> > > How To Become a Great Session Drummer?

Jonathan Ulman gives you very useful tips!

Music business is a constant war. War for the workplaces, war for getting noticed, and finally war for yourself, for being the best you probably can. Sometimes life is just hard. Workplaces are often occupied by oldest and more experienced drummers, especially now it’s really hard to get yourself noticed, and longtime practice not always pays off. Jonathan Ulman, one of the NY’s most wanted session drummers tells you how it is, and gives you a piece of advice: why don’t you become a session drummer? Learn few things, which will make you a better person, and let people recognize you! Jonathan is so busy musicwise, because he holds up to three major rules: he is nice to people, and doesn’t cause any problems, he got his own killer sound and great drums to play and he knows how to work under a pressure.

Jonathan Ulman Ludwig

During his recent talk with musicradar.com, Jonathan spoke about many ways to become the best you possibly can. He made a list, which we want to proudly present to you. Here is some of them:

  1. Be your own biggest fan!

“Not in an egotistical way, but realise that being confident in your own product is going to give your client confidence in you. Understand what makes you unique versus just another player out there doing the same thing. Whether it’s a style, a look, an idea, bringing something different to the table not only helps make you more memorable to others, it will set you apart.”

2. Market yourself!

“Understanding the consumer and the marketplace both locally and on a national level is important. When marketing, promoting and networking it’s about finding a balance between being overly pushy and just being thoughtfully persistent. This is essential to building relationships and maintaining them.”

3. Master the hurdle!

“I spent the majority of the first three years [as a professional] taking any and all gigs, paid or unpaid. The more that people know what you do the better. I would make lists of who I could entice or who I could bring my name to. I got involved in studio situations right off the bat.

“I knew a lot of producers because I’d worked with them doing my own records. Not all bands have a drummer who can work quickly in the studio, can work with a click track. When money’s on the table and you want to get your record done, six songs a day over a weekend, it’s easier to pay somebody to come in and do it quickly and not have any drama associated with it.”

4. Plant seeds everywhere

“You can’t just be this guy that’ll play on a record, or this guy that’s available for shows. You have to plant seeds in multiple areas and nurture them and let them grow on their own. I go to studios and tell them what I do, that I’ve worked with these engineers; all of a sudden I’m on their radar.”

5. Never underestimate word of mouth!

“[Word of mouth] is the single most effective and vital way of bringing in more work and maintaining it. Try to work with as many people as possible but also build and grow relationships with a core group of people who can help get you more repeat gigs.

“Find a means to bring something to the table that benefits them, and in turn hopefully their recommendations of you as a player will grow organically. If a studio session goes well with an artist, take the opportunity to mention that you are available to play live with them in support of their record.”

6. Earn your endorsements!

“It’s a very small industry. You can’t send a blanket email to Pearl, Tama, Ludwig, Sonor and say, ‘Hey I’ve been using your products my whole life.’ They’re gonna talk.

“When I was [exploring endorsements] I already had all my equipment and I’d been using it for years. I wasn’t looking for free products. My conversation with them was, ‘I really would love to be a part of your family, here’s what I’m doing. I’m not looking to get endorsements with other companies, but I’d like to start the conversation with you.’

“I had three or four conversations with Zildjian [Jonathan also uses Ludwig, Evans, Vic Firth and Protection Racket] and I still have all my rejection letters from them. I would say, ‘Here’s where I am,’ and they would say they weren’t interested.

“I made a note in my calendar to contact them in another six months, but also to do something different in that period – add more shows, play with higher-visibility artists. I did that for three or four years until one day they liked what I was doing enough to start the relationship together.”

For more useful tips check out the source, and keep all these words in mind. It might help you one day! If you have your own tips feel free to comment!