This month, the blog takes a slightly different approach than usual. We have been asked by students of all ages what advice we’d give to someone thinking of taking up playing drums as a full-time job.
This article is pure opinion – please respect it as such. However, we speak from personal experience as musicians working professionally within the music industry. We’ve compiled the following tips based on the general consensus of the teachers at Elephant Drums.
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A Career in Drumming
Tip 1 : Be unique
To have a successful career in drumming you need a USP (unique selling point) to stand out from the crowd. It might not be enough to be simply “a great drummer” – you’ve got to get out there and get noticed! Find the right balance though – don’t be annoying in striving to achieve uniqueness. Getting on people’s nerves doesn’t get you employed.
Tip 2 : Diversify
Drummers with a diverse range of core skills are more likely to establish themselves as professional musicians. Think beyond the drum kit. When we receive CVs at Elephant Drums HQ we always want to see evidence of an applicant’s full range of skills, not just the skills related to music.
Tip 3 : Know your business
The music industry is changing. Learn about past and present business models and carve out the way you see the future. Remember you are a business – working as a professional musician you’ve got to be a businessperson. You may not like this, but the harsh reality is that’s just the way it is.
Tip 4 : Accept criticism
It’s all too easy to get knocked down by people’s comments. When unsuccessful at auditions or interviews try to take criticism as a constructive and positive thing. If you turn it around so that you learn from your experiences, you multiply the chances of the next audition being a success.
Tip 5 : Set your goals
Like all other jobs, you’ve got to start on the first rung of the ladder and climb up to the top. You might have to get some unpaid work experience, or take a job in something that’s barely related to music at all But ask yourself what the top of the ladder means to you – what is your ultimate goal? If you don’t know what you’re climbing towards it will be quite difficult to get there. Remember that very few people are successful by accident!
Encouraging words –
There are numerous different types of careers involving drumming. You can play in bands, become a teacher, work as a session musician, run workshops, use drumming for therapy, work in recording studios, or get involved with music business. There are plenty of opportunities to work within the field of drumming. The most important thing of all is you’ve got to keep on doing it, and keep on trying. The harder you work at it, the bigger the rewards. Good luck with your drumming career!
Finally, a quick note whilst we’re on the topic of drumming jobs. As London’s leading independent provider of drumming tuition, Elephant Drums is expanding and requires new drum teachers to join us. For further details about joining the Elephant Drums collective of professional drum tutors please get in touch via the Contact Us page to introduce yourself.