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  #1  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:33 AM
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Default Is it too late for me to keep playing?

Hey everyone, I've been having some bad thoughts about the future of my drumming, real bad thoughts.

First of all I'm, 16, I started taking lessons back in July with only a practice pad until I spent all of my money on a nice Tama set a week or two later and have been keeping a steady pace of practice since (focusing and concentrating on practice went pretty rocky the earlier months though), I started out with an hour a day, now it's become natural to belt 2 maybe 3 hours every day after I started playing jazz and chart reading in December. Anyways, lately I've been really questioning if it's just too late to keep all this up and if it will ever end up anywhere serious. I don't post on this board a lot, but I read it pretty much everyday and I see people saying things like, "Well I started playing when I was 7" or "I was taking lessons at 12" and it always gets me down, you know?

I mean, thinking about all that lost time discourages from keeping it all going. This is definitely something I want to take seriously, but now I feel like I won't be able to get good enough FAST enough to stand out in amongst other drummers in my area when it comes to technical skill, like the kind who could be my age who have been playing drums for years and I feel like I couldn't compete if I wanted to start gigging say when I'm 20, 4 years of playing will seem like nothing to people to have been doing it since they were kids.

So yeah, discuss. If any of you have been in this same situation it'd be a real help to hear some wisdom.

Last edited by Syrith; 05-03-2010 at 10:15 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Depends on how much, and how seriously, you practice. I didn't start until 10th grade band [a top-notch, DCI-style one though, so, no clownin'] and didn't own a drumset 'til I was 20. I was in my 1st band at 21 though. You'll be fine. Just have fun and don't give much of a crap what anyone else thinks. When you're good enough to join a band, do it. Time of yer life.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Hey, I'm 18 and I started playing 6.....MONTHS ago. I suck, big time. From the sound of your progress, you are doing WAYYYYYY better then I am. I know that I'm a real shlockey example but, I'd say, keep with it. If it's what you really love to do, you will not be able to live with yourself if you don't keep it up. If nothing, comes of it, then nothing comes of it. At least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you didn't quit.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

You'll drive yourself crazy if you focus on comparing yourself with other people. Just play, find a band, and enjoy what happens. You'll be fine.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:53 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

You're never "too old" as long as you're doing what you enjoy.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Syrith,

First, you are never too old. There are plenty of drummers who started in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Don't feel like "I can never be good because I didn't start when I was four", just because some have started playing at younger ages, the amount that you progress is individual. Which brings me to:

Second, it's not a race. You will progress at your own speed, which may be faster, or slower than someone else. That is also influenced by the training you are getting, the time spent practicing, and the time spent playing in bands, as well as listening to music.

So keep going! You would not have come this far, and have invested in a nice kit, just to give up now. Learning drums is a life long adventure. All of us, at every age, are still learning. Savor every new skill you acquire. It's a personal accomplishment to be proud of, not to be used to measure ourselves against others. Drumming is a brother-(and sister)-hood. We share knowledge, and are happy for each others successes. We do it because we love drumming.

Rock on!
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2010, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I didn't start seriously until I was 17.

Yeah, it's disheartening to read how so and so started when they were 9 or 12, but you can't worry about the past, you can only control what is in front you.

Practice, study, and soon it won't matter so much.

When you join a band, they won't care how long you've been playing, as long as you CAN play the songs.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I started playing when I was 19. Now I make a living playing and teaching. If you have any talent, you're not too late.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I didn't start until I was 20. And that was a year ago.

Besides, at a certain point, you plateau a bit. Not in the sense that you don't get better, just more of... well A) you don't grow by leaps and bounds as much and B) you learn ~90% of what there is to know within your genre, so all you can do is branch off, which means you know more but don't necessarily use those skills all the time...

Plus, musicians are all ages. Some of my favorite bands have members pushing 40 and have been playing 20ish years on their instrument and maybe 10ish in the band.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Let's say that I know a professional drummer who started playing drum at age 27...
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  #11  
Old 01-26-2010, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrith View Post
Hey everyone, I've been having some bad thoughts about the future of my drumming, real bad thoughts.

First of all I'm, 16, I started taking lessons back in July with only a practice pad

I mean, thinking about all that lost time discourages from keeping it all going.
Grandma Moses didn't begin painting until she was 75. Her paintings went on to sell in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you... you're only 16.
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  #12  
Old 01-26-2010, 09:24 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Can you list some of the most famous drummers that have started playing on their 20's?
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  #13  
Old 01-26-2010, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

As others have said, it's not a race, it's a journey. It's certainly not a competition. You'll cut yourself up if you think like that. Have fun, join a band, practice until you get tired of it. It's not all about technical ability either. It's just as much about interpretation, feel, dynamic, space, etc, etc. Sure, you need your basic tool box of technical skills but there's so much more to being a good musician than the nuts & bolts of playing.

My son started playing at 16 as he had no interest in drumming before that. He now eats & breaths it. He's now 18, gigging regularly and wowing some of the local drumming community with his playing. He's found his area and excells at it.

You've got all the time in the world & more besides.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I didn't start playing until I was 21, I'm 27 in March. Don't bother wasting your time comparing yourself to what others have achieved, I have a friend who is the same age, has had 4 albums released in the UK charts and is a full time drummer and my tutor is a year younger than me and went to Berkley and is an incredible drummer and a great tutor.

Personally I'm happy with what I have achieved. My motivation to better myself is all I need to keep going.

'We don't do these things because they're easy, we do them because they're hard' I like to remember that when I have the bad days.
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  #15  
Old 01-26-2010, 10:52 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I kinda got down about this when I started playing (When i was 15, 18 this thursday) But About a year ago I realised it really didn't matter if you enjoy yourself. Also some of the guys who started around 9 stopped practicing as much, so I'm gaining ground haha
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  #16  
Old 01-26-2010, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I started playing when I was 26. I had wanted to play since I was a teenager and my buddy got a kit. At 26, I bought my first kit and have been playing since. Now I am 56 and still play. There are a lot of guys out there that are a LOT better drummer than I will ever be, but I play because I enjoy it. DON"T give up!
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  #17  
Old 01-26-2010, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Syrith, is better if you don't worry about your negative believes. ERASE THEM ALL!!! dude I'll be 32 next month and I've been a bass player since I was 13. Good right? In my present Metal Prog project I was hurting because all the drummers were on and off none were steady so HEY!!!! I just purchased myself a bad ass PDP X7 with a brand new set of Paiste Cymbals you know WHY? Because I KNOW WHAT I WANT. People around me is on a state of shock because the way I play, Only 4 months after I started. My dbl pedal is insane and yeahh I have a wife and kid... and a job... and responsibilities BUT I know what I want and that puts me on a roll that only God can stop me. In the mean time I'll be playing my fast paste metal until arthritis takes over or I die.


Dude find your passion and PLAY, practice only what you think is impossible for you to do. Follow those drummers that makes you feel that you will never be like them because of the good they are. Everybody knows about whats possible but no body wants to talk about whats impossible. Spread the word that Impossible will always be impossible until its been tried and worked. GO FAST!!!!! HELL YEAH!!!!
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  #18  
Old 01-26-2010, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nocTurnal View Post
Grandma Moses didn't begin painting until she was 75. Her paintings went on to sell in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you... you're only 16.
But I did hear that she had trouble with 1/16 notes and tom fills, but man could she ever play double bass, lol. Sorry...

If your body can handle it, you're never too old to start if that's what you want to do. Everybody has lows in their practice regimes, just get through it and continue on.

Dennis
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  #19  
Old 01-26-2010, 02:54 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPW View Post
Can you list some of the most famous drummers that have started playing on their 20's?
i believe chris adler, a top metal drummer playing for lamb of god, started drumming when he was 21.
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  #20  
Old 01-26-2010, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Yea, in other words, keep playing or we'll kick your a@@, see? ;)
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  #21  
Old 01-26-2010, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Is it too late age-wise? No.

But, if you worry about what advantages others have, and let yourself get down when you aren't the best at something, then yes, it's too late to ever succeed...because there are always people who are better at certain aspects of drumming, or have more advantages in certain areas, than you.

Some advice from a guy who makes his living doing this: You say that you want to become a serious drummer. Well, a large part of that is dealing with rejection and realizing that there are a lot of other amazing drummers out there. If you get discouraged every time you realize that, or every time another drummer gets a gig you want, then you will never make it as a serious drummer. The only thing you can improve is yourself...your skills, your attitude, your look, your passion, your mind-set. Don't worry about everyone else, because you can't do anything about them, and at the end of the day, every minute spent worrying about them is a minute not spent improving yourself.
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

It's never to late!

We ALL start playing drums because it's FUN not because we want to be great or reach some pro-level of playing.

You need to remind yourself of the fun you have when your groovin' along w/ the headphones on. And that's the only thing that is important.

It's not about how good you are now, trust me, it will happen just keep at it and be patient.

I'm 45 and there are 9 year olds who can kid my a@@ - so what. I'm havin' fun. period.
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  #23  
Old 01-26-2010, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I started when i was 15 and i'm 22 this year i have never loved doing something so much in my entire life. Even if you aren't going to make it as a pro, you have the satisfaction and the safety knowing that you will play drums for the rest of your life. There are those who want to make it a business, and those who do it for the sheer enjoyment that it brings to their lives, i am the latter. If anything ever came of it i'd probably die of shock because it's my dream but even just playing in a gigging band is a dream come true as you are doing what you enjoy most and it doesn't take anything from you. If it is business you are interested in then it's always best to have a backup plan because the music industry is tough to get into and i mean titanium tough. If not, don't worry about the age you started, sure Buddy was playing at the age of 1 but who cares? Everyone is individual and develops their own unique sound, you'll develop yours soon enough and in a few years you'll get the big picture.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2010, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

You've heard it from others, but I started when I was 23....I'm 60 now. Could I have been better if I started as a kid, like I did with trumpet? Yeah, probably so. But I didn't, so why worry about it. Don't get down on yourself.

Work on your groove and your chops.....and definitely make nice with other people and you'll get gigs.

You need to be comfortable with what you can do, and not bother comparing yourself to others. Like Bigfoot wrote....it is about having FUN

"Never play to impress the other drummer"-Ginger Baker

Franz Boas, one of the most influential anthropologists of the 20th century didn't start teaching until he was 50, and his students read like the who's who of the field...Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, and a host of others. I reiterate....it is a journey and it is supposed to be fun, no matter how hard you work at it.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:23 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Another late-starter here. I'm almost 32 and started when I was 29. I could have started when I was strong enough to hold up sticks, since my dad was a career drummer, professionally. Talk about kicking yourself in the ass!

It's been said but don't sweat time, you have so little of it in life to begin with. Drumming and music is meant to be fun. It's OK to push hard and be as good as you can...but it isn't worth the time and effort if you're not having fun.
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  #26  
Old 01-26-2010, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

16 to late!!! LOL.....I got my first kit at 37, I can't imagine where I'd be if I had, and extra 20+ years behind me. I envy you kid.....haha. When your 37, which happens pretty quickly I might add....your gonna be in great form, keep up the hard work, you'll be just fine.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nocTurnal View Post
Grandma Moses didn't begin painting until she was 75. Her paintings went on to sell in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you... you're only 16.
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiotech View Post
But I did hear that she had trouble with 1/16 notes and tom fills, but man could she ever play double bass, lol. Sorry...
I don't know what's so funny about what I said. The story of Grandma Moses is one of the most inspiring stories of a person who started a hobby later in life and became very successful at it. It doesn't matter what hobby you are doing, the inspiration applies to them all. Her story proves it is never too late in life to start almost anything. She had wanted to paint since she was very young, but she had similar worries that the OP is expressing. It is those kind of worries and lack of confidence that keep people from accomplishing their goals.
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  #28  
Old 01-26-2010, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

16 too late? God I sure hope not! I quit when I was 15-16 and just took em up again two weeks ago at 56! LMAO!

Got a new kit but spend most of my time on the pad starting fresh with singles,doubles,tripples,paradiddles and some accents,etc.

You have PLENTY of time......"IF" you want it......
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  #29  
Old 01-26-2010, 08:55 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Dude, 16!!! I started playing while still in the womb!! Full drum set and all.

Haha!

Seriously, at 16 you have plenty of time. PLEASE do not compare yourself to others who have been playing since they were younger. That is the worst thing you can do. Some drummers start at 7 or 8 and by the time they are 16 and 17, they still suck because they have no direction, desire, instruction, etc. Some drummers begin at 14 or 15 and by the time they are 16 ot 17, are very good because they took it seriously, had direction, desire, plus took instruction.

Don't freak yourself out by comparing yourself to others. I'm 48 and just got back into drumming in 2007, so I took a 20 + year break from it. Am I too old? Not too old to DRUM!!!
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  #30  
Old 01-26-2010, 09:02 PM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Comparing yourself to others is useless. If you enjoy drumming, then pursue it, no matter your age. I would give the same advice to someone who was 80 (but I'd recommend getting a doctor's approval for starting a "fitness program" first).

Okay, get this: I started drumming when I was 17. I started playing professionally (part-time) when I was 19, and I've been doing it full-time since I was 27. I didn't see my beginnings as starting "too late". I just loved to play, and eventually, I took it the route I wanted it to go. I just wish I would have started earlier so I could have been enjoying it for longer than I have now. But, I also realize that if I would have started earlier, maybe I wouldn't have pursued it with the intensity and passion that I did. Looking back, I think I began at the right point in my life...
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  #31  
Old 01-27-2010, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

This sort of thing only really applies to the Jedi :P

Don't worry, just keep practicing and working at it. I started when I was 12 so that's not far off you.
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  #32  
Old 01-27-2010, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I played from the time I was 15 until I was about 20. Then I played a few gigs for a friend when I was 27. The next time I played I was 58. Three years ago. Although it's a hobby, I am better now then I was in the past and I am having more fun than ever. Nothing is impossible. If you like it, pursue it but have fun none the less.
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  #33  
Old 01-27-2010, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I played a little in high school and then quit. I started playing again at 30 and taking it serious this time. I play in 3 bands and gig fairly frequently. It is never too late! I just focus on what the music needs and the rest will follow.

J.
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  #34  
Old 01-27-2010, 01:05 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Travis Barker started playing when he was around 9, and then quit until his sophomore year of high school (your age) and then began to take it seriously, and look where he is now ;)
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Old 01-27-2010, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

Akira Jimbo began drumming at the age of 18:

http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Akira_Jimbo.html

It's all about dedication. If you want it, you need to be disciplined. It's very possible, but it will be a lot of work and you need to be ready for it.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:13 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I started when I was 53. I'm 55 and gigging regularly. Steady and simple and I have a great time. Most likely 98% percent of the drummers out there have better skills then me and I just dont care. Thats about the only good thing about getting old. Kids have it hard that way.
Drumming is pure honest fun. Thats the best way to look at it till it becomes a job. Then I rekon you need to get serious. Me I'm just coasting along having fun.
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Old 01-27-2010, 02:28 AM
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Default Re: Is it too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Syrith View Post
Hey everyone, I've been having some bad thoughts about the future of my drumming, real bad thoughts.

First of all I'm, 16, I started taking lessons back in July with only a practice pad until I spent all of my money on a nice Tama set a week or two later and have been keeping a steady pace of practice since (focusing and concentrating on practice went pretty rocky the earlier months though), I started out with an hour a day, now it's become natural to belt 2 maybe 3 hours every day after I started playing jazz and chart reading in December. Anyways, lately I've been really questioning if it's just too late to keep all this up and if it will ever end up anywhere serious. I don't post on this board a lot, but I read it pretty much everyday and I see people saying things like, "Well I started playing when I was 7" or "I was taking lessons at 12" and it always gets me down, you know?

I mean, thinking about all that lost time discourages from keeping it all going. This is definitely something I want to take seriously, but now I feel like I won't be able to get good enough FAST enough to stand out in amongst other drummers in my area when it comes to technical skill, like the kind who could be my age who have been playing drums for years and I feel like I couldn't compete if I wanted to start gigging say when I'm 20, 4 years of playing will seem like nothing to people to have been doing it since they were kids.

So yeah, discuss. If any of you have been in this same situation it'd be a real help to hear some wisdom.
years mean nothing
if you take it seriously and put in HOURS, youre gonna be fine
i started a year ago (19.5 now) and doing good!
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  #38  
Old 01-27-2010, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

i would say, with all my worldly wisdom, get a grip.
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  #39  
Old 01-27-2010, 02:50 AM
krayziemex99 krayziemex99 is offline
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Location: Arizona
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Default Re: Is it too late for me to keep playing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedon View Post
years mean nothing
if you take it seriously and put in HOURS, youre gonna be fine
i started a year ago (19.5 now) and doing good!
I absolutely agree I started at 23 and I am almost 25 right now and I am in a band and just want to get better. If you want it and are passionate about it then everything should come naturally. You shouldn't compare yourself to other drummers instead see what you can learn from them! Playing with other people and watching some of my favorite drummers do there thing (Mike Portnoy, Todd Sucherman, Gavin Harrison, Jason Bittner and Akira Jimbo) I have learned A LOT from watching those guys. What I am trying to say is stay dedicated and focused you are plenty young trust me.
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  #40  
Old 01-27-2010, 04:11 PM
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sqadan sqadan is offline
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Default Re: Is too late for me to keep playing?

I did not start playing until I was 14... and I didn't get really serious about technique and skill until I was 17... I have been a gigging drummer continuously since my high-school years.

Also - don't wait to start playing with other people at some arbitrary age... I played my first show at 15 and never looked back. Playing with other people is the best practice you get and will only make you a better player. Find some other musicians that are at about the same level of experience and start jamming.
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