How life circumstances have conditioned your playing


Hey everyone, I don't post much on here but always enjoy reading the thoughts being discussed on this forum concerning the drums. Lately I've had an interesting observation that I thought worth sharing.

Throughout high school and college 80-90% of my drumming was done just by myself behind the kit, "practicing" alone. Thus whenever I would play with a band, whether in rehearsal, on stage, or in the studio, it was a real challenge to rein in my senses of time and taste to achieve musically pleasing / appropriate playing. Most of what I played with other musicians ended up being over-embellished and off-time. But man, did I develop some "chops!"

Once I graduated from college I didn't have room to set up my kit in the various places I lived, so the only opportunities I had to drum were when I was actually playing with other musicians, mostly at church. This phase of life has lasted about 6 years now. If I compare my playing now to what it was like in the previous phase, I find it to be much simpler, more solid, and more tasteful. All good things musically. Although, with days or even weeks elapsing between drumming opportunities, I really found myself missing the drums and spending a lot of time thinking about what I would be working on or messing with if I had some time alone with a kit. However, without opportunities to work those things out on my own, I found my playing style getting a little stale over the last year or two.

Well, just this week my wife and I finally got the room cleared out in our new place that we had been intending to be the office / music room (it only took us 9 months). So I finally have room for my kit again, and I can go in there and play it any time I feel like it! Which is great! But oddly (or logically), I now find that playing on my own is less comfortable than with a group. It's like I've lost the ability to mess around on the kit -- I just don't know what to do. I'm sure that aspect of my playing will return in time, but I sure didn't expect sitting down at the kit by myself for the first time in ages and then thinking "man, now what do I do?" It sure was weird.

Despite the new weirdness of solo playing, I do still appreciate how my playing has matured in its absence more than how much I've "missed out" on being able to play on my own. My takeaway from this whole experience is seeing how important it is to one's musical development to have balance in practice environments. Without the accountability that comes through playing with other musicians, my style and abilities kind of drifted out into another galaxy. Playing with a band keeps you grounded in reality. On the other hand, without the freedom to be able to work out new ideas on my own without subjecting bandmates to the musical equivalent of Chinese water torture, my playing sort of distilled into a somewhat narrow, "safe" set of a mere handful of musical tools. Playing on your own allows you to let the creativity flow and push your ear and chops to new levels.

Well, that ended up being a much longer post than anticipated. Congratulations if you read all that, and I welcome any thoughts / responses.

Anthony Amodeo

give it a little time to get back in the groove
this old situation is new to you again

you will get inspired soon and you wont be able to get away from the kit

play along to records and picture you are in that stadium like when you were a kid .....oh wait that was me......anyway

watch some cats play ...that always juices me up to play
start learning some tunes or a nice short solo...that works to
pick up a new book or DVD...always gets me going
get into some of the drummers you always loved....or maybe some new cats you have been meaning to check out

I'll put money on it that within a week you are back in this forum with a new thread saying something like .....guys I cant stay out of my practice room and my wife wants to kill me ...what do I do ?



Platinum Member
The moment I sat down on a kit and started to wonder "so what do I do now" was when I knew I needed a teacher. Started with lessons and I have not regretted it in any way. Now I ask myself that question because I always have so much stuff to practice, I have to organize myself and decide on what to work on, it's a great feeling sitting down at the drums knowing just what you want to do, it makes you feel accomplished when you finish practicing.