Time to get real with you guys. The last several emails I’ve sent out have been about dealing with failure - overcoming it and using it to learn. The truth that I’ve tried to reiterate is that you’re never going to avoid failure, no matter how good you are at something. However, you can use the failure to learn and to overcome.
I failed at being a good drummer the other day at a rehearsal, and I’d like to share this story with you since I think it might help you out.
Speaking of avoiding mistakes, check out this video while you're here about the "5 toxic drummer habits you MUST avoid at all cost."
Ok on with today's story!
We were rehearsing this moderate-tempo, four-on-the-floor song that was very long and repetitive. The tune also didn’t have a lot of dynamic contrast throughout…It built up after a minute or so then stayed up the rest of the song. I launched into the first chorus, enjoying the rock ’n roll, driving feel. When the second...
Back in February I was on a gig that I was really excited about. This was basically a weekend event gig where we played a few different sessions throughout the weekend, pulling from a master setlist of 10-15 songs. Everything about this gig was perfect, and I knew everything was going to be great. The bandleader was a good friend I loved, and I was super excited about the keyboard player who would be joining us. He was one of those guys who just makes any group sound and groove better. That’s a rare thing with keys players, and this guy’s ability was definitely something to be excited about. This was shaping up to be a great gig, then something happened.
I got sick.
Now this was weeks before the COVID lockdowns began, so this took place in the “olden days” when we were still allowed to show up to work sick. ;) It’s interesting to think how this kind of thing will be forever different now! Anyways, I came down with a bad cold just two days before this...
Will reading music make you a better player? Is your playing ability suffering right now because you can’t read music?
Maybe you’ve taken the time to learn, and you’ve been left wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s not like your groove and pocket became better after learning to read. So do we drummers really need to learn to read music? Is this important? Let’s unpack this a little.
Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Chad Smith, and Buddy Rich are just a few famous players who never took lessons - and who most likely never read a musical note. Legend has it Buddy Rich would listen to the band play the tune once, then he’d jump on the kit and play it. No chart, no notation. Each of these drummers were (and are) a force of compelling groove and musicality, and their inability to read sheet music or drum charts didn’t seem to hold them back in any way. What they may have lacked in the book-learning department they made up for with ear...