My Mission Is To Help You Become A More Musical And Confident Drummer.
Welcome to Confident Drummer!
My name is Eugenio Ventimiglia, I am an Italian 40 years old drummer and I want to tell you how this website was born.
I deeply love music. The thrill of playing and listening to music, immersed in the intensity of this art form is something unique and I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. However, creating music is not an easy undertaking.
In any form of art that involves a high level of self-expression, in real time, we are going to have to face and overcome challenges related to performance, competence, management of one’s talent, stress handling. That’s the only way to bring to reality a vision that requires many years of application. And also to be fulfilled by it.
We need to find ways to put together all the physical, intellectual and emotional resources that when combined allow us to fully and effectively enjoy all the experiences that this form of communication can make us taste.
So we have internal challenges, because it’s human to have insecurities, some degree of confusion about what to do, periods of time in which we feel stuck, lack of improvement and lack of focus about our direction or about how to make the most of our musical skills. And external challenges, because our culture changes at the speed of light, music takes directions that are sometimes difficult to decipher, and competition, and the adaptation skills required to handle it, seem unsustainable.
I started playing and studying rather late, when I was 15, in a family of non-musicians, and I experienced all these scenarios: the enthusiasm for the privilege of making music, the joy of playing, the deep passion and desire to make a career out of it, the countless hours of practice, research and dedication. But also the sacrifices, frustrations, lack of results, and the ups and downs due to uncertainty and to the fact that essentially there is no official path that leads from the first drum lesson to the stage or to a tour or recording session.
But fortunately I had one innate strength: perseverance. For some mysterious reason I never gave up. The love of music has always been so great that somehow I have been able to navigate through the most difficult moments without giving up. I was also lucky to have a boundless curiosity and desire to learn, that have always moved me and led me to figure things out, study, compare, go to the root of all kinds of topics related to the world of music. The passionate emotions I get from understanding something in depth, are for me at least equivalent to those felt when playing totally immersed in music.
And so I invested more than two decades on a path of tireless research and practice, which of course I have not yet completed (I’m far from perfect …) and that led me to devour records, instructional videos, transcribe, see thousands of concerts and especially study in person with dozens of the best drummers in the world, between Italy and the United States. And also to study disciplines apparently distant from music, such as personal development and psychology, which on the long term have proved invaluable.
Instinctively, moved by the desire to understand, I arrived in class with questionnaires and endless lists of questions, which sometimes where challenging even for the greats of the instrument. To each of them the same questions, about stuff that I was trying to figure out and topics I wanted to clarify with powerful answers. That’s why I needed to filter and cross reference dozens of different points of view instead of blindly accepting the first explanation received, no matter how convincing or authoritative the source. It seemed like an interrogation 🙂 I was so motivated and stubborn in wanting to find out what I was so passionate about.
And I was very fortunate to find many generous teachers along the way. What does it mean and how do you play ahead or behind the beat? How many types of drum solos do exist and how do you learn to play them? What is groove? How do you develop perfect time? How do you interpret a drum chart? How does creativity develop, and what is it? How do you create your own sound? How can you overcome a technical obstacle? How do you deal with and overcome stage anxiety? How do you play a very difficult phrase? How do you make a living with music? How do you create a network? And a thousand more …
My approach to practicing is direct: you learn a lot about something when you do it a lot, and when you go deep into what you are trying to improve. Music in my opinion should be perceived as a mission, not in the sense of becoming obsessive, but in the sense of living it fully every day, dedicating hours and hours to it, with passion. Even though there isn’t any guarantee of ever getting anything in return, besides the joy of doing it in the moment.
Along this path, over the course of 25 years, I ended up playing 1000 concerts, several tours, I played on more than 100 records and done hundreds of sessions in the studio. I also did a bunch of drum clinics and taught privately and in music schools to more than 300 students.
I consider myself extremely privileged to have lived so many beautiful experiences thanks to music. Teaching a lot, and spending time with students who encountered the same difficulties that I had to overcome, I realized that the synthesis of ideas, concepts, principles, systems and techniques which I had accumulated over the years (not always directly related to drumming), had enormous potential. I was able to help my students avoid all the mistakes I had made and had to overcome. Over time, in a completely spontaneous way, I have developed strategies and approaches that I have regularly seen give great benefits to students of all ages and levels.
Transparency is important to me: one thing that studying drums teaches you, and that I want you to understand right away, is that there are no universal answers. There are indications and principles, but the specific answers that are good for you…well, you have to figure them out for yourself. That’s why the best advice I can give you is to try different approaches and cross reference as many sources as possible.
There are no shortcuts either. Even if you understand the most effective techniques, the speed at which you learn depends on the quality but also on the quantity of time and energy you invest.
However, there are countless resources that can optimize your path. And many are out there, available. Today with the Internet there is such a wealth of information that nothing is out of reach. Just type stuff on a search engine and see the results. But the problem is exactly that. Information has a limit: it’s not knowledge. Organized information is knowledge. Unorganized information is often confusing, misleading, contradictory, and ends up in vicious circles where one only gets more clueless. Sometimes it can be discouraging, and this is the downside of that wonderful tool that is the Internet.
That’s where Confident Drummer can be a very valuable resource. About ten years ago I did a little experiment and published a couple of online methods, which did very well, although I had made a few mistakes along the way. That experience taught me how to organize the knowledge, experience and wisdom gained in over two decades of hard work, and the best ways to summarize it and make it so accessible that anybody can find the answers he or she is looking for, saving years of time. Based on the feedback I got, a few years ago I decided to take it to the next level and commit my energies to creating quality content, to contribute to the drummer community. This is how the Confident Drummer project was born.
Obviously, I’m not the only one who knows the things that appear in my methods. There are many great drummers who use exactly these concepts and techniques. But not many of them are able to decipher things in terms that are accessible to everybody: all the insights they have had and how they do what they do. And even fewer had the chance to spend years to organize and publish everything.
For instance, let’s take the topic of gospel chops and fast complex phrasing. 10 years ago I was stunned by the fact that no one had ever written a detailed method on the subject, on what drum chops are and how to study them, in a clear, progressive, complete volume. It’s been 10 years and it still doesn’t exist! Yet it’s one of the hottest topics among drummers. As I said before, of course there are countless videos that explain specific licks: on one website you find a transcription, somewhere else a page of exercises. There are hundreds of drummers who play them incredibly well. But there is no exhaustive method that takes you from the basic stuff to the most advanced chops. So I decided to put it on the list of things that had to be done.
An important element to consider is the format in which this knowledge is organized. One of the fundamental principles in which I strongly believe is that of going deep. That’s the way to excellence in my opinion. To become great at what we do, it’s better to focus on just one thing, until complete mastery and understanding. For this reason I believe that the method book (ebook in this case), is still the most valid solution.
Because a book is a complete work dedicated to exploring one topic, and goes into the details, one page at the time. Because completing a drum method leaves you something, takes you on a path, transforms you, makes you an expert, explains each element, allows you to get clear on all the details. And that is impossible to do by checking out some videos or a bunch of online lessons here and there. When you’ve finished a drum book, you’re sure to be better than before you started studying it.
Monthly subscriptions seem to be the most used solution today. The way I see it, they are a modern day marketing formula that contributes to the culture of debt. But that’s a topic for another discussion…
What’s relevant here is that the limitation of this approach is that it leads to the same confusing feeling of the whole web. You get to have access to all the content of a whole portal. And then what? Drummers looking for answers need a guide, not to be overwhelmed with information.
As I said in the title, my mission is to help you become a more confident drummer. And what is the key to confidence? Competence. The more you know, the more capable you feel, because you know what to do. My passion and mission is also to give you all the tools required to become a musician who plays drums. What does it mean? It means that the drums are such an powerful, physical, dominant instrument that they can very easily become a way to show off. We all know drummers who have lost sight of the fact that the reason they are hitting things is to create art and music. I totally love speed and complexity, but a musician who plays drums knows when, how, and whether or not using these tools.
In my opinion, in order to be musicians who play drums we have to work on two fronts. Internal and external. On the one hand we have to work on our personal development, so that we can be not only better musicians but better people, more and more evolved and more mature, because we inevitably play what we are. On the other hand we need to have all the tools to express our inner world by relating to others, knowing how music works, understanding the music business and all the aspects that come into play. Because music is not created alone but with other people. And it needs confident, determined, aware drummers with a great personality, who know how to express themselves freely and effectively.
Finally, this is my purpose. To make all of this available to you. To give you the tools to help you become a musician who plays the drums, with confidence. First and foremost with a great deal of freely accessible materials.
Confident Drummer is a place where I’d like you to find quality drumming knowledge. And where I hope you will get the answers, the solutions and the inspiration that will lead you to play with all the passion you are capable of. The same that I put in creating these contents.
Thank you for your time, and remember: music needs your voice. Don’t leave it unexpressed.