By Johanne James

Hello there, my friends

Masterclass drumming
If you have ever been to a so-called drum clinic then you know what to expect. Trust me, there are so many absolutely masterful drummers out there, sharing their knowledge on YouTube, that there is no need to attend any of these exhibitions, as you can now watch them from the comfort of your drum stool and without having to pay the rather large fee that most are now asking for. Plus you can always rewind what you may have missed first time round.

Anyway, I went to see Simon Phillips, Les De Merle, Wes Watkins, Jo Jo Mayer and a host of others, wanting to learn what they know and more. It’s usually a case of wanting to be impressed as so many times I’ve heard, “Oh I can do that”. There is a touch of ego and insecurity involved here, as we all want to be best and to be admired and slapped on the back “Oh you’re such a good drummer”. Thank you. There is so much to learn and no one but God knows it all and he’s keeping his secrets to himself! I dare say I don’t blame him! It’s so much easier to understand when watching someone do what you thought was impossible, not only possible but doable. The beauty is that when you have learned what is possible a whole new world opens up and you realise that the universe is eternal and you’ll need more than 100 lifetimes to even scratch the surface.

Whoever your favourite drummer is, ask yourself what defines a masterclass?
What defines a great drummer or musician, or in fact anyone who has mastered their art? No matter what it is, isn’t it great to observe someone who has a gift for whatever it is they’re doing? You can watch them all day long, but what defines talent? I’m not sure you can put your finger on it, for if you could you would be a very wealthy individual indeed, for you could then place it in a bottle and sell it at your local supermarket. What is it that gives a person ability to do what you can’t? I can only say that one should attempt to be the best that they can be, for no matter who you are, there is always someone who will know more and that we should learn from those who do. I love playing drums and I have now been doing so for more years than I care to remember and every time I learn something new I say to myself, wow, I’m beginning to make progress. I still practice many hours a week, mentally and physically, as they are as important as each other. Tell you what, if I stick at this, I might even be good one day.

Thanks for listening and to all you masters out there, thanks for the experience, the memories and the lesson.

Johanne James


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