Drumming is a lifestyle

Good morning. Today I am being sent lots of videos from random drummers around the world to critique.  My thoughts are…

1) Copying drummers from the USA 100% is a bad idea if you do not live there. Use your own culture (Especially cats from India) to add your own unique voice to your drumming. I would say that 95% of “drummers” around the world just copy those that are popular at the moment. (I can say this because I have seen sales stats on how many people own drumsets or are somehow fans, hobby players or semi pros and pros around the world. This gives an idea about how many people are involved and how many actually make a living at it. Also I have seen  it first hand in all my clinics and gigs globally) –

Copying…While it is a step to progress in the beginning, if you stay in this stage…It’s a sure way to stagnate in the world of nothingness and probably not work in drumming somewhere down the line. Developing your own voice…is the “road less traveled”. Really studying this instrument we love in depth and to its fullest potential is a “Lifestyle”, not something you do to get rich. (Or get noticed on Youtube)

3) Get over popular culture and dig deep into the world of drumming. Stop being guided by what mass media is telling you to like. Because that is most likely the lamest of the lame in terms of contributing to your eventual survival as a musician. (Not business person) Dig deep into the art of drumming. Leave no stone unturned when you study. Get to the essential knowledge and stop wasting time listening to people who have no musical experience.  Life is short. Especially in terms of the learning curve needed in drumming.

4) One of my old teachers used to say “If you can’t live without drumming in your life, then you can study with me. If you like other things just as well then go home” – I understand that more then ever now because of the way things are. IMHO it has never been more difficult to be a musician then it is now. I see an absolute flood of wanna be drummers out there, but I see very few musicians. While conceptually this means there is more room for real musicians, it doesn’t work because these wanna be’s flood the market. Its so overboard now…Like cheap garbage made in China or wherever, the mass of junk obscures the road. Only the road less traveled is free of garbage. And many times there wont even be a road! BUT….I can assure you…not many of the wanna be’s have done the real work! Studied deeply and proficiently. That takes a will of steel built by a deep passion and respect for music. A rare commodity. 

5) If someone really wants to know my opinion on their drumming…Let me say this first. Drumming is a life long study. It’s a spiritual journey. It’s a path to enlightenment and self discovery. It’s a challenge from the universe to be egoless. When you play…I see a photograph in real time of the knowledge you have accumulated so far. In drumming and as a person.  I see the amount of discipline one has or lack there of. Your convictions and your ability to stay focused in the worst of times and the best of times is out in the open. I see how much you love music. How much you love drumming. I see the sacrifices you have made to be a musician. It is easy for someone with lots of experience in this field to see what you are all about in just a few minutes. Your deepest feelings are exposed and your mind. That is the voodoo part of drumming which is a beautiful thing. So before you make that next video in your bedroom. Ask yourself ….What do i really want to say with this. Do I need praise and an ego boost? Or do I want to know what I really need to do? When I was coming up I didn’t have the audacity to send something to someone I never meant before and ask them for an opinion on my drumming. Not in a million years would a letter or massage be sent to Tony Willams  to “Like my video or you are a jerk.”

These are thoughts today as I have have seen much of the same mistakes over and over and over. Of course if you really want to make something happen with your drumming…Join us here on the lessons site!

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Phil M.