Mark Danger Powers

drummer • educator • author

Ready, Fire, Aim

Some of you may not believe this (and some of you certainly will!), but when I set out on many of my crazy projects and adventures, I often have NO clue what I’m doing. I’ve found that, when an idea or opportunity presents itself, it’s often best to simply say YES, close your eyes and jump in with both feet. The “how-to” usually works itself out just fine.

It’s what some call Ready, Fire, Aim:

• I’ve taken gigs that entailed styles of music I really hadn’t played before. I didn’t lie . . . just said, “yeah, I’m a bit familiar with that.” And then spent hours in the practice room, figuring out how the heck I could make my playing sound convincing come gig-time. The experience expanded my musical palette and taught me how to learn songs super quickly.

• I’ve proposed and taught a Continuing Education community college course- with absolutely no proper ‘education’ background or training! Determined to do it regardless of my being completely unqualified, I got busy Google-ing terms like “sample course proposal,” “syllabus,” and “lesson plans.” A few weeks later, my class was being advertised in their course catalog and I was an adjunct professor!

• I accepted an offer to do the music engraving on “Mastering The Tables of Time” (winner of Modern Drummer Magazine’s reader’s poll for Best New Instructional Method!), having only a novice-level familiarity with the notation software involved. 139 pages later, I had definitely acquired some skills! Many thanks to Dave Stanoch for his patience.

This ready, fire, aim approach is certainly sink or swim, baby! All “good pressure” in my book, each experience like those mentioned above forces me to learn a ton in a very short period of time.

Throw yourself in the fire and you have no choice but to fight for survival. That struggle, that challenge, will bring WAY more growth than you would ever have gotten had you convinced yourself to “wait until I’m ready.”

Remember: the path of least resistance is also the path of least growth.

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