First up, I would like to give a huge shoutout to Pantheon Percussion and Percussion Works for welcoming me into the family! I am extremely fortunate to have such support and to be endorsed by such a dedicated and talented team. Please check them out, especially if you are a percussionist or drummer!
A few weeks ago I wrote an entry saying I'll elaborate on it. I was thinking about it and only wanted to write about versatility, but I felt that I had to address exposure too because I think they both go in tandem.
In a nutshell, you get exposed to a certain type of music, you work on it and get better, and then you can play said type of music - for example: when learning a Bach Sonata or a Strauss Lied or Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, we research on the composer, the piece, listen to different recordings while practicing, and so on. All these affects the way we learn and play and can help us when we learn a different piece from the same composer. It's all still Classical, but they're the sub-genres (if you will) to this broad genre of Classical Music. Simply put, one will not play Mozart the same way as Wagner just as how a drummer will not play jazz using Corpsmaster drumsticks. Not taking into account modern day arrangements, we become more versatile even in Classical music, just by being able to play differently when facing different music and composers. Even in Classical music, there are many who dislike "New Music" and to be honest, I was one of them!
I only knew about this "New Music" when I started my undergrad studies and naturally, I thought it was weird and didn't make sense. The rhythms and harmonies were unfamiliar to me and it wasn't the "Classical Music" that I know of. But because of the nature of being a percussionist, I was exposed to contemporary music daily and eventually grew to appreciate and love the art!
But while being versatile in different Classical styles is necessary, let's take it a step further and look beyond the realms of Classical music. Rock, pop, jazz, metal, ethnic, traditional are just a few of the thousands of genres of music. Having some craft and know-how in any of these genres (even if you only know one) add to one's arsenal and skill set, thus increasing versatility and being able to play with a more musicians as well as reaching out to a wider range of audiences. Think of it this way: the ability to play different styles are tools to the musician just as ingredients are to the chef. If the chef only has salt and pepper to season food with, there is only a finite variety of food he/she can make. But if the chef has herbs and spices, then he/she is simply able to do more, create more, and expand his/her variety.
I think being versatile is essential in today's world, especially with the changing orchestra scene globally. As classical musicians, we cannot only focus on our craft while ignoring other genres of music. And that is why I am so fortunate and grateful for my musical brothers with me in Lorong Boys. We constantly push each other to explore different styles or just push the boundaries of what we are comfortable with (come catch us at my upcoming concert next week too see for yourself). Versatility is necessary for progress and survival. Of course, exposure, along with the willingness to learn, is needed to because you do not know what you do not know. I know next to nothing about rocket science because I don't read about it. I expect it will be extremely difficult to comprehend but I am just not that interested in it as I am in music.
So here's calling to musicians to expose yourselves to different types of music, learn their intricacies and technicalities (even if it's just a simple one) and try it out! You'll never know if you become more attached to it after digging deep.
Let me know your thoughts, especially if you've always been keen on working on something. And of course on my part, I'll get down to making videos of myself working on non-classical stuff! It'll have to wait till September before I actually start anything, but the least I can do is to walk the talk, right?
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and be well.
P.S. I won't be writing next week as it is concert week! But I'll be back on August 30th :)