Percussionists are just cool dudes. No other set of musicians is as easy-going and brotherly. Everywhere I go, no matter how well-known or unknown the player, percussionists just get along. Yesterday’s Kentucky Chapter Day of Percussion event proved this to be true once again.
As Phil Jackson admits in his enlightening book on leadership in the game of basketball, Eleven Rings,“, the greats come preloaded with huge egos and must be taught to work together – as a cohesive group and not a group of individuals – to be successful on the court. As musicians, we get it. For any ensemble to be successful, we must “play well with others.” We listen, look, give, and take all in an effort to be “one.” It comes naturally to musicians in the ensemble setting, but this ability to cooperate goes much beyond the rehearsal or performance hall.
Hanging out yesterday with Hollywood television and film musicians, professional teachers, and professional orchestra players – positions we all revere because of the size audience they reach and their stages – was such an approachable and easy experience. Conversation was personal and inviting, directed toward their interests as well as my own. Questions were met with kind and polite replies. And let’s face it. If you’re not cool, you don’t get gigs. It’s easy to be intimidated by those who possess such raw and impressive talent. But with percussionists, personalities are rarely tainted by the success of players. Sure we all have a little ego. We have to if we’re going to stand onstage and tell the audience a story. But it’s all in how we deal with it. This is what makes us cool dudes.