The Compositional Drummer

The Compositional Drummer

Information for the career minded drummer and musician

It Don't Take All of That?... Really?... Think Again!

Talent, Skill, Luck, Preparation


I remember transitioning back to Jazz after playing Gospel for many years. I decided I would study with Italian drummer for Bassist John Pattituci Quartet, Paolo Orlandi. Now mind you, I was already a working musician in Gospel so the natural tendency was for me to want demonstrate a bit of talent on my  instrument.

I’ll never forget our first lesson. He was like,"You have talent but you lack skill to play this music”, meaning Jazz.  I was taken back a bit because I though I had demonstrated a bit of aptitude in the genre.  He then proceeded to point out my shortcomings saying "Your bass drum is too heavy, your touch on the snare, too much and your ride cymbal is a bit inconsistent. Afterwards, he sat down at the kit and played how I sounded to him then he demonstrated how it should sound. 


Now if I was a proud person I would've walked out of there with the attitude of “what does he know” “It don’t take all of that”. But as I paused for a moment of reflection I realized that there was a ring of truth to what we was saying. Long story short. He has change my approach and renewed my respect for the kit like no other instructor I’ve had. Thanks Paolo:-)


I heard Jazz master pianist Ellis Marsalis say "What you lack in talent should always be made up in work ethic". Nothing could be truer in the area of skill development.  Never cast off criticism as someone being a “hater” especially if they’ve been doing it for a while and are doing it well. Take the opportunity to ask for honest opinions of your work from people who owe you no allegiance. Pay your dues in the shed with long hours of study and practice! Work hard, look for results!


Finally, Be patient with yourself,  To realize your success simply take one methodical step after another towards achieving your goals; Learn to walk before you run and keep in mind that discipline must be cruel before she is kind in rewarding you for your sacrifices;


Wanna compose better music, play better, sing better? Then you better believe... It takes all of That!


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