Tell me when you KNEW you were getting good.

Armor of Light

Senior Member
I'm sure we are all the best drummers we personally know! Comes with the title I suppose..

How and when did you know you were getting good / better? What little threshold did you finally cross? What song did you finally nail? What lick did you duplicate perfectly or what original stuff did you stumble across that surprised you?

Thanks!
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I'll take the humble Tony Williams type route here because it is truly how I feel

when Tony was asked when he realized he had his own style he answered ......"I still don't"

after 30 years of playing and 25 years in he game I play just fine.....but I will forever be a student of the music I play and the records I listen to

but I guess i truly started to feel like I could do anything I set my mind to was when I dedicated my life to playing jazz

it's important to always be learning

even when I'm teaching.....I'm learning
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I'm sure we are all the best drummers we personally know!
Not even close. If I include myself in the drummers I know, I'd be in the bottom 10% on a very good day.

A part of my problem is I've never had the feeling you describe. In my previous drumming life, I knew that it was elements other than my playing ability that generally got me work. TBH, that's probably where I am now too. Since my return to playing, I've got better, but still only half the player I was, & I wasn't that good even back in the day.

I'm happy with this, but not content, if that makes sense. I suppose the nearest I ever came to thinking I was good, was the first time someone paid me to play then gave me more work.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I'm sure we are all the best drummers we personally know!
I don't mean to come off as rude, but if a person thinks they are the best drummer they know, then I highly suggest that person needs to get out of the house and meet more people.

I've always had drum teachers or friends who can play something I can't. So I've never felt like the best I know. And living in Los Angeles, I know some really beyond talented drummers.

Drumming is a huge wide world, and no one knows how to play everything. Even most of the top pros in the world are humble enough to know they could even be better.

A buddy of mine once told me he thought I was the best drummer in town, and all I could was laugh and thought to myself, "let me give you this other guys phone number, he blows me away". LOL.
 

nirvanadrummer

Senior Member
the fact is no one knows if there really good or not. your perception of your playing is much different than anyone elses. we might think we're alot better than we really are or vice versa. I personally think badly about my drumming, but that doesnt determine whether or not im good
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
Hearing myself on a recording for the first few times, and thinking "hey, I at least sound like I know what I'm doing." Is it arrogant to be a fan of your own drumming? I think not. The only alternative is to be indifferent or dislike your own drumming, which seems miserable.

Also the feedback of others. I truly would not have kept up on the drums without all the people telling me I was good and to stick with it over the years.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
i will answer this one and risk looking like an idiotwith an over inflated ego. I played in a talent show in 8th grade ( 12 years old) and untill that point, very few people knew I played drums. The following day in art class the teacher was all fired up and told me she had told her husband about me and my playing and recomended that I make a living playing drums. ( I didn't know this teacher well). And the band teacher said to me he wished he knew I played drums he would have loved to have me in marching and concert band. I didn't think i was good, just that other people thought I was and that made me proud.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'll take the humble Tony Williams type route here because it is truly how I feel

when Tony was asked when he realized he had his own style he answered ......"I still don't"

after 30 years of playing and 25 years in he game I play just fine.....but I will forever be a student of the music I play and the records I listen to

but I guess i truly started to feel like I could do anything I set my mind to was when I dedicated my life to playing jazz

it's important to always be learning

even when I'm teaching.....I'm learning
I'm with this one. It's funny because when I was a kid, I thought I was getting good when I could imitate certain fills and other hot tricks from drummers I idolized, but that was tempered when I began recording myself and hearing just how out of time and out-of-control they were. Apparently first impressions matter and I always look at myself as that out-of-control kid that didn't make the music feel good. Nowadays I concentrate on playing simply and laying down good time and I'm still fighting that ghost of drummer's past. I'm always learning something new and I'll never know if I'm getting good ;)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
the fact is no one knows if there really good or not. your perception of your playing is much different than anyone elses.
Exactly, and it's always that other person who decides how good we are, how well suited we are for a gig, if our image and attitude are acceptable, etc. Or to put it in real world terms, when you go on a job interview, the other person decides if you're right for the job... not you.

I'm not sure when I got "good", maybe after 5 or 6 years playing, but I always think I'm getting better. Again, it's always someone else who decides if that's true, but I do know that I've been more in demand than ever before, so I'm still on the right path.

Bermuda
 

Armor of Light

Senior Member
I don't mean to come off as rude, but if a person thinks they are the best drummer they know, then I highly suggest that person needs to get out of the house and meet more people.

I've always had drum teachers or friends who can play something I can't. So I've never felt like the best I know. And living in Los Angeles, I know some really beyond talented drummers.

Drumming is a huge wide world, and no one knows how to play everything. Even most of the top pros in the world are humble enough to know they could even be better.

A buddy of mine once told me he thought I was the best drummer in town, and all I could was laugh and thought to myself, "let me give you this other guys phone number, he blows me away". LOL.
Not rude at all, friend! I agree, and the comment was tounge-in-cheek. I don't really know any other drummers personally at this point in my life!
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
so ....with all this talk of ....its up to others to decide how good someone is.....

for just a second I'll be that "someone else" and take this opportunity tell (those whom I have heard)

Bermuda
Bo
DED

that you guys are kick ass players .....and not only drummers but people I admire from afar

so there is someone else deciding how good some damn good drummers we have around here are
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
As Bermuda said, the 'demand' part weighs heavily on how good you are. I recall a Jimmy Page interview when he saw Robert Plant for the first time, and said he was extremely impressed, but Robert was playing with an unknown band and they weren't getting along on the demand end, so he figured there must've been something else wrong with him. Of course, it ends up Robert needed to be in the right combination of players because the rest if history.

But I feel like, when nobody needs me as a drummer, then I must not be playing very well, and I try not to make excuses that it could be my social shortcomings. So I'm happiest with my playing when other people want my playing. I try to avoid being that a$$-hole genius player that nobody can stand on stage ;)
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
so ....with all this talk of ....its up to others to decide how good someone is.....

for just a second I'll be that "someone else" and take this opportunity tell (those whom I have heard)

Bermuda
Bo
DED

that you guys are kick ass players .....and not only drummers but people I admire from afar

so there is someone else deciding how good some damn good drummers we have around here are
Thanks for the props! I think your playing warrants a bigger bass drum if you're going to use those big cymbals ;)

That's how you know how good someone is, by their bass drum size ;)

See what I did there?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
true;) check out my drumming if you want... once again not so great, but hey, i try haha
It's the desire that's the important thing. If you truly love doing it, and continue to get better, that's more important than being great at any one time. I've said it a million times, I'd rather work with people that are working hard all the time and love what they're doing than being around that brilliant genius who would rather be somewhere else. I have friends who are endorsed by big drum companies, and they know they don't play so great, but the bands they play with are great because they love it, and that's what everybody notices.

You should read Stewart Copeland's book "Strange Things Happen" - he kept bringing up the times when he didn't think he was playing so great and working so hard to make Sting happy on stage (and apparently that didn't happen most of the time they were reunited) yet, every recording I heard and show I saw, those guys were great and I don't think anyone wanted their ticket money back. So even that guy thinks most of his time with Sting was a off-night.
 

BradGunnerSGT

Silver Member
The best compliment I ever had was about 19 years ago a music teacher who was a friend of a friend came up to me after a show and said "that was some tasty drumming". It was the first time I had been complimented by another musician other than a friend or family member and it made me feel that I was actually competent to sit behind a kit and play original live music in front of other people.

I think a lot of it has to do with feeling confidence in what you are playing and also in being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. When you approach your playing with confidence but without arrogance, then you present yourself as being professional and competent. You also surprise yourself by making leaps every now and then when something opens up inside of you and you suddenly realize that you can now consistently play certain things that you struggled with earlier.

When I am playing live I hear and feel myself making all sorts of mistakes and micro-timing issues, but going back later and watching the video I am surprised that I can't (usually) detect what I thought were mistakes at the time or that the mistake wasn't actually something that anyone other than a musician might notice. I also love the sense of surprise when I try something different in a song and really reach for something new, and it totally works. That is also a big boost to the confidence.

I can honestly say that I think I am a decent musician because other musicians that I respect have told me that they like the way I play and that it is fun to play with me. I am not flashy or super technical, I just play for the groove and throw in little moments in the song where I follow the bass line or a guitar lick or a certain vocal, and people seem to respond to that. I listen to insanely great drummers like Gavin Harrison and I know that I will never be able to devote the time and talent that they have been able to into playing at that level, but even players like that have other players that they look up to as their idols and as inspiration. As soon as you start thinking you are "good enough" you will probably start stagnating and music will stop being fun.
 
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