Monday, July 30, 2012
Study The Masters
Most of us don't really know where greatness starts. Yes you have to be born with a lot of it but exposure has quite a bit to do with it as well. Exposure to the music and art that came before us. The key to being GREAT in ANY industry is having knowledge of what you do and knowing where it came from. It is so important to study the masters. I listen to so many new artists and musicians that are super talented but they have limited exposure. I recently spoke to a young drummer who had never heard of Buddy Rich, Max Roach, Pappa Joe Jones or Art Blakey. Now I know a lot of you will say that it's because they where primarily Jazz musicians and most young cats are not into Jazz. The reason I think EVERY drummer should know these people and the many others like them is that the drum set, as we know it, was invented in America and Jazz was the music that really developed the instrument so if you are going to really understand the instrument you have to know the history of it's creation and be WELL aware of the musicians that pioneered it's development. Listening to all kinds of music is the greatest way to expose yourself and learn. When I was in college my music history professor encouraged us all to have have a portable music player and headphones with us at all times so that we could fill ALL of our spare moments with music. This is such a great way to better your skills and intellect as a musician. Having the talent is not enough. Talent, intellect and exposure are the cornerstones of greatness. I've listened to and continue to listen to as much music as I can, old and new. This practice continues to teach me and it also helps me get hired, create and define my own voice because I may not have played a song before but if I've heard it or been exposed to the style, I can play it. This is why listening and studying the masters, in all genres, is so important, and it is so beautiful because this is a life long journey, it it will never be over. So please listen, study and enjoy the journey.
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