Anyone here ever lose their "mojo" for music/drums? I'm at a crossroads..............

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I'm 45, and I've hit this same exact thing at various points in my musical journey. If you are like me, this is more than just having the "blues about music" and feeling a little burned out. I know for me, it's freakin' scary. Why? Because something you used to feel so much passion for is gone, and you stuck out there thinking "Well, what else is there?" Man, I have been there! I've been going through this playing at church for a few years. I dread it, but I do it because I feel that this is what I'm supposed to do; it's nothing that I really love anymore, and I think it's that the music isn't a lot of fun to play (we are in the middle of all of this hipster-worship music with some of the worst drum parts I've ever had to play in my life. I've been around long enough to know that drumming trends come and go in church music, so I'm just waiting this one out and praying that I start actually liking it again).

As far as not feeling geeked out about drum gear, this is perfectly ok. You may be reaching an age (much like myself) where latest-greatest-whatever drum mic/shell/finish/accessory/cymbal/etc. just doesn't do it for you anymore. There's absolutely nothing wrong with this, and I feel the same way. I don't want to sound too much like a "get off my lawn" sort of person, but I think right now some of the drum accessories that are coming out looks like a bunch of answers to questions we never had. I'm sorry if I don't get excited about all of the broken pieces of cymbal and other garbage to hang over cymbals and put on my drum heads (sorry for the digression). I know for me, I look at all of these pics from NAMM, and I'm like "Hey, that's pretty cool," but the desire to own it has gone far and away. Instead of looking at the latest-greatest whatever, I focus more time on DW trying to help younger folks out on here in trying to point them towards the right tools for the right job. I get more satisfaction from that than I do buying things for myself.

Here are some things that I changed:

I quit teaching music. It ate into my time too much. The money was nice, but with a day job, a commute, and other things I want to do (like actually spending time with my kids), it was not worth it to me anymore.

I started playing new genres of music. For me personally, I walked away from Christian-based rock and roll (which is a dead genre anyways in my book), and I started playing with bluegrassers. It's a lot of train beats and whatnot, but it's a heck of a lot of fun. It's a great lesson in the whole "less is more" concept, and I enjoy the heck out of it when they will let me play with them. Many traditionalists don't like having a drummer, but who cares. These days, I play at church (meh), I play with a bluegrass group, and I play in a couple of Americana bands (one is more bluegrass, and the other is more of a bar-band thing, but we are started to write original music).

I started playing other instruments. I discovered the hammered dulcimer years ago, and I started playing it, and I had quite a bit of financial success with it. I got to play everywhere all the time. I eventually burned out on it, and I went back to drums. I also tried fingerstyle guitar for a while too.

I hope things work out for you! They did for me. This is a post I wrote 12 years ago (holy cow, 12 years!) about me burning out then. I'm in a different place now, and I'm so much happier. https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106695

Best of luck to you! Hope this helps.
 

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Definitely.

Sometimes I Just don't want to gig, practice or play. I'll do the practice pad for about 10 minutes and just call it.

Then a month will go by and I'll have the urge to just beat the drums like they owe me money. Weird how that goes, huh?
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I am going to second what people have said about picking up another instrument. I play the guitar as well as the drums and I will tell you that, although I am a much better drummer, I can express my self better on the guitar. I have burned out on the drums a few times in my life and nothing reinvigorates my passion like coming up with a great riff that needs a killer drum part.

My completely unprofessional advice is to put the sticks down for a bit, find something else that inspires you and I am sure that your passion for the drums will come back. When it doesnt feel like a job you will be amazed how other things will inspire you.
 

Polska

Member
I had the same thing happen to me about 4 years ago. I don't play full-time, but do a good number of gigs in one band that I've been with for 10 years, and I had also been working on and recording with an original band. My main band was fine. Hand drumming in a Celtic band, playing about 30 gigs a year and no need to rehearse much except to take the rust off if there was a longer break.

The original band though....We did a CD that 10's of people purchased :) In my town, original music is a tough sell. We were rehearsing every week and playing about 4 or 5 sparsely attended gigs over the previous 3 years. I liked our disc and what we accomplished, but didn't see any future. We weren't going to tour and we were getting tapped out.

I lost my enthusiasm for practicing with them, looking for gigs and even for practicing on my own. I thought, "what's the point"? What am I doing this for so I stopped. I quit the original band but kept commitment to the other. For a year I barely played my kit at home. Again, what was the point. It was a job.

After that long break, I started simply sitting down and cleaning my drums really well. Then I'd leave them. Then tune them and leave them. Finally I decided to sit down and just play to play. Not work on anything, but set the click and groove. That did it for me and I'm back in the swing of things.

I didn't want to hate doing it so I stopped doing it before that could happen. Don't rush it. It'll come when the time is right. Best of luck!
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
For music, no. To me a day without music is not a good day. Drums, most definitely. There will be weeks where I don't play at all. Then there will be others that I play everyday. If I'm not feeling it, I just find something else to do. Hanging up being in a band was key for me. It wasn't fun anymore. Drumming for myself only (no teaching, no bands, no nothing else) was what I needed. Being able to step away when I want, and play when I want is the path for me. Drums became fun again. Removing the work element was key.
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
I hope things work out for you! They did for me. This is a post I wrote 12 years ago (holy cow, 12 years!) about me burning out then. I'm in a different place now, and I'm so much happier. https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106695

Best of luck to you! Hope this helps.
Good old Acoustic Guitar forum. That's not even alive anymore is it? After I burned out on drums and picked up guitar, I was there often. I was "exdrummer" over there!

(sorry to hijack the thread)
 

Mustion

Senior Member
As someone else pointed out, you seem to do a lot outside of your day job that's drumming-related. Maybe scale back some of that? I wouldn't suggest you stop teaching (unless that has lost its luster) but perhaps reduce how many bands you're in. It takes a lot of energy to juggle all of those commitments to several groups of people.

And I for one think there's nothing wrong with losing interest in new gear. There's something to be said for spending less money!
 

n1ck

Member
I think it's normal to get burned out from time to time, even when you're not sure why.

Are you suffering from depression in a more generalized way? I've definitely battled this over the years, and when it strikes, it usually goes right for my passions. Drumming suddenly becomes very unimportant.

There are also times when I'm just pissed off and cynical about my playing. When that happens, it's usually time for a break. Sometimes that means not picking up sticks for a few weeks, and sometimes it might be just taking a couple days off.

You owe it to yourself to acknowledge and deal with it though, man. Give yourself what you need so that you can return stronger. It'll still be waiting for you when you get back.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I still think it's a seasonal thing - a case of winter blues - and once the weather improves, so will the OP's disposition and their passion for playing.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
.. I'm sure (at least in the Good Lord's name I am hoping so) that this is just temporary, and that I'll get my "mojo" back soon. I very much want to work through this, but at times, I have thought about stepping away from my music altogether until I find my mojo again, although it breaks my heart to even think that way..

That allready says a lot..

Many people here advice to take a break..Maybe can help, maybe not..Taking that break means also that you more or less give in to your fear of losing the passion and therefore choose the 'easy' way to just not play at all..Because then at least you are not having to worry anymore about playing without passion, since you just quit playing..

Like i said, taking a break can help, but taking a break can also increase the problem..

One important thing to realise yourself though, is that every day that you skip playing drums will never come back..
 

Matty D

Junior Member
Lots of really good and heartfelt advice here. In particular I agree that it's totally normal to get burned out a bit, and that it can be a good idea to step back and take some time to reignite the passion. And since you've put so much time and effort into it over the years, a huge part of your identity is wrapped up in it, and for sure it can be scary to get that feeling that it's slipping away.
I don't have much to add except to comment that at 47, you're a prime candidate for a mid-life crisis (or whatever the docs are calling it these days). Even the most fulfilled person can experience a certain amount of disillusionment around mid-life and a desire to find meaning in what they've been doing with their life. I personally think it's always good to take stock from time-to-time and re-examine priorities at whatever age. And when things are generally good in your life, it's easy to target the meaningless passion pursuits as being meaningless. It might help to remind yourself that there doesn't need to be some deeper meaning or end goal to everything in life. Some things are just there to be enjoyed for what they are. Anyway good luck!
 

jimb

Member
I was exactly where you are about this time last year.

Played free time bass since 17 now 58. Did a few deps last summer and at the end of it all realised that I'd simply had enough..had enough of playing bass, in fact I was sick of it..

Truth is I've spent my whole musical life looking at drummers and knowing that I could probably do a fair stab at it, I played a bit at school. So last fall I started collecting some cheap bits and pieces to make a quiet practise kit...damped snare, home made bass drum pedal thingy, quiet cymbals etc etc.

Upshot is I cant stop playing it....I absolutely love it.

Maybe its time for you to try another instrument....it could completely change the way your seeing things at the moment...it did for me in a most surprising way.
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
Wow. I am completely humbled by all of these very well thought out responses. It means a lot to me to know that all of us come together here on this forum. You guys don't know me from some schmoe down the street, and yet you took the time to share your experiences and give advice to me. That means the word to me. Honest.

I am truly examining everything that everyone has said. There is a ton of good information and wisdom here. Thank you all again for being willing to help me out. I actually feel better knowing that it's not just me that has ever felt this way, and that I know many of you were able to turn things around. Also, this may sound strange, but knowing I have all of you in my corner really makes me more confident.

A Bonham Bass Drum Sized "THANK YOU" to all!
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
Kind of late getting in here, but I’ve been there too. After High school, in which I played drums, I went on the road full time with several bar bands, playing bass, which I also played, along with bad guitar.

I did that for about eight years, 5 or six nights a week, 50 weeks a year. I loved the playing, and the traveling, but although you could make a living (sorta) doing that back then, thee was obviously not a future in it. So I quit, became a cop for awhile, got married and we had three kids.

I played off and on part time, but always struggled balancing family, work and playing time. So not too long after getting married I quit playing completely. Sold the gear,and the whole bit. After that I didn’t play for years.

When my kids got older, I had a little time, bought a bass rig, and started to play at home. But I still knew all the local musicians, and that led back to gigging. That was fun for awhile again, but the hours caught up again; I work 55-60 hrs a week, and I’m 55.

So I decided that what I really wanted to do was play drums again. I had played in garage bands, and HS jazz band, and had really enjoyed it. So I quit the band and bought my first kit in 30 some years a little less than three years ago.

Looking back, I wish I hadn’t stayed away so long, I missed the opportunity during a those years,to be so much better. But I’ve practiced and played a lot, and worked my way up to top line gear, so gas is minimal, I love being able to play with all the big names I want mixed through my pa with headphones, or out the mains if I’m feeling loud (which is very rarely).

And there’s no pressure to do any thing I don’t want to. Next I’m getting into reasonable priced recording gear so I can write and record more music that won’t go anywhere, just like back in the day. ��

It appears you have substantially more talent and developed skills than I do, and I’d hate to see you walk away and waste all that work. I’d say that if you can financially afford it, just do what really makes you feel great and let the rest go...
 
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TK-421

Senior Member
I'm late to this thread as well. One other thing to consider is to totally change your drum sound. If you play coated single-ply heads, try clear double-ply heads. If you tune your toms high, try tuning them low. Experiment with different cymbals than what you normally play. Or go all out and buy all new drums and cymbals from different manufacturers than what you currently use, being careful to intentionally strive for different sounds than what you have now.

If gigging feels like a chore, scale back to a smaller kit. And if you go down the new kit path, look for drums that are lighter and/or smaller than your current kit, so it's less of a chore to haul and set up.

Regardless of how you achieve it, the more you change things up, the more fresh your drums will sound and feel. Hopefully that will help you break out of your funk. All the other advice on this thread seem valid as well, so experiment and find out what's going to work for you.

BTW, I'm also 47, and went to college in the DFW area in the early '90s (I was at SMU). However, the band I was in at that time was based at UNT; everyone in that band except for me were students there. So we may know some of the same people.
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
I'm late to this thread as well. One other thing to consider is to totally change your drum sound. If you play coated single-ply heads, try clear double-ply heads.
wow! This is exactly what rekindled my fire about 15 years ago. Good call.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I know that for me, disassembling and thoroughly cleaning and polishing my drums always makes me want to play them.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
Take lessons on an instrument you’ve never played before.

This is what I did and actually play in a band doing music I prefer as a bass player. I always played a little guitar but this was an entirely different animal. However now I also play drums in a band that actually plays out a lot. Go figure. You can play another instrument without giving up the drums. Absence will make the heart grow fonder for the drums anyway.
 
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