As 2017 came to an end and 2018 enters, I always take this as a time to reflect on my goals accomplished and goals desired for the past and coming year. Though 2017 took an odd turn and I probably didn't accomplish what I wanted, some interesting things did happen... so here we go.
2017 Goals: Work on and finish a solo "album" of original tunes. This has been a lifelong dream that I constantly put off. I will admit, I am not strong and writing music with a great melody. My lyrical writing is weak in my own opinion, or at least I am a huge critic of myself. I won't put this goal to bed yet, maybe 2018 will lead me back to it.
Another goal was to make myself more known beyond just being a drummer. I have spent my life dabbling in other instruments, but never really going to the next level with them. 2017 I decided it was time. I picked up the Mandolin and focused more time on guitar. I started playing more gigs on guitar with my friend Marr'lo, helped run an open jam where I forced myself to play more guitar and bass plus learn more songs, and allowed myself to continue with my beginning guitar students to their next level, thus pushing my abilities.
I did join a new party band called the Clique and continued my journey with Element 13 and the fun times we have as friends and band mates. I also started taking lessons from my friend Ben Janzow. Though only 3 lessons in, Ben has already impacted my playing in a great way and he gets me excited to learn like I hope I excite my students. Sometimes I think there is a belief that instructors aren't supposed to be taking lessons from someone else, but I quickly learned that I owe it to my students to keep learning and pushing myself like I do for them.
2018 goals: This year I hope to continue my video projects performing on multiple instruments. I find them fun and great way to motivate myself into doing something unique, funny and entertaining.
Continue performing at a high level and set the bar high for myself and the bands.
Write more music. Duh.
Let's see how this year goes.
Kicking off my first blog post with some advice I hope to pass along to as many young musicians as I can. I have learned this from years of experience and finding out the hard way the consequences of being "stubborn" with your talents and abilities. Humility goes a VERY long way as a performer. Even today, I won't say that I am completely humble about my abilities. I know my weaknesses and strengths. It is important to be confident, but don't put that confidence above anyone else and their talents.
The easiest, yet sometimes difficult, way to be real about your talents is to be open to criticism. Seems obvious, but even the most talented musicians need to be able to listen when someone has a point of criticism. Doesn't matter if the person offering up the points is less experienced, it is always worth listening so that they felt heard. I spent the first 10 years of my gigging career in Milwaukee refusing to listen to others trying to help me and it held me down as a performer. I'm not a perfect musician, but I drive myself to get better and my biggest tool to help me is taking what people say as fuel to improve. My hardest thing to overcome is how to be receptive to those criticisms at first offerings. Initial reactions can turn off the person offering. It's hard to resist the initial brushing them off, as is my habit, but eventually it comes back around and makes sense. (usually)
All that said, as a young or old musician, you're never to old to improve and need to be willing to listen to everyone around you' and their viewpoints. The best bands work as teams, the best teams listen to each other and help each other improve.