last drummer. Guy put them everywhere"
Moral of the story. Play the song. We drummers are accompanists. Remember Buddy Rich had to start his own band.
If you'd like me to help you on your journey, call me.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher