After a late night playing with Flexadecibel, I got up at the crack of dawn, scooped my buddy Kameron in Lansing, and high-tailed it to Ohio to catch the 2nd day of events. We made it just in time to get settled and start going to clinics.
Before I get into the specifics, I want to reiterate the importance of these types of events. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that the drumming community is vast, that we never stop learning, and that human beings all over the world can be brought together simply through the love of music.
I hail from a small(ish) town called Muskegon, Michigan. We’ve got a few “claims to fame,” but for the drumming community, one of the proudest is being the hometown of Derico Watson.
Derico is a powerhouse of a player with plenty of chops and super deep pocket, but even more importantly, he just exudes joy and passion when he plays. He’s passionate about many things actually, he is a natural medicine advocate, and talks to everyone who will listen about the benefits of alternative medicine over conventional. Not many people consider alternatives when they get sick, but many that have been around him do now because of the wealth of knowledge he has on the subject. If you want to look into this further you can go here to check out alternative medicine.
Perhaps best known for his work with Victor Wooten, Derico has had a huge impact on the drummers hailing from this part of the world, myself included. Even though I missed the opportunity to study with him when I was younger, products of his education exist across our local scene – and his influence (in my humble opinion) has raised the bar for the drummers of West Michigan.
I’ve done a grand total of two (Hands on a Harbody and the Seussical), but they were both such massive learning opportunities, I almost feel obligated to share some of the experiences here – and encourage you to explore it yourself.
It’s not something I even sought out, but in retrospect, I wish I would have started much earlier! As with so many other opportunities, I didn’t even see it coming.
We live in some weird times. Smartphones, YouTube, the upheaval of the music industry, vitriol-spewing trolls, more information than we can possibly digest, bombarding us from every angle, every minute of the day…
This is life on the internet.
These relatively new (and harsh) realities are having an effect on the way we do business, the way we consume media, and even the way we feel about ourselves (or others). If you’ve spent any time digging around online, I’m sure you feel it too.
There’s no turning back at this point though. No one’s going to burn their routers or cast their smartphones into the sea. We simply have to find a way to make do… A way to not get lost in the great overwhelm that is being a person with internet access in the 21st century.
Making music is a joy in itself. Playing and creating is its own reward. Self expression is essential.
All that is certainly true… but only part of the equation. If ALL the “value” came just from playing, why we would we bother to perform?
Sure, you can make a little dough. You might get to look cool or gain some social status. Playing on stage is exhilarating, and people applauding is a wonderful ego stroke… but I still don’t think that’s the best part (or even terribly valuable at all).
As I become more and more drum-obsessed, I find myself turning to all kinds of outlets for information. I’ve never really been one for talk radio or podcasts, but as I began to look for drum and music-related information to occupy my ears (usually while my hands are doing some task that doesn’t require much mental input), I really came to enjoy hearing the stories of drummers from all walks of life.
These podcasts are also a useful tool for perspective… If you feel like you’re stuck or not making the kind of headway you’d like in your drumming career, if you feel like you don’t know what direction you want to head, if you’re feeling discouraged…
Listening to advice and information from the vast world of drummers can help set you back on the right track. One little nugget of info might be just what you need.
Similarly, if you’re feeling uninspired, haven’t picked up the sticks in a while, can’t find the drive to practice, and so on… Listening to podcasts about drumming (especially these few in particular) is a reminder of how much fun it can be.