Remember when you first heard a drummer play clave with their left foot while soloing or grooving? Did it inspire you? When is the last time you heard something truly inspirational since then?
Last year, at a George Coleman Concert at The Jazz Standard in NYC, I heard Daniel Sadownick, a fantastic percussionist, play clave with his left foot while taking a great conga solo. After the show, feeling inspired, I went to talk with him. I told Daniel that his solo was amazing and asked how long it took him to get that skill together. The gist of his response was that it took a ridiculously long time.
That’s what it takes if you want to become extraordinarily good at your instrument. It takes hours and hours and hours. And then it takes more hours after that.
But the results can be remarkable. I thought that Sadownick’s solo was incredible. And guess what? Not only does he get gigs with jazz artists, but he gets the call to go on tour with Taylor Swift.
I think that part of the reason he gets to do this breadth of gigs is because his dedication to lifting his ability to great heights is almost unlimited.
So, I ask you to start thinking big. Think “big picture” about your playing. What can you do that nobody else has done? No idea is off-limits. Is it a way to incorporate electronics into your playing? Is there some other rhythm that you want to be able to play with one limb independently of your other appendages? What if you could rival Buddy Rich’s technique but apply it as a rock drummer instead of a jazz drummer?
Come up with your own ideas. Personally, you may not be ready to start working on these big sweeping concepts yet. Perhaps you still need to get your hand technique together. But it can’t hurt to start thinking about what you might do later…
Remember that you can do anything you put your mind to if you are willing to work hard enough and get the proper guidance. I mean that. Every expert was once a beginner, including every great drummer you’ve ever seen and heard. So with this is mind…I ask you…