Ok, so before you say to yourself, ’Great, more lecturing…..’, take a minute to think about those who have paved the way for us to build on. What I mean by this is that too often young drummers sometimes forget that there are and have been fantastic players of the instrument that have taken drumming to very high levels of musical expression, therefore giving us something to grab and hopefully make our own.
Our drum heroes too had drummers that inspired them. They were respectful enough to take time to really listen and learn what it is that their heroes were playing. The truth is that the grooves, beats, patterns we play today have already been played by some of the greats, we are simply adding our own voice to the mix.
It’s important to have your own voice, to be creative and share your music with others but be mindful of the fact that there’ll always be something to improve on or something new to learn. When you come to this realisation, the mind opens up. This is when the opportunity to learn comes knocking. A few things can happen at this point. You may choose to go and listen to some music you normally wouldn’t listen to, perhaps learn something new! You may discover a ‘new’ drummer that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about that really inspires you. You may choose to go out to your local club and watch other drummers, some may be at your level of musicianship, some may not and some may be more seasoned musicians than you.
Either way, you are learning!
Take a few lessons from a good drum teacher and try to learn more than just interpreting notes on sheet music or trying to learn technique, (this is not to say this stuff isn’t important), ask questions that go beyond chops and then really listen.
It’s ok to have your own opinions and points of view. There is no one way to play drums but don’t let ego get in the way of learning. Learning is also a two way street. Just as it’s important to learn from the ‘old guys’, some young players too have great things to share. Respect is the key, I feel, to progress.
If you think Thomas Pridgen is hip, and he is, then you should look into one of his influences, Dennis Chambers. Then you’ll discover how Dennis was influenced by Buddy Rich! How’s about late great Tony Williams who influenced countless drummers like Vinnie Colaiuta, Terry Bozzio to name but a few.
In my opinion, music and therefore drumming is a journey. We’re all on the same path, some of us are at different points on this path than others. We should listen and learn from those who are further down the path and in turn, share with those around us and further behind us in a respectful and sincere way.
You will always be you, you will always sound like you so don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new musical experiences because that’s how we grow. Respect yourself and respect others no matter how different you may feel they play and sound from you. This is after all, a form of art.
- Marcio De Brito