Drummer and music educator, Juan "Carlito" Mendoza is famously known as the 2012 Guitar Center Drum Solo Grand Champion. I will have a couple of video links at the bottom that will be of that solo and as well the 2010 Guitar Center solo.
With the success of winning the Guitar Center Drum Off, Juan understood that with that buzz around his name, he had to make moves and get himself known for more than just that solo. In 2017, Juan had written and published his own educational book titled, Rudiment Creativity Vol. 1: Rolls and Paradiddles, which was met with considerable acclaim. Volume Two is planned to be the works this coming fall.
So the common thread in this interview seems to always point back to being authentic, exploring creativity, and overall to just do the best that you can while remaining humble. Be driven, have passion, appreciate what you have and worry less about what you don't have. Of course you should always work towards achieving more but you need to be patient and consistent during the process. What I am very happy about is that this episode contains many valuable life lessons. Most of what is said IS just common sense for sure, but sometimes we overlook this stuff because it seems slow and difficult. There MUST be something that somebody knows out there that can make this happen sooner! Right?
"Measure twice and cut once"
- Juan "Carlito" Mendoza
Many times in this conversation, we realize how nothing anyone has ever accomplished that had sustain happened over-night. Even his Guitar Center Drum Off victory took six attempts and he had made it into final rounds in previous years. Why I think this is beneficial to hear, from someone with a lot of experience, is that there are many people who love drumming, who love to teach drums, and generally would love to have drumming be their career. The only problem is that some people have an inflated sense of self, are ignorant to the steps to reach their goals and think they can fast track or "hack" a result, and once they begin to realize, through successive failures, that the road ahead of them is going to be long and difficult they may bow out and think that this hard work just isn't feasible. However, if you understand the challenges that await you and it drives you to work harder and want it more, kudos. That is realistic thinking and it is the only way you will succeed because I think it is fair to suggest that your faith towards your passions and goals will be tested, a lot.
Authenticity. This is something that a lot of people are craving these days. With all of the filters in media today that is controlled in a disingenuous way, content creators and social media broadcast types have a little thing that we can carve out for ourselves and those who enjoy the message and be genuine about it. That is what we need to do with it. Just be authentic, passionate, create results that are due to passion to the project and drop the sales pitches. Just make something people connect with, trust, and want. Be authentic.
“Exploring is an innate part of being human. We're all explorers when we're born. Unfortunately, it seems to get drummed out of many of us as we get older, but it's there, I think, in all of us. And for me that moment of discovery is just so thrilling, on any level, that I think anybody that's experienced it is pretty quickly addicted to it.”
// American Oceanographer and Marine Biologist Edith Widder //
The quote written above is explored at length in the episode. A very interesting concept that I often think about now that I am a father. Toddlers and small children have imaginations that can be difficult to get in touch with as an adult. Life has a way in making us more practical thinkers and disciplined to obey rules. The world becomes more and more restrictive and it is important for all of us to find ways to access our inner child again. Drumming and music is a great way to gain access to that and it is why I believe it is important, whether it is drums or something else entirely, to have a creative outlet. A space to experience some freedom and begin exploring what is possible within your interests. Not to do it for recognition or popularity but just to rediscover your inner child and to pursue your creativity.