Updated: Jul 20, 2021
I didn’t know what to expect when I first was admitted into Scott Amendola’s virtual masterclass on Zoom. I myself have never attended any sort of masterclasses before so I wasn’t quite sure what would happen. QuaranTunes generously offers many different masterclasses that I most, unfortunately, was not able to attend in the past including songwriting classes, vocal lessons, and introductions to music recording. During Amendola’s masterclass, I thought that perhaps Amendola would play something on the drums for the attendees or teach a new skill. After a couple of minutes of waiting, I realized that this seems to be more of a relaxed Q&A session. The atmosphere was overall very casual and the attendees were allowed to ask Amendola questions about essentially almost anything.
During the masterclass, Amendola opens up about his journey as a drummer and the many life experiences he had gone through over the years. However, 2020 was certainly a unique year for almost everybody due to COVID-19. Everything shut down and everyone was locked up in their homes for the whole year. This especially affected musicians such as Amendola-who usually performs in public and virtual performances are just not the same. Making everything virtual and seeing the world through your devices cannot compare to real-life experiences. It seems that in the time of COVID, music is as important as ever. When we aren’t able to communicate with others through in-person experiences, why not do it through music? Not only can we connect with others around the world, but we all share the same language: music. And isn’t that QuaranTunes’ mission? Amendola mourns the loss of in-person concerts or events where he was able to connect, play, and talk to others. He wasn’t able to do his regular gigs anymore or just perform in general. He recalls a memorable experience when he was travelling in Switzerland and played with many different Swiss artists. Staying at home for an extended period of time causes one to reflect on the good days before everything got shut down. Nonetheless, there are perks when it comes to staying at home.
Even though everyone yearned for a chance to interact with real people, Amendola shared the different ways he spent his time at home. Staying at home almost immediately means more family time and connecting with loved ones at home. Though he wasn’t able to perform publicly, Amendola practiced playing at home in a studio that he has and took the long break to record different tracks. Even though the lockdown practically meant that everyone received an extended vacation in a sense, many felt ‘trapped’. While working on his own music, Amendola had trouble receiving inspiration since he usually worked with a group of people. Other than recording tracks, another difficulty musicians faced during COVID was to get their music out and promote them. Without an audience, it was tough to promote one’s music and the only way to do so was through the internet. Connecting with people online is a laborious job. It’s simply not the same as the in-person experience. You may suffer problems such as internet connection, power outages, or just difficulties understanding other people through a small screen. Other than the fact that COVID brought more family time, it also brought people time in general. Time to be curious. Time to think. Time to dream of the future. Amendola says that one shouldn’t “be in a hurry, [we] have so much time to figure this out...embrace that and be okay with that”. He continues on saying that there is this ‘rush’ within the culture of the United States where everyone seems to be rushing towards their goals without stopping and thinking, a notable example being American Idol. He encourages students to simply slow down to not think about rushing into the future. Rushing into your future careers isn’t going to stop failures from happening: there will be many highs and lows throughout your life. Simply put, one should always keep their head up and enjoy the ride since, after all, we only get one life, don’t we?
When it comes to important life decisions and future careers, Amendola advises to be true to yourself and always be curious. There’s always something new to discover and new things to try. For example, a student during the masterclass asked Amendola about experimenting with music where Amendola responded that he has tried to play some fusion music and keep an open mind. During auditions, Amendola recommends staying true to yourself and sticking to your instincts, and sometimes, this method can be a hit or miss but you should always give your instincts a chance. On a particular audition for a gig, Amendola confesses that he swayed from the traditional path and decided to be ‘weird’. He tried some new things out, made some mistakes, but in the end, he felt good. He experimented around and the end result was pleasing: the judges were intrigued by his sense of music but Amendola, unfortunately, didn’t get the gig. Amendola realizes that it’s really all about the experience, not the end result. Sometimes, the journey can be much more satisfying than the result. At the end of the day, COVID did bring misery but it also brought time. Hopefully, most of us saw the gift of time that COVID presented us and put it into good use so by the time everything opens up, we can see the future ahead of us.