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Thread: These are moments that give me hope...

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    Default These are moments that give me hope...

    THIS POST IS HUGE BUT READ IT IF YOU WANT SOME UPLIFTING INFO!

    A while ago, I was checking out some Neil Peart videos, trying to see what he did in a solo context that made him so great. Now, this isn't the place for slagging off Neil Peart; I've said before I'm not a great fan, but there is no denying that he is immensely good at what he does. I was just trying to understand how he played. In the context of this little anecdote, though, it's everything.
    Anyway, I didn't enjoy the solos from a drummers perspective; loads of showmanship, of course, but couldn't see what everyone was raving about. No matter. I found some songs he was playing on and enjoyed them a lot more.
    Now, a comment I found on one of these videos was attacking Neil Peart. I took offense at this, after watching all the other videos he was playing on, and we had a huge heated argument about why we had these conflicting views, which soon got kinda personal. I figured it would be better to apologize, because I was speaking in a horrible tone, arguing against someone who I kinda had the same opinion with. We exchanged opinions, and I found out this guy was in his 50's, who had been drumming since the late 50's. I had immense respect for him, and we soon reached an understanding.
    This person is an artist in every sense of the way. A few weeks ago, I spoke to Lew Hunter, the greatest screenwriter in the world, about how inspiring I found his book on screenwriting to be. The response I got was one of an artist, full of love and compassion and the real drive to help me get better. Similarly, this drummer responded in a very similar tone; with experience, care and determination, but also with the seriousness of those who understand the concept of drumming as an art do. He said I could ask him about anything at all; I asked him, how plausible is it for someone, who is so incredibly passionate about drumming, who practices all the time, with or without sticks, on it or off, to create a career out of it?

    This is the incredible response I got.

    "Let me tell you a story. In 1970 when I was 15 I took a bus trip of about 3,000 from my east coast home town to Los Angelas. The purpose was to spend 10 days with a family friend (a man that my father grew up with) that was a semi famous professional drummer and he became my mentor from the time I was 5 untill his death in the mid 1990's. He was a long distance mentor and would constantly write me and teach me about drums. Well, a year before that, he had told the great drum legend Louie Bellson about me. Louie sent me an autographed picture in '69 and EVERY letter from then on that I wrote to Louie, he replied. Now, imagine, it's 1970 and only one year B4 Lou sent me this picture. When I arrived in L.A I went to the drum shop in Hollywood. I told the owner of the drum shop that if there was any way...I wanted to meet Louie before I left and went back home. That night, I get a call from the drum shop and the owner tells me that Louie would drive from his home....over 100 miles away...to spend the next day with me at the drum shop. So, round trip for Louie was over 200 miles, to spend an afternoon with this 15 year old kid that wanted to meet him. We had a wonderful time, and that was the start of my relationship with the great Louie Bellson that continues to this day. I see him once or twice a month.
    The point of that story is...I made a vow when I was 15 after that happened, that when I became an adult, I would never turn away a younger person if I could help them. That day at the drum shop had a profound effect on me that continues to this day almost 40 years later!
    Other things that I have been taught with my association with Louie, my studies with Alan Dawson at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and my original mentor is that the learning never stops. The next paragraph is of SUPREME IMPORTANCE!
    I want you to embrace the concept of "NOW". Now is all we have...whenever now is. The past is a memory and the future is a dream. NOW is all we have. That is never so obvious as when you are performing. Each moment you are in the now. MAKE IT COUNT. Everytime you play, play as if it's the last time you will ever play. It just MIGHT be your last time. And...for that matter, make every second of every day count. You are now in the now. Do not regret what you didn't get done because you can do it now. See what I mean? Not even the richest man in the world can get back time that they have lost. It's gone. BUT, you DO have NOW.

    Learn to read music. It's a method of communication just like written words. Learning to read music is NOT rocket science. It's easy and logical if you keep your mind open to learning it. ANYTHING you want to know in music is written down somewhere. It will NOT stifle and hinder your creativity...it will ENHANCE it. Being able to read music will take the mystery out of many things and IN FACT will save you a lot of time when you try to learn something new. By the same token, if possible, start taking lessons with someone who has a REALLY good reputation of being a great drum teacher. The way to do this is to ask people you know are really good players who their teacher was/is. I mean REALLY good players. Don't cheat yourself. You want someone who will make you work hard and practice the RIGHT things; Reading drum charts, reading snare drum music, rudiments, 4-way co-ordination on drum set, standard drum set rhythms of every style, phrasing.
    If you don't have one, get a metronome. USE IT! It will show you your tendencies. After all, our job is being experts of time, right? Get a practice pad too. You may already have these things and know the things I mention in this important letter to you. I only say this letter is important because...have you ever had anyone outline the things I am outlining for you? Make copies of this letter. Read it often.
    Now, to answer your question...
    1st, you must KNOW without a doubt that this is what you passionatley want to do. This is what you are on this earth for. Do not second guess yourself. Understand however, that you will ALWAYS be between gigs. AS you know, it's not a 9 am to 5 pm job. So, you MUST make yourself marketable to the widest possible areas in music. Don't wait to be "discovered" because you will be very disappointed. Here is what my concept of being marketable was and is. I became experienced and very well versed in many many types of music. I LOVE jazz, but I knew early on that if I only played jazz...UNLESS I was in a big name long term jazz group, I would be starving. So...realizing that there are gigs everywhere all the time...I thought...the best way to deal with this is....DON'T GIVE ANY BAND LEADER A REASON TO NOT HIRE ME. So, what does that mean you ask? It means learning and getting experience in playing many styles VERY well. CONVINCINGLY!
    I make my living playing drums. I am what is called a "1st call" drummer. But along with playing big band and small band jazz, I play rock gigs, pop gigs, studio gigs, all style gigs, blues gigs, reggae gigs, latin gigs, country gigs,and even on occasion I have played with the symphony. On latin gigs for example I needed to learn to convincingly play mambo, rhumbs, bossa nova, tango, baion, many types of samba, and many other rhythms. So, when a band leader needs a drummer, I wanted my name to be the 1st name they thought of.
    2nd thing (and I've done this my whole life) is be familier with standard tunes of many different styles. I'm sure that by now I know somewhere between 10 to 20 thousand songs. I have no idea. Just be listening to music all the time.
    Learn about phrasing. 4, 8, 12 bar phrases. Then even if you don't know the song, you can hear how the song is constructed with how many measures are in each phrase of the song.
    Play with as many musicians as you can in as many different styles and situations.
    Sure, it's cool to "be in a band" and rehearse you tunes. But, are you going to wait around until that 1 band gets a break? Don't waste time. Rehearse, BUT ALSO play with as many other people too. LEARN with the suggestions I've mentioned.
    Always have a paper and pen handy to write down ideas and things you want to learn about. Ideas come and then are forgotten. Write them down.
    One way to accellerate your progress is to start transcribing drum parts note for note of other drummers you hear on recordings. Start simple. The more you do it the better and more advanced you will get.
    So, the answer to your question is YES! it IS VERY plausable to make a living playing drums IF and ONLY IF you are TOTALLY commited to a lifetime of learning and improving. You've GOT to be committed. Are you committed ENOUGH to do the things I outlined? THAT is the REAL question.
    You have time on your side to get REALLY good...but you will need to work hard as every really good drummer has done and continues to do. The learning will never stop.
    LAST BUT NOT LEAST, GET THE BOOK
    EFFORTLESS MASTERY BY KENNY WERNER.
    READ THIS BOOK MANY TIMES! (you don't really need to listen to the CD that comes with it as much as you need to read the book....getting this book will change your life as a musician."

    Honestly, I still can't write a reply to this. I'm so stunned and moved by it. This person speaks straight to my soul. Ever since I picked up sticks, I've said to myself "this is what I'm going to do, this is what has to be done". But now I have had such a change of perspective. To be a 'first call' drummer... a band drummer would be fantastic, but, as Cliff Burton always said, "there will always be some kid in a garage somewhere, better than you". I want to be that kid in the garage. Even if I don't get out of small clubs, even if I hardly have enough cash to pay the rent... I want to be the number one name on everyone's lips when they need a drummer.
    I have never been so inspired as I am now. God, I love art.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  2. #2

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    Wow...

    I totally relate to this paragraph, as well...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethel_The_Frog View Post
    ...
    I want you to embrace the concept of "NOW". Now is all we have...whenever now is. The past is a memory and the future is a dream. NOW is all we have. That is never so obvious as when you are performing. Each moment you are in the now. MAKE IT COUNT. Everytime you play, play as if it's the last time you will ever play. It just MIGHT be your last time. And...for that matter, make every second of every day count. You are now in the now. Do not regret what you didn't get done because you can do it now. See what I mean? Not even the richest man in the world can get back time that they have lost. It's gone. BUT, you DO have NOW.
    ...
    There have been precious few times when I have been 'transported' to that magical place when I've been playing, but when you do...wow!!

    Awesome story and thanks for sharing!!!
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  3. #3

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    ETF, that is really good advice. I have once again, learned something constructive. One question is, how do these crappy bands make it??

  4. #4

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    Wow! Great insights into the world of a drummer. As with anything that you must train to do, the success of the career rests on the passion for the work. Becoming "a great" in most fields of endeavor requires a certain level of sacrifice. The questions always becomes whether we are willing to pay the price.

    Thanks ETF, that's a great post! I'm thinking sticky here.
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassist learning drums View Post
    ETF, that is really good advice. I have once again, learned something constructive. One question is, how do these crappy bands make it??
    One thing I noticed in entertainment industry is that skill is not enough for success. Luck, personality, connections, and chutzpah counts.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by bassist learning drums View Post
    ETF, that is really good advice. I have once again, learned something constructive. One question is, how do these crappy bands make it??
    Making it is irrelevant so long as you get your artistry out there into the world, so long as you're satisfied with what you're doing it to the best of your ability.
    That's it. If you can forge a living out of what you love doing, you're so successful it's ridiculous.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  7. #7

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    Great post Ethel, really inspiring and uplifting, Thank You!

  8. #8

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    Yea, thanks Ethel. My favorite post from you so far. Great stuff!
    - Tom

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  9. #9

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    Very nice write-up.

  10. #10

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    Inspiring write up, thank you very much for sharing this
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  11. #11

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    Excellent, love the Louie bellson story,
    Be the best you can be peeps. great post Ethel,



    Official cowbell hater.

  12. #12

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    i found that very inspiring

    but i think its easyr said that done due to the human factor of fear

    fear makes us not try things because we are scared to try

    like i.e if one of your friends bands needed a drummer for a gig that night and you only knew basic of they stuff they play you would be scared to play the gig because of fear of being laughed of the stage

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazz View Post
    i.e if one of your friends bands needed a drummer for a gig that night and you only knew basic of they stuff they play you would be scared to play the gig because of fear of being laughed of the stage
    See living for NOW. Doing things NOW. It's really hard to do things you want to do, because you're so petrified of them going wrong. But, if you're in the moment, forget about people laughing at you, or anything like that, you will play better and succeed.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  14. #14

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    Excellent story, and very sound advice. Thanks for sharing that with us.

    At my age playing "in the NOW" is all there really is. And I do.
    ****************************************
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazz View Post

    but i think its easyr said that done due to the human factor of fear

    fear makes us not try things because we are scared to try
    It is better to have tried and failed then to not have tried at all.
    - Tom

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  16. #16

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    ETF...You truly amaze me. For the longest time, as I read many of your posts, I had the idea that you didn't care much about reading music and the painstaking efforts it takes to Master the drums. I am so happy for you! Everything you said is true and there is no more important Law than living the NOW. Every gig with my big band, and Iam 61 now, is like that. I give it all that I have and, you know what...I keep getting better. I loved the story about Louie Bellson. I never met him but, when I was so desperate for big band sheet music to practice with, I transcribed some of Louie's playing on his album, Loue Bellson Big Band: Live In New York. I made a copy and sent them to my teacher back home. He replied telling me that " I still had it." Go for it, ETF! Go for all your dreams and always remember this...every day is the Now that you spoke of and it gets better and better, easier and easier.
    There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value.

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  17. #17

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    "Sista"Ethel.....This has been the most heartfealt and motivating piece i have read recently.THXS FOR POSTING IT... THIS ATTITUDE IS ALSO EXEMPTLFIED IN LIFE BY MR DOM FAMULARO...PLZ FEEL FREE TO VISIT HIS WEBSITE FOR SOME LIFE CHANGING MOTIVATION...
    [url]www.domfamularo.com,,,,PLAY IT FORWARD....
    "FEEL DA GROOVE & PLAY IT FORWARD..."

    "BEAUTY IS IN THE EARS OF THE BEHOLDER ,
    ENJOY IT ALL,,, MY BROTHERS & SISTERS"

    COMMANDER & CHIEPH OF
    "PHROGGE'S AQUARIAN ARMY"

    CHARTER MEMBER OF THE "OUR
    LADY OF DA NEW BEAT CONGREGATION"

    LEGEND IN MY OWN MIND
    & FORCE BEHIND DA
    "PHX AZ LEGEND OF DA ZYDECO TIE"
    (AND OTHER TOYZ)

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tazz View Post
    i found that very inspiring

    but i think its easyr said that done due to the human factor of fear

    fear makes us not try things because we are scared to try

    like i.e if one of your friends bands needed a drummer for a gig that night and you only knew basic of they stuff they play you would be scared to play the gig because of fear of being laughed of the stage
    Welcome to Drum Chat Tazz!

    You are exactly right that fear can stop us if we let it. Ethyl_The_Frog is also right that living in the now is the antidote for fear. You see, fear is an emotion that looks to the future and asks, what if it all goes wrong, or it looks to the past and reminds us of our failures. Living in the now is about not worrying about what was, or what might be, because both of those things mess up the now, which is still pure.
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by pastor_bob View Post
    Welcome to Drum Chat Tazz!

    You are exactly right that fear can stop us if we let it. Ethyl_The_Frog is also right that living in the now is the antidote for fear. You see, fear is an emotion that looks to the future and asks, what if it all goes wrong, or it looks to the past and reminds us of our failures. Living in the now is about not worrying about what was, or what might be, because both of those things mess up the now, which is still pure.
    Dang, that's well put PB!!!
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  20. #20

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    yea i know what your saying that when the moment comes around just say to your self who cares aslong as i have fun


    in another example the black stone cherry gig last night i went by my self and didnt know a single person there but im so glad i went

    because my friends were like dont go by yourself it will be rubbish

    but it is byfar the best gig ive ever been at

  21. #21

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    Cool Tazz! When we step out of our little comfort zones, we realize that there really wasn't much to fear after all, and all of a sudden our comfort zone is bigger!
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  22. #22

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    excactly and if you step out of your comfort zone you might actualy learn something you never thought was possible because you never tried it because of fear

    and the more things you try or practice the more of a versitile drummer you become

  23. #23

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    Well said Tazz!
    Quoting gonefishin: Just have some bacon with ya when you go pick her up..........youre an instant chick magnet.


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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by fiacovaz View Post
    ETF...You truly amaze me. For the longest time, as I read many of your posts, I had the idea that you didn't care much about reading music and the painstaking efforts it takes to Master the drums. I am so happy for you! Everything you said is true and there is no more important Law than living the NOW. Every gig with my big band, and Iam 61 now, is like that. I give it all that I have and, you know what...I keep getting better. I loved the story about Louie Bellson. I never met him but, when I was so desperate for big band sheet music to practice with, I transcribed some of Louie's playing on his album, Loue Bellson Big Band: Live In New York. I made a copy and sent them to my teacher back home. He replied telling me that " I still had it." Go for it, ETF! Go for all your dreams and always remember this...every day is the Now that you spoke of and it gets better and better, easier and easier.
    Thanks so much Frank!
    It's weird...mastering drumming is something that can't be done. I just realized the other day that I wanted to be the best, and simply ran up the mountain in an attempt to get to the summit, this mastery. But, I broke through the clouds, saw that the peak went on even further, then turned and saw how far I'd got my feet off the ground. Miles above where I started.
    I must keep climbing up this mountain, even if I don't get to the top. I'm sure if I'd kept my feet on the ground during that time, I don't even know if I'd be standing at all. Learning to read music? I never thought it was hard, I was never against it. But I never appreciated how you could speak without words before I heard music either, so it makes sense I can read words without letters, if you understand.
    When something gives you life, you should repay that debt in whatever way possible. For me, that means playing to be the best, to give others hope, to help. This isn't an ego trip, this is passion.
    Today, on Ethel The Frog...

  25. #25

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    ETF...You are very, very lucky...you've had an Epiphany. Not many of us ever experience one. You are so far above where you once were. I am really happy for you because you can now understand so much of the joy that I have felt and promised to pay forward. You will climb that mountain because that mountain is ETF.
    There's a lot to be said for Time Honored tradition and value.

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