Joshua Roberts || Make music better with Soundbrenner Core
Mastery of making music doesn’t just require time, it requires deliberate effort and a profound desire that permeates through the way an artist sets a goal, defines a routine or overcomes hurdles. Only a handful of musicians understand this.
Make Music Better is a series of intimate conversations with full-time musicians who knows what it takes to master their craft.
Living a musician’s dream in New York City is drummer Josh Roberts. He started a bi-weekly Harlem Jazz session in New York City, where Jazz and Broadway leaders get to collaborate with other musicians. Besides being an adjunct instructor at New York University, he also tours nationally with Recording Artists Brad & Rebekah, and tours internationally with Monika Herzig and his group.
How long have you been playing the drums, and what do you love about it?
I’ve been playing drums for 21 years. It was one of the first memory I had since I was a kid. My favorite thing about drums is it sets the pulse both for the band and for everyone enjoying the music.
What is music to you?
Music is my conduit and my way to channeling emotions intensity and the feelings that I have in life just in general, especially in music.
Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
The first moment that inspired me to pursue a career in music was when I was six years old. I remember going to church; there was one instrument that spoke to me. That was the drums. Going back to the idea of pulse, there was a little vibration that I felt in me, and that was the instrument that resonated with me. I just had some great people in my life; I had a couple of teachers and mentors who told me that anyone could pursue a career in music.
Going back to the idea of pulse, there was a little vibration that I felt in me, and that was the instrument that resonated with me.
Knowing the challenges of being a professional musician, why did you
gravitate towards music as your career?
The reason that I gravitated towards music as a career was just the love for it. I believe that if you truly enjoy something, you can find a way to make that a significant part of your life. When you are doing something that you love or is passionate about, that can outweigh the chances of doing something that may appear to pay more. When you are doing something that you love, that is the biggest reward in my mind.
I believe that if you truly enjoy something, you can find a way to make that a significant part of your life.
Can you describe what a typical day is?
Being a freelance musician, your days aren’t set, and some of your crazy days can be “when it rains, it pours.” However, I like a little bit of schedule and routine. I usually get up before anyone is up in my apartment. I always do a little bit of pad and silent practicing – which is nice with the Pulse that I have. Usually, there’s a rehearsal in the day, and being in New York, my commute can take up to an hour, and then I get ready for a performance in the evening which can be anywhere in the city
I always do a little bit of pad and silent practicing – which is nice with the Pulse that I have.
How do you stay motivated?
Through new music, new players, new styles of music and technology. Always looking out for something to spice up regular practice routine can keep you encouraged.
What was one of your proudest moments?
One of my proudest moments was at the National Fine Arts Festival, which I’m part of every year. I had one performance with a group for the closing ceremony. It’s just this massive convention with a lot of students and young musicians – it’s a competition. It’s in front of 19,000 people in a stadium. I had my drum kit in front of me in front of the whole stadium, and I still remember that feeling that permeated through my entire body, which I thought was penetrating through the entire stadium.
In your opinion, what is the most important quality a person needs to have to be a successful musician?
Projection. Meaning creatively, they are always creating. Those musicians are continuously bettering themselves by meeting new people or putting themselves in new situations. They are trying new products and new things.
You can tell when someone has a direction in their life, and that should never stop because people want to be a part of projects that feels like they are going somewhere. There is just this energy of life and is a clear direction. And people will want to be part of that.
What advice would you give to other musicians who are just starting?
Keep persisting. There’s a learning curve that you have to pass – but once you get past it, the reward is fantastic. It’s never too late. If you want to learn it or do it, it’s possible for anyone.