I’ve started this blog for a couple of main reasons; First, I’d like to help other drummers figure out what skill sets are needed to work steadily as a freelance drummer. I’ve noticed that most music “schools” are great at showing you how to play your instrument but terrible at showing students how to make a living doing what they love and showing you what people look for most in a drummer.
Secondly, I’d like to turn people on to the music that inspires me. Much of the music I love, I discovered by listening to the hip hop artists that sampled it and researching backwards. I’ll show you the origins of a lot of modern music through my record collection, the importance of a record’s liner notes, and hopefully encourage more musical awareness in future generations.
Drummers, does this sound familiar? A typical drumming clinic usually goes like this; a ten minute introductory pyrotechnic display/athletic event to try and impress the audience of drummers and draw the obligatory “woooooo!!!” Then after toweling the sweat off his brow the clinician asks for any questions pertaining to concert that was just given. Then a photocopied handout is given with some hands exercises, maybe some independence stuff, a demo of how to use rudiments, some humorous stories from the road, then wrap it all up with another pyrotechnic display. Pretty close right?!
Nobody ever tells you how they went about getting steady work, or how to make the rent! As if they would be giving away some secret formula that, if released will take away work from themselves. No schools tell you how to get gigs or how to get heard, or what to practice in order to get work and make a living. Worst of all, no one asks the burning questions!
I meet a lot of drummers both younger and older who have a lot of the same questions that I had growing up. I was afraid of appearing dumb or naive and I thought that if I asked them, everyone would know that I wasn’t a steadily working drummer thus bringing me way down on the cool scale. The questions I had were not necessarily about drumming, but more about how to make a living doing it.
“What does it take to be a “successful” drummer?”
“How do I get gigs with major touring acts?”
“How do I get session work?”
“Should I get a day job or be a “starving artist”until I get the big break?”
“Do I need to specialize in a specific style of music or be a “Jack Of All Trades?””
“How do I get noticed?”
“Do I need to move to a major “industry” city like LA or New York or Nashville?”
“What do I practice to have the tools to make people want to hire me?”
“Is it really who you know that makes you successful?”
“How does it all WORK?!!!!”
I will cover all of these questions in the near future and in the process try to turn you on to the extreme importance of doing your listening and studying liner notes!
We are so lucky to live in a time where anything you could possibly want to learn is at your fingertips. Let’s share our knowledge with each other and take music to new heights.