Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Drummer's 7 Stages of Enlightenment

These are stages that I think I've passed through on my journey.  Please note - this is my totally made up view of a drummer’s possible emotional evolution based on one drummer’s patchy memories. I repeat: I MADE IT ALL UP! That said, do any of these sound familiar?

Stage One: Having Fun Making Noise
The drums -- perhaps a gift from unsuspecting parents or a well-meaning uncle -- are new, fun, LOUD. So goal number 1 is to play hard, fast, loud, and with total abandon. Even better if some of it actually sounds like a beat.

Stage Two: Having Fun Making Music
You have a few decent beats plus a couple of fills in your arsenal, and now you've been asked to join a band. You may be the least or most capable player in the band. No matter, it's a real band and you're making real music -- your music.

Stage Three: Hero Worship
Your journey to becoming an actual drummer is going along well,  and then you hear/see the drummer who changes everything for you. So you get hold of every recording this person has made and study them over and over and over. Your passion knows no limits.

Stage Four: Getting Serious
You’re admiration of ‘drummer X’ has blossomed into an obsession with technique.  Plus your list of hero drummers has grown too long -- there are just too many good drummers. The only way to handle this is to branch out and embrace other techniques, other approaches.

Stage Five: Anger
Some call it a plateau., but that’s too gentle a concept for the feeling you get when you’ve put in hour after hour in the practice room and yet see no progress in your playing. Anyone would be pissed.

Stage Six: Disillusionment
My left foot sucks. My hands suck. My funk playing sucks. This isn't just a plateau. I'm getting nowhere. Maybe I'm doomed to suck ... I probably should just pack it in.

Stage Seven: One-ness
Well, I survived all the 'stages', and it wasn't all that bad. I learned a lot from all my perambulations -- blind alleys included -- and today I feel good about my playing and about where I am, both musically and professionally.  Now I can really focus on the music without all those distractions.

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