What You Don't Know Can Get You CUT!!!

Back in the late 90’s, I auditioned for the Madison Scouts Drum & Bugle Corps.

I wanted to march there so bad.

In my youth, I was such a huge fan of their style of music, their aggressiveness and the types of notes that they play.

One year, I got myself a plane ticket from LA to Madison, Wisconsin determined to get a spot on the Tenorline. Once I get there, I met some really cool cats and we would drum for fun to get ready. Some of them mentioned to me, “Man, you’ll get a spot for sure. You got some good hands!”

When it came time for the actual audition, I felt like I did pretty well. They asked me to play 8s, bucks, double beat, triplet diddle, shopping spree and I figured, I had a good shot at getting 1 out of the 4 spots available.

But, I didn’t make it…

When I asked them why, they told me I was definitely in the top 8, but my left hand slices when I play triplet diddle.

Wait…so that’s it? I got cut for one f*kking thing?!

I was so mad…frustrated…I had no idea I had that issue and I found out at the worst time. Had my High School instructor pointed it out to me or had I practiced in front of a mirror, I would have known earlier and I would’ve worked on it.

That same night, I locked myself in the bathroom of my hotel so I can drum in front of a mirror. Within 3 hours, I got rid of the slicing problem…but damn…it was too late.

While it’s easy to be mad at my instructors for not telling me about my problem, I could’ve also taken responsibility for practicing MORE in front of a mirror.

THAT BEING SAID…I wish somebody would’ve said something.

Moral of the story is, be thankful for everything your instructors point out. If they say you are slicing, dragging, rushing, crushing diddles, etc., you should be absolutely grateful.

What you know about your playing and what you don’t know, can mean the difference between making a spot when you audition and getting cut.

Do you get a little upset when your instructors point out your errors or are you 100% grateful? Have you ever auditioned somewhere and found out all of your problems for the first time in that moment?

For more perspective, make sure you watch the video below:

Karl Arrieta