Better to be diverse or specialize?

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
This is an interesting topic, and there is no right or wrong answer.

There was a time when I would have certainly said "diverse" was the most correct answer. And certain, diverse helps greatly if you want to be gigging every weekend and take every gig. And I certainly admire those who can play a wide variety of styles well.

But when I think of the drummers I most admire the ones who end up on the covers of magazines, and the ones that have the coolest gigs (IMHO), they are usually specialists or at least end up specializing in one thing even if they can do other things.

Outside of the bands that cater to weddings and such gigs, very few bands/artists hire someone because they play a wide variety of styles (with some exceptions), they mostly just one that one style for that specific type of music.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
That wasnt very cool of Jim. Why possibly discourage the kid? Can Jim play speed metal?

Dont people realize someone has to play metal drums? We dont just exist for johnwesley to ignorantly make assholish fun out of.
I hear you, but....two points—

1. If you knew the level of assholishness displayed by Dr. Schietroma, the head of percussion at UNT then, you wouldn’t ask why ANYONE who got their degree under him acted like an asshole, I promise.

2. anybody who gets their drum set degree from a place at the level of UNT, Berklee, etc. has to be really versatile, musically, with an eye toward mastering things that actually let you make a living. Metal is not about making a living.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I hear you, but....two points—

1. If you knew the level of assholishness displayed by Dr. Schietroma, the head of percussion at UNT then, you wouldn’t ask why ANYONE who got their degree under him acted like an asshole, I promise.

2. anybody who gets their drum set degree from a place at the level of UNT, Berklee, etc. has to be really versatile, musically, with an eye toward mastering things that actually let you make a living. Metal is not about making a living.
Yes but call a kid out in front of what looks like 1000 people, a giant group of his peers, just to possibly insult him? That's not very adult and definitely not very professional. Put your kid in his shoes. Not cool.

Metal isnt about making money. It's about making powerful music, but it's still music. For some reason that always seems to be forgotten. We dont all get into this to be rich and famous.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Except Travis Orbin, which further proves the point. He is the ONE metal freelancer. (At least I think so. I don't really know anything about metal drumming).
Me neither. What I meant more was that regular people playing all types of gigs don't ever do Metal gigs-- there are no Metal guys calling people like me to sub for their band. It's a niche, and most people don't need to mess with it, unless they really want to play it.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Yes but call a kid out in front of what looks like 1000 people, a giant group of his peers, just to possibly insult him? That's not very adult and definitely not very professional. Put your kid in his shoes. Not cool.

Metal isnt about making money. It's about making powerful music, but it's still music. For some reason that always seems to be forgotten. We dont all get into this to be rich and famous.
Oh, I don’t think it’s cool. But for UNT under Schietroma, that’s MILD. He was/is severely mentally unbalanced. Severely and profoundly. But you had to keep him happy if you wanted to avoid being physically assaulted, and avoid not graduating.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
We all end up specializing by default. No matter how "diverse" we might attempt to be, we'll always play one style better than other styles. I described myself in a thread last night as an "eclectic drummer." While I believe that's true in many ways, I play country and light rock better than anything else. Why? Because they're what I've played most, and they're what I enjoy playing.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
That’s what happens when seriously unbalanced people are allowed to keep positions of power.
I've worked for a few. I always end up quitting. Cant handle it.

Funny how often this scenario presents itself. I think it goes like this:

Manager: Your a terrible employee and human being.
Employee: Up yours, I don't care.
Manager: That's exactly why we are promoting you to shift manager.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Oh, I don’t think it’s cool. But for UNT under Schietroma, that’s MILD. He was/is severely mentally unbalanced. Severely and profoundly. But you had to keep him happy if you wanted to avoid being physically assaulted, and avoid not graduating.
When I played jazz in my college, our director was heavily influenced by his time at UNT, and we even ran the UNT scale syllabus. Would you say this Schietroma guy is the exception or the norm for teachers at UNT? If so, I’m glad I didn’t attend. I can get insulted on any given day just hanging out at the Pro Drum Shop by people actually working in the industry 😉
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
When I played jazz in my college, our director was heavily influenced by his time at UNT, and we even ran the UNT scale syllabus. Would you say this Schietroma guy is the exception or the norm for teachers at UNT? If so, I’m glad I didn’t attend. I can get insulted on any given day just hanging out at the Pro Drum Shop by people actually working in the industry 😉
Schietroma was the worst, so far as I know...but I’ve heard the whole environment back in the day was pretty bad.

The irony is that the only really good pro players they’ve produced (under Schietroma) have been drum set players, and Ed Soph was responsible for teaching those guys. Not Schietroma. I think Ed Stephan, timpani with the San Francisco Symphony went there, but he studied with Kal Cherry, MY timpani teacher, not anybody at UNT.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
That wasnt very cool of Jim. Why possibly discourage the kid? Can Jim play speed metal?

Dont people realize someone has to play metal drums? We dont just exist for johnwesley to ignorantly make assholish fun out of.
Nah. You misconstrued my post. Please reread. Jim was very cordial and gentle. He knew the kid was young (16), plus almost everyone knew the kid cuz he was so good. Jim knew the kid had a future if he wanted to diversify/expand his genre/repertoire. I knew/know the kid (now a married man) and he felt stoked and very encouraged by Jim’s gentle nudge.

And Jim did show us all a sampling of his own repertoire. Everyone was floored because Rascal Flatts ain’t prog rock. Did he hammer out some speed metal riffs? You bet (but prolly not to D. Roddy’s level) along with Latin, Caribbean, country, folk and the money beat.

No one was shamed or embarrassed.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Schietroma was the worst, so far as I know...but I’ve heard the whole environment back in the day was pretty bad.

The irony is that the only really good pro players they’ve produced (under Schietroma) have been drum set players, and Ed Soph was responsible for teaching those guys. Not Schietroma. I think Ed Stephan, timpani with the San Francisco Symphony went there, but he studied with Kal Cherry, MY timpani teacher, not anybody at UNT.
I'm all for adverse environments to make you better, but sometimes I look back on some music teachers I had and wondered where the line was between "tough love" and "abuse" was. I took a few lessons with Ed Shaughnessy back in the 90s and he was that kind of hard-ass "work for a living" guy, just as my band director at my college was (who also played with Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton before going into teaching), but both of them seemed to genuinely care about you. This Schietroma just sounds abusive which is a shame. I think when Freddie Gruber was giving lessons, the only thing bad was that you didn't know when he'd get to you, so you could be waiting while he worked with another student, or you could be in the lesson and never know when it was gonna end.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I enjoy playing diverse music, but I ain't gonna lie...it's been hard playing drums and finding gigs in bluegrass country. I've often fantasized about being an absolute ripping acoustic guitar player or mandolin player. If I could do these and sing, I would definitely be with the "in" group around here. Also, if I specialized in playing bluegrass, I would have the potential to be a very busy man. But here I am, a drummer with a rock-and-roll background surrounded by 'grassers and folkies. They are a good bunch of folks, that's for sure, but most don't wanna a drummer showing up to a jam session. I play with who I can, when I can, and recently it's been working out in my favor, so I can't complain.

In short, I think it's great to specialize if you live in an area where that specific genre is thriving. However, the reality for most of us is that if we want to actually play, we need to be able to conform (and quickly so) to the needs of musicians around us.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I think scope of diversity is relevant here, as well as the feel that really lives inside you.

It's all well & good having the facility to play a very wide range of material well, & that's effectively the USP of session players who really bring in a lot of regular work, but most of us lesser mortals will deliver to a higher standard playing stuff that moves your soul.

As for scope of diversity, it's easier to conceive a more middle ground for many players, yet still cover a lot of ground. Although different, I regard most pop, rock, & funk as requiring not too dissimilar skill sets, but convincingly delivering jazz at one end of the spectrum, & some extreme metal forms at the other end, is a scope too big for the vast majority of us.
 
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