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His metric for success was to become more successful than Metallica and by that metric he failed. The other example he writes about is drummer Pete Best who was famously fired from the Beatles.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F. Applied to Drumming

Despite spending many years feeling like he was cheated, he eventually went on to be grateful for not being part of the Beatles because he never would have met his wife and had the family that he had. His values or his metric for success had shifted, and having a simple family life was what he truly wanted. He even continued playing drums, touring and recording albums into his later years.

We must ask ourselves what values will help me feel at peace with myself and allow me to be happy about where I am as a musician. Every drummer has a different upbringing, level of talent and education. We are all given a different set of cards in life.


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What is most important is to learn to be at peace with where we are. I like to think that personal metric for success is to always give my best to any given playing situation, while accepting myself as much as possible. Happiness comes from solving problems. The secret sauce is in solving the problems, not in not having problems in the first place.

If you look at your drumming in this light, it helps can help you refocus on the process of being a musician rather than on the results.

Whatever issues or negative thoughts you are struggling with, those very things can become the fuel of your progress and consequently your happiness. Whatever it is, once you can identify and make peace with it, there is always ultimately a way to improve that thing. I know that most drummers actually find it easier to play loudly than softly, but I actually have the opposite issue.

This has been a real point of difficulty in my drumming. I decided to deal with this problem by investing a lot of time and energy into studying technique. I sought out world renowned teachers that have helped me play with more power without pain or tension. One of the techniques that has helped a lot is the Moeller Technique. Learning great technique and improving this aspect of my playing has been a huge source of joy and happiness. This is an amazing question for helping one define their path in life and as a musician. Visualizing and seeing yourself be successful is a bit of a shallow way of defining what you want out of life.

What activities in the process of being a musician do you like to do? What challenges make you excited to confront? Doing more of those things might help clarify where you are most likely to be successful. Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures. The magnitude of your success is based on how many times you failed at something. The mass media and youtube show us all these successful people without showing us the thousands of hours of dull practise and tedium that were required to achieve that success.

When I was in my last year of university as a music major for jazz drumming, I came down with a bad case of repetitive stress injury in both my wrists and was forced to temporarily quit playing drums. To make matters worse, I was just completing my degree and was thrown into the real world to figure things out on my own. Suffice it to say that I felt like a big failure and I fell into a deep depression that lasted around a year. Slowly, after seeing several physical therapists, I began playing again. He is passionate about his craft, infinitely patient and full of mirth, but unflagging in his certitude that there is a right way--his way--to learn the beguiling polyrhythms of African music.

But first you have to play what I want you to play, and if you like it, then the fun will come. Sure enough, when the class meets a little later, Awe begins by staving off some discontent from students who are tired of going over the same basic rhythms they have dealt with for months.

Then the class falls in on an intriguingly divided, lopsided rhythm. Some are reggae, jazz or rock drummers, while others are rhythm novices. Accordingly, some ride atop the rhythm while others founder in it; Awe comes to their aid, enthusiastically tapping out the beat on their drum until they get it.

That knowledge is a given where Awe comes from. He was born into tribal life in a village of about 2, people; at the time it was an interdependent society decades away from getting electricity. I learned automatically. There was no set rule to learning. I did it just by listening and following the music everywhere it went. And sometimes then the drummers would hold your hand with the stick and show you how to play. If I heard the drum--if I was in class or anywhere--I had to jump out and go there.

Because of that, I nearly failed.

I Drum, Therefore I Am

So I left my home, thinking I wanted to leave the drum behind. Awe soon was entering and winning drum competitions, leading his own bands and teaching. His abilities later won him a full scholarship there, and eventually he taught there for a year.

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He since has paid his own way at UCLA, a financial burden that has kept him from returning to visit Nigeria. Happiness comes from solving problems. The secret sauce is in solving the problems, not in not having problems in the first place. If you look at your drumming in this light, it helps can help you refocus on the process of being a musician rather than on the results. Whatever issues or negative thoughts you are struggling with, those very things can become the fuel of your progress and consequently your happiness. Whatever it is, once you can identify and make peace with it, there is always ultimately a way to improve that thing.

I know that most drummers actually find it easier to play loudly than softly, but I actually have the opposite issue.

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This has been a real point of difficulty in my drumming. I decided to deal with this problem by investing a lot of time and energy into studying technique. I sought out world renowned teachers that have helped me play with more power without pain or tension.


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One of the techniques that has helped a lot is the Moeller Technique. Learning great technique and improving this aspect of my playing has been a huge source of joy and happiness. This is an amazing question for helping one define their path in life and as a musician. Visualizing and seeing yourself be successful is a bit of a shallow way of defining what you want out of life.

How to Reach the International Stage as a Touring Drummer

What activities in the process of being a musician do you like to do? What challenges make you excited to confront? Doing more of those things might help clarify where you are most likely to be successful. Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures.

The magnitude of your success is based on how many times you failed at something. The mass media and youtube show us all these successful people without showing us the thousands of hours of dull practise and tedium that were required to achieve that success. When I was in my last year of university as a music major for jazz drumming, I came down with a bad case of repetitive stress injury in both my wrists and was forced to temporarily quit playing drums. To make matters worse, I was just completing my degree and was thrown into the real world to figure things out on my own.

Suffice it to say that I felt like a big failure and I fell into a deep depression that lasted around a year. Slowly, after seeing several physical therapists, I began playing again. I started to develop a heightened awareness of the importance of respecting my body and good drumming technique. I became interested in health and nutrition, practising yoga, and most importantly I scoured the internet for every technique video I could find.

I learnt about the Moeller technique , the free-stroke, stick rebound, fulcrum points and much more. I sought out world-class teachers to help me develop these techniques. Now, fast forward 10 years, I am in great physical shape and I am a much better player than I was before my injuries. The pain I experienced back in my early twenties is directly linked to the motivation I found for developing good technique. In fact, at the time, I looked down on drum technique and felt that drummers that focused on it too much sounded mechanical.

I realized however that good technique actually is more about playing with ease and avoiding pain and injury. All the pain I experienced due to my injuries became the catalyst that led to a shift in values about what is important in drumming. For more information about drum lessons at my studio or on Skype, please visit Elijah Drums.