Just like riding a bike..?

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Hi All,

Some advice needed on getting started again.

I started drums about 11 yrs old in school. Got my first kit around 14. Started playing professionally at 17 and through 32.; Got fibromyalgia and had to quite.

My Health is now good enough to play again (I'm now 48,) and I am excited. I just bought a set of Gretsch Catalina Maple and I'm ready to get started again. I've been drilling on my practice pad getting my hands into shape and its going rather well. However, when I sit down at the kit I am getting very frustrated. I used to be quite an accomplished drummer, and, well, of course, I'm not any more..!

Not sure how I should proceed. Should I just sit down and bang away to get back in the grove (like we all did when we first started playing,) or should I approach this with some discipline? And, if so, how to proceed.

Any practical advice or otherwise will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

~Chip - The Frustrated Drummer

p.s. - I've looked at quite a few forums and this looks like the place to be. I look forward to becoming part of your community
 

denisri

Silver Member
Hi Chips
I had similar experience...Here is what I did...I played and studied(on and off) as a child from age 10 to 18....Worked in a full time cover band through college(engineering major) and rock and roll paid for college...after college did a New England based original rock band(that did not take off).
At age 34 quit playing and focus on engineering job ,master degree and raising children. At age 42(and with my wife's permission) I started playing again.
I did two things..
I place an add in the local newspaper for students and then called the university percussion department and studied jazz with him for several years.
12 years later I have 15 students and work with two bands(giging 3 to 6 times per month).
PS to accomplish the above I gave up my tennis and golf games!
Good luck
Denis
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Hi Chip, welcome. I'd say do both. Have some fun time and have some diciplined time. All work and no play...

I always tell everyone to practice single stroke rolls as much as possible. They really get your hands in shape.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Chip,

we have a lot in common. I have a neural spinal systic fibroma in the centre of my spine. It means that my leg functions are impaired. I'm 48 too and just got back into drumming 18 months ago. Like you, I was shocked at how my technique had suffered after 15 years off the kit. Just like riding a bike, I don't think so! I played sessions at a high level for many years and took my skill for granted. Don't get me wrong, I was no Simon Phillips but very good & dynamic at what I do. The first six months after getting back on the kit where the worst. I had everything in my head but just couldn't get the body to translate it. I tried going back to rudiments but that just made me more frustrated and gave me some discomfort. How did I get over this? I just played grooves & had fun. Rather than going back to the stuff I remembered I could do, I experimented with new stuff. This meant I was adjusting my playing to suit me not trying to adjust my body back to how it used to be. I also joined a really good rock band about six months ago. Rehearsing each week, I found the vibe led me back to that time when I always had a smile on my face. Now I'm nearly back up to speed. Probably not as technically good as I used to be but I think my performance is better than ever. I've turned my age and experience into something positive, not something I see as holding me back. I'm now told I'm one of the most dynamic & musical drummers around. Quite a compliment for someone who saw himself as a shadow of his former self. Don't concentrate on the stuff you can't do. Have fun with the stuff you can do and the rest will follow naturally. Really major on your musicallity, your dynamics & expression. Something that your modern technique techno obsessed bedroom players will never get. You have the advantages, you just don't know it yet. Good luck my friend, I'm thinking of you next time I'm kicking ass with a great rock groove.
 

05WideGuy

Senior Member
I'm also a retread. I had a 15 year layoff because of my Marine Corps Career. I've been back at it about a year now, I had the same let down, I used to be a very good drummer, starting over was hard. I'm now doing pretty good, got my groove back, and a good bit of my handspeed, but my foot/leg speed is hurting, I don't know what to do to get it back.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
Feeling better!

Thanks all. I feel comforted by the responses.

I'm just going to give it some time, have fun and re-develop my skills. Instead of thinking I'm 15 years behind I can look at it as if I am 20 years ahead. I have a lot of knowledge that I can start applying to become a better drummer. I'm not going to get discouraged. Rather, I am going to enjoy my new drums.

Thanks again!

~Chip
 

cdawg

Member
lets start a club!! seriously, i've done the same thing, but i've always been into music. i broke from drums to play bass for about ten years, but kept my drums. sure, my playing deteriorated, but you can get that back. i dusted off the old books and hit these forums. they turned me on to some new books that i couldn't have hendled when i was immature. so, with this in mind, tackle what you love again and be patient. set new goals, don't hold yourself to what you could do in the past. you'll probably find that your style has changed a bit anyway.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm now doing pretty good, got my groove back, and a good bit of my handspeed, but my foot/leg speed is hurting, I don't know what to do to get it back.
My legs are a real pain in the ass so I understand your problem. I found the DW5000 pedal was lighter and needed less push than my old pedals (Iron Cobra & a pearl I can't remember which one). Probably won't help everyone but I did notice the difference. I don't play from the heel.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I had a 32 year layoff and now at 61, I am playing better than before and loving it more. I have been back at it about three years.
It will take time so be patient and remember the only thing in common with the bike and the drums is that they both have pedals. Best of luck.
 

Steady Freddy

Pioneer Member
Hi Chip.

You'll find that there are a lot of us in the same boat as you are. I layed off for 30 yeras and have been back into it for four years. I'll be 60 in a couple of months.

As you get older the body takes a little more time to adjust, but not to worry. Set realistic goals and enjoy the journey.

Best.
 
Hey Chip,

we have a lot in common. I have a neural spinal systic fibroma in the centre of my spine. It means that my leg functions are impaired. I'm 48 too and just got back into drumming 18 months ago. Like you, I was shocked at how my technique had suffered after 15 years off the kit. Just like riding a bike, I don't think so! I played sessions at a high level for many years and took my skill for granted. Don't get me wrong, I was no Simon Phillips but very good & dynamic at what I do. The first six months after getting back on the kit where the worst. I had everything in my head but just couldn't get the body to translate it. I tried going back to rudiments but that just made me more frustrated and gave me some discomfort. How did I get over this? I just played grooves & had fun. Rather than going back to the stuff I remembered I could do, I experimented with new stuff. This meant I was adjusting my playing to suit me not trying to adjust my body back to how it used to be. I also joined a really good rock band about six months ago. Rehearsing each week, I found the vibe led me back to that time when I always had a smile on my face. Now I'm nearly back up to speed. Probably not as technically good as I used to be but I think my performance is better than ever. I've turned my age and experience into something positive, not something I see as holding me back. I'm now told I'm one of the most dynamic & musical drummers around. Quite a compliment for someone who saw himself as a shadow of his former self. Don't concentrate on the stuff you can't do. Have fun with the stuff you can do and the rest will follow naturally. Really major on your musicallity, your dynamics & expression. Something that your modern technique techno obsessed bedroom players will never get. You have the advantages, you just don't know it yet. Good luck my friend, I'm thinking of you next time I'm kicking ass with a great rock groove.

Wow, I really enjoyed this post. Kudos to you and your dedication.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Cheers Raggletaggle,

dedicated I'm not. In fact, I'm naturally lazy. I'm carried along by the buzz of making music. I should practice my technique a lot but I get distracted and concentrate on enjoying myself instead. I've given up on trying to do anything impressive and just concentrate on contributing to the band sound. I guess it took me this long to work out what's really important. Good luck in your life searches & keep it simple!
 

justjim

Senior Member
I hope it's not 'just like riding a bike'

I kind of went through that with cycling (ankle destruction kept me off for a few years)

I used to ride a lot lot lot and getting back on, yeah I can "make sound come out of the snare", but I ain't cycling no stylish afro-cuba :(

so (sadly) might be the same - oh you can operate it, but with crap technique,poise and stamina until you settle your acct with the "misery bank" :eek:

man, what used to be nonissue rides are now "epics" :(
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
After reading all of these posts, I'm starting to wonder when we start getting senior discounts on drum equipment! :D

Maybe it is kinda like riding a bike! I tripped over my throne the other night and nearly fell out in the floor.

Just starting back after a many year layoff, my hand speed is still okay, but I'm struggling with limb independence. Having a hard time separating my right hand and foot. I can still impress the neighborhood kids, but am not ready for gigging yet.
 

ChipJohns

Senior Member
I am very glad to see that I am in the best of company..! I have received my attitude adjustment. Thanks all!

Has anyone else found that their drumming mind has kept growing and expanding during their hiatus? This was frustrating at first too. Knowing more but being able to do less. But, I started to realize that as a younger drummer I overplayed. I am excited about this second chance, and, this time, speed or not, I am going to be a better drummer. I am going to become good at playing in the pocket, really learning exceptional groove.

I also like cdawg's idea of setting something up for us "old but new again" guys, a place we can exchange experiences of new growth...

Anyways. This has been very encouraging for me. I have decided that within a year I am going to be ready for some gigs...! And do some of the best drumming I have ever done!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Has anyone else found that their drumming mind has kept growing and expanding during their hiatus? This was frustrating at first too. Knowing more but being able to do less. But, I started to realize that as a younger drummer I overplayed. I am excited about this second chance, and, this time, speed or not, I am going to be a better drummer. I am going to become good at playing in the pocket, really learning exceptional groove.
Judgng by things some others have said, that's what sometimes seems to happen. When I was young I wanted to impress. Years away from music, just being a listener, it changes your approach.
 

73Rogers

Member
What a great thread. I too am 50+ and just getting back into playing after many years off. The gear certainly has changed alot since I last paid attention! I'm hopeful that things come back quickly. I agree with what others have said in that time off from playing and just being a listener improves your playing. I know I tend to focus on the drum parts when I listen and I think not playing helps you listen to the "whole" better.
 
T

TFITTING942

Guest
Great thread, the biggest thing that I have noticed about my playing is my dynamics. Now, I dont seem to play at one volume as much. I have a lot more feel and I use more accents at the appropriate times.My speed hasn't diminished, just my use for it. I made a promise to myself also....no more extended layoffs from drumming!
 
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