Feel or Technique, importance?

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Blasphemy! J/K. This has been my take all along on the whole issue. Technique vs. feel is a false dichotomy.

A lot of people want to be like Harry Potter - the chosen one who has magical abilities not derived from hard work. Its a fiction. Gadd is Gadd because he practiced his behind off. Steamer is Steamer, Colonel is Colonel, Smith is Smith, Average is Average, all based on the amount of work we have put into the instrument. There is no magic. What you said about having ugly duckling students turn into pros is SO true, not just of drumming but of everything in life. Desire and drive are 95% of success.
I was talking with a friend at a studio last week when this guy came in. He supposedly has a 14 year old son who is a prodigy, to which my friend agreed. He said he could not get his son to practice because everything came so easily to him.I responded, there is something implicit in music that one needs to struggle with it to truly understand it.

I agree that talent is desire and love, If you don't have that desire, you will never put the time in to become a truly gifted musician.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
What is this a love fest? :)

I think it's pretty good writin' from somebody who starts threads entitled, "What is your feelings?"
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Ha ha ha! Not nature and nurture again! That one was decided a long time ago and the answer is always "It's both, and the degree of either depends on the individual". Hard work provides little more guarantee of success than talent does.

I've poured countless hours into drums, tapping away on anything and everything, dabbled in other instruments, written songs, read up the theory, read anything I could about the players and their approaches, chatted with players and picked up their tips, ravenously watched and listened to great players in a wide range of styles. Through my late teens and twenties I lived and breathed music. However, I have always been a so-so player.

If I'd had lessons I'd be better but probably still unable to do half of what most players here can do. There's a physical aspect to drumming that we should recognise. Joe the Plumber ain't gunna do brain surgery any more than someone with Homer Simpson's kinetic intelligence is going to perform acrobatics on gym mats, trapezes or drums.

I have only done statistics as bits and pieces in my work over the past 20 years. I am now working full-time with data and statistics and most likely earning plenty more than 99% of pro musicians. I'm simply good at it. I've since done courses because I was "self taught". It filled some gaps in my knowledge which has come in very handy, but I already knew over 90% of it.

I have known plenty of people who have had much more education in stats than I ever had - yet at work they'll ask me the most basic stats questions. The don't have the stats mojo. Stats seems to be my gift, boring as it is.

I love music and drumming to death but all I can do is try to refine and subtly expand the very limited range of things I can play. Band members and audiences have always given me good feedback about my contributions to the music - but I'm not mixing it with really refined/classy players, nor terribly discerning listeners. They would spit on me from a great height!

So I have modest drumming gifts and don't have the physical coordination to play fast or gain real independence. Them's the breaks. How many of you would have been able to compete at even a regional level if you obsessively worked on your sprinting when you were young? Remember those kids who seemed to have springs in their heels and you had to canter just to keep up with their jogging? Maybe you were one of them and couldn't understand why the other kids couldn't keep up. After all, it's obvious. All you have to do is ........

People have a tendency to downplay their gifts and put it ALL down to hard work. Wrong! It's socially acceptable to put everything down to hard work; people resent bragging and we don't want to be tossers. Look at the Tool thread.

However, if you are a successful pro in an area as competitive as music then you ARE gifted, AND most likely worked your tush off as well, AND were tuned in enough to recognise the luck that came your way as you put yourself out there. Usually you need all of those things to succeed in music.

So while being modest about your gifts has its charm, it can mislead people who don't have those gifts. The misinformation might waste a lot of their time working at drumming when they would be a whole lot better off playing.

I really enjoy listening to great drummers who work at it but I'm not a worker with drums. I'm just a player, and I LOVE every minute of it :)
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Thanks for pointing that out. Stan and I were very careful with our qualifiers about not turning this into another this or that thread; If you read the posts I think we were careful. Maybe not careful enough.

Here's a quote from Blake that I always liked:

As the true method of knowledge is experiment
the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences.
The Poetic Genius is the true person. and the body or outward form of the person is derived from the Poetic Genius. As all are alike in outward form, So (and with the same infinite variety) all are alike in the Poetic Genius.

I don't know that I agree with that but I like the sentiment. That kind of idealism was responsible for this dying thing called democracy. I think when you are teaching, you need to have that kind of idealism and sentimentality. I like to think that there is a guiding force behind each student. I've also worked with kids with disabilities and have studiedf disability theory. You don't have to be "perfect" to end up being really good at something. You don't have to be perfect ot have something to say.
 
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Steamer

Platinum Member
.

So while being modest about your gifts has its charm, it can mislead people who don't have those gifts. The misinformation might waste a lot of their time working at drumming when they would be a whole lot better off playing.

No misinformation from me about what i've seen firsthand from over 30 years as a working pro and a teacher who's seen some students who I wouldn't have suspected right away move on to much greater things.. The ones who really wanted it above all else but didn't look at the beginning they had the right stuff are out there all over the world playing in pro situations. This is the truth i've seen.........

Maybe willing to learn by trial by fire, always seek out to play with better players than yourself, move and live in the right place where the pro action is really happening and first and foremost believe in yourself are all a part of the magic dust needed in the mix for drumming success.

No guarantees for sure but you'll never know unless you take all the best steps at your disposal to find out.......
 

Average

Senior Member
Ha ha ha! Not nature and nurture again! That one was decided a long time ago and the answer is always "It's both, and the degree of either depends on the individual". Hard work provides little more guarantee of success than talent does.

I've poured countless hours into drums, tapping away on anything and everything, dabbled in other instruments, written songs, read up the theory, read anything I could about the players and their approaches, chatted with players and picked up their tips, ravenously watched and listened to great players in a wide range of styles. Through my late teens and twenties I lived and breathed music. However, I have always been a so-so player.

If I'd had lessons I'd be better but probably still unable to do half of what most players here can do. There's a physical aspect to drumming that we should recognise. Joe the Plumber ain't gunna do brain surgery any more than someone with Homer Simpson's kinetic intelligence is going to perform acrobatics on gym mats, trapezes or drums.

I have only done statistics as bits and pieces in my work over the past 20 years. I am now working full-time with data and statistics and most likely earning plenty more than 99% of pro musicians. I'm simply good at it. I've since done courses because I was "self taught". It filled some gaps in my knowledge which has come in very handy, but I already knew over 90% of it.

I have known plenty of people who have had much more education in stats than I ever had - yet at work they'll ask me the most basic stats questions. The don't have the stats mojo. Stats seems to be my gift, boring as it is.

I love music and drumming to death but all I can do is try to refine and subtly expand the very limited range of things I can play. Band members and audiences have always given me good feedback about my contributions to the music - but I'm not mixing it with really refined/classy players, nor terribly discerning listeners. They would spit on me from a great height!

So I have modest drumming gifts and don't have the physical coordination to play fast or gain real independence. Them's the breaks. How many of you would have been able to compete at even a regional level if you obsessively worked on your sprinting when you were young? Remember those kids who seemed to have springs in their heels and you had to canter just to keep up with their jogging? Maybe you were one of them and couldn't understand why the other kids couldn't keep up. After all, it's obvious. All you have to do is ........

People have a tendency to downplay their gifts and put it ALL down to hard work. Wrong! It's socially acceptable to put everything down to hard work; people resent bragging and we don't want to be tossers. Look at the Tool thread.

However, if you are a successful pro in an area as competitive as music then you ARE gifted, AND most likely worked your tush off as well, AND were tuned in enough to recognise the luck that came your way as you put yourself out there. Usually you need all of those things to succeed in music.

So while being modest about your gifts has its charm, it can mislead people who don't have those gifts. The misinformation might waste a lot of their time working at drumming when they would be a whole lot better off playing.

I really enjoy listening to great drummers who work at it but I'm not a worker with drums. I'm just a player, and I LOVE every minute of it :)
Jeez, that is a pretty deep response. One thing I can say though. I have been outrageously successful (turn me in to the government successful) in several arenas, one of which being my day job. PM me if you want detail. I won't bore people otherwise.

All this I did with what my teachers considered average intelligence. I graduated highschool with a 2.06 (C) average. I've done things with my life academically since then that far and away surpass any actual ability I was gifted with. I don't have any talent in anything. What I have is drive and the ability to accept failure, pick my sorry ass up and try again. I may not currently be a great drummer, but if given enough time, I will be a little above average. :p Pollyana, what an insightful post you have written.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yes, to some extent our limitations are the extent to which we are capable of releasing our inner genius. However, in every area of life some of us are more equal than others. Our genetics set our boundaries - the clay that we have available to mold.

I appreciate the tightrope you were walking, Ken. It's not possible to talk about your drumming gifts (for some reason talking about having a gift for statistics isn't the same - perhaps because no one gives a stuff about it *grin*). That's for others to do, so it's probably best that someone who doesn't have those gifts points out the role of talent.

Or, of course, you could try coming to the forum, metaphorical arms aloft, and shout AH AM TH' GREATEST!!

However, that's the social equivalent of having crap feel :)

Average, when I was young I was shooting for Mars. I got to the red-brick house at the end of the street. Darn, I knew I should have turned left at Albuquerque ...
 
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Average

Senior Member
Our genetics set our boundaries - the clay that we have available to mould.
You are correct to a certain extent. Genetics will establish an absolute upper range for abilities. I have seen in life though, that if you achieve your full genetic potential in a certain area, it will be way beyond what is necessary to be wildly successful in that particular arena. Most people are just lazy pieces of crap with a lot of gifts but no gumption. The guy or gal with average ability and a work ethic will blow the lazy gifted out of the water every time. BOOOOYAHH!
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Then there's Tre Coll who brags about the fact that he never graduated HS,but makes more money than all the losers who went to college.

I know of a very famous drummer who is internationally renowned and fits Steamer's description. Not a student of mine, though. The only tragedy is not playing because you don't think you are good enough.

If music were all that easy, we wouldn't have those moments where it is so incredible. Beethoven struggled with his muscal ideas. look what it got him.
 

Average

Senior Member
If music were all that easy, we wouldn't have those moments where it is so incredible. Beethoven struggled with his muscal ideas. look what it got him.
Desire + hard work. Feel derives in part from technique, in part from insight. Insight is gained from a complex stew of things including time spent listening and just plain smarts. Technique is derived from practice. An example I saw last week of someone who combined both feel and technique - former drummer for the Johnny Lang band - Billy Thommes. Holy smokes batman.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I have seen in life though, that if you achieve your full genetic potential in a certain area, it will be way beyond what is necessary to be wildly successful in that particular arena.
Yes, that probably applies in most areas of life but I don't think so in music. Almost everyone loves music. Almost everyone would like to be able to play. The competition in music is fierce, the standards are out of this world. There are a million virtuosos out there. Look at how Baby Dodds played - he was a star of his time. Now he'd just be considered a good 'feel' player but not in the league of Steve Godd, Vinnie, Dave Weckl, et al. The scene is littered with highly gifted players who have climbed a long way up their potential totem pole. It's a candy shop for a listener, but a bit daunting if you want to be part of the scene.

I'm probably better at drumming than I am at statistics because I've done a lot more of it. However, there's much less competition in the latter field because most people won't touch stats with a barge pole. I made a good salary in stats but would make diddly-squat if I tried to make a living out of music.

Ken, sure, struggle is part of everythng. An interesting question might be, how much of it should be struggle and how much should be fun? Should it be like paying off a home mortgage where you struggle for 30 years to pay your dues so you can finally own it? Go for the big one?

It's a risk because there's no guarantee that you'll get there because you might lose your job, or get divorced, or sick, or change priorities, or simply fall off the perch. That's fine if the stakes are that high, but music is just what we do once we've sorted out the bottom parts of Maslow's pyramid. That's why I'm not all that keen on thinking of music as "work". I work for $$ but I drum because it's the most fun you can have sitting down.

At what point does someone cut their losses, appreciate their limitations, lower their sights and just start having fun ... really living? Say I decided I wanted to play like Dave Weckl. I could practice with a great teacher till I was blue in the face and live to be 100 and not even get close.

For me, players like that are mostly for the pleasure of mere mortals rather than our inspiration (occasionally you can pick up the odd trick). That's why so many of us love Ringo. We think, "Hey, that sounds great AND it's do-able!". Later we find out it's harder to get right than we first thought but what he plays is still in the league of mere mortals.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Albert Einstein:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Albert Einstein:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

And the fear of success is the big crippler i've sadly seen firsthand so many times Abe :{
 

aydee

Platinum Member
And the fear of success is the big crippler i've sadly seen firsthand so many times Abe :{
Thats a heavy one Stan. Kinda hits home : )..this thread reminds of of pinning the tail on the donkey...


PS- I looked up the exact Al quote:

" Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create."
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
But is fear of success at the heart of all those who didn't make it in music?

The vocational part of the scene only has room for a very, very tiny percent of available musicians. It also depends on the instrument. It would probably be easier to be a top tuba player than a top drummer. Or perhaps 99.99% of musicians are afraid of success? Maybe so ... psychologist Thomas Harris suggested that "I'm not ok" is the usual default of the human condition.

I don't think people should feel blameworthy for not making it to the rarified realm of the professional musician. It's like feeling bad about not being a brain surgeon. I felt bad about my "failure" to succeed in music for years but since hitting middle age I stopped taking it so seriously and "let go". Now I'm just lovin' it.

Perhaps that's a form of success too. In the end most of us find our niche/s.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Perhaps that's a form of success too. In the end most of us find our niche/s.
...or get shoved into them......: )




PS- Another Bertie quote: "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
...or get shoved into them......: )
Maybe the trick is to successfully get shoved into your niche? :)

I love the guys in my band. Great people. I love playing music with them. We're old farts but we're still getting better at interpreting songs with our own collective voice. Dave Weckl would make the band sound 20 times better but I don't think he'll be volunteering to replace me any time soon ...
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Desire + hard work. Feel derives in part from technique, in part from insight. Insight is gained from a complex stew of things including time spent listening and just plain smarts. Technique is derived from practice. An example I saw last week of someone who combined both feel and technique - former drummer for the Johnny Lang band - Billy Thommes. Holy smokes batman.
What I was getting at was the idea that when we talk about technique the word that follows is ability, i.e. technical ability. There is a certain preconception that is set up about ability that is not critically looked at. Then there's the other reality that although Mariah Carey has a great voice, she didn't make it to the top on her voice alone.

I deal mostly with the kind of phenomenon that Polly speaks of. What does it mean to be a professional musician? Well, a lot of guys work professionally banging out the same standards night after night, six days a week. Good for them. Is that better than a guy who does it once or twice a month because he loves it. Or has an originals band that makes no money. I did that for years. Most of our gigs were charity events. It is about you as a musician in the end. it's not about some externalized concept of perfection.

I teach a more integrated concept of music. Parents will come in after two lessons and ask me if their kid has talent, which means am I wasting my money with lessons. My answer is that I am not here to judge your kid's talent, and I don't do that. But what I really feel I should be asking is, is your kid worth the expenditure? I know parents get tired of spending a lot of money on this and that and the kid gives up on it. But if you have to ask that question about your kid, I think there should be some self-examination. It's cliche to say; but it is all about the parents. If the parents take an interest in the kids progress, at school, in lesson, in life, the kid excels, if they don't take that interest, they really should not be having children. The parents that I deal with are so into parenting and they are committed to the lesson and the child. Due to that commitment, that kid has music as part of his or her life, and it will always be there. That is success in my book. It's a shame we have to reach middle age before we realize that about life. :)
 
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