Good Drummer vs. Bad Drummer

We’ve all seen these 2 personality types in percussion/band/corps; the great player that thinks they know almost everything and the mediocre player that hangs onto every word of instruction.  Both can be assets to the program, but only one can truly have longevity and be successful in a highly competitive or professional environment. 2967791-2258864937_sm_1400876154_sm_14008761541

Student A; they’re a great player (or really have the potential to be), ego usually helps drive their progression in the program and they really like leadership roles/being in the spotlight.  A bit of ego can be good, as you need a high level of confidence for this activity, but when ego drives you, bad things can happen.  Speaking out of anger is a common mistake with students like this.  It ultimately turns the line off to your leadership and shows your instructors that you don’t have the most solid decision-making skills.  While Student A may not act this way at all times, the times he/she does can make a huge impact on the overall attitude in the program, creating problems for the future that he/she may not ever see.  This is not the student that is successful in the activity later down the road.

Student B; usually softer spoken in the beginning.  This student initially may not seem like they have much potential, but they really do and it will eventually show.  This student is hungry for knowledge, secretly soaking in every word of instruction during rehearsal.  Soon they begin to showcase solid (not great) skill sets.  Once this happens, respect will most certainly drive their progression through the remainder of the program.  Other students will respect them, creating a built confidence (instead of a false confidence) that will allow them to advance their skills even farther.  This student will come to understand that things are earned in this activity, not taken.  If he/she so chooses, their talents and skills will help them go far in the percussion world.

Both of these are very broad, general characterizations.  Of course many people are a mixture of both in some way, and there is a much wider variety of personalities to be seen on a drumline.   But how are you viewed?  Which of these would your classmates/instructors more closely relate you to?  If you said Student B, you are on the right track.  If you said Student A, now is the time to take a step back and think about how your words/actions influence the group.  Playing well isn’t everything.  In fact it’s not even the most important thing; how you work with your team is!

Instructors, you must be patient.  It is possible for Student A to become Student B.  You can’t force this to happen but you can help it by creating a personal-type bond with the kids (letting them know they can trust you), continuing to teach the correct things, holding the group to a standard no matter what, and being transparent (in a professional way).  Of course there are some children that won’t change or even try.  But if you continue to promote these values over the years, you will start to see more Student Bs in your program.  You must understand that it’s not an overnight process.  Once again, patience is key.

As a percussion community, we should all strive to be better than we were yesterday.  That is the only way to draw more in and keep our world spinning.  THAT is how you are able to leave behind a more wonderful legacy!

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