The final of the Shure Drum Mastery Competition was the result of a year of hard work on behalf of the myself and the team at Shure Europe. The five finalist who hailed from Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Austria and the UK all won a trip to Iceland, a masterclass with me and some goodies from Shure. The winner also took home €5,000 worth of Shure products and a set of Paiste cymbals.
The five finalist were: Martin Klement (Austria), Theodore Yankov (Bulgaria), Jesus Gancedo Garcia (Spain), Jerry Sadowski (Poland/UK) and Antonio De Marianis (Italy).
Shure Drum Mastery Workshop
The masterclass, held on the first day was a chance from me to connect with each one of the finalist to see where they were at technically and musically. I tailored the masterclass to their specific needs based on my observation of their playing, both on their entrance videos and what I saw in the masterclass. This included a range of concepts that would help them develop musical identity by fine tuning their practicing of conceptual variables.
Up to this point I’d only seen the guys performing on their individual YouTube entrance videos, so it was fantastic to hang out and see them play in the flesh. The standard was extremely high and it was great to see their courage, enthusiasm and willingness to learn. At one point in the masterclass I encouraged each player to share an idea with the group. This helped us all to connect with each other and showcased everyone’s unique drumming style. The drumming community is is pretty amazing as you don’t really see this type of interaction and kinship with players of other instruments.
Shure Drum Mastery Workshop
The ‘drum off’ final was to be held the following day so I dedicated part of the masterclass to help the guys play as an ensemble. It’s not very often that you get five drummers playing all at the same time, so after explaining a number of different musical ideas we established a groove and began layering parts. Within the space of only a few minutes we had an effective and musical composition that also proved to be an effective vehicle for soloing. Awesome!
The next day we had a little down time so we all took a trip out to see the sights (and smells) of Iceland. Despite getting absolutely soaked we had a great laugh.
We arrived back at the hotel and after a quick change of clothes we were whisked off for a fantastic meal before traveling to the venue for the final. I could tell the guys were nervous as showtime approached and I did my best to keep them calm, relaxed and focused.
The support for the final ‘drum off’ was an excellent solo performance by Gulli Briem, an Icelandic drummer who is best known for his work with the fusion band, Mezzo Forte.
Shure Drum Mastery Final
So it was now time to decide on a winner. In my opinion each one of the finalists was a winner. They had been painstakingly selected from 314 drummers from 23 countries. The five finalists took to the stage and played with passion, energy and spirit. The crowd went wild as the performance reached it’s climax with a heavy clave motif bringing to an end this exceptional competition.
Antonio De Marianis
They could be only one winner and after much deliberation we announced the winner to be Antonio De Marianis from Italy.
For me, this competition has been a very positive experience. I have connected with five new drumming brothers and got a chance to follow my passion by sharing my knowledge of music and drumming.
A big thanks has to go to the fabulous team at Shure: Paul Crognale, Tom Coleman, Nils Prösser, Jens Weinmann and Simone Mayer as well as our fantastic Icelandic hosts and everybody behind the scenes who worked tirelessly to make this competition such a success. You guys rock!