Here it is…your most burning question: How do I make as a professional drummer, and how can I break into the industry?
Read on for some good advice from the people who did it – our Worldwide team of Zildjian Artists.
1. Simon Scheibel – Germany, Lake Cisco
Always try to be and stay true to yourself. Use any contact who you know who can help you.
2. Ash Soan – UK, Recording Artist
Be as good as you can be. Work hard and be cool. A famous producer once said to me "Don't look down".
3. Jason Bittner – USA, Shadows Fall
Learn a LOT of different styles, and be prepared to work harder than you've ever worked before.
4. Toni Mateos - Spain, Independent
"Learn the rules and stick to them."
5. Ian Matthews – UK, Kasabian
Keep at it, stay active and be a great person to work with.
6. Stephen Perkins – USA, Jane’s Addiction
Stay focused on the potential of your playing and your technique. Chase that goal daily. Music comes first always. The road is paved by your hands and feet with sticks and pedals. Also, keep yourself surrounded by and playing with musicians that have a good work ethic and discipline - players that are striving for that same goal.
7. Jacopo Volpe – Italy, Vanilla Sky
Follow your heart and feel free to do what you really like.
8. Lucas van Merwijk – Germany, Independent
Get your technique down first and then become a complete musician. Keep an open mind.
9. Daniel Platzman – USA, Imagine Dragons
Practice with a metronome and don't be a jerk. Nobody cares how good you are if they can't stand to be around you.
10. Joe Clegg - UK, Ellie Goulding
11. Marito Marques – Portugal, Independent
Practicing and practicing and more practicing. It's also important to go out and meet other musicians, shake-hands and get to know people in the industry
12. Gary Husband – UK, Independent
Take a great interest in the people you'd most like to work with. Find out what you can about them - who they've enjoyed working with in the past and why... anything. It's flattering to who you're trying to get to the attention of and it gets you in the door, conversationally. From there on, try and orchestrate a way they can hear you. I think it's very necessary to be proactive - especially these days. If they don't hire you... try hiring THEM! It worked for me! On a number of occasions!
13. Barry van Zyl – South Africa, Johnny Clegg
Practice and network…not necessarily in that order.
14. Fredrik Larzon – Sweden, Millencolin
Practice a lot with like-minded people. Record yourself and/or your band often and listen to it to hear what you can do better. Have fun!
15. Vasily Rudenko – Russia, Elvira T
Play wherever you can. Play different music with different people. I think it's important to be versatile and be able to adapt! Need to be a gentle, friendly person and not be afraid to communicate with people. It’s not enough to be just a good musician, because a lot of time you'll be traveling and staying in hotels with people who pay you, not only on the stage.
16. Antonio Sanchez – USA, Pat Metheny
Don't get discouraged. You have to develop thick skin. There will always be people out there that won't like the way you play. Taste is in the ear of the beholder. All you can do is make sure you do what you do the best possible way. Make short term and long term goals, stay focused.
17. Kent Slucher – USA, Luke Bryan Band
Obviously being able to play well, but always staying humble and being good to people. There's always someone who can replace you and be happy to be there, I always try to keep things in perspective. I'm truly blessed to be where I'm at today.
18. Alex Salinger - Australia, Deez Nuts
Practice Practice Practice! Play with as many people as possible. Get on recordings with friends and stuff like that. If you want it bad enough it will happen!
19. Bernhard Schimpelsberger – UK, Independent
Investigate what it is that you love and then pursue it. You can never be anyone else. If you are true to yourself and work hard for it you will reach people with your work.
20. Darshan Doshi – India, Bollywood / Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy
Be true to your art, one needs to be fully dedicated to their instrument.
21. Ben Gordon – Australia, Parkway Drive
Create your own style. Don't copy other people exactly. Think outside the box. Practice a lot. Find a good guitarist and jam with them.
22. Pierre Nakano – Japan, Ling Toshite Shigure
Work on acquiring your skills as a drummer, and a pleasant personality as a person that other people want to work with.
23. Steve White – UK, Independent /Trio Valore
Be positive. Do not succumb to gossip, negativity and being down on people. When you think you cannot work any harder, work a bit more. Be diverse and be a nice person. No one likes an asshole on a bus.
24. Tobias Derer – Germany, You Tuber -Ultimate Music Covers (UMC)
Practice every day. Think of music and your career every minute of your day.
25. Daniel Hanson - Australia, Ball Park Music
Try and play with as many different artists in as many different styles as possible. If you are looking to be in a band, eventually you will find the right one. Just be patient and practice your butt off in the meantime.
26. Brooks Wackerman – USA, Bad Religion
Never stop progressing and never become too cozy or satisfied with your art. Also don't be a dick…
27. Roberto Gualdi – Italy, Independent
Somewhere I read about the ABC rule. Attitude. Behavior. Consequences. Career's a "word of mouth" result. Playing with anyone you can all the time, and always doing the best you can.
28. Kristinn "Kiddi" Agnarsson – Iceland, John Grant
Be nice. Really, be a nice person and fun to be around and that will get you far.
29. Bunta (Tatsuya Sugawara) – Japan, Totalfat
Always keep your musical antennas up, and check out as many good drummers and as much good music as possible. The most important thing is to network "Get acquainted with these kinds of friends!!!”.
30. Nicolas Viccaro - France, Independent
Practice a lot. Analyze people doing business and their reactions.
31. Gino Banks, India, Independent
Work hard. Be humble. And never stop.
32. Mike Gaspar – Portugal, Moonspell
Well I have always been a band oriented kinda guy. I think its the best to have your own band put out your own songs and develop a family relationship with in the band. When you stick together and put all your heart and time into one goal, things can get rolling before you know it. Keep your eye out for the right people that take music seriously. Work hard and have the best time of your life doing what you believe in. If your a studio or live drummer deliver what is needed for the project and don't try to show off. The relationships you build in the industry are important. No one likes to spend two months on the road with complicated personalities!!! Be your self, keep it cool and be patient.
33. Gavin Harrison – UK, Porcupine Tree/ King Crimson
Practice! Practice! Practice! If you're really good you will eventually get noticed.
34. John Tempesta – USA, The Cult
Practice makes perfect. Putting yourself out there by going to as many shows as you can. Being at the right place at the right time helps. It has for me.
35. Matt Greiner – US, August Burns Red
Practice hard, value relationships, and think outside the box.
36. Richard Jupp – UK, Elbow
Practice, be adaptable, listen, be nice. I've only done a couple of sessions outside of Elbow, but what I took from them was that it's tough out there; you've got to be ready for anything. So being personable and able to interpret what other musicians’ need from you is so important.
Want more Buzz? Check out these from our Worldwide team of Zildjian Artists:
44 Ways to Warm-Up Before a Gig
38 Reasons Why The Drummer Rules the Band
20 Tips for Miking Cymbals Live
38 Must Have Items on Tour
31 Tips for Tuning Drums
34 Favorite Crash Cymbals and Why They Work
25 Favorite Cover Songs to Play
28 Tips and Inspiration for Improving Your Drum Fills
25 Motivators When you Don’t Feel Like Practicing