“Work on progress, not perfection” was one of the very first things Ian Grom, a Yamaha performing artist, made clear in his session of the same name. Using a very conversational and open demeanor, he set the tone for the session that not everyone is perfect, but everyone has the potential to work hard to achieve their goals. He made it very clear at the beginning of his session that no one thinks they’re perfect, not even the best drummers in the world think so.

“Everyone starts off,” he went on, “and you suck, and that’s okay.” So how do you start small and work your way up? Even Ian himself, who didn’t have many musical opportunities in high school, was able to get where he is today composing his own indoor percussion and marching band shows, and even owning his own company, Box-Six.com, through his choices and work. Halfway through high school, he made the decision to transfer schools just so he could focus more on his music. The journey to your success is almost more important than the actual end results. “If you just want the end result but skip the journey, what you get isn’t worthwhile.”

To help the students in the room find a way to work on their own percussive and life journeys, he laid out four different steps he encouraged us to follow:

1) Set a goal, not a dream

2) Create a logical path

3) Attack relentlessly

4) Enjoy your progress.

All of this, of course, comes with some risk. These risks in combination with the failures we face and the frustrations we feel can actually be some of the best motivators for us to get back up and push ourselves to work harder in the future. Ian also suggests, especially for percussion folks, to surround yourself with like-minded people because you cannot take this journey alone.

Ian ended his session by sharing his own secret to success: you have to work harder and more effectively than everyone all the time, always. The road to success is hard, and it’s one that you have to work tirelessly for, but you can do it. It won’t be perfect, it might not be what you ultimately envisioned for yourself, but the results and progress will come.