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Musicians Helping Musicians

by Omar on January 23, 2009

in Drummers, Editorials

It’s amazing to me to see how much musicians, and aspiring musicians, are willing to help out their fellow player. And you don’t always know from where the help will come, or how it will come. It could be as simple as helping each other set up for a gig, or as impactful as a great teacher who makes a profound and lasting impression on their student.

In my case, well, let’s just say I have a ways to go as far as where I’d like to be drumming-wise. But let me tell you, the journey is a blast! When you decide to embark on any endeavor, and stick to it, you inevitably attract people in similar circumstances, or who’ve been in a similar circumstance, and they are willing to give whatever advice they have.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll realize that I’m somewhat of a fan of DrumChannel.com. If you like drums even remotely, it would behoove you to sign up. It’s free! And it’s not just about drummers, but is intended for a broad musical audience, whether you’re a guitar player, bassist, keyboardist, etc. A virtual community, not only for musicians, but for people who love music. I’ll not go into everything you can navigate through there (you can check for yourself!).

In any case, I posted a video of myself playing Tool’s “Crawl Away”. I’d heard the song several times, but I never played it. So one day just for fun, and to test some equipment and to loosen up for what I really wanted to record, without any practice I just played it. It was a lot of fun, but I knew I was making lots of mistakes. When I looked back at the video, gads, it just wasn’t that good! But no matter - I wasn’t looking for perfection. And even if it sounded bad, like I said, I still had fun!

Viewing the video gave me an idea. I decided to post it for all to see on DrumChannel.com, and asked for critiques of my playing, suggestions for recording, audio/video synching software, and the like. Very soon after that I received some very friendly replies citing what I can do to improve my play, and also software recommendations for recording (free ones at that!). I was very pleased, and I knew I was at the right place. Musicians helping musicians.

In response to an article I wrote previously regarding different grips (check out my Articles page – you’ll find it!), another DrumChannel user not only gave his opinions on the matter, but gave a little history of his playing (and his father’s), who was a positive influence in developing his drumming vocabulary. But not only that, he related a fascinating story that occurred to him several years ago:

“I drop off my drums at the back-door loading dock before a wedding gig my band was booked for. I park the car around the corner and when I return I see a musician (in a tux) carrying my bass drum towards the loading dock from down the block. He tells me, in limited English, that as I left to park my car, he pulled up and saw a guy pick up my bass drum and run down the block with it (run is a poor word here because it was a 22" Pearl fiberglass in the case which weighed a ton). He chased him down and the guy dropped the drum. The kicker is, I met this musician for the first time that night and he just arrived from Cuba and was doing his first gig in the States: it was JUAN PABLO TORRES, one of the finest trombonists in the world. This was in the late 80's and he went on to become, in his new country, a great recording and performing musician with the top Latin bands in the States. (He sadly passed away in 2005.) By the way, I still have my bass drum and never left my drums alone after that!” Thanks to Harrabey, the vintage drummer, second generation, for that great story! Again, musicians helping musicians, and not even the same instruments at that!

Another way musicians help musicians is by example. They play so well that they inspire you to look at yourself and say, “Man, if I practice, I might be able to play half as good as that cat” – and we’d be ok with that! Or if we have the time and patience, we could play to a point where our audience would consider us pros, and that’s a gratifying feeling! Case in point, here’s a video of Guitar Center’s latest (as of this article date) drum-off winner, Jerome Flood II. Check this out:


Does not that inspire us to play better? This is just another example of a musician helping musicians. He doesn’t even know it, but he’s helped me! I’m inspired, ready to go, and to practice as much as I can.

And how about you? Do you have a story in your life about some musician help you, or vice versa? Well don’t keep it to yourself - the drumming community wants to hear it! Post your comments here. And if you’re a musician (or aspire to be one), you know what to do: help your fellow musician!

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