Pro Drummer advice

DrummerMum

New member
My son is a kickass drummer. Plays for a local band that did a nationwide tour right before covid hit. Can anyone give any advice on how he can start on a freelance track? Like a good agent/talent management company you can suggest. Just looking for a little guidance. Thanks in advance!
 

DrumWhipper

Member
Find any open jams he can and go play them. I had more success “getting my name out” by doing that than anything else I’ve done. It took me some work but I just landed a gig with an independent country artist that I’m going on the road with starting next week.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
How old is he? If he's 19 or thereabouts he should goto college and get degree in music. Learn jazz. Learn to read charts. That sorta thing.

What kinda band was the "local" band that did pre-COVID nationwide tour? If it's a heavy metal or punk-style band and he's a kick-ass punk drummer, well, ain't gonna be much money in that there are a zillion drummers like that out there.

Learn music theory. Learn to read charts. Learn to play jazz in larger ensembles. There is steady work in big cities for those sorta drummers, or will be one we get to herd immunity.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
My son is a kickass drummer. Plays for a local band that did a nationwide tour right before covid hit. Can anyone give any advice on how he can start on a freelance track? Like a good agent/talent management company you can suggest. Just looking for a little guidance. Thanks in advance!
where do you live ?

DO NOT join the musicians union... all he will do is pay dues and get locked into scale wages and all kinds of other way outdated rules... completely pointless today

DO NOT send him to music school ... all that gives you is a piece of paper and enormous debt.
It doesn't cost $45,000 a year to learn to read charts.

There is no magic formula.

If the skill , instinct and desire is there then all he needs to be is present and available

Be where the work is ... LA, Nashville, NY, Austin etc....

Be out all the time and get to know everyone and take every gig available.

I've found that the most important aspects of working in the industry have less to do with your overall ability on the instrument and more to do with your disposition, punctuality and reputation.

Of course a portion is based on your ability ... but once you have the confidence of one well respected individual you can make a living for a very long time based on their word without people ever hearing you play.

It's not about who you know. It's about who knows YOU

he needs to get out ... be likable ... and play his ass off... be persistent

that's literally it

If he has what it takes the rest takes care of itself

One last thought ... be sure he knows the difference between being successful and being "Famous"

some of the busiest guys in the industry most people have never heard of

food for thought

All of this will be very difficult in todays closed world ... a social media presence helps to supplement sometimes in todays environment.

Best of luck to him

It's a jungle out here ... or at least it used to be. ;)
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
The most important advice I can give to any wannabe working drummer is BOOM, BAP, BOOM, BOOM, BAP ad infinitum.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
some of the busiest guys in the industry most people have never heard of
Watch Hired Gun to get an idea of what this is like.

 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
DO NOT send him to music school ... all that gives you is a piece of paper and enormous debt.
It doesn't cost $45,000 a year to learn to read charts.



All of this will be very difficult in todays closed world ... a social media presence helps to supplement sometimes in todays environment.

Best of luck to him

It's a jungle out here ... or at least it used to be. ;)
College gives you a lot more than a piece of paper and debt.

First of all not every college student or family incurs debt. I paid for my two son's college without taking out any loans. I saved for my son's college when they were young.

You get more than a piece of paper. You get theory. You get practice. You get to play with different people. You get evaluated over and over and perform over and over. You make a ton of contacts. You are mandated to learn 1+ additional instrument and demonstrate proficiency. You learn composition. You also take classes in other subjects. English. Science. Social sciences.

He may decide he wants to pursue a Masters. A PhD. He may wanna stay in academia. He may decide to do something else once he's exposed to other disciplines. He may become a chemist. Engineer. Psychologist. Play drums for fun at night or weekends for fun when he's not working, like most every other drummer out there.

Really bad advice MG about not going to college.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
College gives you a lot more than a piece of paper and debt.

First of all not every college student or family incurs debt. I paid for my two son's college without taking out any loans. I saved for my son's college when they were young.

You get more than a piece of paper. You get theory. You get practice. You get to play with different people. You get evaluated over and over and perform over and over. You make a ton of contacts. You are mandated to learn 1+ additional instrument and demonstrate proficiency. You learn composition. You also take classes in other subjects. English. Science. Social sciences.

He may decide he wants to pursue a Masters. A PhD. He may wanna stay in academia. He may decide to do something else once he's exposed to other disciplines. He may become a chemist. Engineer. Psychologist. Play drums for fun at night or weekends for fun when he's not working, like most every other drummer out there.

Really bad advice MG about not going to college.
completely unnecessary to work in the music industry
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
College gives you a lot more than a piece of paper and debt.

First of all not every college student or family incurs debt. I paid for my two son's college without taking out any loans. I saved for my son's college when they were young.

You get more than a piece of paper. You get theory. You get practice. You get to play with different people. You get evaluated over and over and perform over and over. You make a ton of contacts. You are mandated to learn 1+ additional instrument and demonstrate proficiency. You learn composition. You also take classes in other subjects. English. Science. Social sciences.

He may decide he wants to pursue a Masters. A PhD. He may wanna stay in academia. He may decide to do something else once he's exposed to other disciplines. He may become a chemist. Engineer. Psychologist. Play drums for fun at night or weekends for fun when he's not working, like most every other drummer out there.

Really bad advice MG about not going to college.
And none of the stuff you mentioned has anything to do with being a freelance drummer, the whole inquiry of the OP.

As someone who went to college and has never even come close to using or even needing my degree, I'll second the dont go to college sentiment. Unless you want to be a doctor or lawyer or scientist, there are other ways to make a good living without hampering yourself right out the door.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Unless you've already chosen a path and are fully dedicated to said path, college will waste money. Thankfully, I wasted my own money and time acquiring a degree I don't use and never will.
The myth of needing a degree to be successful needs to die. Pieces of paper do not prepare one for real world situations. Experience does.
My sister went to three different colleges, two private, one out of state state school, wasted about 90k of our parent's money to get a degree in english lit and subsequently work at Borders books until it went out of of business. Now she's an admin at a high end home theater company. None of these things needed a degree.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
And none of the stuff you mentioned has anything to do with being a freelance drummer, the whole inquiry of the OP.

As someone who went to college and has never even come close to using or even needing my degree, I'll second the dont go to college sentiment. Unless you want to be a doctor or lawyer or scientist, there are other ways to make a good living without hampering yourself right out the door.
My degree helped me get jobs regardless of whether it was in my discipline. That "Undergraduate Degree Required" prerequisite for most every career job beyond flipping burgers. Most "kickass drummers playing for a local band" without a college degree flip burgers, wait tables, work hourly construction, etc. Think long-term.

You are right about other ways to make a good living. Plumbers and electricians for sure. Demand higher than supply, and easily can make 6-figure incomes. Trades are often a great opportunity.

Be it trades or college, think long-term. You won't be a young kickass drummer forever. At some point you'll be 45 years old with a few kids and a house payment. 99.99% of those young kickass drummer just get old. It's ridiculous to think about agents and talent management companies. That's an unrealistic dream.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
And none of the stuff you mentioned has anything to do with being a freelance drummer, the whole inquiry of the OP.

As someone who went to college and has never even come close to using or even needing my degree, I'll second the dont go to college sentiment. Unless you want to be a doctor or lawyer or scientist, there are other ways to make a good living without hampering yourself right out the door.

I'll third that, the only amazing thing I got from Uni was the world class drum teacher they had and that was purely a geographical coincidence nothing to do with the uni, he just taught there!

None of the lectures did much and I was already cutting my teeth getting paid to play twice every weekend so the performance bits were a bit of a step backwards.

The only thing music at university steers you towards is teaching in schools. No thanks!
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
so...

I was the kick ass metal, punk drummer back in the day (late 80's/early 90's); my band was the kick ass band that was killing all of the local and regional shows and playing like mo-fo's (we were original stuff a-la Queensryche/Fates Warning/Sanctuary etc...)

we decided to "make it big" and started doing the gigging/ touring in a van thing b/c that is what you had to do pre-internet. What we did NOT know was that we were throwing our hat in the bigger ring, with all of the other 1000's of bands/people in the same situation. We made demos' played in dive bars and 4000 capacity mid level clubs. We eneded up having our demo even get to the desk of Brian Slagel of Metal Blade records, and had the honor of him personally telling us that he just couldn't sign us at the time (93) b/c they had too many bands like us on the label. We did ALL of this with out a manager or agent. The MOST IMPORTANT part of living in tis whole world the "humbling" nature of it. I learned TONS of life skills that I use every day now as a middle/high school band director

what we had - and he will need - is diligence, business smarts, and no attitude. We learned to turn fails/bad situations into positve situations. We shook hands; took cards; gave compliments (even sometimes when it was really hard to do); we developed a rep as the band who showed up on time; showed up sober; showed up with great equipment; and showed up ready to be flexible

I ALSO went to college/music school for my Bachelors of Music Education, because college playing experience was also NOT waste of time. I pretty much did the same thing in college that my rock band was doing on the road: I developed a rep as the guy who showed up on time; showed up sober; showed up with great equipment; and showed up ready to be flexible. I made a TON of connections that got me to the professional level of what I am doing now, which is teaching.

So in short, there has been a lot of great advice so far, but also some sketchy advice. I did BOTH the college route, and the "on the road" route. Both are 100% valid and useful if done correctly and approached correctly. One can be a back up to the other, as your sons MOST VALUABLE ASSETT right now is making himself marketable. He will NOT get a job by twirling sticks, breaking drum heads and posing for a camera... And he will NOT be marketable by dismissing opportunities. He will NOT get a job by focusing on one single conception at the expense of all others.

While my highest paying "Gig" has been my 9/5 band director job, i ended up making a decent amount of money in a world i NEVER saw myself being in when I was a young metal head - the world of country/pop studio sessioning. About 15 years ago, I was either playing drums and/or bass on a lot of people's demo tapes or record sessions at many studios where I live. Granted, it isn't Nashville, but I was doing sessions on Weds-Sat nights when I did not have school stuff for many years...

so anyways...he needs to become a professional person before anything else...even if he does get an agent or whatever....

back when we were trying to "get famous", there was a statistic that read like this:

for every one band that gets a record deal, there are easily 1 million who did not even get a chance to get heard.

I would imagine, and can see, that the internet probably makes that chance even smaller in a way..

college is legit
touring and open mic nights are legit
metal and punk is DEFINITELY legit
as is jazz, funk, hip-hop etc...

being close minded is not legit
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Print serious, but artful business cards. Keep them with you. Hand them to anyone that shows interest. You never know, and they are cheap.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Print serious, but artful business cards. Keep them with you. Hand them to anyone that shows interest. You never know, and they are cheap.

I think I would also add to this: have him maintain a website of sorts? Like a living resume...not a FAcebook page, or - for the love of god - TikTok. something professional that he can keep stuff on about himself and his endeavors...

and then put the link on the business card...
 

jimb

Member
Kick ass?...So he can read a complicated chart straight up?

a, Be able to play all styles with ur hands tied behind ur back....(euphanism for being damned good at everything)
b, Be the guy everyone wants to hang with. (..ESPECIALLY THIS..)

Thats it.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
College gives you a lot more than a piece of paper and debt.

First of all not every college student or family incurs debt. I paid for my two son's college without taking out any loans. I saved for my son's college when they were young.

You get more than a piece of paper. You get theory. You get practice. You get to play with different people. You get evaluated over and over and perform over and over. You make a ton of contacts. You are mandated to learn 1+ additional instrument and demonstrate proficiency. You learn composition. You also take classes in other subjects. English. Science. Social sciences.

He may decide he wants to pursue a Masters. A PhD. He may wanna stay in academia. He may decide to do something else once he's exposed to other disciplines. He may become a chemist. Engineer. Psychologist. Play drums for fun at night or weekends for fun when he's not working, like most every other drummer out there.

Really bad advice MG about not going to college.
I'm pretty sure he meant don't go to music college not to other colleges... Yes anybody can learn to read charts and all the music theory you can handle with a few cheap books, the rest is practice and time. Contacts you can make on your own.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
My degree helped me get jobs regardless of whether it was in my discipline. That "Undergraduate Degree Required" prerequisite for most every career job beyond flipping burgers. Most "kickass drummers playing for a local band" without a college degree flip burgers, wait tables, work hourly construction, etc. Think long-term.

You are right about other ways to make a good living. Plumbers and electricians for sure. Demand higher than supply, and easily can make 6-figure incomes. Trades are often a great opportunity.

Be it trades or college, think long-term. You won't be a young kickass drummer forever. At some point you'll be 45 years old with a few kids and a house payment. 99.99% of those young kickass drummer just get old. It's ridiculous to think about agents and talent management companies. That's an unrealistic dream.
a dream remains a dream if you don't take steps to make it a reality...
 
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