Playing drums without a band: what keeps you motivated?

eric_B

Senior Member
There are similar threads but with a different take, so:

Short history: I started playing drums in 2008 (age 35) and joined a band 2 years later.
We worked hard on improving, started gigging and then the band fell apart in September 2012.
The next couple of years I tried joining a couple of other bands but they all weren't a good fit for me.
As joining a band is not so easy in my area I kind of gave up and started playing less and less.
If I would feel like playing, it started to sound like crap - because I hardly played - and it would discourage me even more from playing.
A vicious circle and last half decade I hardly played at all.

FF January 2024: late at night, for some reason, I decided to look at the national musicians/bands-looking-for-musicians/bands site and now I'm in a band again.
A nice group of pretty skilled people without egos and cool to hang out with.
So now I am enjoying playing / working on nailing the bands setlist / working on technique, we already have some gigs coming up and overall am happy to be playing drums again.

So, to me, apparently there has to be a goal: playing with a band / working towards the next rehearsal and gigs / etc.
Playing for myself just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

So what keeps you motivated?
 
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not being able to play certain songs/passages....so i learn them

and also the fact that drumming has always been my absolute passion. I am always practicing, whether it is drum set, or just sticks and a pad, my hands are moving all the time. It is a true addiction. I don't need to be in a band to want to play, even though I have been in 4 for the past 10 years or so
 
I didn't stay motivated.
Quitting for 15 years was partially a defense against people that I didn't want work in bands with anymore who might ask. Then there was a bad relationship which drove me to focus on work and believe this, a cat that couldn't cope with the noise.
 
I feel very fortunate in the fact that playing drums brings me spiritual, emotional, mental and physical joy, regardless of if I’m playing with others or not. If I’m not playing or tapping rhythms, I’m thinking about playing or rhythms. It’s just a part of me and has been since my earliest memories. If I’m not doing that, I’m looking at pictures of drums, thinking about drums, or watching/listening to other drummers do their thing.

That being said, NOTHING (for me) compares to the satisfaction of firing off with a mate or two (or however many), playing music we love and creating a sum that’s greater than each of us individually. It’s a primal power, something in the DNA, that connects me to the earliest elements of humanity.

Didn’t mean to get guru goofy there! 🤪 I’ll show myself out the door.
 
So what keeps you motivated?
When I first started drumming at the age of 10, I didn't play with anyone until I was 16 (I played along to records during those formative years). I was in bands for the next four years and it was a blast. Fast forward 40 years and after playing in several bands spanning rock to funk, I decided I'd only play in a funk band. I'm still hunting for that funky bassist and killer rhythm guitarist; they're like unicorns. 🦄
 
Although I do a fair amount of shows by myself, there’s nothing like the forward motion of a group of people playing together. So I’m always looking for people to play with or bands to at least sub in. Sometimes it’s better to be the sub because then I don’t deal with any band drama, I just show up and have to be good for the four hours I’m there. In fact, after sitting down with several of the musicians I’ve played with through the years, engaging in “normal” conversations, I think I prefer to not know them off the bandstand 😉
 
That being said, NOTHING (for me) compares to the satisfaction of firing off with a mate or two (or however many), playing music we love and creating a sum that’s greater than each of us individually.
Exactly!

Although I do a fair amount of shows by myself, there’s nothing like the forward motion of a group of people playing together.
(y)

Maybe a strange comparison but it is like horse back riding (or walking my very stubborn, disobedient dogs): I know where I want to go and can do it easily on my own but - because I'm not alone - there is some pushing and pulling which makes it organic and interesting.
Contrary to playing along recorded songs, everytime you play them there can be (tiny) differences.
Someone can make a small mistake, you play a bit too fast / slow or speed up a bit because adrenaline kicks in, volume levels can vary a bit, someone tries another melody line or harmony (or the guitar players try new preset 1347 on their pedal board ;)), etc.
It is not a carbon copy everytime.

I still play along songs and patterns to learn and improve but that is not the final goal for me: playing along with others and working towards gigs is.
 
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There are similar threads but with a different take, so:

Short history: I started playing drums in 2008 (age 35) and joined a band 2 years later.
We worked hard on improving, started gigging and then the band fell apart in September 2012.
The next couple of years I tried joining a couple of other bands but they all weren't a good fit for me.
As joining a band is not so easy in my area I kind of gave up and started playing less and less.
If I would feel like playing, it started to sound like crap - because I hardly played - and it would discourage me even more from playing.
A vicious circle and last half decade I hardly played at all.

FF January 2024: late at night, for some reason, I decided to look at the national musicians/bands-looking-for-musicians/bands site and now I'm in a band again.
A nice group of pretty skilled people without egos and cool to hang out with.
So now I am enjoying playing / working on nailing the bands setlist / working on technique, we already have some gigs coming up and overall am happy to be playing drums again.

So, to me, apparently there has to be a goal: playing with a band / working towards the next rehearsal and gigs / etc.
Playing for myself just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

So what keeps you motivated?
I absolutely love playing along to music with headphones on!
 
I love playing for playings sake…I played before I was in bands and I haven’t played in a band since 2011. I have a passion for improving and when I play out again I will be a better player than I was the last time. I just love drums, enjoy playing and want to improve until I can’t physically do it anymore…at which point I will hopefully continue to enjoy watching those who can! :) (y)
 
Playing your favourite music is often what you can't do in a band... And now you can take out the original drums, which means you are sitting in with Pink Floyd, Joe Jackson, Suzanne Vega, ..... (add your own choice here) on the original session!
Good point. Luckily, the band I just joined has a setlist with around 90% of songs I already liked playing or wanted to play and no songs I don't like.
That has been a lot worse in the past.
 
I am in a band, (60+gigs a year) but I still have no motivation....
We gig so often that there is no enthusiasm to rehearse new songs so we play the same set list over and over and I am so bored. I still like to look at drums and keep up to date with what's new etc but I no longer enjoy playing them. I always said when the gear schlep outweighed the joy of playing it would be time to quit but unfortunately I need the money it generates. Playing gigs is now just another 8 hour shift at the end of my working week.😞

(I know the answer is to find a different band - I have been actively searching for a very long time......)
 
I am in a band, (60+gigs a year) but I still have no motivation....
We gig so often that there is no enthusiasm to rehearse new songs so we play the same set list over and over and I am so bored. I still like to look at drums and keep up to date with what's new etc but I no longer enjoy playing them. I always said when the gear schlep outweighed the joy of playing it would be time to quit but unfortunately I need the money it generates. Playing gigs is now just another 8 hour shift at the end of my working week.😞

(I know the answer is to find a different band - I have been actively searching for a very long time......)
Yeah, I get your meaning, it sounds like it almost has become a boring job for you, sorry to hear that.
To me, it (still) is a fun hobby - and (therefore) rather costing money than making any with it.
 
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Fun is the primary motivating factor for me. Quit playing once I got married and had kids. Both of my sons are autistic so loud music in the household was not really practical. Fast forward a couple decades…boys are fully grown, done with school and working full time. Picked up an e-kit during the pandemic and started knocking off some rust. Subsequently, my wife also started tinkering with the drums and plays regularly as well.

Recently started talking to some former band mates and local musicians. I might try to drag my sorry butt to some jams and see if I can actually participate without completely humiliating myself.
 
Fun is the primary motivating factor for me. Quit playing once I got married and had kids. Both of my sons are autistic so loud music in the household was not really practical. Fast forward a couple decades…boys are fully grown, done with school and working full time. Picked up an e-kit during the pandemic and started knocking off some rust. Subsequently, my wife also started tinkering with the drums and plays regularly as well.

Recently started talking to some former band mates and local musicians. I might try to drag my sorry butt to some jams and see if I can actually participate without completely humiliating myself.

Experience tells me humiliation is the normal occurrence. :)
And motivating in a way.
 
I have to say it felt a bit like having to do exams when I had the first playing session with the band after having not played much for years and being not yet at my old level.
It starts to become humiliating when you start worrying about stupid things like having your sticks fly in the air and then it actually happens 😁
 
At 77 I'm not likely to get to play with others even for giggles, let alone playing out. Did that in HS & college, then stopped. I recently got started playing/practicing again and it's a bit addictive. There's something about getting a fill down, playing along with recorded music, using the practice pad that is sattisfying. Would I like to get together with some other fogies - yep, for sure. But, practicing and playing is still fun even if I'm the only one listening. LOL
 
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