Achieving mastery

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
i bet people on this forum think that jojo, weckl and tony williams believe that they have achieved mastery. You always see youtube comments like " oh would'nt it be great to be able to sit down and play like that, they are so lucky!"

but i bet if you ask artists that, they won't say they have achieved anything, we all judge ourselves hard, imagine if you could play all the stuff weckl does, and do it everyday, you WOULD get tired of it and wan't more, it's natural....i don't think anyone can reach mastery, well atleast not by their own standards, maybe others
 

jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
When i say achieving mastery i dont mean learning everything so that there is no more to learn and nowhere to grow. I guess the better way to say it is mastering the goals that i have at this moment and then being able to do that on any other goals that i see that i want to master at anytime.

When i say master i mean guys like Dom Famularo and virgil donati and George Kollias and guys like that. They are not masters at everything by any means, but they are considered to be on that master level. Thats what im shooting for in the areas that are important to me (and that list of things that i want to master will never stop growing im sure. And thats a good thing!).

Yes, mastery can be acheived over just the smallest skill/aspect of playing; mastery over everything there is to know and play on the instrument is practically impossible.
Someone recommended the book Effortless Mastery earlier - it's an interesting read and worth a look, though I can summarise for you here; Mastery is acheived through thorough practice, nothing more, nothing less. This will involve repetition to the point that the thing can be played with no conscious thought. At this point, live perfromance becomes an artistic expression rather than a technical delivery.
Good practice for hours a day, no shortcuts.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I think using the term master these days is used pretty loosely. For example, when you are
studying out of a drum book it will say once you have mastered this exercise move on to the next. They should say once you can play this exercise confidently move on to the next.
I am considered a master auto technician because I past some silly test. By all means I am no were near a master auto technician. Same goes for drums, I always thought the term master meant, Knowing everything and doing everything better than anyone. I have met a
lot of musicians in my life, pro and amateur. The guys that think they are great are complete
A-Holes, I have met Steve Smith and Terry Bozzio. I consider these guys to be some of the best drummers in the world. When I got to talk to them they were nothing but nice and supportive and very humble. Even drummers in that Class for lack of a better word still take lessons and are always learning. After that rant. Play music, have fun, take lessons, and keep learning. And don't get a big ego and become an A- Hole. There is always someone better out there.
 

Witterings

Silver Member
Personally I find some it frustrating sometimes, whilst I'm getting better and better on a daily basis (should be with the relentless hours of practice I'm doing) and I'd put myself in the catagorie of "Not a bad drummer" when I see the level of some of the greats, whether it's Vinnie, Simon Phillips or Gavin Harrison (who I hadn't heard of till yesterday) even with the amount practice I'm currently doing they still seem chasms above where I'm at and I find it hard to see how to even get close. There seems to be this huuuuuge void between good and their level.
Yes I can go and play and enjoy and get praise at the end of a gig etc but to say you may never be able to reach the level to which you aspire can be frustrating sometimes.

JT1

Interesting point you make, be careful what you want and all that !
I did find that when I took up flying RC Planes it totally dominated every second I was awake for a couple of years until I could do everthing I wanted to do with a plane and now I'm really not bothered with it, nice once in a while but I can take or leave it.
Don't know if it would be different with drumming / music because every song can be different and music has so much feeling, but as I'm never going to get near that level I guess I'll never know :)
 

toddy

Platinum Member
i've never really thought about it. i'm not sure it really matters in the grand scheme of things. i think you know when you're getting better, because the way other drummers talk to you changes. at the start you're asking other people for tips constantly, as you progress people start asking you how you do things and you are able to give concise opinions or show examples. but you never stop learning, you never can, nor should you want to.

anyone that thinks they have mastered drums is deluded in my opinion. they are usually the people that will stop at a certain point because they don't feel they need to learn anything more, when really the true journey is only just beginning.

master is a term that i would never apply to art. it is not the same as how you can master using a spreadsheet in your companies office, or how you master driving a taxi safely and in quick time.

now if you were to put across a more definite term, e.g. a master of jazz, or a master of rock, then sure, those exist (and have existed). but a 'drum master' in general? i'm not convinced. this post is purely my opinion and is in no way disrespectful, so don't infer that it is. thanks.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
When i say achieving mastery i dont mean learning everything so that there is no more to learn and nowhere to grow. I guess the better way to say it is mastering the goals that i have at this moment and then being able to do that on any other goals that i see that i want to master at anytime.

When i say master i mean guys like Dom Famularo and virgil donati and George Kollias and guys like that. They are not masters at everything by any means, but they are considered to be on that master level. Thats what im shooting for in the areas that are important to me (and that list of things that i want to master will never stop growing im sure. And thats a good thing!).
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think I once heard that you were a master of your instrument if everything YOU intend to play, comes out beautiful the first time. Now that's something that's probably reachable. I don't have to intend to play anything I don't think I could pull off, I can pick something within my abilities that I know I can pull off. No one else knows what lick you could conjure up, they only hear what you give them. If you do that great, then you are great.

@ OP...I hate to be chicken little here but your ideals are to acheive nothing less than to be the best drummer on the planet. I'm pretty sure no one has mastered the instrument yet, but there are definitely some who are considered masters. There's a colossal difference. The former is out of reach, the latter is absolutely doable. Actually we should never hear from you again on this because if you are truly sincere, you should be on your instrument every spare minute you get. Sorry I'm a pain and I mean no disrespect. But really it's true.

I'd say lighten up on yourself and enjoy it. Have fun with your drums. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. If you want to master something try mastering how to make money, yea now that's what I'm talkin about dontcha know! Let the drums sooth your soul, be your outlet, your bitch, your secret lover and every other great thing rather than be your master.

Someone here has that tagline thing at the bottom that Tony Williams said something like "If you think you are bigger than the drums, you got another thing coming".

@JT1 great post man top to bottom. What do you do after you climb Mt. Everest? Go to freakin DisneyWorld? There's always more mountains to climb.

@Aydee...garsh man shucks gee whiz. Take all you want.
 

JT1

Silver Member
I agree I think mastery is an endless journey and is something that can never be achieved.

However am I the only one in thinking that being a master of drums would be so damn boring? Picture it being able to do everything perfectly every time and knowing everything there is to know about drumming. There would be nothing else to learn and learning is the force that drives us forward as musicians, you strive to get better and getting better is a product of learning. If you were a master, there would be no more learning required and then it would be utterly pointless. That to me is a terrifying idea lol, i'm sure Larry will agree here!

There would be no feeling of self satisfaction when you nail that beat for the first time that you have always wanted to play or no self satisfaction about executing that fill that has stuck you for years and years, instead you can just do it.

Also if you achieved mastery, there would be no more inspiration and drumming which was once your passion would just become 'something you can do'.

Chasing mastery = (Hell yeah)
Achieving mastery = (Hell no)

You can keep your mastery I want to continue to learn until the day I die.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
A more realistic goal IMO would be to say that you want to spend as much time as humanly possible playing drums. (JMO)
...or on drummerworld. Thanks to that I'm going to try and rip off Larry's short & sweet fills on "Mastercharge"


..
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There's no way I'll master this instrument. I don't really need that anyway. I'm content to just have it in my life. With that kind of goal in mind, (having to master something) it creates a lot of pressure and is a lot to live up to. The better you get at the instrument is directly proportional to the amount of time you give it, your natural ability and/or work ethic, and your passion for it. There is no real answer to this question. A more realistic goal IMO would be to say that you want to spend as much time as humanly possible playing drums. That's about the best you can offer, that, and a real effort to try and play and learn things that are out of your reach. A true masters goal isn't to master the instrument, it's trying to master the latest challenge. (JMO)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
You are right, there arent enough hours in a lifetime. If you talk to any of these 'masters', they'll tell you they are just as far away from their musical goals too and are chipping away at it, like you & me.
Yep, I'm guessing their response would be...."I'll let you know how to achieve it when I get there".

Great post!!
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I remember Simon Phillips answering the same question at a clinic. After a few seconds of thought, he replied "you have to live for drumming, it has to be your total life focus". Total dedication with 100% focus on drumming at the exclusion of almost everything else is what seems to separate the top guys from everyone else. Are you ready for that? Full kudos to those that are, but for me, too high a price.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
What does it take to achieve true mastery on the drums? This is something that im thinking about. I know that most people will say just practice a lot and then you will achieve mastery. But there seems to be something more to it to really achieve true mastery on the drums.
Isnt there a great book on the subject that everyone except me has read?

Your instinct is correct. It takes more than practice. Practice is a means to achieve the facility to express yourself. What you then have to say musically is a whole different bowl of wax.

This is an important question for me personally because one of my real goals is to be able to achieve true mastery on the drums in the areas that are important to me. As is im an SO far away from that goal and am on a quest to find out how to really achieve that goal.
I think in a sense all of us are far away from our goals. I think of mastery as an ability that allows me to express my music effortlessly. Without thinking, without pre-meditation, just pure naked, emotional instinct. I think the trick is to perpetually have short term goals, and to keep plugging away

Its something when you see someone that is just a master in their playing. They just flow and can express themselves in such a fluid manner. I know that a lot of practice is a key to getting there, but what is that extra X factor that allows these guys to achieve that level of mastery?

At times it almost seems that there are not enough hours in a lifetime to reach the level of mastery that some of the greats have reached. But i know that that can't be true. So i continue my quest of achieving mastery on the drums.
You are right, there arent enough hours in a lifetime. If you talk to any of these 'masters', they'll tell you they are just as far away from their musical goals too and are chipping away at it, like you & me.

True mastery cannot really be achieved, imho. It is a road we must take, a journey that doesn't have a destination. To be smug and satisfied with one's progress be it the craft or the music is to die as a musician.
Sure, what one can do in the meantime is to to experience, to listen, to learn, to practice, to express, and to discover who you are. As a person. And then what you want to say to the world.

my two cents.

...
 

drummingman

Gold Member
What does it take to achieve true mastery on the drums? This is something that im thinking about. I know that most people will say just practice a lot and then you will achieve mastery. But there seems to be something more to it to really achieve true mastery on the drums.

This is an important question for me personally because one of my real goals is to be able to achieve true mastery on the drums in the areas that are important to me. As is im an SO far away from that goal and am on a quest to find out how to really achieve that goal.

I know that there a many areas that one can achieve true mastery on the drums. There are guys who are master double bass players, or are master jazz players, and some who are master all around players. But how can one achieve mastery in the areas that are important to them? And not just one area, but the multiple areas that are important to them?

Its something when you see someone that is just a master in their playing. They just flow and can express themselves in such a fluid manner. I know that a lot of practice is a key to getting there, but what is that extra X factor that allows these guys to achieve that level of mastery?

At times it almost seems that there are not enough hours in a lifetime to reach the level of mastery that some of the greats have reached. But i know that that can't be true. So i continue my quest of achieving mastery on the drums.

I look forward to your thoughts.
 
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