After a 10 year period of dedication to music and drumming, I came to a significant fork in the road. My then current business project came to sudden stop. I was already no spring chicken and a game-changing decision had to be made. As The Clash so succinctly asked, “Should I stay or should I go?”
I had to decide if I would continue drumming or focus all my attention on finding a new career path.
I decided at that point not to gamble with my passion for drumming. It didn’t seem in my overall best interest as a long-term strategy. The year was 1982, I was 30 and had more pressing concerns.
The Dream Fades
After numerous failed attempts at reinvention, I had the opportunity to go back to school, study computer programming and launch the next phase of my life. I also married my then girlfriend, now wife, Barbe. We began a family and the world of music and drumming became a rapidly departing, distant past. I moved on, felt no regret, embraced my new family and career responsibilities and continued my studies at night school.
I still had a pretty impressive collection of gear. But after 6 years of inactivity, I sold it all! I had no desire to even consider taking it up again.
Six more years pass. Still no inkling of an urge. No thoughts of being a drummer again.
Then, in my 14th year of “leaving it all behind”, a strange feeling began to wedge its way into my psyche. I was then in my mid 40s and began to think about re-entering the drumming universe. Just for fun of course. The thought of holding sticks in my hands became more frequent and more prevalent. It really didn’t make any sense.
After all it had been well over 13 years. I had no gear!
The Journey Back Begins
I mentioned that I was interested in maybe drumming again to my wife. Realizing I wasn’t about to run off and join the circus, she suggested I start looking for a kit! I instantly felt energized! However, before I took that step, I decided to pull some threads to test my re-found passion.
I’ve spoken to musicians of all types that have taken up their instrument of choice and some totally new instruments (or interests) in their 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s! There are only good things that can come from re-igniting a former passion or pursuing a new one! We need to keep moving!
Five Tips To Return To Drumming
1. Buy Yourself a new set of sticks and practice pad
These are relatively inexpensive items that signify your re-launch and can always be utilized to start the juices flowing.
Even if you already have them, investing in new ones is symbolic of the beginning of a solid effort and commitment. I have a practice pad in my man-cave and one with my playing-out kit as well. I also have one in the living room. You can sprinkle them around the house (as you can with sticks). Sticks and pads are an excellent way to keep your head in the game at any time.
2. Buy a drum magazine from your favorite book store
There is no better way to feel instantly connected to the drum community than to experience what’s happening on a regular basis. Modern Drummer (my favorite), DrumHead, Rhythm, Classic Drummer are all good publications. They’re full of tips, tricks, patterns, stories, history, gear. I have an annual subscription to Modern Drummer. Start by buying some individual editions and re-connect.
3. Look for a drumming event sponsored by a music store in your area
I registered for a drum workshop to experience some higher profile players speaking, taking questions and playing.
My first workshop featured Ed Shaughnessy (Tonight Show), Tommy Aldridge (Whitesnake) , Paul DeLong (free lance).
Attending this event sealed the deal for me. I immediately began looking for a kit.
4. Look for an instructor to assist you with beginning the journey back
If you feel you need some assistance, by all means go for it. There are music stores, word of mouth, internet, etc. You can explain that you’re initially interested in taking a short block of lessons and not yet into a longer term commitment. Incidentally, even professional players take lessons from time to time. More on that later but you’re never beyond that.
5. Start using those sticks and pad
Re-connect with The Rudiments, Instructional books and play along opportunities (YouTube, radio, cds, etc.). They’re all part of a multi-faceted approach that will re-awaken your passion and keep you stimulated.
Next…Looking for suitable gear. Until then…
In the mean time, if you have any questions for me you can leave them in a comment below, use our contact form or email me directly at: steve AT snaredrumreview DOT com.
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