Experts at Work

To show up as an expert, know your process and exude confidence in your skills

There’s a story of a carpenter who was called to fix a squeeky floor. Entering the room, he made a quick inspection, pulled out a hammer, and struck the timbers in a single stroke. He stood, tested the spot, and proved the squeek fixed. After short work, he charged $100 for his efforts. When pressed why it cost so much for such short work, the carpenter replied he charged $5 for swinging the hammer and $95 for knowing where to swing.

A YouTube channel called Druneo has a series of videos where they put drum experts to a daunting test. The setup is simple. Take a drum expert, a full drum set, and a song the drummer is unfimilar with and given them a few minutes to listen to the song once. Then they ask the expert to play the drums to the song.

One of my favorite videos is this video where Larnell Lewis, who is known for his work with Jazz and Jazz fusion bands, plays Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” after listening to it for the first time. Watching the video, he explains his process as he listens, working to understand the form of the song, the pacing, the rhythm, and the elements of the drum kit he needs to use, when to use them, and how. What just sounds like banging and clashing to me, an expert picks up on the nuances of drums or cymbals used and any flourishes used on the original track.

Watching a master of their craft at work is a special sight. Through years of experience, an expert has learned how to do their craft well and fast.

The drum experts on Drumeo aren’t flawless and would change their approach given a second or third run-through of the song. No one expects an expert to flawlessly execute, but an expert does have to exude confidence they can tackle any situation. The drum experts on Drumeo also exude confidence. They don’t fret about the situation they find themselves in, Instead, they approach the challeng with their skills and a practiced list of steps to prepare.

Are you an expert in your craft? How would you fare if you were placed into an unknown situation and tasked with executing your craft? Are you able to enter the situation and with disciplined, practiced preparation, exercise your skills and produce? If not, what do you need to practice in order to reach that level? Here you outlined foryourself the steps would you follow in order to prepare like a drum expert?

Experts dazzle us with their skills. If you aspire to be an expert, keep honing your skills until one day you dazzle someone else. Perhaps one day, someone will look at you the way you look at an expert today.