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  #1  
Old 07-23-2013, 03:28 AM
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Default Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

This has kept me awake quite a few nights since I returned from my summer vacation. I guess this actually is almost more of a venting of some sort, but anyways, I think that maybe quite a few of you here can relate, so here goes.

Short backstory:
I've been playing and studying drums and percussion for almost 8 years now, quite intently. I've always wanted to be able to make a decent living playing music professionally (I'm still a student at a conservatory in Norway). Almost every time I'm on stage with people making music (there has been a few jam sessions where someone did something that sort of killed my buzz), I get this unbelievably great "in-the-moment"-type feeling/sensation that I guess you would call my high. I absolutely LOVE it and still do.

Jump to reason why this post
Practice has gotten boring and it feels like it's not giving me anything anymore. I have felt like this before, but not for this long (several weeks). I try to play along to music, I start to feel kinda shallow and that I don't make any progress. And then I start to feel bad because I'm not making progress and that I just keep doing the same stupid mistakes over and over. It feels like everyone else (at least a lot of people I know) is making or have been making a lot of progress these last few years and I have done nothing. And I feel bad because I know I have had time to practice more, but I don't thrive in my practice settings. Practicing seems to have become a task I almost loathe but has to be done, instead of something to look forward to and have fun with. I can go practice whenever I want, but it feels like it's no use at all. Right now I'm feeling a mix of pissed off (at myself) and mildly depressed.

Although I should note that I have a gig on friday with a band I'm playing in, a release-party for our EP, that I really look forward to. Great guys and fun music to play drums with and to. So it's not all dark and black and hopeless :-) But (yes, there's a but), this is music and a style of drumming that I don't practice outside band practices except listening (post-hardcore-ish stuff. I could post a link or three if you're interested in hearing). In my own time, I try to practice jazz, some latin, funk and "musicians" instrumental music (i.e. Oz Noy). Books I've used are Art Of Bop by John Riley, some of the PATTERNS-books by Gary Chaffee (namely Time Functioning and Technique) and some stuff that came with The Language of Drumming by Benny Greb and The Master Drummer by John Riley.

I haven't properly worked through any of these books, but worked on segments I felt necessary for me. Sort of like Gary Chaffee suggests using his books to begin with. I have had these books and DVDs for about 1-4 years (some older than others). And I still feel like all the musicians I know at the conservatory are speeding away ahead from me on all points.

Conclusion, if you could call it that
I don't know why I wrote this, I guess I needed to vent. A percussion colleague of my dads spoke quite hard to me about getting places (like getting a job out there in the real world) and sort of directly questioned my passion and my goals according to my practice routines. I kinda liked being challenged like that, but the more I think about it and the more I listen to other people play, the more hopeless my dream of making a living as a musician seems. I really don't know what I'm asking here of you guys here on the forum, both professionals and hobbyists at every different level. Maybe some words of wisdom about life? I don't know.

If you feel like leaving a post formulated as an answer, a philosophical mind boggler or if you feel like you need to vent on similar issues, please do. I'll probable be happy to know someone bothered to read my ramblings. I just... eh... something... meh. I think I'll try to go to bed one more time (it's currently 03:30 in Tromsø, where I live. Seagulls making a fuss outside like there's no tomorrow). See you all in the morning, hopefully I've found my drive and passion to go practice again by then.

Good night everyone on the interwebs :-)
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2013, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

I understand wanting to make a living out of playing drums. I haven't made much at all, which is why I have a day job. I don't know how appealing a regular job is to you, but you should also learn sound engineering or something else in addition to just drumming. I heard this in another thread. Heck, maybe if you're lucky, you can be a drum tech for a good touring band, or even a sound or lighting engineer.

Maybe the other guys are seemingly leaving you behind, but remember that you are unique and if you stick with it long enough (no pun intended), you will develop your own unique sound and style. Go for the feel of the groove and play for the love of the instrument. The drums has been a great social outlet for me over the years. So, what have you got to lose? That's the best I can tell you...my 2 cents, fwiw.
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

I have played drums for 15 years which seems like a long time but it was only about 3 years ago that I felt a genuine need to practice routines with intent, put a lot of time in and force myself to try things that I wasn't comfortable doing.

I can't regret the earlier years where I was more casual because I think it was those years of slow progress that compelled me to try harder now. I felt the same about school and university - I didn't give a shit, or couldn't really be bothered focusing. But now I'm able to do that. It's not always fun but at the end of a year you can look back and see your improvement and it's all worth it. What else would you have done if you weren't practicing? Sat on the net or in front of tv for an extra hour probably.
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Old 07-23-2013, 04:52 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

I heard this about working out, but I think it applies to a lot of other things. You start something, and for a while it is like you just keep soaring and the sky is the limit, and just when you start getting successful, you stop seeing success. It isn't that you aren't getting better, its a mental thing. You aren't improving as fast as you used to, and because you can't notice a difference, you think you aren't getting better, but you are. This is kind of a situation where you either will stay where you have always been or absolutely go over the top and reach higher than you thought you could go.

That may not be 100% fact, but I think it is a good explanation of what could be happening. Some things you could try: mix it up. Play different styles and look for rudiments and things you haven't done before. You can keep doing what you have been doing, knowing that you will get better eventually. You can try to step it up. Practice 30 minutes more a day. Try finding some different instructors to learn under. You can do a lot of things, or you can stop, and regret not hitting your limits.

I am in no way a professional drummer. These are just things I think could all potentially work. Good luck
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Quote:
the more I listen to other people play, the more hopeless my dream of making a living as a musician seems.
This is an easy frame of mind to get stuck in and I admit I've been there many times, but its a really bad attitude to find yourself in. Some drummers will be "better" than you at some things. That's a fact. But like Midnite said, every musician has their own voice. Instead of resenting others for there superior abilities, respect them for it. Be inspired by it. Realize that you have something within you that could inspire them.

My very good friend of mine told me something that other day that is very applicable to your situation. He had a standard plan to graduate from college, get a job, blah blah blah. Solid plan. However about a month before graduation, he dropped his job, and decided to move across the country to start his own business and to play music. He has no job. no money, only a place to live and his instrument. I asked why he did it and he told me this: "We are only young once. The time to take risks and see what will happen is now. If you go for it and it fails, then it fails. So what! Time is on our side."
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:17 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Realise that making a living out of playing music is not based on some arbitrary skill level which acts as an entry ticket.

Sure, you have to have the basics, and if you want to be a top session musician, you have to be a top musician. But there are plenty of musicians who have made great careers without having top drawer technical skills. You need a combination of musical skills, personal skills and good old fashioned luck to succeed in any industry.

Above all, I suspect that the 3:30 am posting time has as much to do with your state of mind as anything else. Things are worse when you're tired.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:30 AM
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KarlCrafton KarlCrafton is offline
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Some good points made so far.

You have to be at a certain level of skill--that's a given.

After that, it is who you know, and who knows you. There is SO MUCH more "who knows you're out there, and are available", than people asking "who can do all that drum-y stuff Vinnie can do?"

People that book you for shows are not generally players. They book gigs and studio dates and are "the business" end of it.
If you can show up, be on time, do the job without fuss, are competent, nice and not a PITA, and can hang with people, you will get calls.

IF you decide you want to go on the road, can someone stand you on a bus for 6 weeks?
THAT social skill part of it is more important than any "mistakes" you think you are making in sticking skills in a piece of written music in a book.
No one will care if you can play line 25 at top speed backwards if you are not fun to be around.
They will love you if you can lay it down for the band with conviction, not get in the way of what others are playing/singing, and are good to be around.

As for now, are you going to play Jazz, or do you want to play Jazz, or any of the other styles you listed?

I mention this because you said that outside of band rehearsals, you don't practice the kind of music you are playing with other people right now.

What happens if your CD gets recognition, you guys start to do really well, and you haven't gotten THIS STYLE of music that you ARE playing down as well as you might?
I know it happens, because a friend of mines band is starting to go through it right now. It happens FAST too.

Does the practice of the bands music seem "wrong" because it's not Jazz, or some other "musician" music?

If you are going to be doing Jazz dates, then yes, of course get your feel, and listening skills honed. A good ear is as important as good hands. Knowing what not to play is equally important.

One other thing to remember is that you are playing for, and (hopefully) entertaining "the general public" who 99% of don't know anything about music. They just like the tune, or the beat, and that's as far as it goes for them--but they buy the CD's and the concert tickets.

You have to like what you are doing, otherwise you end up having a sucky JOB-even if it's playing music.

Your signature say's it.
Good luck!!
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Old 07-23-2013, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Wow, I really didn't expect this. A lot of great replies. I definitely feel better reading this stuff. I'll try to answer some things as well.

Quote:
You can do a lot of things, or you can stop, and regret not hitting your limits.
I liked your entire post, slow rocker, but this seemed to hit me the most. I'll definitely try not to stop :-)

Quote:
My very good friend of mine told me something that other day that is very applicable to your situation. He had a standard plan to graduate from college, get a job, blah blah blah. Solid plan. However about a month before graduation, he dropped his job, and decided to move across the country to start his own business and to play music. He has no job. no money, only a place to live and his instrument. I asked why he did it and he told me this: "We are only young once. The time to take risks and see what will happen is now. If you go for it and it fails, then it fails. So what! Time is on our side."
Wow, great story! I'm soon turning 24. Maybe moving to a new place could help inspire me. And get me new contacts as well, an important point mentioned by KarlCrafton. People need to know me and my playing. Not just the last one (more than one person mentioned this).

Quote:
Above all, I suspect that the 3:30 am posting time has as much to do with your state of mind as anything else. Things are worse when you're tired.
It wasn't just last night, I've been feeling like this (when I practiced and were done practicing) for weeks. And not just in the evening. I went to bed about 1am and couldn't fall asleep until I wrote this thread. But yeah, I'll still keep that last sentence with me :-)

Quote:
As for now, are you going to play Jazz, or do you want to play Jazz, or any of the other styles you listed?

I mention this because you said that outside of band rehearsals, you don't practice the kind of music you are playing with other people right now.
I've always loved playing jazz (at least since I started getting into it, about 6 years ago), everything about it is fun (except practicing it nowadays, obviously). I don't practice the style of this particular band, other than listening to similar music, because it's a style quite similar to earlier bands I've been in. So it feels quite natural to play it, come up with new beats, breaks, etc. And we practice regularly twice a week, more if we feel the need ahead of a gig like this on friday is coming up. I have practiced certain beats if I can't play them comfortably at the tempo required, and slower and faster.

I practice different styles because it gives me more diversity when creating new music with this (and other) band(s) and people. This goes for both jazz, latin and funk. And I study classical percussion at school (conservatory). So, I guess I aim for diversity to be my forte in the end. I feel good on stage in every context I've been in so far, but I think I have had just a bit more fun when playing with bands contra orchestral stuff.

Quote:
You have to like what you are doing, otherwise you end up having a sucky JOB-even if it's playing music.

Your signature say's it.
Good luck!!
Great point, thanks Karl :-) I don't read my own signature that often, maybe I should post it on a wall in my small apartment. I'll keep your signature in mind too ;-)



Lastly I want to thank you all for chiming in, I feel quite a bit better today :-) It felt good letting this stuff off my chest and even better to get this kind of response! Now I'm going to eat breakfast and head out for an interview with a local newspaper who contacted our band about our EP-release this friday. Have a great day everyone!

(Dang-it, I love this forum)
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Old 07-23-2013, 12:35 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

If practice is currently a chore, stop "practicing" for awhile.

Just go in and play. Don't worry about exercises or improvement, just play whatever suits your fancy. Or don't play at all. Just walk away for a couple of weeks.

But, it sounds like you need to gig more. Nothing like playing to get you motivated to work and to test your current skills/figure out what you need to work on. Get out and get playing whether it's paid or for free.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Oh, and remember: this too shall pass.
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

If you are studying at a conservatory and the others around you aren't inspiring you to want more then maybe you need to take a break. A good conservatory with good players should make you want to practice to get better and keep up. Have you spoken to your instructor at school about this? I'd start there with the person that knows you and your playing personally and not on a message board with people you don't know.

Honestly your peers at school and your instructor should be able to guide you through this much better then we can.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:15 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

The big pink elephant of wanting to make your living from playing is at the root of all this. It is sucking the joy right out of things. I am half tempted to say forget making a living from it for now...get your money elsewhere, and play to satisfy your soul. Drums and the making money aspect of it, are in direct competition with each other. It's a bad combination. Those days are gone for the majority of musicians.

I wanted to make a living playing. And I did, for a few years. But I couldn't make the money I really needed to live on, so I quickly realized that I needed more money than I could get from music. So I changed plans. You can't always get what you want, at least when you want it. Now that I have my money making machine rolling, I can play for fun. It is so much better. The guys I know who are full time musicians are music tragics. They don't make a whole lot and they are jaded beyond belief. Don't be a music tragic.

Money taints music. It's already happening to you. Keep them separate is my advise. I look at music as something I love to do first, and at best, a supplemental income. I'll tell you what, I never worry about my music. It is a source of joy for me. And if I don't feel like practicing, I don't. I am in charge of my music, my music isn't in charge of me.

If things were different, and I could make 100,000 a year playing music, that would be different. But to suffer for 25,000 a year ( that's ambitious in my world) just isn't worth it. I played 107 gigs last year. I made just under 6,000. It just doesn't pay enough for me to even consider making a living from it.
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Old 07-23-2013, 02:28 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Quote:
If you are studying at a conservatory and the others around you aren't inspiring you to want more then maybe you need to take a break. A good conservatory with good players should make you want to practice to get better and keep up. Have you spoken to your instructor at school about this? I'd start there with the person that knows you and your playing personally and not on a message board with people you don't know.

Honestly your peers at school and your instructor should be able to guide you through this much better then we can.
I have been talking to them (my teachers) about this before summer break and last year as well. Although some conversations have been better than others, it sort of just gets down to "...you'll just have to find what motivates you" and the like. I don't go rambling on forums without having a talk with people closer to me first. I've also talked to my parents about it (my father works professionally as a percussionist in a military marching band). Even mentioned it to some of my friends. Still same story; "...you've gotta find your inspirations". But I do get a really good buzz out of playing live for people, so maybe what's wrong is what Boomka said:
Quote:
But, it sounds like you need to gig more. Nothing like playing to get you motivated to work and to test your current skills/figure out what you need to work on. Get out and get playing whether it's paid or for free.
And maybe this is the year to do it, I finished all theoretical subjects (musical analysis, etc) this spring semester. Try harder to get and make myself gigs in the surrounding municipalities (yes, I google-translated to learn that word) and counties. Put together trios, quartets and the like for one-off concerts and try to find my thing if there is such a thing. I really haven't ever done this myself, I've always waited to be asked to play stuff (I have been asked, just for the record). Could it be that the downtime is "killing me"? Could it be that simple?

Larry:
I'm still a student, so I'll keep trying a bit more. At least until my studies are finished :-) I had 1 paid gig this summer (4 nights, 2 weekends), they were really great. I had a great time, so I won't stop trying yet. And as I wrote before editing, I believe now that the downtime between gigs is what pulls me down.
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Last edited by MLdrum; 07-23-2013 at 02:34 PM. Reason: Adding an answer to Larryace
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

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Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
If practice is currently a chore, stop "practicing" for awhile.

Just go in and play..
^ This.

It doesn't sound like you lost your passion for drums, just you've bogged yourself down with practicing things you think you need to learn over playing what you want to play.

Yes, we all understand the concept that the more you know, the better your chances are in your field. So it's very tempting to study all the name books and learn every style. But at the same time, music is art and one has to want have the passion for the actual music being studied. I.E. you can study a style, be it Latin, jazz or extreme metal, all you want, but if you don't dig that style, you're going to end up in a rut regardless.

Very few people can play all styles of drums at a very high level, and even then, they have their limits. Some choose to specialize in one or two styles, others learn just enough of each to get by.

I think perhaps you just need to be honest about what you THINK you want to learn, and what you really WANT to play. In a school environment, it's very easy to get these concepts mixed up and feel bogged down.
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLdrum View Post
Seagulls making a fuss outside like there's no tomorrow). :-)
I like seagulls dude...count the good things, play what you like, when you like...have a little fun dude....peace and good luck..J
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:43 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Take your snare out with you, busk in the street while you're practising?? mebbee make a few euros/dollars/knona/pfennigs etc...make 'em hear you!!
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:30 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Yes, i have been here before, many times....You may need some short term goals to try and hit. Sometimes, the lack of positive feedback results in a draining of motivation. You can't keep churning out the same stuff over and over. Try a complete different style of music. Do some recording. Hook up with some new guys to jam with for a bit. That's what I did, and it worked out pretty well. Also, i decided to learn a few things on Bass just for a goof. Maybe take a break from drums?
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Old 07-24-2013, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Boomka and DED hit it ... stop for a bit.
Athletes overtrain and get injured. Musicians overtrain and become uninspired and "deaf" (a theory).

I've been forced to spend a week or more away from a kit and when I come back I often come up with something new ... it is accidental or spontaneous, but it happens. And it is rewarding.

MisterZero's suggestion of picking up a new instrument is also solid. Given your interest in jazz, pick up a real book and start on a keyboard, guitar, etc. No bagpipes or accordions pls....

Good luck!
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Old 07-24-2013, 02:25 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Understand that every living thing has cycles. Up cycles, down cycles, in between cycles. That which is doom and gloom today will be a thing of the past in a few weeks. I learn to recognize my cycles and act accordingly. Take a break. You need to miss your drums.
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:39 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomka View Post
If practice is currently a chore, stop "practicing" for awhile.

Just go in and play. Don't worry about exercises or improvement, just play whatever suits your fancy. Or don't play at all. Just walk away for a couple of weeks.

But, it sounds like you need to gig more. Nothing like playing to get you motivated to work and to test your current skills/figure out what you need to work on. Get out and get playing whether it's paid or for free.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Oh, and remember: this too shall pass.
Said it before I got to it. Taking a break, be it from intense practice or just drumming, can really help you relax for a bit. At least it does for me. And you can't beat the feeling of climbing back on your throne once you're too heartsick from leaving the kit all alone.
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Old 07-24-2013, 11:00 AM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

I've got to nail this gig on friday, but school doesn't start until mid-late august. I've always played guitar on the side and I've wanted to learn Ableton since last year. And I guess I could do some composing or arranging just for fun :-) Damnit, I've actually got loads of other stuff I can do and still work with music!

Thanks for helping me think on other stuff! It really helped me creating this thread, just so you know ;-)
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Old 07-24-2013, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Have I lost my passion for drums, drumming and percussion?

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Originally Posted by MLdrum View Post
I've got to nail this gig on friday, but school doesn't start until mid-late august. I've always played guitar on the side and I've wanted to learn Ableton since last year. And I guess I could do some composing or arranging just for fun :-) Damnit, I've actually got loads of other stuff I can do and still work with music!
Exactly. It's all synergistic.
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