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The Most Important Technique

Article by Jayson Brinkworth // September 02 2010
The Most Important Technique

Hello, everyone, nice to be back on the pages here. As I was thinking about this month’s topic, I was rolling around hand technique, foot technique, grip and many other important article topics. But as I started thinking about the techniques that have moved my career ahead, one kept topping the list over and over.

I have never been hired because I can play fast paradiddles or play a great drum solo. I like to think that I have been, and continue to be, hired because I bring a musical energy to a situation, work as hard as I can for the song, and display a positive attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, some musical situations require fast paradiddles and solo performances, but if you can do this and have a positive attitude, I think you win.

As we have written before in The Black Page drum magazine, your attitude determines your altitude. I believe this to be true because at a certain point in your career, you will find that everyone is competent and can play well. But what puts some people in a situation to move them ahead while others seem to sit still and not get a break? I believe this all comes down to passion and your attitude.

I have met so many musicians over the years that figure since they have put a lot of time and effort into their practice and playing, the music and the business owe them something. This could be no further from the truth, and oddly enough these people are bitter and jaded towards the industry. I make a conscious effort to stay away from these people, as they can bring my attitude down and drain my energy.

When we make a decision in our lives that we want to be in the music industry as a player, we need to understand what we signed on for. We need to first understand that we are in it for the love of music, not the love of money, and we have the gift of music to share with others. We also need to realize that we will spend many hours practicing, traveling and playing—a lot of which we won’t get paid for. I don’t want to be a downer here, but making a living as a musician is very tough sometimes. I have seen a lot of people get weeded out when the traveling, sleeping in a van and low cash flow has got to them. Again, the elements that push us through these times are the love of the music, our passion and our attitude.

I can remember one of my first big lessons on being a musician, and looking back I am grateful it happened at a young age. There I was 19 years old and figured I needed to go on the road with a band to kick this music career into high gear. I hooked up with a singer from the prairies whose drummer happened to be leaving. I packed up my gear and clothes, said goodbye to my always so supportive parents, and headed out “on the road”. The first week’s gig was in northern Alberta at a nice club, six nights of playing and rehearsals everyday to get the new guy into the loop. The first week went great. The singer treated me fantastic. We played well as a band, but there was something a little off with the other three members of the band. At this point I didn’t really care much. I was on the road, baby!

Our second week was a three-night gig in a much smaller town than the first one. The owners of the club were nice enough to put us up for the week, even though we were only playing the back three nights of the week. With this time off, I quickly realized what is off with the other three members of the band. Through conversation and hanging out, I found out that these musicians are in their 40s and have been playing these same clubs for 10 plus years. Of course, me being the young one and new to this road thing, I had a lot of energy and no bitterness. Again, I was on the road. I realized that these players seem to hold a grudge against the singer, the music we were playing, and just everything in general. I was confused by this, but it didn’t matter because I was here to play the music to the best of my ability.

That week finished up and we went to the next stop. Upon arriving we found out there had been some confusion with the club and the booking agent. Phone calls and arguing ensued, my three “buddies” assured me that this is the way it always goes in this band and complained their a**es off. Once the dust cleared, the club owner let us know we could play one night for pay, but will be fired after that. Wow, this was a new one! We played the one night, got fired, and had to come up with a plan for the rest of the week, as this is Monday and we didn't play until the following Monday. Of course my “buddies” complained outwardly to the singer, she was feeling bad about the situation, and me, well I guess I was still on the road.

We headed to Edmonton, where they all lived, and I stayed with some family for the rest of that week. My stint with this band lasted about six months, and I was home for two weeks of that. Looking back, it was probably about five months too long, but I wouldn’t change it for all of the lessons I learned. My buddies weren’t kidding; it was a gong show sometimes, but we did have some great gigs in there as well. They complained for the entire time I was in the band, but oddly enough, never made a move to change things or find a different band. Towards the end of my stint, we obviously knew each other well and they tried and tried to bring me into their “bitterness” bubble. It really made them angry that I was so positive about the music and loved doing this. They would say, “Just wait, man, when you are playing these clubs 15 years from now, then we will talk”.

My biggest lessons from this situation were what not to be like as this career moves ahead, to have the guts to take control of my own destiny, and to treat the music and the people with the utmost respect. Bigger than this, I learned about myself and how my passion and attitude couldn’t be shaken by the three goofs, bad gigs, time away, being fired, told I was a brutal player and on and on.

How do we “practice” having a positive attitude? Can we even do this? Well, here is my take on how we can view this: Look back at the bad gigs you have had and how you reacted to the situation. Did you do nothing but complain? Did you play with less effort because of this? Did you become one of the three goofs spoken about earlier? Or, did you buckle down and dig deeper to make the situation the best it could be? Did you realize that, at the end of the day, good gig or bad, you still got to play music and possibly inspire a listener with your gift and passion?

You can’t really teach or fake passion, but you can change the way you view things and turn a bad situation around with the right attitude.

I have the good, no, great fortune of bringing an amazing drummer, clinician and human being to Regina for a clinic, Dom Famularo. If you have never seen Dom in action before, you are missing being inspired beyond belief!

The first time I saw him, I not only left feeling I could accomplish anything on the drums, but anything in life. My passion, attitude and energy had been turned up to 11, and I still feel that to this day when I think back.

There is also nothing like meeting amazing players who you have looked up to for years, and they turn out to be the nicest and most giving human beings. I have met many of these people and they truly inspire greatness in their playing and more so, their attitude.

Take a look inside yourself and ask, Do I want to be one of the three goofs, or do I want to be great? Don’t let anyone tell you different, it is all up to you.



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About the Author
Jayson  Brinkworth

Jayson Brinkworth is an accomplished drummer, percussionist, vocalist, educator and writer based out of Canada. He is co-owner of the Saskatchewan music school Music In The House, as well as the founder of both the Regina Drum Festival and The Stickman Drum Experience.

Jayson proudly endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Kickport, Flix, Future Sonics and Mountain Rhythm. Visit Jayson online at www.jaysonbrinkworth.com.

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