Hanging up the sticks.

A strange question but..do any of you guys ever get to the point in your drummimg where you think your just not progressing in your playing and feel like just giving up??

I,m like that at the moment, no matter how much i practice with my rudimenst etc etc, nothing seems to change and the more i concentrate on improving the further back i slide. I,m seriously thinking about permenently hanging the sticks up.

When playing a gig last night i got so wound up about it my right hand went into cramp 45 mins into the set, it was horrible.


Senior Member
Don't, how much time and money have you invested into drumming, wouldn't be a waste if you decided to stop now? I'm constantly having the same issue, I can't do this fill, I trip over myself, it's frustrating. Every single drummer out there has problems, every single person out there has issues like that. You just need to take the day off or week off chill out and then come back to it. Persevere with it, you'll feel far more satisfied when you look back at this moment and can think to yourself 'I beat it'

hope that helps.


Yeah I think I know what you mean, I was playing a song the other night that we have done a million times and I found myself totally lost and off beat, so bad the rest of the guys turned and looked at me, then I think I started having a panic attack ( I say I think I did because I have never had one) I suddenly felt like this was the last thing I wanted to be doing and felt a strong need to get the hell out of there..LOL

Not sure what happened, it actually carried over a little into the 2nd song as well but sadly I had a few sips of beer and started feeling much better. I hope this is not a sign that I have to drink before each gig.

Maybe take a week or 2 off, without playing anything.


Platinum Member
Its good to take some time off now and then and not push so hard.
Soon, you will return to drumming again. If you kick yourself and try to force yourself to progress, you'll lose focus.
It does feel like you have leveled from time to time. Then all of a sudden something happens and you grow a bit as a player. Relax and flow with it!


Senior Member
Also, I think we all need to learn and understand our own limitations. But, in a positive way.

  • All of us are not going to reach the same level at playing rudiments.
  • All of us are not going to reach the same speed.
  • All of us are not going to be able to play a single hand roll as good as Johnny Rabb
  • All of us are not going to perform with timing as perfect as the metronome

We can still improve. We have a tendency to focus on technique when we think of improving as a drummer, i.e., getting faster, improving our rudiments, see the list above, and other things. Why not learn to conquer playing better Latin styles, African styles, even Indian drums. Work on being great in the pocket. Try something different as far as performing; instead of improving through skills, you can expand your playing into new areas. For instance, do you have local theater groups they may need a percussionist? Consider drumming for a few musicals for them.

Also, just appreciate what you can do and do it. Enjoy your current abilities... It is necessary to always be improving. But, every once in a while it is also okay to take a break from improvement and enjoy where you are...

Being frustrated is a good thing. It is what drives us to greater heights. You are at a great point in your drumming. If you stick with this I trus you will find a way to accomplish something really big to cross this juncture in your pursuit! Just figure out how to get through it and it will be worth while Darren. Trust us!


"Uncle Larry"
Also, it helps not to be so goal oriented. Have fun! You're missing the point when you think like that. You're way too hard on yourself. Instead of thinking about what you didn't do, try to just enjoy yourself as much as possible. It's a lot easier, and people will think you're on it, which is the main goal anyway, right?


Silver Member
Chip had some very wise advise there. I wonder, is your current practice time pretty much pure frustration? Feeling more like work, not much fun? Perhaps laying down the sticks for a week or so may be what you want to do right now. I've been there as well and it was what I needed.
But whichever you do, pay heed to Chips advise. Working on an entirely different aspect of your drumming will bring suprising and rewarding changes to your drumming.It's happened for me and made me a better drummer in ways that I wasn't thinking of before. Don't quit.


Silver Member
This adversity is most definitely what drives us to progress, to push through to the "next level"...whatever those might be.

Although...sometimes the best thing to make progress achievable, IS to take a sabbatical. If your mind and body agree, why not listen? Smartly develop a plan to spend a given amount of time away from the kit and anything else you deem necessary, at this time, to help get your mind straight.

If you choose to return...you'll hopefully have gained a renewed sense of desire to better, or maybe just to decide to be kosher with where you are?

The worst thing I believe you can do is to continue on, miserable or frustrated, trying to make music and claim you love it. Just ain't right?

I've been down that road before where I was wasn't happy with my playing, which made me not happy with what I was writing, and thus the music the whole band was creating. I definitely planned to take time over the holidays (ironically this posts comes around the same time a few years ago) and found myself taking a well-deserved break and got back to it a couple months later, ready to push. I haven't quit and am very happy with any and all strides I have achieved. Which BTW, was one of the things I settled as well...to be happy with the fact that was playing at all. While making strides to do better and play better, I was happy to play anything and write anything. Much less stressful.

Hope you find the answer bro.


Platinum Member
Chip and Larry +1.

It's inevitable that the ability of our ears outstrips the ability in our hands and feet. Since we get to hear all manner of great players our own playing can seem drab by comparison. Expectations vs reality.

Forget what others can play. When you get behind the kit with your band you have a fantastic opportunity to have fun. A much better opportunity than when you're at work, at home, at the shops - just about everywhere. There's you, your friends, instruments and a space to play.

You sit behind the kit, which to my mind is a big fun machine, and the only things that stands between you guys having fun are your expectations. How bizarre it is that we are capable of playing music and not have fun. Yet it too often happens.


Senior Member
I went through this today. A few times after work this week I came home and I played and it felt great, I was very comfortable with what I was playing - though I was playing simply for the song with fills in the right places, it just felt good and I needed it.

Today was a totally different story - problems that I've been dealing with all week creeped in and I couldn't get on the other side of it while I was playing, and I was feeling the old I suck syndrome going on, when it was really that I couldn't let go of the other $hit and was in a bad mood, and the drumming didn't make a darn bit of difference. And then in that mood, forcing your playing will only make it worse.

I think the advice to take a break and come back to it is a good one - the good feelings about drumming always seem to come around to me if I'm just patient and enjoy it in the moment. Probably would have been better had I not played today, attitude and what's going on in your head make all the difference, but we all also have mood swings and have to accept when things aren't going well.

I've struggled with depression for years - when I was in my 20's I had a severe one that I never thought I'd recover from, but it got better. I still deal with issues daily, so drumming has become a metaphor for where I'm at with myself, sometimes right there enjoying, other times very discouraged, but I find it so surprising that even at the lowest ebb, there is something inside of me which won't give it up, and I can come back to it and enjoy it again.



Senior Member
To the OP, Darren,

I used to get discouraged when I would hit a plateau, or what felt like a "brick wall" in my playing. However, I never felt like hanging it up. Drumming and music is my passion. It's so much a part of me that the thought of never doing it again is inconceivable.

Here's how I deal with it: First, I might take a SHORT break. Like a couple of days. I'm in two bands, so I can't stop for too long, because other people are counting on me. So what I will do is just play within my abilities and have fun doing the things I do best on the kit. That will inspire me to push more at home during my personal practice time, to work on new things.

Now this is important: don't bite off more than you can chew, so to speak, at one time! Work on just ONE thing to add to your playing. When you get that down, you will feel great, and it will inspire you to work on just one more thing. It's one step at a time.

It's easy to get down on yourself when you look at everything that you can't do YET, all at one time.

Now, whenever I start feeling stuck, I get excited, because I KNOW that means I am on the verge of yet another breakthrough! Stay positive! It happens in small stages at a time. Enjoy them as they come! Don't give up!


Platinum Member
Today was a totally different story - problems that I've been dealing with all week creeped in and I couldn't get on the other side of it while I was playing, and I was feeling the old I suck syndrome going on
Ah, the old "I suck" syndrome. Know it well. I think you just have to let go. Go forth and suck joyously! If music isn't paying your bills it doesn't matter.

I've sometimes wondered how many times I can go "Arrrgghhh! I played terrible" and have other people say, "What's the problem? It sounded fine" before it sinks in.

Once you've played for a fair while you simply don't suck. You don't even know how to really suck on drums. Growing pains are normal. If it hurts, chances are you're growing in some way.


Senior Member
Ah, the old "I suck" syndrome. Know it well. I think you just have to let go. Go forth and suck joyously! If music isn't paying your bills it doesn't matter.

I've sometimes wondered how many times I can go "Arrrgghhh! I played terrible" and have other people say, "What's the problem? It sounded fine" before it sinks in.

Once you've played for a fair while you simply don't suck. You don't even know how to really suck on drums. Growing pains are normal. If it hurts, chances are you're growing in some way.
Good advice and perspective, thanks


Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I remember how much I missed playing once I started playing again after a long time off, that I am not so much concerned with progressing at a great level but just having fun and enjoying music. I am better than I was 30 years ago and happy with that and the fact that I love music I don't see ever totally hanging it up.


Platinum Member
Yeah, same here, GD. Having a long break away gives you a different perspective. You come back and your identity and value as a human being is no longer tied to how well you play.

And we get older. More wrinkles. More gravity. More fat. More tired. More pains, more ailments. Your life options close dramatically.

The compensation is you stop giving a [expletive] and take your fun where you find it.


Senior Member
I think about this all the time but I'm so busy playing I never get around to doing it . My advice is "never quit"


Senior Member
Yeah, its weird how sometimes you feel like you playing is stagnating and show no signs of improvement. The first few times I ever dealt with this, I would push myself even harder to get to the next level. The results ended up with me taking about a year off from playing drums and all music in general. When I came back I was rusty and picked back up where I left off but this time around I played my drums and had fun with it. I didn't focus on technique too much and just played. I got to the point I was at the year before and then went beyond. It seems like I am improving more than I ever did when I was forcing myself. I guess it is a mental thing. Learning other styles of music really helped me expand.

wy yung

I've seen this kind of thread here before. The comments are always interesting and show how people care.

My advice is not to quit. It's only drumming, not brain surgery. Nor is it diplomacy at the UN trying to prevent a war.

It's just drumming.

My experience as both player and teacher has shown me that progress is not a daily thing. One moves up a notch and then the body must get used to the new level before moving up again. You must be patient with your body. Practice slowly so that you develop muscle memory more quickly. Perhaps go to a teacher and get his or her perspective. It is hard to be truly objective about ourselves.
WOW!..you guys are great, i can,t tell you how much i appreciate your reply,s and indeed wisdom. Thank you VERY much.
Of course, i know that your right, its always difficult to see a solution from the inside looking out.
I,ve been playing on and off for 22 years( i,m 36) and i,m mainly self taught (by ear) although when i was younger i was tutored by the drummer from the Toy Dolls for over a year which reallydid kik started my drumming.
I have been practicing an awful lot over the past 10 months but only on the pad as i have no space to have my kit set up, so the only live practice on the kit i get is at band rehearsals or gigs to be honest.
I recently bought the jojo meyer dvd to help me with wrist technique etc etc and found that quite helpful.
I know that things will get better as i relax a little and not think so much about improving too quickly and i expect most of this is down to frustration. I am very hard on myself at live performances and anything other than perfection is not acceptable it seems and i know this is wrong. As somebody has stated in this thread i always say i have played rubbish whereas the other band members tell me i nailed it?..
I will be following one piece of advise closely though..."to enjoy what i,m doing and just be grateful i,m able to do it at whatever level.

The only real issue i would like to address quickly is the fatigue/cramp i appear to be getting 3/4 way through a set. problem seems to be cramp in the thumb of my right hand which causes me to shift grip so i,m clingning on to the stick with only my fingers!..bloody painful as well.

Anyway..again thanks to each and every one of you for taking time out to share your knowledge and wisdom..very, very much appreciated.
Love to you all.