Is the drummer population aging?

TK3005

Junior Member
Maybe it’s the shift in popularity to genres that don’t rely on instruments and live performances?
Untrue IMO, some of the most popular live acts in the world, Twenty one Pilots, Kendrick Lamar, The Chainsmokers, Post Malone, all have live drummers. Josh Dun, the drummer for Twenty one Pilots has inspired my drumming to places I never thought it would take me.
Of course electronics in music is the future whether you like it or not, drums and technology in percussion have to and will adapt to the times, but will drummers? That's up to us, we're all here to play and promote our passion which is drumming.
From personal experience most of the older folk and every venue ever tend to stay stubborn to the old times rather than adapt to the new.
This is why young bands and musicians get discouraged, because people only want covers from 40 years ago.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I know in my area, being a kid from the 1980s in a small town in NC, we kids had two options: we could play sports (basketball, baseball, or football...that's it) or we could play music. I wanted to play tee-ball when I was kid, but my dad worked two jobs, and my mom was a schoolteacher and told me outright that there was no way she was going to get up early in the morning on Saturdays to drive me to a ball field. We lived way out in the country, and we only got two TV stations, and that's when the weather was good (antenna TV only). My brother listened to rock music a lot, and besides reading books and watching crummy TV, the only thing there WAS to do was listen to music. I listened to his cassettes all of the time because there was nothing else to do. Eventually, he started a rock band, and they practiced at my house because we didn't really have neighbors and could be as loud as they wanted. The drummer left his drums set at my house and told me I could play all I wanted. I became obsessed with them when I was about 8, but I was never able to get a set of my own for over 10 years after that.

You know what? I don't think I'm alone. This is my point - there's no such thing as mass entertainment for kids anymore. There's not just that one or two things that everyone does.

In my financially poor county, there are:
  • multiple swim teams
  • a couple of skateboarding parks
  • shooting clubs
  • basketball teams at the middle schools and high schools (if you can't make those teams, you go play on basketball teams sponsored by the local YMCA)
  • day camps
  • after school camps
  • 2-3 dance studios
  • karate
  • jui-jitsu
  • A really nice outdoor YMCA-based camp
  • Multiple biking trails, both on- and off-road

I'm sure I'm missing a few. (I'm also not counting all of the social media accounts and gaming options that currently seem to possess our youth.)


My point? Only a couple of these things existed when I was a kid. Kids have so many more options these days than they used to. In a way it's good, but in another way, it's sort of bad because many do not concentrate on one particular thing. Music is so low on the list of things to do, no wonder no one is learning drums anymore.
 

trickg

Silver Member
It may appear that the drummer population is aging, but it depends on the perspective from where you are viewing it.

My son is in a signed, touring indie band, and that scene is flush with young, hungry, and very talented drummers. You won't see these kids in the bar band scene - that's not what they do. You'll see them in the small rock clubs in various cities -

Ottobar and Soundstage in Baltimore
The Foundry at the Fillmore in Philly
The Summit Hall in Denver
El Corazon in Seattle
The Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR
The Troubador in Hollywood/LA
House of Blues in New Orleans (and various other cities)
etc.

These are all venues my son has played in the touring he has done all over the US, and that's where you'll see young, hungry drummers, not only from the touring bands, but also from local bands in those cities for the kids who are trying to make their break into the scene.
 

Neilage

Junior Member
I would be interested in seeing a drummerworld poll regarding the demographics of this forum.

M or F?

Ages:
0-18
19-28
29-38
39-48
49-58
59-68
69+
 

rummy

Senior Member
I don't see young kids playing other instruments either. I'm 40. A lot of my musicians friends have been playing their instruments since they were pre teens. By the time they get to high school or college, they've got some experience under their belt.

Pre teens don't play instruments any more, do they? It's all ipads these days.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I don't see young kids playing other instruments either. I'm 40. A lot of my musicians friends have been playing their instruments since they were pre teens. By the time they get to high school or college, they've got some experience under their belt.

Pre teens don't play instruments any more, do they? It's all ipads these days.
That, and there's no real incentive or support in school music programs anymore, which is topped off with an acceptance of mediocrity in an "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. Right now everyone is pushing academics to a fault, and music programs have been mostly shelved because they are no longer deemed to be important.

I teach a high school jazz band one night a week for a high school's extracurricular jazz band program, and the kids who are considered to be be "good" musicians here in central Maryland suck compared to what we were doing when I was in high school. And that's with having a much larger talent pool to pull from than what I had in my SW Nebraska hometown with a population of around 2,000 people.
 

Macarina

Silver Member
Small tangent to the conversation...
...From my perspective, and this is just my immediate life bubble, my observations is the 'middle' age gap. Meaning the time after college to after your kids are out of your house. Life becomes complicated and no time for music.

When I'm actively searching for bands there are clearly 2 generations of folks. People my age and young folks still in high school. Rarely did I meet anybody in the 25-40 age range.

It's a little bit of work to connect to a younger generation. While it can be done, folks at my age seemed to be more at ease. You'd think music would be inclusive, but it really seems to used to define lines.

I too have some curiosity how social media's influence will steer the future of live music.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
I would be interested in seeing a drummerworld poll regarding the demographics of this forum.

M or F?

Ages:
0-18
19-28
29-38
39-48
49-58
59-68
69+
This is a good idea!

Maybe include: Country / State or county / Population of nearest [large] city.

Example:
Male
49-58
Ireland
County - Leinster
City - Dublin
Population - 1,024,027
 

BruceW

Senior Member
That, and there's no real incentive or support in school music programs anymore, which is topped off with an acceptance of mediocrity in an "everyone gets a trophy" mentality. Right now everyone is pushing academics to a fault, and music programs have been mostly shelved because they are no longer deemed to be important.

I teach a high school jazz band one night a week for a high school's extracurricular jazz band program, and the kids who are considered to be be "good" musicians here in central Maryland suck compared to what we were doing when I was in high school. And that's with having a much larger talent pool to pull from than what I had in my SW Nebraska hometown with a population of around 2,000 people.
In my experience, its more that the schools have budget crunch issues, and music is considered an extracurricular as far as funding goes, to a degree, even tho its often a for credit course. The money often goes to football or other sports... Bands are always doing fundraising to be able to go to music festivals and such. I rarely see the football teams doing fund raising (tho it is likely that it happens and I'm out of the loop).

Very sad.

Still, I've seen some pretty amazing school bands, both concert and jazz, for our little rural part of the world. Certainly large degrees better than when I was in school. I've gotten to know many of the music teachers, they are unsung heroes...
 

trickg

Silver Member
The money often goes to football or other sports...
Sports programs fund themselves. Every home game they sell tickets for admissions, and they rake it in at the concession stand that is run by sports booster parents. That's just part of the culture of the USA - we've elevated sports to a level I've never understood.

I made a conscious choice when I was in 7th grade and the rest of my peers were going nuts for football, to not go out for football, and to instead focus on music. For the majority of my cohorts in high school, they finished out the best 4 years of their lives when they graduated high school, while I went on to play regularly at the White House for the President of the United States, and was actually present for things you read about in the history books. And I still play music and make money doing it - those jokers would probably seriously injure themselves if they even began to try to play any of the sports they excelled at in the years before they turned 19.

Ok - I'll get off of the soap box now. :)
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
The entire population is aging, I believe. I don't know of anybody who is getting younger rather than older...
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Based on what I see (limited view) I see a lot of old guys drumming and continuing to drum and not a lot of representation of youngsters.
Different world. Most youngsters stay indoors for many of their preferred activities. More getting together to hang in a basement for some video games rather than blow some smoke (literally and figuratively) out in a garage in a band, let alone in public.
Local public events have few kids playing out. Parks around my house have hardly any kids playing anything.
Thus I don't think youngsters are 'picking up the pipe' ...to use what somebody said.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Part of me wants to say "kids these days" are so used to instant gratification that they can't wrap their minds around the effort required to get good at music. It entails a lot of work that is not immediately rewarding.

Kids still get good at sports, but there is also a huge system built around nurturing talent in sports that doesn't really exist in music. It's up to individuals for the most part, especially outside of school band and orchestra (when the programs still exist).

When my kid plays soccer, he's at practice something like three days a week for a few hours, plus games. For drums, he has one 30 minute lesson per week, then whatever practice he gets around to, which is about 15 minutes a day lately. And he's exceptional among his peers in school band (junior high).
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
How much does he pay for soccer practice? The internet is full of videos with kids playing. They get lessons for free, use Skype, etc., buy or rent DVD's something I didn't have. when I played soccer in high school, college, practice was everyday. 15 -20 guys were there at once. I can't see 15-20 guys in one place taking lessons. They get more exposure to everything by way of the internet for sports, music, car repair, anything. When I was practicing soccer the only gratification came during or at the end of a game. 2 hours x 5 days a week=10 hours. Lots of work in one week. If you son played or practiced 10 hours per week at drums, he would be much better.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
How much does he pay for soccer practice? The internet is full of videos with kids playing. They get lessons for free, use Skype, etc., buy or rent DVD's something I didn't have. when I played soccer in high school, college, practice was everyday. 15 -20 guys were there at once. I can't see 15-20 guys in one place taking lessons. They get more exposure to everything by way of the internet for sports, music, car repair, anything. When I was practicing soccer the only gratification came during or at the end of a game. 2 hours x 5 days a week=10 hours. Lots of work in one week. If you son played or practiced 10 hours per week at drums, he would be much better.
Yeah, my point is that if you express an interest in soccer you are "automatically" funneled into a relatively intensive schedule of practice and training, etc. If he had to make himself walk over to the field and do drills all the time, he'd put in about as much time as he does on drums. Most kids have short attention spans and require external structure and motivation.

I brought it up in the first place because sports is the other major area I can think of where you really have to put in the time to get good.
 

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
From personal experience most of the older folk and every venue ever tend to stay stubborn to the old times rather than adapt to the new.
This is why young bands and musicians get discouraged, because people only want covers from 40 years ago.
Hmmm, I’m not sure it’s stubbornness from the venues. Pretty much every venue ever is run as a business - they book the bands that bring in the money. If bands bring in audiences (and bar spend), venues will book them. Unfortunately us stubborn older folk tend to have more disposable cash and tend to turn up to gigs in greater numbers.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
No matter how old I get, I find I am always younger than I will ever be.
James, do you have a blog, or newsletter that I can subscribe to?

I need these pearls of wisdom more frequently. "Younger than I'll ever be." Ha! Good stuff!
 
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