“I’m just tryin’ to see the world and get better at drums.”

This is one of two back-to-back episodes where I am highlighting some exceptional grassroots players. Joel Turcotte plays for the bands Writing in the Skies and Peak Fiction. He is also involved in a new jazz fusion-type trio, which is nameless so far. If you are familiar with Joel’s playing, you will know that he has an affinity for “shedding” sessions and odd subdivisions/time.

Joel’s day job is teaching and working with people with special needs. This opportunity was all due to a Craigslist ad that Joel’s mom found online some time ago. This job provides Joel with an outlet to find unique methods to present teaching material to his students. He and his students also perform at senior homes. He feels that life has a weird way of working out sometimes, and he values this job because it allows him to follow his passion for music and teaching.

I like to shine a light on players like Joel because they are heavily involved in their process to reach their desired goals. Not only do they have interesting stories of how they got to where they are, but you can hear in their voices how immersed they are in their process.

In this episode:

  • Do we play better when we aren’t being recorded?
  • How does pressure affect our ability to perform?
  • We share perspectives on how to value the opportunity to play music for a living.
  • Joel works with young adults with special needs during the week, teaching them music and life skills. He talks about the challenges he has faced in his job.
  • Does a good teacher adapt to the student in the lessons, or does a good teacher convince the student to rise to the teacher’s level?
  • Joel talks about how he has thought about whether or not he feels lucky that he was born into a musical household.
  • The pros and cons of social media.

Why you should listen:

This episode isn’t meant to be taken as gospel. The point was to bring up topics that would provide some different perspectives. My questions and thoughts often compel the guest into really giving serious thought to something they may have never thought about before. In some cases, it is very specific to the guests’ specialties, so we get to hear an expert opinion that bears a great deal of wisdom.

In this episode, however, there is much left up in the air with no absolute conclusion to the thoughts and points mentioned. Instead, we look at them, share some ideas with you, and move on. Many of the points are deep and rather interesting. I would encourage every listener to give them some thought because there is a lot of room to interpret things in your own way.

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