Who I am & Determining Goals


The Working Musician Playbook


Lesson Info

Who I am & Determining Goals

Briefly, a lot of people do know who I am, but I thought it would be kind of cool. Um, just kind of tell my story quickly. Um, I don't think it's that amazing, but for those that don't know me, I figure to be cool to just give a little back a little bit of background. You don't mind, I'll sit down, tell some stories. So, as I mentioned, you know, I started playing drums at a very, very young age. Um, I was literally hitting pots and pans. I remember one of my earliest memories is being in my grandmother's kitchen and pulling out all these pots and pans and one of the sink and just like beating on them with, like, spatulas and stuff like that and breaking spatulas. How did that, like three years old? So my parents got me these like, do you remember the muppet babies? So, like, I think, like macy's or some store sold these muppet baby like printed image drum sets that, like with the drum heads, are made of paper, you know? And I had those that was my first kid. I broke the heads like wit...

hin the first year and was just playing really hard and just demolish them so eventually, when my parents saw that I was taking it seriously without even really knowing that I was taking it seriously they were like all right let's let's get this kid some real drums so I got my first drum set around the age of four or five I think and I just started there and I was really lucky to have some immediate people you know, there were friends of my family friends my dad that worked for my dad actually who played drums who liked me for whatever reason I was a brat when I was a kid uh who came and they gave me drum lessons and I have no idea what my dad was paying them at the time so I was like, completely unaware that that was even if they thought he was just coming over to help but this guy billy came over started teaching me lessons and I started with rudiments of starting with the basics um, you know learned about time signatures I remember him sitting me down and talking about a pizza you know and you can divide a pizza in the certain pieces and you know, like four four is like having for different pieces of pizza or three for just all the different ways you could use a pizza or a pi tau learn about time signatures so I had I was really lucky to have that foundation when I started and then I graduated from teacher to teacher and you know I worked on learning songs you know and I had one teacher who I don't know if any of you guys are fans of the band queens reich but way back in the day they had me learn this album called operation mind crime bye queens right from start to finish got to play it verbatim I mean we're talking about really young doing this stuff you know um but it was a great experience for me because it taught me how to listen for the music not just focus on the drums on dh I think that that experience has helped me along the way being a studio musician being a touring session guide certain points in my career learning music for other people you know it's like if you have that ability from a young age is important so I was lucky enough to have that and then I graduated further and I started getting into more complex styles of music jazz fusion funk getting into soloing and doing all sorts of stuff and you know I was remember in fourth grade I do the talent show is the first time I ever really played out like in front of people and I had my little dinky red drum set that I was playing and um it was a cool experience I went up there and I like play like a rendition of like wipeout or something with you know with it with my drums and made it made it cool at the time was pride terrible but you know I did that kind of stuff oh and I'm sure you guys can relate to that you know, starting whether it's doing acting from a young age or performing from young age you know, just in school variety shows talent shows I was jamming with friends at summer camp you know, people that happen to play guitar played bass or they say and we would form bands and we do the variety shows every summer just it was very fun no pressure no stress as a lot of things aren't that that age on and that's really how I started and then I got into through some other friends of mine family friends playing in the studio had some opportunities to go on record where I guess the people couldn't didn't have a budget to hire a real drummer so they hired me and you know, I went in I had early studio experience which was great because I had these producers that you know, the pretty rigid guys sometime and they're like hit harder you're speeding up you're slowing down play here's a metro you know that is played to a click you know? So I had that from a young age and it just sort of helped shape what I was doing and then towards like in the middle school high school I started playing with my friend's in a specific band that I was in for a long time called spin fire. Some people we know that online, I don't know, but I was in a band with some great friends of mine. We played all throughout high school, I did tons of shows locally, we did tons of shows, kind of regionally, we would go on the weekends and travel to jersey. We tried, I'm from baltimore, so we would travel up the jersey, we travel to new york city or we travel little bit south and just kind of getting the experience of getting in a moving vehicle and going somewhere to play shows, you know, and one of the things real quick funny story is one of our first shows at the time. I mean, you see, this is a very stripped down drum set, but when I was younger, I had this gigantic monstrosity three toms up front, three floor times like thirteen thousand symbols, and I get to this gig, we're like the opening band out of, like, four other bands, and I'm like logging this gigantic kid on stage, and the bands were like, they're staring at me and the sound guys like, are you kidding me? That was a good learning experience, too is kind of like less is more and that applies to lots of stuff but you know that sort of is the reason why I start playing much smaller kid and cutting out what I don't need and just focusing on the necessity that's another thing that we should talk about in regards to everything else we will talk about but you know at some point within that process of playing these bands you know you learn about the struggle so to speak you know how do we get gigs how do we take the next level how do we get signed? We were showcasing for record labels thinking that every night do we showcase it was gonna we're gonna get a record deal you know, we would go to new york city and showcase in a weird a rehearsal studio in front of a line of executives that were just like, you know like watching us to see if we're marketable now I look att I looked back and I say oh, I know what they were looking for their looking how we look how we acted if they could package us we thought at the time it was just about how good we played and yeah, we had to play tight but it wasn't about that it was the can we make this into a product that we can sell and I wasn't really aware of how it worked back then so I think we as abandoned as individual somewhat struggled because we wanted all these things to happen but they weren't happening at the pace we wanted to we were just you know, the patient's thing was was a pain in the butt and feeling entitled was something that that I think we felt it at the time and you just learn to get past it. So anyway, so at that time I also started teaching a little bit of drums here in their family friends mind their kids you know, I was just kind of winging it based off what I knew and I had a really a really big passion for teaching I really liked being able to see someone who didn't know how to do something be able to then do it after I show them how it's a very gratifying experience and I know some of you guys teach so I'm sure you can relate to that you know when you see someone get it it's just like yes got it they're going to be okay go go forth into the world and do your thing you know it's it's very cool to see that so that was something that I started at a very young age that I've built so much of what I do off of that you know? But you know look, I went to school, I went to college, I went for public relations and public speaking, which is probably paying off a little bit now but my parents will be happy to know that um but you know, college was something that I did because at the time I wanted to still have a band with with guys that were local and I didn't want to just go work I had the opportunity go to school so I figured I'd go and I'd get you know, my education and I did that I've done other sorts of weird things like I got my real estate license out of high school both my parents are real estate agent so you know, they were sort of saying, hey, you know, you should do this it's always a great back up and I think since I've let my licensed like expire only kid, you have to go back through the process now um but I've always been surrounded by a very business focus or business savvy family my grandfather was a property manager and owned a bunch of real estate was always in real estate. My my dad was a pharmacist and a real estate agent. My mom is a real estate agent everybody close to me own their own business or howto had this business experience, so I grew up hearing about all these terms I didn't understand when I was younger but now it's like I'm so thankful because it helped me be able to start my own business one day just based off of a little bit of experience and then a lot of hard work and a lot of learning myself but I had that foundation because of my family um and you know I kind of getting to where I am now it's you know, I played a lot of gigs locally throughout school I did the you know, the working musician thing playing like three or four nights a week at different bars I was playing gem bay some nights I was playing drum set some nights I was singing backups and playing stuff certain nights that was an awesome experience because I was always in front of different people I was always in a different place and when you're in those situations you really learn how to become a performer because most of time when you're in that type of setting the people that are attending are not there to be entertained there to hang out with their friends were there to drink beer or whatever it is and if you could engage them and pull them in then you've done a great job and it shows that you have succeeded you know as a bad ass so to speak on your instrument with your band and that was a great lesson for me you know and I really worked on performing through that period of my life and just getting better at being a better performer and were committed to what I was doing and then eventually I started touring with with with different banzai played in a bunch of different groups and eventually got tow the band I'm in now which is a band called periphery and we started touring heavily in two thousand nine and we've been on the road anywhere between six to eight months out of the year since then you know every year so I've had a great, very lucky experience of seeing different parts of the world granted I most of the time just see like the inside of a bus or a plane and a hotel and a venue sometimes a restaurant here there sometimes I'll explore but I've gotten to go a lot of places and I've gotten to know what it's like to go through customs and a lot of different airports which is always a fun thing but you know I've been ableto take you know what I started with the young ages as a hobby and and get it to a point where I'm actually able to make a living just doing music and I want to make a point to say that it's not just because of the band it's because of everything that I'm doing you know I teach I do clinics I do the band thing I have my own company that's based around music and I'll talk about that for sure it's called band happy I'll tell you guys about what that is and how it works but but everything that I do, I've sort of been able to figure out howto tie my interest in music to a career in business and as I mentioned before, I'm by no means at a point where I've achieved everything I want to achieve, I have way more to achieve then what I have achieved so far, but I think I've learned how to celebrate the small victories and look back and as I tell stories like this and give you guys my background, it's pretty cool to think about, you know, I can see where the experiences I had really benefit me now, where at the time, I was just kind of like wanting something more, but now, looking back, those little experiences and the journey I was on, really what I can help all of us move forward in our current position, you know? But you have to look at it that way, and you have to think about what you've done before and how it can benefit you and help you get to the next step because a lot of times we hold the keys ourselves based on the experiences we have if we are committed to it, you know? So aside from that, just kind of, you know, you know, I'm very tight with my family, I've always had been very lucky to have supportive parents who have always been there to push me further and to let me do what I'm doing and they've seen you go through a very frustrating times and very trying times with this stuff where I wanted to be doing something that I wasn't able to do or you know even now like with my business or so many goals is a company that we have it's a struggle and they see how much hard work I put in on a daily basis and they're supportive and that's amazing if I didn't have that you know I don't know how how it would be but I'm sure it would be a lot different you know? I'm sure it would be harder so I'm very lucky there and I have great friends who have supported me you know it's very cool to go on tour for eight months out of the air and come back and still have my a core group of friends at home who are arms open welcoming I could just be myself and not have to be the guy in the band just be matt you know which is really cool and it's nice to have that outlet I think we all need to have that very safe outlet sometimes to you know, to go along with the balance thing you know and probably the thing that has to find a lot of who I am in the past bunch of years is having my dogs and I know that's funny, but you know when I am burnout from work when I get back from tour that's what I look forward to spending time with my dogs just going on a hike or doing something simple like that and if anybody follows me on instagram, then you've seen how big my dog charlie is he's like one hundred twenty pounds and these awesome but anyway that's been something that has been such a great experience because if I think about it, you know when you get a dog, it shouldn't be okay, I got this pad I'm gonna pet him here and there and leave him in the house you have your responsibility for a life now it's it's almost like having a kid, I don't have any kids but that's what it's like, you know you have this animal that needs to be taken care of that can't do the things that we do, so for me it was a huge growing up experience when I got that dog it was it was like going from okay, a partying musician who lives in a band house and doesn't have a schedule to got to be up to let the dog out gotta feed the dog got to train the dog it was a big dog, so I knew that if I didn't train him, that could be trouble it just got me on a schedule and I'm not saying that you guys should all do that but I am saying that for me that was a fantastic experience that helps sort of make me get serious a little bit more about life and howto you know look at what I was doing more seriously and say should I be doing this or should I not be doing this and you know it's just it added some more responsibility to my life that I'd never felt before now I'm so glad that I did so it's kind of like I would assume it's like a father who who has a kid and he's like it's life changing you have no idea until you do it I've never done it but for me having my dog with such a life changing experience for really getting me focus on my goals so I don't know if you can relate to that or not but for me that's just the honest truth so that being said I want to ask you guys a question I kind of want to go around if we can um what are your goals? I mean, we've we've gotten a little bit of that you know, from the intro but I feel like I'm being really honest and really straightforward up here and I want you guys to be that way if you can to it it's like if you could picture yourself really achieving everything that you want to achieve, at least in the next bunch of years, you know what? What are your goals? You know, so I'll start like, for me, I really would love to be in a band that, you know, continues to inspire a lot of people and gets to a point where our music is helping people. We've I've had so many people say to me, your music, like stop me from doing something bad. I gotta go tell me that it stopped him from wanting to kill himself because you listened to the words of one of the songs of my singer wrote, and that changed everything. That is why, aside from liking playing drums, that's, why you get to a point in music why we continue to do it because we have connected with an audience and we have inspired people and we've helped people and that to me helping others, and I'll talk about that further. But helping others is should be the root of everything we do. You know, we're only only live one life let's. Help each other have a better life, and music can do that. Music is one of those things that just does that it's been doing that for years. It's the universal language as cheesy as that is it's true and through music, you can communicate with people that don't even speak your language, and you, khun, make their lives better. So I want to get to a point where I can reach more people for that and with my business, you know, ban happy, what we do is we connect musicians and their fans through educational experiences, so to be music lessons, it could be clinics, it could be video chat like lessons or seminars things like that where people in bands that have, you know toward or have made it to some degree and their fans can actually connect on a much more riel and deeper level. And I've kind of been looking at what I'm doing now is that, like, I want to be able to connect with my fan base for those that are watching online, like, I don't know everybody, but hopefully you guys could get to know me a little bit better realize I'm just a normal guy who's just committed to what I do you know what I think? That's that's, the key of ban happier there, the core of it and what I want to do with that as faras goals is I want to connect as many people as possible so that the fans are really building much stronger relationships with their favorite artists and the artists can actually build a better relationship with their fans and look it's no secret that making a living as a musician is hard and through that relationship that ban happy can help create the fans have a way to actually monetarily support musicians and give them another revenue stream so that it really is helping everybody you know you can the fans can learn something and pay for that education from the people that directly inspire them and the people that inspire them I can build a stronger relationship which will better their band or the music or whatever it is they're trying to do and it puts a little bit of cash in their pocket to be able to not eat mcdonald's or whatever fast food that we eat on the road when we tour so I want to help as many people as I possibly can buy connection you know but we're by connecting musicians and their fans so that's my goal you know I just wantto doom or reach more people through what I'm doing and hopefully it helps so you guys don't mind I would love to hear what you like to do and then we'll get into some some ways to help with that so please yeah I mean I bought your mission is fantastic but it was really really inspiring I would love to be living what I call art life as soon as I can on the one hand you know, content creation I love the sort of system izing wake up and sit down and work right create laboratory kind of you know environment that you create for yourself that's really satisfying and then on the other hand of course is a performer I would love to be on stage and kind of dovetailing off what you were saying creating a positive feedback loop with an audience is really powerful experience and I would love tio yet a little bit more of that I came to seattle to get onstage more basically and so I would love to be having the experience not just of the satisfaction of creating something of your own I would love to write for other people more I'm a songwriter and so I would love to write not only for myself before their people and kind of see it come to life in ways that I didn't think of that's really exciting prospect to me on dh then you know, content creation in all kinds of ways not just again I'm not just in music better and sort of other avenue's is well yeah exactly so the process of creation in the process of performing I wantto marry those two things and just be um putting myself out there as much as I possibly can that's cool very cool um for me my goals have been to get my banned to a place where we can actually tour and afford to do that and have a successful tour I've never really done that with any of my music projects and that's a big thing for me I'm sure you'll talk about licensing but I definitely want to do more sync licensing with my music I feel like the biggest audience I've ever been able to open myself up to has been through licensing placements on dh through that it's been great tohave you know people from around the world you know like you said like e mailing you touching things like how it save their life and I've had messages like that and I that really keeps me going even though I'm broke and it's like trying to make this art you succeeded if you've done that yeah like doing on person doing that makes me feel wonderful so the more people that will hear it the more obviously a positive effect it will have and I really want to be ableto have that balance of doing what I love but not having to do something else just to support myself because I'm running myself ragged most of the time trying to just afford teo make art and it's worth it but it's really exhausting so that's my that's my goal hopefully we can help with that single that's great very, very cool um uh I think when I was ten or eleven years old I saw on mtv ah, blink when any two music video and ever since then all I've ever wanted to do is be essentially in a in a band um and that that hasn't changed pretty much at all I've always I've been in a a million bands some more serious than others, but it's always been, you know, a core group of friends who write and play music together and put out put out albums and tauron stuff like that it's always been kind of a dream and still is, you know, right now it's with my band that I'm with now and I don't know it hasn't gone away yet, so I'm just going to keep doing it until that happens, I guess and, you know, once once I feel like that that gets to a point where it's a little more successful and I can actually commit a lot of time to it, you know, like cease, um, you know, support from that, then you know, other things you know, like like producing and, like, you know, song writing and, you know, session's pretty much, you know, kind of expand as I go, but, um you know, being in a band and just that's kind of always been my what I want and kind of what you guys were talking about to um it is really nice when people have some nice things to say about your music and when they say like, stuff you weren't expecting, you know, like this song help me get through a rough time or something, you know, it actually it actually feels pretty cool you know? It is it is pretty sweet so that's obviously not the benefit of that um going through your list, I'm realizing how fortunate that I've been to achieve so many of those things and ah, so it's kind of ah interesting to put goals in front of myself all of a sudden because I realized I have achieved so many of my goals um because I have established relationships, I've had an incredible work ethic, I've been very able to communicate with my band members and I see the importance of all those things. So it's it's great, I just wanted to throw that out there and say this is going to be great for all you people watching like pay attention those things are essential to getting ahead I've actually been able teo tour up and down the west coast several times by myself I've been going over to europe a couple times a year and having successful tours there so I think one of my goals would be just to expand on that I'd like to get into australia, go to japan, I'd like to be able to tour more of those states, um and and continue tio do what I'm already achieving on on the level is a solo artist for my band the people now might really like the band to be able to connect with more people and tour more because the band itself is cause oriented where pretty much doing everything that we do for the most part, non profit and trying to donate two different charities and raise aware us and, um when I play with worrell, we have an agency take care of everything he's already an established artist, so it's, easy it's just taken care of for me, and I just have to show her play guitar but taking a brand new band that I've only I've been playing with for, like a year on dh trying to get it to that status, I realize, is probably one of my biggest goals right now is to move that project forward so that's, very that's, a really cool, cool kind of time together. It hasn't thank you, yeah, very cool for me, um, my original goals as ah. Working drummer was ultimately to get in a band and tour and get signed and do that whole thing but like as you guys were saying like everything changes so quickly especially in this industry that I started thinking ahead and that's one of the reasons I started my studio and started doing drum lessons because I figured even if I did go on tour you still come back home for you know, months at a time sometimes and it's like how are you going to make a living so um so now it's kind of that's being successful which is great but I'm still pursuing trying to be in a successful band you know and most importantly being influential like you actually have a name for myself as a drummer not just the drummer um because I know I know you work with j p but they um and I remember like years ago I was just pulling up videos on youtube and he popped up like in like a berkeley video or something where he was just setting and like that's the first time I kind of came across him and see where he is now is to see yeah and how he got grouped up with you guys and the way I heard of you was through mike johnson like just watching video so it's kind of funny how how you start to get like a feel for all these different musicians um that you would have never even heard of before, you know? And so I'm kind of to the point where like how do I make a name for myself or you know, so I guess that's my ultimate goal you guys really it seems like have a good handle on your goals but there's things that we need to do I think not need to but that we can do to make it a little bit more fun um and a little bit more creative and potentially allow us to focus just on the music or just on the art and not other things and you know, so it's a really smelly where we where we hone that focus and then how do we build around that? And, uh, you know, so that's that that's a point I wanna make here, but I actually want to do a little bit actually a little exercise with this white port with you guys um where I guess let me go back a second when I was sort of trying to work out what to do like I was I was living in california, I was doing some session work I wasn't really happy with that I wanted to play in a band, but I also had this idea for this band happy thing and it wasn't called that at the time, but that's what I wanted to do I had no clue how to get there solid red I was reading all these like self help books, business books and I came across this one exercise that I definitely did not create this exercise, but I but I used it and it was really helpful and it's it's literally something that we need to do to get ideas out of our heads onto paper and then look at them one paper and we can kind of see ways for us to develop ah career, so let me actually pull this whiteboard, so the idea is that we're going to create two different lists and then they're going to different to different kinds of listen at the end, we're going to connect the dots basically and create a final list, and I did this exercise when I was, uh, like I said, trying to figure what to do, so the first half of the list is you list things that you are good at, so hopefully you can read that what you're good at, I don't know that's getting listen up, we're gonna keep it that way. So what I wanna do is let's pretend that we're all one person, and we're going to create our own little career out of this thing based on what we're good at and then also all right in the greek used blue for the next side, what we I would like to do or things that were interested and that's on this side but let's start with what we're good at so give me one thing one thing that you are really good at so we'll start over here what's one thing that you're just like super good at um drumming okay perfect. That was my number one too okay johnny was a lie that performance okay for for me I guess base baseball yeah bassist here okay that's for guitar okay uh I'll say producing okay writing writing music a music and words okay so let's just call that writing for now okay? And I'm gonna add in here something that that you are you took drumming so I'm going to say um I'm going to say business because that's something I really feel like I've gotten good at that's a really kind of pompous thing to say I don't mean it that way but I like I just like business a lot so okay all right so here's a list of things pretend this is one person if one person wrote out all the things we're good at that's a pretty good list that's like pretty solid you know that's awesome that's a great start ok now let's do a list of things that we're really interested in or that we really like but maybe we haven't fully achieved and it doesn't even have to be necessarily in music so like for me when I started this exercise for myself business was actually one of those things I wanted to get better at so think about things that like you you want to achieve but maybe you haven't done yet so so we'll sort this I will go that way so like what's something that you're really interested in but you don't necessarily do every day but I would definitely say business like entrepreneurship from self promotion that kind of thing okay? Is there any specific area though like that that you're into like specific topics like some people like designed some people like music I mean I know you're a musician but is there anything specific you to get more specific about entrepreneurship? Um I didn't start there we could say well that's okay to start there I think we'll we'll keep moving and we'll think about it I'll be talking that way with that so okay so this is going to say what you like okay, so we'll say I always mess up the spell entrepreneur so we're just do auntie I don't want to look stupid so odds are good that means entrepreneur we know that okay? How about for you? Is there something that you're interested in that you haven't really you know gotten into so far um I guess maybe booking like trying to be better at booking and planning for actually doing tours and shows looking and let's just say planning yeah okay uh this is zac's really fun? Um I really really love movies and I've always wanted to do more film scoring I've only done a couple but I I love it so much cool so we'll just put film score yes I'd like to be able to spell words like entrepreneur tio no uh it's funny I'm kind of a multi instrumentalist and I do a lot of hand drumming but I I would actually like to sit down behind a kit and take the time and dedication to actually learn to play with my feet and my hands at the same time so they're playing drums yeah, I guess it's that's one of the only instruments that I haven't really spent a tremendous amount of time improving only thing is remember we're one person okay? Oh yes write something that's not on the list another thing that I guess I would um I think even outside of music I mean it can it can be I don't ever think outside of music. Okay dedicated right that's great. You know another thing that I would actually like to improve on um and and just get more development and is probably website building youtube development things like that okay? So we'll say webb and so yeah weather in social media and spelling um, since we can't use the list that were technically good at um because I would I would want to be better at producing and writing but ah something I've always been kind of interested in was music photography also okay that's great. Okay, so we've got to move a little bit fast here but so if you look at all this stuff each one of these things separately could be a business you could generate revenue for yourself in all these areas now if this person here was great at drumming performing music playing bass and I would assume guitar music production which means all sorts of instruments and arranging and stuff like that writing lyrics and business I'd say you're pretty good now you just gotta figure out how to start with one of those things and build relationships and go from there but with this list so you want to be an entrepreneur you want to get better at booking and planning film scoring you know you want to start a website or get better social media and music photography let's say these are your your talents and these air your interest that you want to learn about so the first thing you do is your good with these you know you know these start reading and researching what's on the right here so read some books on business and entrepreneurship read about booking watch youtube videos okay learn about these specific topics so that you can see if you actually really would want to do them and then take this list and start drawing connections between certain things so drumming khun drumming b related to entrepreneurship? Yes. Okay, I know tons of germans who teach and create businesses and like johnson's one of them right? Who have built businesses out of drumming. Okay, how about performing can you tie performance entrepreneurship? I'm sure there's ways you have to think about it, but yeah, I mean, those things could relate, okay? And then how about bass guitar? Same kind of thing. I mean, there's there's definitely things you khun dio production absolutely right writing so I don't know. I mean, personally, I don't really write a lot, so I don't know, but could you see ways to start businesses that worked on writing? Okay, perfect. So and then business. Obviously, these two things connect, so to sort of summarizes what we do here is we start looking at the connections between these different things and we start seeing well with drumming. I could potentially start this business here, whatever it is, but I could also, you know, if I want to get into use drumming and production, I could really get into film scoring because I have production skills and I have, you know, drumming skills and I'm good at base guitar. Well, I could probably learn about film scoring figure out how to do that, and the whole point of this exercise is just is to just put it on paper like what you could do it if you looked at it like this, you could come up with a plan, okay, pick the one thing that you're best at and start there, and if it's drumming and performing than go out and start drumming in performing to start making a living and you khun, you know we'll talk about ways to do that, but you can figure out ways to get out and start performing, even if it's getting better a booking in booking your own shows. But while you're doing that, you learn about these other things and you start to make this list down here of what you want to do, and if I could summarize, at least for me, if I was this person, what I would want to do is I would want to be some sort of entrepreneur, so we'll do the e nt again on tulsa. This is really hard to write. I'm an entrepreneur who is a musician, right? Who focuses on filming or film scoring and using all my talents there, too, then market the business on the web and also be able to provide my own photography. For the business, okay? And you could tell all these things together or they could be separate thing. So without reaching down in writing what this person could do is there a performer? They played drums, they play their instruments that could be a session musician. They could start a business that's focused around film scoring in production. Okay, they can learn how to market themselves and get that business out there through web in social. And in the meantime, you could make a living as a music photographer as another way to bring in cash. Yes, I imagine if you had a pretty extensive personal list of both what you're good at and what you like by making these connections, you could not only see your strengths but also your weaknesses and kind of thin the herd. So you say, you know, yeah, I might like to get into making in films, what can you clout? It doesn't necessarily correlate to my strength, so it becomes more of a hobby rather than a focus. And that was my next point is through this process through figuring out what you like, how it all relates and what you really want to put your time into, you'll automatically weed things out and I will become very clear and this isn't something that happens in one day this is a list that that I personally worked on for a month or two you know like adding different things and as I was reading about different like I would I would make the initial list I would read about entrepreneurship and I would say is this something I want to do? And for me it was I loved it but maybe film scoring was like, yeah, I like it but it's just too much and I don't have enough time gonna leave that at the wayside just have it be something I like, but this exercise is great because again we have all these ideas up here and we don't get him out there it's hard to figure out where to start, so if you get him on paper get all the things you like all the things you would be interested in on paper figure out how they connect, eliminate the things that maybe you don't want to put the time into because you see what things you do want to put time into and then all of a sudden you have a way. And by the way, this is a very entrepreneurial way of thinking because all this stuff allows you to create a job for yourself that really of course it relies on other people in relationships but you can do all this stuff for you it's not like you're going to work for a company and you have a very specific desk job or something like that this allows you to figure out where your strengths are and how you can tie them together and how you can use them to support the overall goal of whatever ends up being here so I know this is a complete list but yes, we have a question from the internet about this because this this works really well for you right? You can only control what you do but when you're in a band with people who are maybe lacking motivation or they're not practicing the gordon had a question how do you deal with fellow musicians or bandmates that want to be at a professional level but don't have but don't want to put the time or effort into it have you have you and yeah I mean that's a really harsh question to answer because if you're moving at a pace that the other people you're working with they're not willing to work or to move that then you got to say see you later and that's a harsh reality you know these people maybe your friends and that's actually that's happened to me I mean I've had friends of mine who I love and I jam with my whole life but I was ready to go and I had to say them guys sorry I'm gonna go do this and I love you and if you want to do it always be here for you but if you're not cool you know what they have other jobs. They play music as a hobby and that's great, I chose to go the other way, so you have to. As much as you love these people, you have to realize that it is a business, a lot of ways, and if you're moving faster than someone, you're only as strong as your weakest link. So if if you have someone in your group that is not moving away, you you want to go, then sometimes you gotta very politely drop the ax totally is gently as you can trust me, you don't want to and that's with life. I mean, don't surround yourself with people who were going to hold you back, but still be good to those people because maybe they just haven't figured out what they want to do yet it doesn't mean they're lazy. It just maybe means that they don't know what they're things that they're good at are and where they want to be, and they haven't figured it out for themselves. You can help them, but at the same time don't let it hold you back. If you're ready to move, you have to you have to move forward, you know, I think it's so cool to get to talk about, um goal setting in sort of the thirty thousand foot view about, like how to how to start doing this. Because you're you're way in your career right now and had some of the success. So, you know that this works and for so many people, they want to know that it works. So it's it's just killer having you here. And the last point that I'll bring up for this is I mean, for me, like I said, I put things like drumming, teaching, public speaking, all the things I was that I was good at, and then I put business and helping people and be a middleman and connecting people. And through that, I was able to really spend time thinking about it and that's how I developed the idea for band happy, in a way was that, okay? I can use my skills to connect people I can use my skills to as a musician toe elevate myself to actually get respect because look, as a musician, I would had periphery is a platform, I still have it as a platform, and I could use that to reach people and say, hey, look, there's this thing that you can do to connect people, you know, so it all all of this ended up being what I am doing now. And it really does work. And without you seeing what I did, though, it may be hard to put that together. But it worked, and it made it very clear to me what I should be doing. I wanted to be a drummer at the center and a teacher and a businessman and someone that helps other people, and that connects people for those reasons through music and, you know, session work's tied to that and performance and all that stuff. But that all works together and that's what I did, and you, khun, do this list and just take your time with it, be creative with it, figure out things you don't want, teo, figure out things you do want to do so.

Class Description

It takes more than raw talent to make a living as a musician – and it doesn’t happen overnight. In this online course, Modern Drummer’s 2013 Best Metal Drummer of the Year and founder of BandHappy Matt Halpern will show you how to break out of the garage and build a lasting career in the music industry.

Drawing on his own successful experience with the award-winning band Periphery, Matt will walk you through the everything you need to know about breaking into the industry, improving your technical skills, and making the right moves to ensure long-term success. You’ll learn how to get your foot in the door, build a sustainable career as a working musician, and keep growing your career from there. From finding the right management, agent, and label to building relationships with sponsors and key industry players, you’ll learn it all from one of this generation’s most respected minds in the business.

Special industry guests include:

  • Ash Avildsen - Sumerian Records Founder/CEO
  • Mike Mowery - Outerloop MGMT Founder/CEO
  • Mark Scribner - Business Manager for Killswitch Engage, Periphery, Animals as Leaders
  • Mike Johnston - Drummer, Clinician and Founder of Mikeslessons.com
  • Chris Brewer - Head of Artist Relations for Meinl Cymbals USA
  • J.P. Bouvet - Drummer, Clinician and winner of Guitar Center Drum Off 2011

By the end of this class, you’ll have a comprehensive, actionable playbook for breaking into the music industry and putting in the right work.


Nathan Mason

This was all so insightful! It's early in my soon to be career as a working musician and this class is everything I wanted to know. It's great to hear some validation from people who've made it. This isn't some magic trick, this can all be achieved with talent, hard work and a being the best you can be to everyone around you. On top of being insightful I instantly connected with every guest and speaker. We're all going to friends one day and I can't wait. Great class lead by great people. Thanks Matt.