What's better

CommanderRoss

Silver Member
Most of us need to be highly competent drummers, not elite ones. Devoting reasonable energy and attention to the instrument and taking pleasure in every moment makes a great deal more sense to me than treating the pursuit as a never-ending immersion in dissatisfaction.

For me, it has to be fun first. Period.
While I know the gig I'm playing might be a workout, it has to be a fun one above all else. Otherwise, I won't like it & thus making it "work".
I know I'll never be a pro-drummer at my age (that time has passed), so now it's all about the enjoyment of the instrument that I work hard to be proficient on.
 

Jml

Senior Member
I always have fun when I’m practicing by myself. The stress kicks in when I’m playing a gig in front of people. Then after the gig, I realize no one in the crowd heard any of my multiple mistakes. Still hard to enjoy it because I heard the mistakes. So I’m harder on myself than anyone else is.
 

prokofi5

Junior Member
If there was no one else to appreciate it, why wouldn't I just play for my own enjoyment, instead of working hard?
That's a really interesting question. I think even if we're playing solely for our own enjoyment we're still going to push ourselves. I don't think anyone would have gotten into drums who wasn't up for a challenge considering all the technique required, timing, coordination, tuning and maintenance, learning songs, understanding rhythm, etc. I tend to think I'm only playing for myself now especially considering I don't know when I'll play with anyone again, but even then I'm always trying to figure something out or play the things I know cleaner, faster, or with a better feel.
Personality comes into it too probably. If you're the type who's always pushed yourself, there's no way you'll be able to coast now and actually enjoy it. Embrace the pain, lol.
 

moxman

Silver Member
I like playing for fun and working at getting better all the time. I don't get down on my self unless I hear a recording and think that sound sucks! I hate it when people post phone recording online that sound like a butt dial!
I know I'll never be as good as some of the master drummers out there like Marco, Dave, Vinny, Steve, JoJo etc. because there's just too many awesome drummers out there with unbelievable skills acquired through long hours of practice plus the x-factor. Instead I work on techniques -yes - but mainly concentrate on playing the most awesomest drum part for each tune I play.. without overplaying and getting the house rockin'.. and my bandmates groovin' .. then I've done my job :) That's fun!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I basically don't play for fun by myself anymore. OMG that sounds so wrong. Gigs are my fun.

Whenever I play, I am working on things because the payoff is my reward. I guess I enjoy that part more than only enjoying things. What's wrong with me?

Scared to enjoy? Or is that I just prefer to work at it over enjoyment? Maybe work is my enjoyment. If no one ever heard me, I would still work at it.For me. It's personally rewarding. But man I could probably use some fun for balance with no gigs, right? I play along to recordings I like for fun. I guess that wouldn't hurt any.

Playing for enjoyment does very little for my long term ability, that's why I tend to try and improve. Even if I was the only one here.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I'm addicted to it-if I go a few days and lord forbid a week I'm jonesing for it. And when I ,finally, get on do I sound great-like Vinne-No ROFL just kidding-but I do feel like I sound good that day. It's like "Ahhhhhhhhhh" I'm in the zone got my fix. Seems like going through the rhythmic patterns/processing has a soothing effect on me. It's like a cerebral/motor workout for the aged so I think it keeps me in tune. The sound/vibrations and I am like a tuning fork vibrating with the cosmic forces in the universe-LOL had ya going didn't i..
 

ineedaclutch

Platinum Member
I basically don't play for fun by myself anymore. OMG that sounds so wrong. Gigs are my fun.
.
I do not know if you are feeling this, but I am in a similar state of mind. When I abruptly went from gigging several times per week to not being physically able to, due to back trauma/surgery, the fun was gone. I didn’t touch a stick for a year or so, and when I did I was not enjoying myself.

I learned to play in order to make music with others, make people dance, and enjoy themselves. Without other musicians and an audience, I just don’t feel it.

I seem to recall you have guitars. Do you find more enjoyment in playing those? I play banjo, guitar, bass, and piano more that ever now, and can enjoy myself creating without others, more so than drumming by myself or along to music.
 

Drumolator

Platinum Member
If playing drums is not fun, what is the point? Peace and goodwill.
 

pocket player

Junior Member
Is it better to work hard at drums, and think that I suck, and work work work...to someday be awesome...but when I do become awesome I still think I suck

Or is it better for my soul if I do it for 100% pure enjoyment. Not caring Watsoever about if I improve. And loving every second of it. Counter-intuitive, right? Who here can do that?

We're just talking extremes here, balance is obviously the best answer.

Why do we beat our heads against the wall to improve, and feel bad about the progress, when we could just as easily sidestep that whole endeavor and simply extract as much enjoyment as possible from drumming. Why is that?

Why do we punish ourselves so?

The reason we practice so hard is so that other people think we are awesome, isn't it?

Would we practice so hard if there were no one other than ourselves to appreciate it?

If there was no one else to appreciate it, why wouldn't I just play for my own enjoyment, instead of working hard?
great post uncle larry, i think their are 2 main factors in this
1) as human beings this is how our brain is initially designed ,not to say we dont change over our lifetime.
2) i think this also depends on the enviorment you grow up in,your parents teaching,and your lifes experiences.

don't mean to get to heavy, but this is a very important post ,not only for drummers. there is alot to learn here about ones self.

" The way we enter this world is not the way we have to leave it !!! "


Well done Larry.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It's not that I don't have fun Mark. It's just that I'm realizing that I value my own progress...above playing "just" for enjoyment, which I get anyway when I'm trying to improve some aspect of my playing. My failings in the name of progress are actually fun for me. Like I know what I want to happen but it doesn't come out that way. It cracks me up when I attempt something, but it doesn't come out right. Like OMG body, listen to me!

As far as the guitar question, playing guitar by myself is more attractive lately, even though I still do play the drums. Probably 50/50. Drums for me personally...are best experienced playing in a band, where my performing powers are much more potent than my practice powers.. At home alone, I'd rather work on the drums. Or play guitar because I can play actual melodies and chords. I deeply love chords.

I love picking out TV theme shows from my youth, and it always makes people smile when you play the theme from "The Patty Duke Show" at a gig. I just figured out Brian Wilson's "In My Room". Very satisfying for my simple mind and ears.
 
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pocket player

Junior Member
sometimes this quote from Jim Chapin helps me to keep moving forward on the drums

"There's no sense in becoming a technical giant if you're not also a musical giant. some of the best players that i know really can't play the drums well, but they play music superlatively well "
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Ha Larry we share that common trait-picking out old TV theme songs. I do it all the time-sort of takes you back.

I hope people find joy in whatever they are doing-it's miserable being in a job you find no joy. Sometimes it's unavoidable-like cleaning a toilet.
So I try to find joy in spite of my own inclinations. I wish when I was 18 I could go back in time and tell me that. I wasted a lot time chasing a pipe dream.
I want to learn and improve but really my own actions counter that cause I don't pursue it as ardently as I know I can. I'll practice rudiments and work on things or try to emulate some song exactly-I really hate that though by inclination. But the old garage band drummer is in me who just wants to take off whaling in the joy of drumming like I did back in the 70s-no expectations or seeking perfection or caring about being "good". It all seemed like "energy transformations" the music had energy, it gave me energy, then you either dance or play an instrument LOL.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I used to focus a lot on getting better and I certainly did get better. Drums were an obsession when I was younger and I enjoyed that period. At some point in my late 20s life changed...marriage, buying our first place...etc and I didn’t have time or space to play. I was away from the drums for a long time. During that time, my tastes changed and I heard music differently.
We bought a house 10 years ago w enough room for drums, so I bought a set and began working to get some chops back. My change in musical tastes came through in my playing and I no longer felt moved to play the prog rock I cut my teeth on (Rush, Primus, Tool). Now I’m more into stuff like John Mellencamp and the feel of players like Kenny Aronoff. I enjoy drumming differently now...it’s fun, relaxing and no pressure, but I’m still learning and evolving. These days it’s about pure enjoyment.
 

SharkSandwich

Junior Member
I say play for enjoyment, have fun and learn to play the things that interest you (songs, fills, grooves, etc.). In doing this, you'll naturally progress. You don't have to put a lot of pressure on yourself.
 
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MntnMan62

Junior Member
The answer to the question posed really is all about managing expectations. If you go into this with the best of intentions that you will work hard and practice your butt off, blah blah blah, it will be important to be realistic as to what you can expect from those efforts. Lots of things come into play. Age for one. I know that at 58 years old, my ability to do what Vinnie did when he was 30 is absolutey ridiculous. Also, your access to teachers and equipment and technology all factor into how much you can expect from your efforts. If you realistically set your expectations, even maybe a little low, you will likely exceed those expectations and not only have some fun but feel good about your results. And as time goes on you have to continue to adjust. That will be what keeps you into it.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Is it better to work hard at drums, and think that I suck, and work work work...to someday be awesome...but when I do become awesome I still think I suck

Or is it better for my soul if I do it for 100% pure enjoyment. Not caring Watsoever about if I improve. And loving every second of it. Counter-intuitive, right? Who here can do that?

We're just talking extremes here, balance is obviously the best answer.

Why do we beat our heads against the wall to improve, and feel bad about the progress, when we could just as easily sidestep that whole endeavor and simply extract as much enjoyment as possible from drumming. Why is that?

Why do we punish ourselves so?

The reason we practice so hard is so that other people think we are awesome, isn't it?

Would we practice so hard if there were no one other than ourselves to appreciate it?

If there was no one else to appreciate it, why wouldn't I just play for my own enjoyment, instead of working hard?
This is so Tao Te Ching
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Playing for enjoyment does very little for my long term ability.
I'm not sure I agree with that Larry. Of course, in isolation, it's not as "technique building" as defined exercises, but I feel I progress as a player every time, especially in a band setting.

As for practice for improvement, it's not something I do - certainly not exercises. I only really work on something when I need to play something different - something I haven't done before. That's actually quite frequently, because my repertoire is so limited.

I rarely play drums outside of a musical context. It bores me, and my own playing unaccompanied is hugely unsatisfying to me. I get off on the interpretive, compositional, & delivery aspects of playing, never the "mechanics".
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Well that's true Andy, whenever I sit down at the drums it's always a learning experience.

I just feel like I am coasting down the hill playing along to music, not struggling to get up the hill.

Not struggling for any worthwhile endeavor is a foreign concept to me.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Drumming for me is like peas and carrots-I just naturally took to it. I think it makes sense I wouldn't play a pure tone/note instrument because I'm not a pure note-lots of noise also. I think when you play alone you play by yourself so experiment more-because it's just you. Nothing to hold you accountable. When in a band it's not about me-so really I'm trying to fit in with band and music and hold myself to higher expectations-It gives me a defined part.
My nature is to complicate songs but actually usually gigging I have kept it simple-I don't think I ever pulled any chops on gig. By myself I can play on top of a song-play behind it-give it a country shuffle and change whole flavor. I did that at a church during a rehearsal and the music minister loved it so we played it that way for that service. You can add a polyrhythm and the whole groove changes. I generally play really conservatives when I play or try out for a band. I cut loose, more for joy, when I play alone. Like a wild stallion-more streaming than playing notes.
A new song will grab me-and I will feel the groove (what I can hear) and within a few seconds start in-I have no clue. After I'll listen to see how close-sometimes I'm wildly off but other it's amazing how you can feel transitions and pauses in songs you've never heard. I hear a lot of drummers lament that. In orchestra I'd feebly read the music and play my part-but when I get on kit by myself it's not 4/4 or any time frame and counting but just streaming the music like I'd listen to it. So if you add ghost notes and lots of extra kick frill it's a continuous stream of notes and not much space-eh Andy LOL. Like my funk song I started playing to-I still haven't just listened to the song-I have been having a lot of fun just noodling reacting to it trying different things. I've got I bet 5 versions of it now. I added a Tony Williams polyrhythm with my kick and hats (I've been working on it awhile). But that is all fun. Some songs is heresy to change-Time Out of Mind Steely Dan is such. Beautifully simple I love playing it. I know you can get carried away with too much spice and garnish. I had just about quit posting my crummy.videos but young Perter posting in Playing section got me thinking about the joy of drumming.
 
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