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   Among professional musicians the issue of versatility comes up quite often. Especially for freelance musicians, knowing many styles and being able to handle a greater range of requests seems to be the main way to access a potentially greater number of job opportunities.

   While this is true, there is a more important, profound, and noble reason for studying many genres and striving for greater versatility.

   This reason can be summed up in a single word: culture.

   If art is beauty, and if the manifestation of beauty happens through the means and abilities we have at our disposal to express ourselves, then studying the different languages of drumming in depth, understanding every facet and broadening our horizons, can only help make us musicians, artists and drummers of greater substance, with more things to say and with a greater likelihood of creating something remarkable.

   It’s exactly thanks to a path like this that every aspect of culture expands, is transmitted, is enriched and gives meaning to human activities.

   As for us drummer, by applying its principles to music, we simply produce results in ways that, by making us more versatile, are good for us, for our art and for those who listen to us.

   Another important distinction is that being versatile does not necessarily mean playing in multiple bands many different genres.

   It can mean, much more simply, that the influence due to the in-depth study of a genre that perhaps we never actually play, allows us to positively contaminate and color in new and exciting ways something that no one has ever played like that before.

   Anyone with a bit of experience knows how fundamental it is, both in a band and in the recording studio, to be able to produce ideas, solutions and suggestions that are often far from complex, but which are based on the vastness of one’s knowledge.

   At the beginning it will probably take some struggle to become acquainted with a genre unknown to us. It’s like developing taste for food.

   Those who have only ever eaten a handful of dishes are convinced that there can be no other recipes capable of giving the same satisfaction or exceeding that pleasure.

   Once we begin to develop a broader taste, in music as well as for food, then we become aware of the narrowness of the old approach, and we begin to become omnivore and cultivate the desire to try new flavors and experiences, by listening to and playing different things that enrich us on multiple levels and make us more complete persons and musicians.

   This, by the way, is true across a multitude of life experiences, so literally not only studying and experimenting with different genres but also traveling, reading and meeting new people, somehow increases our musical culture and consequently our versatility.

   In summary, being versatile guarantees the following advantages:

  • As said above, broader culture and greater contribution to the art of music making.
  • A richer personal style. If we dedicate ourselves to Jazz for a while, even if we don’t perform it in a band the hours of practice and study will emerge in renewed ways of playing, although perhaps only noticeable in tiny nuances and in the sophistication of our voice.
    Everything we have studied comes out even if we don’t play it explicitly. It’s inevitable.
  • More job opportunities. Being able to meet a wider range of demands will naturally make us more sought after musicians. Also, since the music business is made up of so many separate and parallel circuits, being versatile will grant us access to more networks and environments.
  • Greater freedom of expression. Just as an eloquent person is able to express their thoughts with greater clarity, precision and ease, studying different languages puts us in a position to never be left with nothing to say and no solutions available.
    With the consequent side effect of far greater satisfaction.

   Related resources:
‘Essential Styles – Expanding Your Versatility On The Drums’
Improvisation – 1 Minute Drum Solos in 11 Different Styles
Drumming Career – Tips and Inspiration



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