Working on your own. The best way to go.

work aloneI have been a drummer my entire life. I was born with the talent. What ever you end up doing involving the arts, I figure, you’re born with. Musician, artist, actor, actress, etc. Given, I had to develop it, but it came ‘naturally.’ I never have had to try to play music. I have never had any backing, but that has never discouraged me. I did, however, take a break for a bunch of years to deal with a few personal issues, but I am back in the pool again, and it’s just as tough now as it was then to get ‘in the door.’

It has never been anything that has scared me, or caused me to abandon hope, but I have never been very trusting of people. I’ve seen people take advantage of others when their backs are turned, and then they lie and say they would never do such a thing. Of course, I would never trust them with anything more than a nickel. Sounds fair to me.

I’ve recently considered starting my own music project, or ‘band’ as it is normally understood to be. I never have been the innovator of such a thing, I have always been hired. Because of that, I attempt to advance the band from within and things go south. Laziness, more than any other issue, seems to be the problem. If guys are expected to work to get ahead, they feel like they are being treated unfairly. If they are expected to lend a hand, or actually produce they think too much is being asked of them. “Hey, this isn’t supposed to be work. I just want to have fun.” Then you should sell your instrument and give everyone else a break or just play at your own family parties or alone in the basement. Heaven knows sweating is out of the plan. BTW, when is your new CD being released? If ‘just wanting to have fun’ is your only reason for playing your instrument, you are probably holding other members back unless that was the initial intent.

If you really want to get anything out of a plan that you hope works or pans out, you have to get wet, get dirty up to your elbows and knee-deep in the trenches. It’s not going to walk up to you and slap you in the head and then wait for you to wise up. It isn’t. I have never gotten what I have easily. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t accept gifts. It means that I did work for it. The very few gifts were given to me because I was appreciated. I saw what there was around me to work with and used it to my advantage and to the mercy of my wisdom. Nothing worth keeping ever comes easy.

So, does this post mean to tell you that no one is as good as you are? No. Not even close.

Does this post intend to make the point that no one else can be trusted? No, however, it does intend to tell you that everyone you work with needs to prove that they CAN be trusted just by working as hard as they can while they are there to rehearse. Running off to smoke a cigarette, talk on the phone, tell jokes, run to the store for more beer doesn’t get the job done. If you want to get the best out of what you do, you need to give your best to what you do. Good in, good out. Every time.

Now, having said these things, it should be obvious why working on your own is absolutely where you should start. After years of trusting others, you may find yourself back at that place. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good people out there that are willing to help. Producers, directors, writers. But that’s what they do. Musicians need those people, but in the private realm you are most often on your own regardless of who is around you.

What has spawned my thinking on this idea?

Ok then, stay with me here.

As a young boy, I was the oldest son in a broken family. I’m not going to go deep into that, but I’ll say that I was left on my own quite often. There were relatives who were closer and more helpful than my parents were, and through all of that, I never knew what was next. So, my point is that I learned to be more motivated than those around me. To adhere to what and who got me moving sooner and further, and yes, you guessed it, that person was me.

Of course, as we age, we become much more dependent upon doing things for ourselves, but occasionally a situation arises that you want to be a part of. You know that you would love to have someone put a word in for you, but who? When you find yourself in such a situation, fall back on what you know works. Working for yourself. Friends are called friends for a reason. They are friends. They are not relatives or employers. Let them do what friends do. Let them be friends. I never started playing music because I was lonely. I started playing music because I was moved by music. Making friends was never the goal. As I often say, “It’s about the music.”

If that position you want is really appealing to you, or you want to be in that seat really badly, do what you know. Work for yourself. If you see that there is nothing you can do to make it happen, move on. It’s not the end of the world. There will be another opportunity sooner or later, maybe better, maybe not, but don’t stop moving. Push ahead, get busy and forget the past.

Working for yourself will certainly let those around you know that you are motivated, dependable and responsible.

Just get it done
Kelly J.


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