I am a huge advocate of music education and I'm really concerned about the current state of musical development when it comes to our children. Don't get me wrong, these children are super talented and they are playing things that I've never seen before but the problem is their lack of substance and true foundation. All they seemed to be focused on is having chops. Who can play the most notes and who can play the fastest? There are websites dedicated to nothing but showcasing your CHOPS. Well what about groove and musical interpretation? Young musicians are not learning the history. I've been playing drums over half my life and there are still certain fundamentals that have not changed but a lot of these younger guys see no reason to learn the basics such as the James Brown, Motown, Stax, Philly, Shuffles, Second Line, One Drop, Swing & the list goes on and on. They feel as if they can create something brand new without ever learning and respecting what came before them. Before we can create, we must imitate. If you are going to be a working musician, writer or producer, it is important to understand the history and develop a musical vocabulary. Music is not about stroking your own ego with how fast you can play. Music is about having the discipline to only give the music what it needs to groove and grow. If that means four on the floor with very few fills, then so be it. I've never seen anybody get hired based on chops but I have seen guys get fired because they overplayed. We are all lifetime students and it is vital that we embrace the music that came before us so that as we create, we can do so in a contributory fashion. Focus on building a musical vocabulary and writing great songs with distinct melodies, not just on chops for the sack of chops. That kind of playing is soulless and self serving. Enjoy the journey.
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