Are you a Drummer or a Lead Singer?

I was once told that I should be like a drummer.


You might be thinking of the wild noisy character at the back that’s difficult to control, but is always popular when they play a solo.

That’s sometimes the impression of drummers, but not what was intended.

I have both seen and played with drummers that realise their importance as part of the ensemble, and don’t feel the need to stand out. They lead the music from behind by setting the tempo, maintaining the rhythm, accentuating the big moments, then holding back and giving others the opportunity to shine.

Wynton Marsalis is a world renowned Trumpet player, composer and band leader, and last night he performed at the Sydney Opera House with his Jazz Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. What I found interesting was that even though he had written the symphony being performed, he was virtually invisible on stage. He sat on a low chair in the third row with the trumpet section, letting the music speak for itself, giving the other soloists their share of the limelight – and they deserved it!

As a business owner there are lessons to be learned from music and performance. If you are a single person in business, then you need to be both the front of stage soloist and the drummer, but if you have a team then you can decide.

Being the Frontman/woman puts you in the limelight, and makes the business all about you. You need a great ensemble or team behind you though to keep the momentum, and if one person doesn’t play their part, things can fall to pieces pretty quickly.

If you can lead from the back like a drummer, or from the centre like Wynton Marsalis, then you can make sure all the right things are happening at the right time.

You write the parts for everybody to play, set the pace and rhythm of your business, and make sure that all the members of your team have to opportunity to stand out.


Find out what parts they love to play, and give them a solo piece! This is the way you discover hidden talent, both in musicians and colleagues.

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