On our journey as performers, we are constantly receiving information about how to do what we do. Your instructors, peers, influences, and even haters all have a place in giving you the feedback you need to keep developing your craft. But be careful not to take everyone’s advice all at once.

If you listen to too many interpretations at one time you might end up in a confused place where concepts are contradicting themselves. This can be overwhelming and sometimes un-motivating when you’re trying to get better.

“Drum this way.”
“No don’t do that, try this.”
“Actually, this is the best way.”
“Who told you that? Do it like this.”

At the same time, it is important you are aware of the information available to you and you don’t want to be on the other end of the spectrum where you don’t listen to anyone or only follow the instruction from one source of values.

Instead, soak up all information coming to you like a sponge, but sift through everyone’s input and pull out only what you find useful towards strengthening your idea of what is successful.

That way you develop a unique performance style that is your own.
“So wait… I shouldn’t listen to my instructors?”
That isn’t the point here.

When you are in an ensemble you need to follow the pedagogy of that ensemble. Just like working at a job, you follow the dress code or you won’t be on brand and won’t be able to perform your best for that role. But in general, as a growing percussionist, don’t be afraid to have your own opinions about what you like and what works best for you. That way when you get out of that ensemble and transition into another role you have a strong idea of how you like to play and won’t be lost in uncertainty on how to get better. Always a student. Always a sponge for knowledge. But with a really good filter.


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