The Compositional Drummer

The Compositional Drummer

Information for the career minded drummer and musician

Songwriting and Composition Where Do We Begin... How about the beginning

I remember reading the John C. Maxwell book, Talent Alone Is Not Enough. It challenged my thinking explaining that just having talent in any given area was not all you needed to succeed. His point was you needed other people and resources to help you perform your best.

Before I began working on my music degree I used to think, "I was good" and it wasn't until I landed on campus, got around musicians with more talent than I that I realized I was just... Okay.  Holding my own but just... Mediocre. Now understand me, I'm not talking about one's ability and facility on an instrument. I'm talking about drummers, singers, guitarists and bassist having a profound understanding on how music worked. With the keyword here being "profound". Drummers who understood basic rules of counterpoint, transcribing for small or large ensemble, vocalists who could Sight sing, Horn players with piano chops, Pianists with perfect pitch to the point where they could tell you what intervals were being played by a guitarist. That was all like voodoo to me. So, being a bit weak in those areas I decided I wanted to get better. I was hungry. I wanted to know what their formula was. That formula was summed up in one word... Study!

I learned early in life that an empty vessel (your mind) is one that can be filled with the most of whatever is being poured in.  So as opposed to being a "Know-it-All" (which obviously I wasn't)  in humility I sat at the feet of my instructors and learned and learned and learned until I became a better Player, Composer, Teacher and Arranger. That only happened because I built up a music library filled with books on arranging, counterpoint, and music theory, harmonic analysis and the like. I listened to ALL genres of music. I went to ALL types of concerts.I soaked it ALL in because I wanted to get better and that desire has not left me to this day.

To encourage my students I remind them that remediation is not a bad thing. The rehearsal room, The shed and your Instructor are supposed to point out shortcomings in what you do. It doesn't mean that you have no talent or "You Suck".  It means that seed of talent planted long ago needs the nurturing words of an encouraging instructor, The labor associated with practicing what you have learned so that you will have the facility to execute without worry or thinking. Therefore, in the next few blogs we will do just that. Remediate! study and remdiate some more.  I welcome your comments. Let's talk



"Achievement requires teamwork because none of us is as smart as all of us"- John C. Maxwell

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