The CRASH Course to Success
Part 1: Commitment
by Rich Redmond
What does it take to be a successful working drummer? Commitment. Commitment is the word for the first letter in an acronym I created, CRASH, to illustrate concepts people can use to attract success to their lives. (The remaining concepts, which we’ll explore in the next few articles, are relationships, attitude, skill, and hunger.)
Commitment can be defined as a pledge or undertaking, or to be dedicated to something. Any musician who’s had staying power will tell you that the music business is tough as nails, and it requires a massive amount of dedication to be successful. This dedication can be applied to both your drumming skills and to the business associated with cultivating a fulfilling career.
Give It Your All
In my travels, I get to see performances by drummers of all ages and all ability levels. One thing I’ve noticed is that many drummers lack commitment in their musical approach. How many times have you seen drummers play with a lifeless style? Their playing lacks energy, drive, and that special “it” factor. It’s as if they’re staring at their watch and waiting for the gig to be over, so they can rush home to warm up some ramen noodles and settle in with Three’s Company reruns. From the clicking of the sticks for the first count-off to the very last downbeat, there needs to be commitment.
Commitment means giving yourself over to the music-making process. You want to be inside the music. But don’t confuse a drummer who displays a lack of commitment with a committed drummer playing softly. Loud drumming can also lack energy and be missing that committed quality, and you can achieve incredible intensity and intention when playing quietly. Commit to playing loud, soft, fast, slow, and everything in between with conviction. Make intentional choices to drive and lift the music. More than anything, a performance starts in the mind. Are you focused on the music, or are you thinking about the stresses of life (bills, domestic issues, schedules)? Let the music take you away to a special place. When you make that commitment, your performance will become more rewarding and meaningful.
For more from Redmond, check out the complete Concepts article in the March 2012 issue of Modern Drummer.