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GOING ON THE ROAD - Drum Solo Artist

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IBJAMN in Nashville

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« on: May 01, 2011, 02:30:54 PM »

If you play drums professionally, there is likely to be an opportunity to go “on the road.”  The purpose of this thread is to offer some advice in preparing for “road work” and to encourage other veterans to offer some helpful comments about this topic.  If you are hired, then you have already impressed the right people with your drumming skills.  I have already written blogs here on DSA about markings for a repeatable set-up, and a drummer emergency kit.  So this is supplementary thoughts to those existing blogs.

Since you are going to be heard by people in so many different situations and future situations; the wise objectives now would be to:
•   Learn the tunes to be performed until you can do them in your sleep.
•   Make friendly connections with other performers and players for future networking.
•   Do the best job you can on stage, regardless of the circumstances, so you will get good references in the future.
•   Show a cooperative attitude to the bandleader and demonstrate professionalism.
•   Look enthusiastic on stage without trying to upstage the “stars” you are supporting.
•   Consider this a step towards then next opportunity, and therefore a valid investment of your time, energy, and focus.

On the road you need a balance of good nutrition, exercise, and rest.  It may take new disciple for you to do this.  It is easy to get caught up into consuming junk food meals, so choose what you eat carefully.  Too much junk food and empty calories can cause weight gain, vitamin and nutrient deficits, and even constipation.  Monitor you caloric intake vs. activity levels before the next meal. Also, if you have to drink V-8’s to get your daily requirement of veggies….then do it.  Cheesy

If you are prone to allergies, colds, headaches, nausea, etc., then pack remedies with your toiletries.  Multi-vitamins are also a good consideration.  Waterless hand cleaner has also proven to be very useful while traveling.  A spray application to prevent athletes foot is also something to consider.

There is absolutely nothing cool about drugs and alchol addiction. I, like many band leaders today, don't tolerate it at all.  A clean mind, body, and lifestyle provide a much better future for a serious musician.

Develop an exercise routine that works for the schedule.  I’ve found that after the sound check there is usually  time to do some, before showering and dressing for the performance.

REST.  Kiss
It is often temping to get caught up in a “rock star” party mentality.  Just being on the road can be hard on your body.  Insufficient rest time will lead to exhaustion and affect your ability to perform your best on stage.

There will usually be significant travel time.  Carry your laptop.  Read something informative.  Learn something…..a language, Photoshop, recording techniques, the Nashville number system….something that requires dedicated time that you might not have if you were home.  I’ve seen guys waste way too much time on video games, when they could have been using that same time to learn something that would be of tangible value…..and maybe even give them a competitive edge in future endeavors.  Knowledge of something that not just anybody can do is very powerful.  Actually, once you train yourself to absorb new knowledge, it gets easier to learn more and more.

With just a practice pad and sticks you can work on improving your single stroke rolls, as well as new hand/foot patterns.  You can work out any pattern that needs improvement.

Take time each morning to meditate or spiritually prepare yourself for the challenges of the day.  It’s a very personal disciple, but it can have significant value for your personal well-being and balance.

I have already referenced my blog regarding ideas for a drummer emergency kit. So these are additional thoughts.

With today’s internet access, you can get pretty much anything shipped to you within a few days.  So you don’t need an overwhelming inventory of parts, for the road like what may have been required back even 15 years ago.  An adequate supply of sticks and heads, for immediate use (a music store will usually be closed when you need it) commemorate with your playing style.
Take a spare snare drum and bass drum pedal, an extra set of snares, and a roll of gaffers tape.
If you are brutal on bass drum pedal beaters, straps, springs, etc. take spares.
Take some spare cymbal felts, wing nuts, and a couple of tension rods for each drum, several drum keys and an extra hi hat clutch.
Take band aides, sized to stay on, for any parts of your hands that are prone to blister.  Believe it or not, I never have this problem, but I have been around so many drummers that do experience this.
Take extra batteries for your click, music stand light or other on-stage devices.
Take a small note pad and sharpie (because things written with it are easily visible on stage) for performance notes or tempo references, etc.

I hope this helped some of you. Some other readers will, without a doubt, offer some more suggestions

Ken Sanders
IBJAMN in Nashvile, TN
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