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  #1  
Old 08-14-2009, 11:32 PM
Locarno1 Locarno1 is offline
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Default How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Hi,

My name is Tristan Marchent and im 16 years old from the UK. I have been playing drums for about 10-11 years now and am really enjoying everybit of it! I have done upto Grade 6 but at Grade 8 standard. I am interested in becoming a professional Session Drummer when im older. I just wanted to ask if anyone has any tips or advice on how to get into the first steps of becoming a Session Drummer. I love lots of genres from Funk to Pop. Rock to Musical music.

Thanks,

Tristan
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2009, 11:42 PM
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dale w miller dale w miller is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

This may seem jaded but this is how I see most people become session drummers.

1. They play on a hit record and everyone wants their album to sound like that record. They are able to step up to the challenge and they build their career from that.

2. Their best friend/family member is a producer of hit records and he/she calls you in to do all those sessions.
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2009, 02:50 AM
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wolfie wolfie is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

learn a second instrument to learn theory on. Go to Collage and study music. Preferable in London or big city with a vibrant music scene.
Collage is not all about the academics. Its also a great place to network and meet like minded people.
create your self a very comprehensive practice method. Its not always how technical your playing is. You have to sound good. Its got to groove.
learn to play with a click track. but also learn to play without one to.
go to every jam night you can and play with people. and hand your card out to them.
Offer your services as a dep. good drummers are in need.
I did it by busking as well.
You have to get a sense of reality about you. Being successful isn't always hitting the big time and making millions. very few people do that. success is being able to pay the bill doing something that you love.
I had a lot of friend who went in the military as musicians. They make a living out of it. they are successful.

And most of all. be nice and be a pleasure to be around. There are so many arse holes out there. If your a nice guy. they will want to spend time in a tour bus with you.

and be careful of the vultures. there are more of them preying on musicians, especially young ones. than there are musicians. DON'T SUFFER FOOLS

You should make it when your in your thirties. It take 20 years just to learn to play properly. never mind about having the right attitude.

Best of luck

Oh yes, the qualifications mean nothing in the big sceme of things. You just gotta be able to play.
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2009, 08:22 AM
aydee aydee is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

...

...not easily, in this age of electronics and machines.

BUT NEVERTHELESS...


1) Study your instrument well and be the best you can be at it.

2) Listen to lots of music. Different kinds of music. Play another instrument if you can ( the piano? )

3) Be very friendly, very helpful/accommodating, very punctual.

4) Be around really good musicians. Always be out there, .. in studios, jams, clubs etc..wherever there is good music or good musicians. Get in everyone's face- NICELY- though..

With all of this in your bag, you are also going to need a little bit of luck that gets you to the right place at the right time.

But like the famous South African golfer Gary Player said " the harder I work the luckier I got".

At your age though, I'd just worry about about getting really good with my playing and learning all that I could. Life will kinda point you in the right direction anyway as time goes on. Dont worry about where you'll end up now.

...
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2009, 03:24 PM
drummmhead
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

session work is a fraction of what it once was. that's just a fact so my advice is just play as great as you can all the time and when somebody wants a great drummer to record for them, you may get the call!
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2009, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

1. Be humble - No body can stand a cat who this his or her playing is the nicest thing ever..

2. Be open to play whatever they want.

3. Say "yes" to any and all opportunities to play. It may not work out perfectly, but maybe they know someone who needs a drummer and your style maybe exactly what they're looking and your name can be dropped.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2009, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by drummmhead View Post
session work is a fraction of what it once was. that's just a fact so my advice is just play as great as you can all the time and when somebody wants a great drummer to record for them, you may get the call!
Some of this is due to the advances in technology and some of it is due to the popularity of a self-contained band wanting to do the recording. LA session masters used to replace bands in the studio in order to get the album done with minimum of hassle and to keep the project from running over budget.


Mike

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  #8  
Old 08-20-2009, 01:53 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

One way to accomplish what you want is to:
Take the bull by the horns, finance the whole thing, write or choose the songs, produce and record your own records, hire the guys, and you drum on it. Then shop it around, if it sells, you're in baby! Be an employer not an employee.
Obviously this takes cash, and a self start mentality, but it's viable. Start at the top.

Short of that, just hang around studios, be a go fer, drum tuner, problem solver, free helper.....be an asset of some sort, and maybe you'll get in if you've got the goods. I really have no real clue, but that's what I'd try if that were my goal.
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2009, 01:44 AM
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Skitch Skitch is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locarno1 View Post
Hi,

My name is Tristan Marchent and im 16 years old from the UK. I have been playing drums for about 10-11 years now and am really enjoying everybit of it! I have done upto Grade 6 but at Grade 8 standard. I am interested in becoming a professional Session Drummer when im older. I just wanted to ask if anyone has any tips or advice on how to get into the first steps of becoming a Session Drummer. I love lots of genres from Funk to Pop. Rock to Musical music.

Thanks,

Tristan
Learn to do the things most drummers won't do; learn to be a great reader of different types of charts and learn to play to a click track. Learn to appreciate other styles of music than just the ones you like playing; most of your work will be in those other areas. Learn that there is more to music than Metal, Jazz and Funk. Learn to be flexible in your attitude. Learn to network with others in your field. Learn to be a people person and have a person that others want to be around. And begin to understand that there is more to the music than you and your chops.


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw

Last edited by Skitch; 10-19-2009 at 02:27 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2009, 01:54 AM
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wy yung wy yung is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read.
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Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read.
Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read.
Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read.
Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read. Learn to read.


I advise you study as many styles as possible. Be nice. Work with a click. Think about home recording. Most sessions are done this way now. It would do you well to learn about Pro tools and any other recordings techniques out there. Get some sort of recorder now, it doesn't matter if it's a cheapy. Just begin recording yourself asap.

Learn a tuned instrument, preferably piano.

When working with others be nice. ALWAYS!

And get a good manager.
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  #11  
Old 10-19-2009, 01:58 AM
Stoney Stoney is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Luck has a certain amount to do with it. Being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right people.

One thing leads to another. You never know what could come from some crappy gig. They may have a producer friend in the audience. It's about catching the eye of the right people. It all stems from nothing.
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  #12  
Old 10-19-2009, 02:28 AM
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Skitch Skitch is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoney View Post
Luck has a certain amount to do with it. Being in the right place at the right time and meeting the right people.

One thing leads to another. You never know what could come from some crappy gig. They may have a producer friend in the audience. It's about catching the eye of the right people. It all stems from nothing.
Luck = Where preparedness meets opportunity. Please see my last post.


Mike

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http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
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  #13  
Old 10-21-2009, 04:23 PM
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Cuauhtemoc Cuauhtemoc is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

I am no Vinnie Colaiuta but in my hometown of Tucson, AZ I am one of the local on call guys at multiple local studios. What I did before moving here was email all of the studios and send them links to my sites so they could hear samples of my playing. I also posted ads for musical services and got gigs and sessions right away. For some reason I became the prettiest girl at the dance since I told everyone that I came from Los Angeles even though there are actually a lot of great musicians here. Then, when I met local engineers and producers during sessions I gave out my card and within time the phone rang.

Most importantly, you have to have all of the tools. Learn to play to a click, learn to play all styles, go out and gig or jam with everyone you can and master these styles. Learn shuffles, Latin grooves and learn double bass. In other words, when someone asks can you...you will always say yes!

Then, your attitude. Be flexible and easy going. Show up on time and don't be annoying. There will be tracks, arrangements and even songs you won't like but put in the same effort you would for your own projects. Your name and playing are on the track so it should mean something to you.

Finally, a lot of it is luck and knowing the right people. But make sure when you get the chance you're ready.
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2014, 04:45 PM
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thomaslesnick thomaslesnick is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

I've just graduated university and am trying to make a living as a session guy.

The reality seems to be you can't. At least not doing just that. I'm fortunate enough that I spent time developing other skills (like mixing, playing bass, teaching) so I can make money doing music in general.

How I get performance and studio gigs generally happens in one of a few ways:
1 - Someone has seen me perform live.
2 - Someone has heard me on a record
3 - Someone has seen a classified that I've posted
4 - Someone has referred me

When I first started, most of my work was generated through number 3. However, I began performing frequently enough that guys were approaching me after shows asking if I was looking to perform more.

Make sure you establish that you don't play for free early - it will hurt you in the long run. When I first started playing, I would charge just enough money that my gas, parking, and food would have been covered for the night (between $50-$100). Now I charge significantly more than that, and people will pay it because they know that they will get a quality performer.

Between studio and performance work, I manage to be busy 3-4 days a week. On top of that, I also teach drums and guitar 5 days a week. I also manage a couple artists who had me perform on their records, and work as a booking agent at a couple venues.

Point is - you have to learn to be a jack-of-all trades. It sucks, but even some of my more successful friends (who have toured with Bieber, Paramore, etc) have had to come up with more income by doing other things like mixing, mastering, teaching, managing, booking, etc.
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  #15  
Old 04-15-2014, 07:44 PM
TomasHakkesBrain TomasHakkesBrain is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Most importantly be a nice and friendly person.

In the meantime as your under age for most bar and club work make sure your song repetoire is very good and you can learn songs very fast. I had to learn 30 songs in 4 days recently.
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  #16  
Old 04-15-2014, 08:38 PM
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groove1 groove1 is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

For sure, I've never been one but how about playing on lots of sessions and getting to know
lots of people.
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  #17  
Old Yesterday, 10:15 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

My best advice is to be ready for your plans to change...but not let that change discourage you.

Having a backup plan around your music career to make ends meet is key...but dont let it take you over.
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  #18  
Old Yesterday, 10:41 PM
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keep it simple keep it simple is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Taking the thread title literally - strive to become a very well known session drummer ;)

As the OP is now 21 years old, did he make it?
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  #19  
Old Yesterday, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

ahhh, the value of revising some old threads....we can actually check on progress or outcomes!
Locarno1...so what became of you?
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  #20  
Old Today, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Since he hasn't posted in over 2 1/2 years, he must be very busy.
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  #21  
Old Today, 01:04 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighDrummer View Post
Since he hasn't posted in over 2 1/2 years, he must be very busy.
Sounds like he's taking all these comments on board then.

Anyone else got any advice for him?
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  #22  
Old Today, 02:16 AM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: How to become a fairly well-known Session Drummer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Sounds like he's taking all these comments on board then.

Anyone else got any advice for him?
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