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  #1  
Old 02-06-2018, 04:56 PM
Dinobe Dinobe is offline
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Default Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Hi guys,

The title of this post says it all. Should I be able to restart my drumming hobby after 20 years of non activity?

A little history first: I started drumming at the age of 17-18 (we are talking '97/'98). I played guitar a couple of years before together with some friends. One of them changed to bass guitar and very quickly the reaction came "If I change to drums, we could be a band". I lend some money from my parents and got my first drumkit. Two weeks after getting it, my guitar friends came over and we tried to play together. I barely could produce a basic beat, but hey we were a band. I was convinced I could learn it on my own, playing along with some songs.

Of course as time went on, my drumming didn't really go as expected. What did I expect? Playing on my own, no metronome, no lessons, no books, ... My financial situation didn't allow me getting all the basics tools such as a metronome. I could barely afford the drumkit alone. The internet and youtube and a smartphone with a metronome app weren't around yet.

After a while my guitar friends were disappointed that my drumming didn't go as hoped and told me that I should take some lessons. I took a couple of lessons which were much harder than expected.
I took these lessons while being at my last couple of months at secondary school, summer holidays came and my friends and I went all our own way. By this time my friends told me I sucked at drumming. We all went to different universities and chose different directions in our lives. We've never seen each other since or got together to play.

At university I hardly played my kit, I tried to revive my appetite for drumming mostly by getting new gear or blaming it "the cymbals are no good". Most of this didn't help as it were my basic skills which are totally lacking.

I met my wife, got married, moved house, have children, moved house 2nd time, full time job, other hobbies made that my kit has been sitting unused in the attic for more than 10 years. I also didn't want to play it as I felt ashamed that the neighbours would hear my crappy playing.

As we are planning to move to another house very soon now (April 2018) I decided to sell my kit as I was convinced that I just don't have the talent for it, nor that I would find the time to play (learn) it again. I did not want to leave my kit another 10 years unused in the attic. Also playing drums in house with 2 children (baby and toddler) is not the best idea.

The moment I sold my kit I demonstrated it to the buyer and thought "I actually like playing the drums". This got me thinking about my drumming past and made me realize a couple of things. How could I've been so ignorant thinking that I could just play the drums? Why did I start playing without a metronome? Why did I never practice the basic rudiments? Why did I never hear about these rudiments? While looking at videos on youtube explaining paradiddles, triplets, etc ... it all seems logical and understandable now. Why did I not get this so many years ago? I guess I pushed myself and I was pushed by others to just play without taking and giving myself time to actually learn and understand it. Now I don't understand the rush or pressure that was on me back then. I guess the approaching end off secondary school was some kind of deadline. I really don't know why, probably afraid loosing my friends? Afraid for the unknown future?

When I decided to sell my gear and I actuallty sold it, my wife told me "I hope you don't regret what you are doing". I don't know why, but this gave me a new insight in things. It made me think about my drumming past and what went wrong. This also lead to this long and boring text and me facing my past.

I kept my practice pad (hardly ever used), I installed a metronome app on my smartphone and I printed the first 3 pages of "Stick Control for the snare drummer". I guess I should be able to relearn everything by practicing these (and other rudiments) first. I can do this in almost complete silence. When I master these, even if it takes years to do so, I can always purchase a new kit and restart. My new house has a separate garage with an attic above it which I could make soundproof. So I could put a kit there and don't need to worry about waking up the children or disturbing the neighbors.

When I find that I don't have the talent to learn these rudiments or I don't have the time, nothing is wasted and was selling my kit a sad, but honest decision.

What do you guys think?

(Sorry for the long and boring text, I guess I just needed to vent my personal frustration and write this down for others to read)

Last edited by Dinobe; 02-06-2018 at 05:07 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2018, 05:11 PM
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Mighty_Joker Mighty_Joker is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Of course! Drumming is a life-long artform, and a worthy area of study whether you're an 8 year old beginner, aspiring professional, retired nun, or anyone else.

Your goals are going to be unique to you. If you want to turn pro, give yourself ten years of intense study and forging a new career. If you want to improve your hobby, get a good local teacher and play as and when you can, and remember that you're supposed to enjoy it!

As for talent, I don't believe in it. We all have different strengths and weaknesses, but are all capable of learning anything. I would suspect that you actually had trouble with the way you were studying the rudiments, rather than "lacking talent" in rudiments. Explore new ways to conceptualise them, new ways to apply them, or ignore them, and then realise you've been using them all along. They're just tools at the end of the day.

If Stick Control is a boring chore, do something else. I don't say this to mean that Stick Control isn't helpful, but because your priority first and foremost is to play the drums. Remember why you enjoy it, and focus on that. Then, when you find areas you need to improve, dedicate a little bit of time each session to it. 5 minutes with Stick Control four times a week is better than one hour all in one go. Little an often.

Sitting at a pad with Stick Control, a happy drummer does not always make!
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Really enjoyed reading about your journey.

I'm 39 years old and I picked up my first drum set 3 months ago when I bought a house large enough to house a drum set. It has not been easy for me but I'm having a great time working on the most basic mundane things. I know I'm in no position for an advice, but keep at it, take your time, and have fun.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:36 PM
Dinobe Dinobe is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Hey,

I guess my main issue is: I never took the time to analyze, study and practice 'things'. For example: I can hardly play a fill as I never understood where to put the fill, where to start it, on what count, how long....

I avoided these things or I rushed things just to be able to keep up with the band. My hands/feet can play a beat, but I loose count and can't control my hands/feet from playing the beat. I can't step out of it and start a fill on count 3 for example. I'm not in control.

I found an interesting video by 'The Drum Professor' https://youtu.be/2g02WW0EGeQ
This is so very basic stuff, when I look at it now, it looks so logical that I really can't understand why I never managed to do this. I guess Youtube wasn't around, nor gave I myself the time to study this or let someone explain it to me. I must have been so ignorant.

I hope my story makes sense, as I'm a non native English speaker, I do struggle sometimes to make it sound right...
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:47 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Sounds very familiar. I played (poorly) for a few years when I was around 16. Hated the lessons as it was mostly rudiments and practice pad stuff. Had a couple of friends to jam with but they went on to form a working band after high school and now they are all professional musicians. I packed it in. Life happened. Career. Marriage, four kids, mortgage etc. Got back into in at age 49 after buying an electric kit for a laugh. Needless to say, the bug bit again and the electric kit that "was all I will ever need" has been replaced by real drums- a few kits worth now. I love it. Plus, I am at an age where I realize how important all those rudiments were back in the day. I got myself a teacher and now I apply myself to practicing that stuff as much as a can because I know it will make me a better drummer. Found some guys my age to jam with every week. Totally love it. Played for an audience for the first time at age 50 and loved that . I really regret not doing that when I was younger. What a blast. The beauty of being older is that I'm not terrified of getting on a stage and messing up which paralyzed me in my teens. If I make a mistake, no big deal. Learn from it and keep having fun. It's not like anyone is paying to see me play.Open stage nights have been a blessing because it turns out there are a ton of older guys who aren't super seasoned players and everyone supports each other. If you are having fun, keep at it. You don't have to be the best drummer out there to enjoy it as long as you don't convince yourself that you do. Keep working at it and enjoy the journey. That is the biggest lesson I have learned as I matured-to have the patience to enjoy the journey and know I will get out of it what I put into it.
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Old 02-06-2018, 05:57 PM
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eclipseownzu eclipseownzu is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

The answer is a resounding YES! I know this because I am living proof. My story is very similar to yours. I was a guitarist who had an affinity for playing the drums. I too picked up the sticks because my friends wanted to start a band and my dad had a drumset in the spare room. I tried for years and was terrible. To the point where I stopped playing for about 10 years and also sold all of my gear. At about 30 I was basically given a complete set, cymbals and all, to store in my garage for a friend in the Navy. Said friend got out of the Navy and and told me to just keep them. So I decided to set it up and learn how to play at 30 years old. Here I am 15 years later and I would say that I have far exceeded what I thought was possible when I decided to really focus on playing the drums. I have been in several bands, recorded in professional studios and toured around the Northeast. So my advice to you is to buy a kit and get back on the horse, you wont regret it.
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Old 02-06-2018, 06:58 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinobe View Post
I kept my practice pad (hardly ever used), I installed a metronome app on my smartphone and I printed the first 3 pages of "Stick Control for the snare drummer". I guess I should be able to relearn everything by practicing these (and other rudiments) first. I can do this in almost complete silence. When I master these, even if it takes years to do so, I can always purchase a new kit and restart
All due respect, you're probably setting yourself up for failure, for a few reasons.

1. A pad is not a kit. If you want to learn to play the drum set, then you need an actual drum set so that you can learn to play songs, which are mostly made up of beats and fills, and of course, beats and fills are not well-suited to being practiced on a pad. E-kits are good for a year or so, but as your abilities grow, you'll need to own an actual acoustic kit in order to keep making progress. If you wanted to learn the guitar, you wouldn't practice on a "practice model" that only had one string, right?

2. A pad is necessary, in addition to a kit. Learning to control the stick's movement on a bouncy surface will help you to learn good stick technique. Pad practice is also quiet and convenient.

3. Your goals need to be defined more clearly. "When I find that I don't have the talent to learn these rudiments or I don't have the time" sounds impossible. Who decides if you have "talent"? Who decides if you "have the time"? A better goal would be: take lessons for 6 months, and to learn to play 5 easy songs from start to finish. Your next goal could be something like playing 3 songs with some other musicians in a rehearsal.

The dirty truth is that you can learn to play a lot of drums without having a thorough knowledge of the rudiments. As a beginner, you'll mostly play singles and flams, so don't focus too much on triple ratamacues at first. After a few months of lessons, find a chance to play easy songs with other musicians.

Hope this helps. Have fun!
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I 'm sort of agreeing with Brentcn:
using both pad and kit is way better than just rudiments.
Keep time with the the simple rudiments first by tapping your right foot to a beat to give yourself some sense of timing and get some simple hand/foot coordination(sitting down works better for this.) And don't spend a whole year just with rudiments-use the drums ASAP to see how they translate from the pad. Then listen to and play to some easy songs, just keeping the beat.
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:20 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I'm 44 now, was a self taught gigging drummer for a few years in the 90s, quit for many years, mostly due to injuries caused by inefficient technique, and started again a couple of years back. I am now making excellent thrilling progress and most of it I attribute to Tommy Igoe's DVD or digital download from Hudson Music (which I recommend b/c you can loop segments on this one) Great Hands for a Lifetime, a total game changer for me. Pad practice is now a joy b/c of developing practicing his/his father's routines (play along mp3s and videos) and understanding what good technique/rudiments feels like. I've searched around quite a bit over the years and this is by far my top recommendation at this point.

Cheers!
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Your story could be mine with a few minor edits. I would say never count yourself down or out in music, even drumming (which due to its physicality may seem like a young person's game). Since retiring from the military at 37, I've learned more and progressed more in the last seven years of playing than the whole rest of my life combined, and that included years of schooling and lessons. Age is just a number, and your life is more than a straight line.

While I had many major influences on my drumming, to be sure one of the most profound impacts on my approach to being a drummer was when I watched Louis Bellson perform on the Tonight Show in the mid-80s when I was a teenager,. Watching this guy in his 60s tear the living piss out of his drums motivated me to unreal heights - "I can be this good when I'm his age!" and I truly still aspire to that.

You do you, and just commit to growing, learning, and exploring. That's what life and art are all about.
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Old 02-07-2018, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Not boring text at all. I think you're like a lot of people who take a break and then come back with a vengeance. And that's a good thing.

I say get another kit, and do what you makes you happy. Maybe get with a teacher to take you through some basic stuff to point you in the right direction and just go do it.

If that means playing along to records or the radio for now, that's fine. If it's just playing rudimentary beats alone, that's fine too.

The idea is to keep it fun so you'd do it everyday. Sometimes people think "I must have lessons" and then get a teacher, and then realize they're not that into it, and that may have to do with how teachers teach - because there's always work involved, and sometimes, especially in the beginning, work is the last thing you should do because you already work at everything else you do for your house and family. Playing drums should be your release time too.

So go out and get a simple drum kit and start re-familiarizing yourself to it and have some fun. If you find yourself in there 30 to 60 minutes a day because it's fun to do, that will be way more productive than if you forced yourself through exercises trying to make yourself better. Take it from me. I actually had a career doing it.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I started again after 32 years off and I was in my late 50’s. You just have to decide where you want to go. For me it’s a hobby and I’m a few months from being 70.
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Last edited by GruntersDad; 02-16-2018 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:55 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Yep I went through a drum hiatus from age 25-to 39. The music scene in the 70-80s had a huge drug component and that become problematic for me personally-so I left the scene. After marriage and kids, my wife bought me a kit for Christmas. It was great my kids were little and they had hid the kit all over the house-I didn't have a clue (hmmmm I see a pattern lol). What I discovered on this journey is I love playing the drums (better than any drug)-something therapeutic about it. It isn't about being good nor do I call myself a musician-just enjoying the instrument and finding my way. Now I'm fixing to turn 63 and after playing from 8 years of age to now (except the hiatus) and because of some inspiration from DW forum-I find I want to learn how to play the drums and improve. Hey better late than never.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

You're in good company here. I quit drumming from age 21 to 51.

I've recovered most of my chops, but I don't put in enough practice time to have the polish I had when I was 19 and playing for hours every day.

However, retirement's coming so maybe I'll get to see just how far I can take it.

My advice? Find someone to play with. Imho it's not really drumming unless you're interacting.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:21 PM
Dinobe Dinobe is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Hi guys, thanks a lot for the heartwarming replies. I feel a bit relieved as I'm clearly not the only one who started off on the wrong foot so many years ago.

I'm honestly surprised to read reactions from people who have a very similar past and story.

The reason why I said I was going to practice rudiments with a practice pad the coming 2 years is that I don't see myself getting a new kit in the near future. My wife is pregnant with our 2nd child and we are moving house. I have some other priorities right now. But I believe I could find 10/15 minutes to practice rudiments while not disturbing the baby :)

Also the attic above my garage isn't suited yet to put a new kit. There is no thermal insulation nor heating. This will need to be fixed but other things first.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:38 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I don't know where you are based, but in the UK some studios offer solo practice at a lower rate than band rehearsals.

Although the majority of my practice is done on my kit at home, I also use a studio now and then which charges me Ģ10 an hour for the room with complete drum kit (although I take my own cymbals, snare, pedals and throne and change them over) and PA system. I can play as loud as I like there. Every 6th hour is free too.

So even if you've no space for a kit, you might be able to get a couple of hours on a studio kit once a week?
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Do the first page of Stick Control with your feet, too, just tapping on the floor. Then alternate between hands and feet, so the first exercise would be right hand, right foot, then left hand, left foot. Then move it around the drum set (just air drum for toms). Do this for about 6-8 months, and then get an e-kit or a practice pad kit.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I started playing guitar 40 years ago (age 12), and played in bands though high school, and into my 20's.
During that time I also got pretty good at drums, but never actually owned a kit.
Fast forward through the family years to 2011 when I started playing guitar seriously again, followed quickly by my first set of drums.
I practiced regularly for almost 2 years, and was starting to feel pretty good about my playing (guitar and drums).
An unfortunate ladder accident, and resulting blown out shoulder set me back nearly 2 years, and I almost gave up.
My therapist told me that drumming would help with my rehab, so I tried again.
A broken ankle last year forced me to quit again for 8 months, and concentrate on guitar.
After reading this thread I decided to set my drums back up, and have another go!
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Old 02-08-2018, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I took 17 years off, and started again about three years ago. Oh, and I'm 100% more advanced now, than I was back in the day.
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinobe View Post
Hi guys,

The title of this post says it all. Should I be able to restart my drumming hobby after 20 years of non activity?
Hell yes...

The following clip sums up my opinion better than anything I can come up with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd-_UwzSSvQ
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Old 02-16-2018, 12:52 PM
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Alex Sanguinetti Alex Sanguinetti is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Dinobe,

To me īthough you play previously bass and guitar it sounds like you play by ear, can you read notes (figures)?

Otherwise you couldnīt (canīt) be so confused.

You donīt need a metronome (you can have one but to me is not even esential) to be a good drummer...and other things you mentioned.

You should not loose fait, is not difficult to play DECENT drumming at all, just need a good guidance.

Try to get a great teacher but do a cautious and long search for it.

Best luck!
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Old 02-16-2018, 01:23 PM
ValboWorship ValboWorship is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

I'm part of the proud line of guitarists turned drummers. My story is somewhat similar to other people here: I played the guitar, but liked messing around on the drums after band practice and soon enough I was playing in a small band. I never practiced alone and I didn't even own a pad or had drum sticks at home. It seems ludicrous now, but I was able to half ass my way onto two professionally released albums this way. I never understood how a practice pad could help me since it wasn't a drum kit, and I didn't really understand how to practice the drums alone, because what would I play without other musicians?

After the albums I wanted to focus on my "real" instrument, the guitar. So I did that for some years, and in the meantime got an education and a job. This helped me mature immensely and when I returned to the drums about a year ago I took a completely different approach. I got really into "drum culture" and started listening to drumming podcasts and all the great drummers that were mentioned there, bought DVDs, books...

All this made me realize how terrible a drummer I was and I have started practicing from scratch. And I mean from scratch. Actually, I worked my way back to scratch. I started doing exercises for getting faster feet, some of them involved patterns between then hands and feet. I practiced this and felt quite good about it until I recorded my practice and realized that I shouldn't have felt good about it at all. My timing was terrible, so I started taking away elements of the exercises, making them simpler an simpler until I was left with practicing quarter notes with one limb to a click.

The weird part is that I'm quite happy about this. I practice single strokes at 30 bpm on the Beatnik every day and I record myself playing Benny Greb's alphabet in different ways whenever I'm on the kit, which I could easily do with a kick pad. I never play beats or fills when I practice. I only practice the fundamentals, having perfect time and permutations and I never play with other people. I would like to in the future, but I would have to sound a whole lot better than I do now before I would have any business playing with others. I don't think obsessing about fundamentals like this is a bad thing, because since I'm not a child (I'm 30) I'm not giving up because I'm not playing the stuff my heroes do. I'm in it for life, and that's what I'm gearing my practice towards.

Not sure if that helps you in any way, but it was weirdly therapeutic to sum it up like that. "Restarting" has definitely enriched my life.
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:31 AM
Dinobe Dinobe is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Quote:
To me īthough you play previously bass and guitar it sounds like you play by ear, can you read notes (figures)?

Otherwise you couldnīt (canīt) be so confused.
Hi Alex, yes I play(ed) by ear. It was only when I started taking lessons (so many years ago) that I started understanding drum notation. I only took lessons very shortly so I never got past the basic 4/4 rock beat.

It's only now, the past couple off weeks, since posting this thread, that I started looking on Youtube looking for videos about drumming that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall in their place.

This video: https://youtu.be/2g02WW0EGeQ
while it will so basic for most people here, has really been the Aha! moment for me.

I just can't get why I was so ignorant so many years ago. Bad friends? My own overconfidence? Too much pressure? Lack of time? Being 18 years old, thinking I knew it all?
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:33 AM
Dinobe Dinobe is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Quote:
To me īthough you play previously bass and guitar it sounds like you play by ear, can you read notes (figures)?

Otherwise you couldnīt (canīt) be so confused.
Hi Alex, yes I play(ed) by ear. It was only when I started taking lessons (so many years ago) that I started understanding drum notation. I only took lessons very shortly so I never got past the basic 4/4 rock beat.

It's only now, the past couple off weeks, since posting this thread, that I started looking on Youtube looking for videos about drumming that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall in their place.

This video: https://youtu.be/2g02WW0EGeQ
while it will be so basic for most people here, has really been the Aha! moment for me.

I just can't get why I was so ignorant so many years ago. Bad friends? My own overconfidence? Too much pressure? Lack of time? Being 18 years old, thinking I knew it all?
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Old 02-21-2018, 11:58 AM
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Alex Sanguinetti Alex Sanguinetti is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinobe View Post
...I just can't get why I was so ignorant so many years ago. Bad friends? My own overconfidence? Too much pressure? Lack of time? Being 18 years old, thinking I knew it all?
I would say itīs the outlined word, I donīt think anything else, but itīs not really "bad FRIENDS", but "bad COMPANY"... The majority of the people have a funny idea about what is to really learn music, donīt let me start...

I would say that missconception RULES in general and it WILL BE hard for you not to be trapped in it.

Best luck!
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  #26  
Old 02-28-2018, 02:10 AM
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Griffman Griffman is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Seems I have a similar story. I learned to play when I was about 12. I learned to read but never learned about the four types of strokes. I practiced the crap out of "Stick Control" on pillows and built up some pretty flashy speed

Fast forward 44 years

I have played on and off over the decades but in my most recent stint developed bad wrist and tumb pain. So I decided it was time I learned how to simply hold, drop, and bounce the sticks.

I have found Bill Bachman's extream hands makeover just the ticket. It is such a well thought out step by step rebuilding of technique (or lack there of).

I also changed my grip from traditional to matched. Although my right hand is still faster, my left hand plays with much better touch and technique. It just goes to show. Learn the fundementals over and over and over and practice them perfectly over and over and over. It so much easier than developing bad habits and trying to re-learn everything.

I really can't recommend Bill's hands makeover enough. I don't know enough about his playing to say if he is a great drummer - but I think he is a great teacher... and that's what I needed. Thanks Bill, you probably extended my drumming life by quite a few years.
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  #27  
Old 02-28-2018, 07:47 PM
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Mastiff Mastiff is offline
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Default Re: Restarting everything after 20 years at the age of 37?

Go for it man. I've been playing off and on since I was 16, the most serious I got was being very briefly in a bar band in my 20's. Never without a set for more than a few years, but never serious either. Now I'm "old" (mid forties) and finally have the patience and mindset to just enjoy getting better while being more focused. I have no illusions of being in a band or anything, I just want to get better and create. Right now I'm happy to get better at rudiments and fundamentals, but if that's not your thing, then start by playing along to music or whatever. There are so many angles you can come at it from.

I've noticed lots of old farts on this forum. ;)

FWIW, there are a number of options for online lessons, which can save you money and fit more easily into a schedule. Personally, I find them good for motivation and for learning what you don't know, but you have to be self motivated since there's nobody there to guide you or look at you in a disappointed way if you don't practice.
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