Robert Behnke

Keeping it Simple!

I was at the ripe old age of 16, eager to change the drumming world with my drumming by playing the most impossible beats and fills in ridiculous odd time signatures! That is, until I played a small tour of Florida with my high school jazz band. We were to play a retirement home on that sunny day, outside in the courtyard. After setting up my kit, the rest of the band were milling around awaiting the start of the gig. I started playing beats just to warm up. Simple, straightforward and solid. I noticed out of the corner of my eye, this elderly lady dancing away to what I was playing. I started to smile. She continued to shake what she's got and came over to me and said, "Son, as long as you are playing beats like that to keep me dancing, you are doing alright in my book!"

That was all it took. All I really needed to do was play solid and make people move to my music. All those crazy thoughts of playing 13/9 with 32nd-note patterns seemed useless. People can't dance to that! Well at least without looking like they are having a seizure.

While I still continue to this day to improve on myself and redefine music, I hope that everyone -- young and old -- will move with me.

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In celebration of Vic Firth Company's 50th anniversary, we've spent an entire year celebrating Game-Changing Moments in drumming -- including yours! To everyone who shared a story with us this year, thank you! Drumming is a shared experience and we are all brothers and sisters! Your stories have inspired us to continue making the best sticks possible and to continue changing the game for drummers everywhere.


We received thousands of amazing stories this year. Although it was difficult to choose only one story, we're happy to announce that Joe Russomano is our grand prize winner in the Game-Changing Moments contest!

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