The 10th Annual KHSDI was another successful event that celebrated 10 years of jazz drumming and friendships! 43 drummers, ages 10-69 attended over the course of 2 weeks and they overwhelmed the crowd at the Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo. Even Mayor Bobby Hopewell showed up to add his support and enjoy the music! Cheers to everyone for their support, music and love!
More pictures and videos at https://www.facebook.com/KHSDI/
The 9th Annual Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive was another huge success with 46 drummers, 2 pianists, 2 bassists, 2 vocalists, 2 trumpeters and 1 Hammond B3 organist! The performing and teaching staff, from L.A., NYC and many points in between, had a spectacular week at the Dalton Center at WMU and brought the house down two weekends in a row at the Union Cabaret & Grille. Next year is our big 10th anniversary, stay tuned for updates!
No matter where you are or where you go, you will find people. Learning how to communicate and interact with others is a vital part of life. Many times you will be around people that are, for the most part, pleasant and easy to work with.
But every once in a while, you will have to work with people who are extremely difficult. This is part of life and I have found, in these times, that I can learn a lot about myself. As much as I would like to run away and not deal with this difficult person, I know that wherever I go, there will be another one. The whole situation is really about me learning and growing.
When I encounter difficult people I try to remember 4 things:
1.) Stay in control.
I am the only one who can control my attitude and response. No one else makes me do something. I can learn in the midst of each situation and there is always an opportunity for self improvement and growth. “When you are done growing, you are done.”
2.) Show grace.
You never know what others are dealing with in their own life. Sometimes, I have to remember to cut people slack, because we are all fighting a battle of some type. You may have heard the phrase, “Hurt people, hurt people.” People that are hurting or stressed, sometimes take it out on others. Showing grace, kindness, love and understanding can help diffuse the situation and maybe even soften the difficult person. You might just make a friend!
3.) I have a purpose.
I know that I have a responsibility and purpose in each situation so I refuse to allow someone else’s behavior to control or limit my contribution. If I pull back, I am only hurting myself and the others who I am serving. “Keep your eyes on the prize.”
4.) Be Myself.
I have to remember who I am and be true to myself. “Be who you be, and do what you do!”
No matter what.
Life is not about things, status, taking credit or even being the most productive.
It’s always all about people.
Over the years, I have learned the importance of having mentors. I try to encourage everyone, no matter what stage of their life or career to Find a mentor.
A mentor can be someone who is successful in your line of work or in an area in which you want to improve. A mentor can act as a sounding board and provide counsel for your ideas. We all need someone in our life who will challenge us, keep us accountable and speak the truth. A good mentor will do that.
Many times, we feel like we have to ‘reinvent the wheel’, but a good mentor can show you their model for success and help you avoid possible pitfalls. Personal experience is not always the best teacher, but someone else’s experience can save you time, money and heartache. A good mentor can provide that.
I have many mentors for different areas of my life. My main musical mentor is drumming legend Billy Hart. I used to drive Billy all over the place and carry his drums for him, buy him lunch, have him over for dinner and anything else I could do to spend time with him and learn. Every minute was a lesson with him, and there were so many times I wished I had been recording our conversations in the car or during dinner. I consider him to be one of my best friends now and call him for advice often. I always try to honor him and let him know how much he has impacted my life. I honestly do not know where I would be without his guidance and inspiration.
A mentor can be an extremely valuable asset in your life… so, I am challenging you to find one person in your life who has done or is doing what you want to do. Take them to lunch or coffee and ask them to mentor you. Meet with them on a regular basis and be open to their feedback, allowing them to challenge you and speak truth to you. Accountability is a powerful thing and a good mentor can see your blind spots and help keep you on track. Always show appreciation for your mentors and value their time and wisdom. Say ‘Thank you” often.
I guarantee, finding a good mentor can produce an exchange that will be a blessing to both of you!
So, go ahead, make that call!
TRI-FI toured throughout the Midwest in the fall and appeared at numerous clubs, schools and radio programs. Chicago, South Bend, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Byron Center, Detroit, and Cleveland all heard TRI-FI live and we made lots of new friends. Watch and hear some of the radio interviews and performances here.
With each new year, brings an opportunity for new beginnings. I always like to set a lot of goals at the beginning of the year, but as the months pass on, I find that many of these are forgotten. So, as the years have passed, I have learned more about myself and what I can do realistically to create positive lasting change in my life.
One thing I have learned is to simplify. I know that if I can just make a few small, yet lasting changes, I can continue to make today better than yesterday.
Although I need to set goals that relate to improving as a musician, some of my goals are ‘non-musical’.
Four areas I like to focus on are:
Musicianship: I have committed to consistent practice time to improve specific areas of my playing. I am focusing on 3 areas including my time/feel, improvisation concepts and learning new music. I also keep a practice log to help keep myself on track.
Health: I have committed to changing my diet, in simple ways and joined a gym again in November. I also got a Fitbit for Christmas that tracks my calories consumed/burned and all physical activity daily. It’s a great way to hold myself accountable.
Confidence: Staying positive and confident about myself carries over into every are of life. I try to surround myself with people who are supportive and who inspire me. I also have committed to a daily Bible reading plan that helps me to stay focused on my purpose. It also helps me to focus on the fact that I don’t have to do everything in my own strength-I have Help!
Leadership: I read books, articles and blogs on leadership. I also meet regularly with mentors who challenge me and are great examples to me. I always try to remember that this gift of music is meant to be shared and I have a responsibility to be a positive example to those around me. I am also a family man, so being a leader in my home and spending quality time with my family is a priority for me.
If I can stay consistent in all of these areas, I believe 2015 will be my best year yet!
I would love to hear about what YOU are doing to make positive lasting changes in your own life for 2015. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s keep the conversation going.
Happy New Year!