Since I have been diving into the drum industry, I have thought that session work was extremely hard to come by and I often hear is dead and a thing of the past. I have also heard that “the hang” is almost as important as your level of skill when talking about getting hired. But I never thought so much about an effective way to approach the session game and how one may put it all together. This episode, with Jonathon Ulman, turned out to be so valuable in terms of information. He goes into splendid detail about basically how he makes a living and openly shares, what would seem like common sense after his explanation, his approach to it ALL!
For starters, Jonathan has an incredible attention to detail. He is strictly organized and professional and makes sure he has a solid plan when approaching his gigs, content, schedule, and performance. He is very THOROUGH. Secondly, Jonathan is very self-aware and incredibly conscientious, in regards to how he reads a situation and the people it involves. He basically takes the form of a chameleon and blends himself into whatever situation he falls into. He is quite ADAPTIVE we’ll say.
During this process of booking the interview, exchanging content and material to make this show possible and general keeping tabs on approaching the release of this episode….Jonathan has been so nice to work with. He is incredibly PROFESSIONAL with his work and when this spreads around, it won’t be long and even more people will want to work with him.
You always hear wise people saying the phrase, “I just treat people the way I want to be treated”, and it seems SO SIMPLE! Yet, not everyone does this. I really do appreciate it when people go the extra mile to make sure someone’s needs are met and exceeded upon, and Jonathan makes sure to assume this task with his clients. He is ATTENTIVE.
Lastly, and seemingly, least importantly, you need to be able to do the job. Can you play? Can you do the song justice by playing some solid time and getting in and out of the studio quick so that people’s time and money aren’t being wasted on your ego to chop out? This is important stuff when you plan to work in a studio. It may be at the bottom of the list for a good reason. The other stuff at the end of the day is what gets you called back, you are not just being called for your SKILL.
So what does that spell when you put THOROUGH, ADAPTIVE, PROFESSIONAL, ATTENTIVE and SKILL?
Normally Tapas is a gathering of small Spanish savory dishes but Jonathan uses this as a metaphor to explain the framework of what makes him successful as a session musician. All of these components are important and the way Jonathon explains this is brilliant. Overall, this philosophy he has adopted is a brilliant recipe for success and every drummer who hears this will totally get it.