Finding Other Musicians: Setting Expectations
Put simply, musicians need other musicians to keep growing! Finding other musicians can be tricky for anybody. Depending on where you are in your drumming experience, you may have already built your drumming/player community, had a lapse and need to re-build, or are considering venturing out for the first time.
For those who have a universe to tap...well done! These associations are built up over time and are the product of your dedication to the art.
For those of us looking to reignite our community of other musicians, or are venturing out for the first time; let me suggest this...do not wait for an ideal circumstance to present itself. Find a player, and if that's all there is...go for it!
I have often found myself with one other player in the room...and having some of my biggest breakthroughs with that one other player.
As drummers, we often think that we need a band, however from the perspective of experiencing the sheer joy of playing (and developing), nothing could be further from the truth. Finding one other player can be a great start or just an ongoing opportunity for growth. The trick is to get into the zone and leverage that interaction to the max!
Finding Other Musicians: Seeking Them Out
Talk It Up - Another Parent in the Hood
My daughter came home from school one day and said that her friend Stephanie's dad played guitar. That weekend when Stephanie's dad dropped her off, we had a talk. Phil went home, got his guitar and amp and that marked the beginning of a 2-year series of sessions where we jammed every other week. It was during those sessions that I stumbled upon my ability to play the Elvin Jones be-bop section in Hendrix's 'Third Stone from The Sun". A stunning revelation and breakthrough for my future approach to bop.
Talk It Up - A Colleague from the Office
I knew one of my colleagues played guitar. We were both going through a bit of a dry spell from a band/gigging standpoint. I suggested we get together and just play. He agreed and soon another guitar player from the office joined us. We were two guitar players and a drummer getting together every two weeks. Within a couple of months, a bass player joined us and it's still happening after two years! A great outlet for keeping our playing alive!
Open Mike Nights
Show up prepared to network, with a good attitude and ready to play a supportive role for the other musicians. Do not overplay! Always play within the context of the song and be very mindful of not stepping on the vocalist (if there happens to be one). These types of events are meant to challenge your ability to both listen and communicate visually. I've had good opportunities come from these. One was from a guitar player in the audience. On that particular night he noticed how well I followed the guitarist I was supporting by watching and anticipating where he was going. I later explained to him that I could tell right out of the gate that the bass player was rock solid and needed little attention. On the other hand, the guitar player had a flair for the dramatic and required a very heads-up approach for following.
Internet and Local Resources
Bandmix.com: Create a profile (for free). There's a series of questions to fill out. In the freeform section state your interests and abilities as succinctly as possible. Long drawn out commentary can have the opposite effect as intended.
Kijiji (Canada): Place an add or look in the 'Drummers Wanted' section within your geographic area.
Craigslist: Very similar to Kijiji. Approach in a similar manner.
Bulletin Boards at Rehearsal Studios: Keep an eye on, post your own ad, or drop in to check out. There can be some good stuff happening for you right in your own backyard!
Finding Other Musicians: Final Thoughts
Musicians need other musicians in order to truly develop. We need to collaborate and experience each other in a real-time manner. Playing along to records, youtube or drumless tracks can all be part of your training. However, to really develop your performance abilities you need to experience collaborating with other players in a face to face, spontaneous setting. That's where the lightning in a bottle lives. If you can't find a gang of players don't let that stop you. Start with the one (or 2 players) you have and go for it! Playing with other musicians should be the ultimate goal. You owe it to yourself!
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Until next time,