Your Journey

Mike Johnston of has become a favorite teacher of mine. I look forward to his Modern Drummer Podcast each week in which he and Mike Dawson, managing editor at MD, discuss a myriad of topics on all things drums and drumming. I’ve often thought of adding a podcast capability to Off Beat but no one does it better than those guys. Mike has put forth this theory on a number of occasions and I think it’s worth sharing with you.

The premise is that all drummers are on a journey. Meaning anyone can pick up a pair of sticks. It’s the time you put in using those sticks that defines where you are as a player. Drummers that are better than you are simply further along on their journey. They have put more time in than you up to that point. Eventually, if you put in the necessary time you can reach their level of proficiency and so forth and so on. It’s easy to watch prodigies playing drum solos on YouTube and get discouraged. I know I have doubted myself on more than one occasion…ok on many occasions.

Here’s a common scenario: You buy Steve Jordan’s DVD “The Groove is Here.” (My favorite instructional video ever made.) You watch Steve’s unbelievable groove. Instead of taking pointers from it you find yourself getting depressed. You feel like there is no way you’ll ever be as good as Steve. That is probably true as he has put in countless hours in order to get to that level but that isn’t the point. In theory, you can get pretty close if you are willing to put in the many hours to get there. Instead of feeling down you should feel motivated to hit the practice room and shred.

Accept that you are on a journey. Be inspired by those who are farther ahead than you. You will improve more and more as you travel along on your own “drumming expedition.” Look at those who came before you. They were on a journey too. The difference is the time they put in. Put in the time and you too will reach their level. Follow the example put forth by Steve Jordan. Get inspired.

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