Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Our lives are made up of a series of lessons. The things that we are taught can be ignored or have a significant impact on our development. Not every lesson is essential, but the ones that we choose to embrace can allow us develop our skills and empower us to become who we are destined to be.

I have been very fortunate through my studies as a drummer to have been blessed with many incredible teachers. Each one of them is a master of different aspects of the music education I was seeking and they helped guide me along the right path, encourage me to push myself and always strive for artistic satisfaction and excellence.

As I look back over the lessons I have received throughout my life and my career, there are a number of things that have truly resonated with me and had a significant impact on my development.

Some of the lessons that really helped me to overcome challenges and allowed me to embrace my own path can be attributed to the following:

Often, the biggest challenges you face can be overcome by revisiting and valuing the fundamentals. 

When you tell yourself something is difficult, it will be. Ask yourself “What if I could do this?” By asking this question, it changes your mindset and your chances of success are greatly improved.

To truly learn a new style of music, you must also learn about the culture and the history to really understand what makes it so work and why it’s special.

Don’t just work to be a better musician but always strive to be a better person.

The key to developing proficiency and speed  is to spend time slowing the process down. By doing this, and honestly assessing your ability, you will find yourself improving at a much faster rate and higher level.

When working on an exercise or a piece of music, don’t just settle on getting it right but always strive to make it musical and feel comfortable.

You can’t be an expert at everything, so become the absolute best you can at the things you love and find joy in exploring the other things that you find intriguing. It is not essential to master everything you do but to value the new experiences.

Differing opinions can still allow you to achieve the desired results. Always respect and remember that.

Record and review your progress. This will really allow you to see not only the areas you can improve upon but also show you what you have already accomplished. This is essential.

Don’t be a sheep! Be a leader! Always be okay with following your own unique path because that is what you are meant for.

Smile, and always be kind to your wife, because she is smarter than you (My own personal favourite as told to me by the great Jim Blackley)

We are all eternal students and the lessons we are taught or have the chance to teach to others can really impact our lives. I have always valued the lessons I have learned and continue to seek out new experiences and see where they can lead me in my life.

I just want to take a moment to recognize  and thank all the incredible teachers who have influenced my journey and helped me to become the drummer and person I have become.  Deepest thanks and regards to all of you.

Paul Delong, Andrew Proctor, Kevin Dempsey, Rick Gratton, Maureen Brown-Gratton, Kenny Aronoff, Dom Famularo, Jim Blackley, Chris Lesso, Jeff Salem, Mark Kelso, Claus Hessler, Stephane Chamberland, Todd Sucherman and Joe Bergamini.

3 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. Michael……such wisdom and clarity! I especially like the statement “Don’t be a sheep”. I really think you have to be brave when trying new things. Just get in there and do it! If it doesn’t work out, that’s something you’ve learned. The attempt is never wasted. And it’s so true that you have to love what you do and be around people with the same mindset. And of course, there’s always Jackie! Well done!

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