It’s a few days after the 2013 NAMM show, and my head is spinning less and less. The blitzkrieg of that event really is hard to describe short of trying to catch a New York subway at rush hour and making your way through the turnstiles with one hundred other hurried campers urging you along from behind…
Regardless, I’m glad I went, because it was a great reminder of just how fortunate we are to be drummers in this day and age. I say this because with each passing year, our access to music technology grows, and we have tools the likes of which I could only dream of as a kid growing up in the 1970’s.
In short, we have access to the world.
Imagine you are a drummer living in the middle of the United States, or perhaps the highlands of Scotland, the outskirts of Dubai, or maybe a small city in China… the fact that you are reading this means the borders are irrelevant. You can go on YouTube and study something about almost any drummer hero you ever imagined. You can go to Spotify and do your homework on virtually any style of music imaginable.
You can enroll in Berkelee’s on-line music study, take lessons from Billy Cobham and have him comment on your video reply, Skype with Daniel Glass to thoroughly learn the history of your instrument, or post your own drumming explorations and light fires in fellow players.
You can refine and perfect your time-keeping with dozens of electronic metronome options for your smart phones or tablets, learn world percussion from Pete Lockett with his website videos and DrumJam app, grasp and explore the secrets of polyrhythms with Wolfram Winkel’s Polyrhythm app.
You can VASTYLY improve your ear for studio drumming with the hundreds of kit options in any number of electronic drum kits, record your own music one note at a time using any instrument imaginable from virtual studio technology, write your own drum books using electronic page layout programs like InDesign and notation software like Finale. You can express any thoughts you have with blogs like this one.
You can communicate with fellow drummers in any number of on-line forums, make contact through MeetUp groups all over the country (and start your own MeetUps as well). You can reach out directly to your drum heroes in many cases, and you can voice your opinions in drumming groups on Facebook. You can create your own free music website with MySpace, and you can reach out to the world through Twitter.
NONE OF THIS existed when I was a kid growing up in the 1970’s.
Every time my blog is read, a post shows up on a world map, showing what country the reader logged in from. I love, absolutely, LOVE, looking at this little map, appreciating the time someone like yourself took out of their day to check out my ink and thoughts on drumming.
I attended my first NAMM show in 1983, the year that MIDI was introduced. Yep, I was there when the digital revolution truly began. I remember smacking the brick-hard Simmons electronic drum pads and thinking, “Holy shit, this is gonna change everything…” The Linn drum machine followed, along with the Oberheim OBX drum machine, and I played both in Texas, thinking the same thing,
Today, I can fire up my iPad, tap out some rhythms, save them for export to Pro Tools, sing into a mic and capture ideas, convert them into sound files, mix it in a coffee shop, and post it within MINUTES. Yeah… everything absolutely changed, and we as drummers can own pieces of the world in almost unfathomable ways.
We now have no limits, nor borders, and no reasons not to turn the rhythmic world on its head with our ideas, opinions and explorations. We can create a temporal blitzkrieg anywhere we want, any time we want.
And the best part? We can make our own good fortune, no longer having to wait for anyone or anything else to shape it for us.
Good fortune, indeed.