Biggest Hurdle

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • Author
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  • #29981
    Marcus
    Moderator

    What was your biggest hurdle in playing and what did you do to overcome it?

    Mine was stage fright.  Ok, not stage fright, but mistake fright.   I could play well in the practice room, but playing live or in a lesson for my teachers was sooo stressful.  To me, the downbeat of the performance ore playing the prepared exercise for my teacher was like taking off on a roller coaster (which I hate).  I felt nervous and out of control.  I felt reactionary instead of in command.  I would be so relieved and exhausted when I got to the end of the set or piece.  It was truly a miserable experience, but I loved music so much that I kept coming back….and hating it.

    How did I overcome it?  I put it in perspective.  It’s music.  How I play is not a reflection of my worth as a person. For most of my life, being 1st chair or “the drummer” or whatever, was, in  my mind, a reflection of my value as a person.  What a sick way to live.  What a horrible way to relate to music…or anything.  Imagine degrading your own worth for any and every mistake you played.  That is what I did.

    So, I re-framed my relationship to music.  I accepted that perfect performances are rare and special occurrences and that if you aren’t making some mistakes, you probably aren’t growing as a musician.  I also did tons of visualizations of being in the moment on stage, making music, and enjoying it.  I visualized a new reality and snuffed my old beliefs.  And as a result, I am not only a happier person, but also  a better musician.

    #30017
    Stephen
    Keymaster

    Mine was groove. I had NONE. Almost lost my gig because of it. I couldn’t make people dance…and it was a dance club…so that was a problem lol.

    I simply dug in to popular dance songs DEEP. Brick House, Funky Music, James Brown, etc. I would listen to just the hihat, then just the snare, then just the kick. I would try to mimic each one exactly. Really isolate what was going on. After a few weeks things started to click. But it took a lot of time to turn the boat and get things feeling better.

    #30026
    Alex
    Participant

    I have no drum-groove inspiration. I can perfectly practice grooves and solos and play them in live situations but I cannot play a cool improvised rhythm as a solo. It just doesn’t come to my mind.

    #30032
    John
    Participant

    I broke my ankle 27 years ago while riding a 3 wheeler ATV.

    Fast forward to January 2018, I went in the hospital for a total ankle replacement surgery.

    The surgery was on my right ankle, which is my primary bass drum leg. .. Not good.

    During my recovery time while in a leg cast from the initial injury in 1990, I became restless while on-the-mend. I was playing a huge Tama double bass kit at that time, so I replaced my right bass drum pedal with a pillow to rest my casted leg on, and proceeded to learn to play left foot lead as a right handed player.

    Back to the present day: I’m revisiting the left foot lead playing on a more permanent basis. .. It has become one of my biggest hurdles to date as I’m relearning familiar beats with my left leg again.

    As I progress in this ‘hurdle’, I will post my progress if anyone is interested.

    I can still use my right foot, but in an effort to reduce wear and tear on my ankle joint, I have resigned myself to re-learning my once useful left foot lead technique again.

    Rick Allen and Cactus Mosher pushed through their physical challenges, so I’m sure I can too. Prayers are appreciated.

    #30047
    Trey
    Participant

    I have several hurdles. One question I have that I haven’t found an answer to is… Creativity, how do I know what groove to play. When I hear a song played live and it is different than a recording, how do I know what kick pattern is appropriate? How do I relate to the other instruments. Everything I try always seems like it just doesn’t fit and it don’t sound right.

    #30049
    Robert
    Participant

    Aside from the obvious technical aspects of playing drums, my biggest hurdles are creativity and appreciating my successes.  I’m like the knock off artist that can take what someone else does and use it but I have a hard time finding my voice.  I may have specific fills or patterns or grooves that I rely on but that’s really more of a safety net than my own voice coming through.  Hopefully my new focused practice will reduce my safety nets and spark my creativity.  The other struggle is focusing on what I can’t do rather than celebrating what I can do.  At work our management refers to “living in the gap”, that space that occupies the difference between your current state and perfection, or where you want to end up.  It’s tough being happy when your head is stuck in that space.  Like Marcus, I’ve focused on the inspiration of a great performance that I see or hear.  Rather than identifying all the areas I fall short, I’ve started picking out the elements that I can play and pat myself on the back.  Then I look at the underlying skills I need to improve my play and figure out how to attack them.  Like anything else in life, you’re never finished learning and mastering anything in music.  I just have to accept that today I’m better than I was yesterday and tomorrow, God willing, I’ll be better than I am today.  Hopefully I can look back in 5 years and smile at how far I’ve come.

    #30050
    Ryan
    Participant

    My biggest issue was comparison. I’d be watching other drummers play something and instead of getting inspiriation from it I would compare myself and my private practice to their finished preformance. Once I finally got comfortable with who I am on a drum kit it was such a relief. I’m not going to say I’m perfect but I would say once I really leaned into who I am as a musician it freed me to play and express myself on a kit in a fashion I hadn’t experienced. The vast majority of times when I’m watching someone else play I find I’m now able to really enjoy their style of playing without beating down my own.

    #30059
    Robert
    Participant

    @John Kudos to you.  I use to think about trying play in an open style to free myself up but would generally quit after 5 minutes out of frustration at not being able to play even basic grooves.  I can’t imagine trying become a left footed drummer.  Serious mind warp there.  I admire your courage and drive to continue with the drums.  Tis no small feat.

    #30062
    Kyle
    Participant

    Its nice to hear a fellow drummer (Marcus) going through the same issues as me. As a drummer and a person through out my life I always had confidence issues, being nervous playing in front of people. I always felt like I sucked at drumming, playing guitar, singing ect. I only started to feel better once people would tell me, “Hey you sound great!” Then I began to think hey maybe I’m not that bad at all. But regardless you have to have fun, do you love the feeling of creating, or having fun playing live or with your band ect. ;

    The one band I’m in right now, the bassist is very ‘tell is as it is’. I play with guys twice my age, and I love it because they like the same music I do, and they are experienced. But the bassist is very nit picky about tempo, even if I study the song and figure out the bpm of it, he will still say its wrong. It can be frustrating but everyone else in the band tell me that’s the way he is, and they ignore him. But it makes me nervous to play certain songs, but I have been getting way better at just going with the flow, and having fun. The more I overthink when I’m playing, is when it can cause problems.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Marcus.
    #30106
    Marcus
    Moderator

    Great discussion here. Love it. You know, I once had an issue with people being critical of tempo and timing. My solution was to suggest in-ears and a click for everyone in the band…..because I knew my time was good. The leader actually liked the suggestion and there are no more complaints about time.

    There is a saying…comparison is the thief of joy. It it so true. Stephen has spoken about this many times…especially in light of the YouTube generation. We tend to see a player on YouTube and compare ourselves to them. We don’t even know how long they worked that piece up, how many takes it took them, or the editing they did after the fact. Being true to who you are as a musician is key.

    Creativity is like a muscle. It doesn’t just happen. It has to be practiced. We won’t like everything we create. That’s okay. It is perfectly normal. Creativity is best developed under constraint. By that I mean by setting some parameters or rules. This is a big topic, but more than anything know that much like technique, creativity is developed out of practice. It is not some mystical gifting that some have and others don’t.

    #30127
    Daniel
    Participant

    Great discussion here…  My biggest hurdle was this “comparison to other drummers” trap that Stephen just made a video about.  I was in my mid 20s and was practicing many hours with books, learning rather complex patterns and gaining coordination and facility – but each time I would try to get a gig with a band, I failed the audition.  I did finally get into a band, but was shortly let go. At same time, I was going out to local bars and watching these most excellent drummers.  And in my mind, comparing myself to them. Not understanding why I could not do what they do.  This was before social media / internet.  I didn’t have an instructor at the time for guidance. I was practicing out of Stick Control, Morello, Chaffee, Syncopation, etc.  After several years, I fell into the trap of the classic negative thinking that “I was just not good enough” for this and then over time I lost interest and quit.  What was the point? What I didn’t understand at the time was I was overplaying nifty patterns and not playing to musically to serve the song.  Fast forward many years, somehow (don’t remember how or when), I finally realized what the issues were. So, then I got back into practicing (as I always naturally loved drumming) but this time I focused on really listening to the music, playing simple, keeping time, giving other musicians “space” and making it “feel” good and definitely NOT over playing.  This was the hurdle, if you can call it that. It was cured by a change in my thinking. Not comparing myself to others and also keeping it simple and playing for the music.  Sounds simple enough, but somehow I did not see this back in the day. It took me several years to get back into playing, but this time musicians were now interested in playing with me.  I was then developing my own voice congruent with the music and “supporting” the other players.  What a HUGE difference.  And why I resonated so much to Stephen’s “I’m am not good enough” video lesson he just put up.  Now, today I see so many musicians comparing themselves to kids ripping it up on YouTube and then experiencing the misery of the negative consequences of “Comparing” and “Competition” type of thinking.  It’s a trap and can have consequences.  I feel like I want to tell others about this trap so they don’t lose the time that I did.  – dan

    #30134
    Stephen
    Keymaster

    Thanks for being so honest about that @Daniel .

    It was a HUGE deal for me years ago. And I think it crops up for all of us periodically. But you’re right, it’s such a time waster and keeps us from focusing on the main thing…our own personal development on the instrument.

    #30143
    Marcus
    Moderator

    Daniel, I totally hear you.  In the past I made things waaaayyy to complicated.  Once I simplified things and realized it is about feel, the space between the notes, and the musical conversation with the other players, I started enjoying playing much much more.  Consequently, others began enjoying my playing much much more as well.  As drummers we tend to admire those that have killer chops, but how many playing situations call for that?  Usually that occurs only in very specialized playing situations.

    #30158
    Kyle
    Participant

    Marcus I agree with that idea that typically the generation of social media, drummers on youtube, heck even on dating websites people tend to really compare them selves. Sometimes good, or sometimes we can put ourselves down seeing something so crazy drumwise.

    Also your idea of using a click in rehearsal, is a good idea. I actually use them on dance type songs only: like around 115bpm type songs. Its very helpful, its not useful if you really want to be creative with daring fills, but keeping it simple its helpful.

    #30428
    Devin
    Participant

    My biggest hurdle is total insecurity about my playing.

    When I look at my drumming in the cold light of day, I’m really not the worst drummer in the world by any measure. I have my weaknesses sure but I’m at least not TERRIBLE and I do somethings really well. The problem is I can never really look at my drumming that way for very long. I’ve often thought about putting some videos on youtube or whatever just because I want to share what I’m doing and I want people to hear it but then I see what else is up there and I just forget about it. I don’t think I could actually handle negative comments because I am so insecure about it. I have a gig in two weeks, its actually my first proper gig behind a kit (because I’ve struggled to actually get out and play in front of people) I’m dreading it in case everyone things I’m terrible and lets me know about it.

    There’s so many opportunities to get out and play around here with jam sessions and stuff but I just can’t bring myself to do it as much as I’d love it.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #29981

    Marcus
    Moderator
    • Offline

    What was your biggest hurdle in playing and what did you do to overcome it?

    Mine was stage fright.  Ok, not stage fright, but mistake fright.   I could play well in the practice room, but playing live or in a lesson for my teachers was sooo stressful.  To me, the downbeat of the performance ore playing the prepared exercise for my teacher was like taking off on a roller coaster (which I hate).  I felt nervous and out of control.  I felt reactionary instead of in command.  I would be so relieved and exhausted when I got to the end of the set or piece.  It was truly a miserable experience, but I loved music so much that I kept coming back….and hating it.

    How did I overcome it?  I put it in perspective.  It’s music.  How I play is not a reflection of my worth as a person. For most of my life, being 1st chair or “the drummer” or whatever, was, in  my mind, a reflection of my value as a person.  What a sick way to live.  What a horrible way to relate to music…or anything.  Imagine degrading your own worth for any and every mistake you played.  That is what I did.

    So, I re-framed my relationship to music.  I accepted that perfect performances are rare and special occurrences and that if you aren’t making some mistakes, you probably aren’t growing as a musician.  I also did tons of visualizations of being in the moment on stage, making music, and enjoying it.  I visualized a new reality and snuffed my old beliefs.  And as a result, I am not only a happier person, but also  a better musician.

    #30017

    Stephen
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    Mine was groove. I had NONE. Almost lost my gig because of it. I couldn’t make people dance…and it was a dance club…so that was a problem lol.

    I simply dug in to popular dance songs DEEP. Brick House, Funky Music, James Brown, etc. I would listen to just the hihat, then just the snare, then just the kick. I would try to mimic each one exactly. Really isolate what was going on. After a few weeks things started to click. But it took a lot of time to turn the boat and get things feeling better.

    #30026

    Alex
    Participant
    • Offline

    I have no drum-groove inspiration. I can perfectly practice grooves and solos and play them in live situations but I cannot play a cool improvised rhythm as a solo. It just doesn’t come to my mind.

    #30032

    John
    Participant
    • Offline

    I broke my ankle 27 years ago while riding a 3 wheeler ATV.

    Fast forward to January 2018, I went in the hospital for a total ankle replacement surgery.

    The surgery was on my right ankle, which is my primary bass drum leg. .. Not good.

    During my recovery time while in a leg cast from the initial injury in 1990, I became restless while on-the-mend. I was playing a huge Tama double bass kit at that time, so I replaced my right bass drum pedal with a pillow to rest my casted leg on, and proceeded to learn to play left foot lead as a right handed player.

    Back to the present day: I’m revisiting the left foot lead playing on a more permanent basis. .. It has become one of my biggest hurdles to date as I’m relearning familiar beats with my left leg again.

    As I progress in this ‘hurdle’, I will post my progress if anyone is interested.

    I can still use my right foot, but in an effort to reduce wear and tear on my ankle joint, I have resigned myself to re-learning my once useful left foot lead technique again.

    Rick Allen and Cactus Mosher pushed through their physical challenges, so I’m sure I can too. Prayers are appreciated.

    #30047

    Trey
    Participant
    • Offline

    I have several hurdles. One question I have that I haven’t found an answer to is… Creativity, how do I know what groove to play. When I hear a song played live and it is different than a recording, how do I know what kick pattern is appropriate? How do I relate to the other instruments. Everything I try always seems like it just doesn’t fit and it don’t sound right.

    #30049

    Robert
    Participant
    • Offline

    Aside from the obvious technical aspects of playing drums, my biggest hurdles are creativity and appreciating my successes.  I’m like the knock off artist that can take what someone else does and use it but I have a hard time finding my voice.  I may have specific fills or patterns or grooves that I rely on but that’s really more of a safety net than my own voice coming through.  Hopefully my new focused practice will reduce my safety nets and spark my creativity.  The other struggle is focusing on what I can’t do rather than celebrating what I can do.  At work our management refers to “living in the gap”, that space that occupies the difference between your current state and perfection, or where you want to end up.  It’s tough being happy when your head is stuck in that space.  Like Marcus, I’ve focused on the inspiration of a great performance that I see or hear.  Rather than identifying all the areas I fall short, I’ve started picking out the elements that I can play and pat myself on the back.  Then I look at the underlying skills I need to improve my play and figure out how to attack them.  Like anything else in life, you’re never finished learning and mastering anything in music.  I just have to accept that today I’m better than I was yesterday and tomorrow, God willing, I’ll be better than I am today.  Hopefully I can look back in 5 years and smile at how far I’ve come.

    #30050

    Ryan
    Participant
    • Offline

    My biggest issue was comparison. I’d be watching other drummers play something and instead of getting inspiriation from it I would compare myself and my private practice to their finished preformance. Once I finally got comfortable with who I am on a drum kit it was such a relief. I’m not going to say I’m perfect but I would say once I really leaned into who I am as a musician it freed me to play and express myself on a kit in a fashion I hadn’t experienced. The vast majority of times when I’m watching someone else play I find I’m now able to really enjoy their style of playing without beating down my own.

    #30059

    Robert
    Participant
    • Offline

    @John Kudos to you.  I use to think about trying play in an open style to free myself up but would generally quit after 5 minutes out of frustration at not being able to play even basic grooves.  I can’t imagine trying become a left footed drummer.  Serious mind warp there.  I admire your courage and drive to continue with the drums.  Tis no small feat.

    #30062

    Kyle
    Participant
    • Offline

    Its nice to hear a fellow drummer (Marcus) going through the same issues as me. As a drummer and a person through out my life I always had confidence issues, being nervous playing in front of people. I always felt like I sucked at drumming, playing guitar, singing ect. I only started to feel better once people would tell me, “Hey you sound great!” Then I began to think hey maybe I’m not that bad at all. But regardless you have to have fun, do you love the feeling of creating, or having fun playing live or with your band ect. ;

    The one band I’m in right now, the bassist is very ‘tell is as it is’. I play with guys twice my age, and I love it because they like the same music I do, and they are experienced. But the bassist is very nit picky about tempo, even if I study the song and figure out the bpm of it, he will still say its wrong. It can be frustrating but everyone else in the band tell me that’s the way he is, and they ignore him. But it makes me nervous to play certain songs, but I have been getting way better at just going with the flow, and having fun. The more I overthink when I’m playing, is when it can cause problems.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Marcus.
    #30106

    Marcus
    Moderator
    • Offline

    Great discussion here. Love it. You know, I once had an issue with people being critical of tempo and timing. My solution was to suggest in-ears and a click for everyone in the band…..because I knew my time was good. The leader actually liked the suggestion and there are no more complaints about time.

    There is a saying…comparison is the thief of joy. It it so true. Stephen has spoken about this many times…especially in light of the YouTube generation. We tend to see a player on YouTube and compare ourselves to them. We don’t even know how long they worked that piece up, how many takes it took them, or the editing they did after the fact. Being true to who you are as a musician is key.

    Creativity is like a muscle. It doesn’t just happen. It has to be practiced. We won’t like everything we create. That’s okay. It is perfectly normal. Creativity is best developed under constraint. By that I mean by setting some parameters or rules. This is a big topic, but more than anything know that much like technique, creativity is developed out of practice. It is not some mystical gifting that some have and others don’t.

    #30127

    Daniel
    Participant
    • Offline

    Great discussion here…  My biggest hurdle was this “comparison to other drummers” trap that Stephen just made a video about.  I was in my mid 20s and was practicing many hours with books, learning rather complex patterns and gaining coordination and facility – but each time I would try to get a gig with a band, I failed the audition.  I did finally get into a band, but was shortly let go. At same time, I was going out to local bars and watching these most excellent drummers.  And in my mind, comparing myself to them. Not understanding why I could not do what they do.  This was before social media / internet.  I didn’t have an instructor at the time for guidance. I was practicing out of Stick Control, Morello, Chaffee, Syncopation, etc.  After several years, I fell into the trap of the classic negative thinking that “I was just not good enough” for this and then over time I lost interest and quit.  What was the point? What I didn’t understand at the time was I was overplaying nifty patterns and not playing to musically to serve the song.  Fast forward many years, somehow (don’t remember how or when), I finally realized what the issues were. So, then I got back into practicing (as I always naturally loved drumming) but this time I focused on really listening to the music, playing simple, keeping time, giving other musicians “space” and making it “feel” good and definitely NOT over playing.  This was the hurdle, if you can call it that. It was cured by a change in my thinking. Not comparing myself to others and also keeping it simple and playing for the music.  Sounds simple enough, but somehow I did not see this back in the day. It took me several years to get back into playing, but this time musicians were now interested in playing with me.  I was then developing my own voice congruent with the music and “supporting” the other players.  What a HUGE difference.  And why I resonated so much to Stephen’s “I’m am not good enough” video lesson he just put up.  Now, today I see so many musicians comparing themselves to kids ripping it up on YouTube and then experiencing the misery of the negative consequences of “Comparing” and “Competition” type of thinking.  It’s a trap and can have consequences.  I feel like I want to tell others about this trap so they don’t lose the time that I did.  – dan

    #30134

    Stephen
    Keymaster
    • Offline

    Thanks for being so honest about that @Daniel .

    It was a HUGE deal for me years ago. And I think it crops up for all of us periodically. But you’re right, it’s such a time waster and keeps us from focusing on the main thing…our own personal development on the instrument.

    #30143

    Marcus
    Moderator
    • Offline

    Daniel, I totally hear you.  In the past I made things waaaayyy to complicated.  Once I simplified things and realized it is about feel, the space between the notes, and the musical conversation with the other players, I started enjoying playing much much more.  Consequently, others began enjoying my playing much much more as well.  As drummers we tend to admire those that have killer chops, but how many playing situations call for that?  Usually that occurs only in very specialized playing situations.

    #30158

    Kyle
    Participant
    • Offline

    Marcus I agree with that idea that typically the generation of social media, drummers on youtube, heck even on dating websites people tend to really compare them selves. Sometimes good, or sometimes we can put ourselves down seeing something so crazy drumwise.

    Also your idea of using a click in rehearsal, is a good idea. I actually use them on dance type songs only: like around 115bpm type songs. Its very helpful, its not useful if you really want to be creative with daring fills, but keeping it simple its helpful.

    #30428

    Devin
    Participant
    • Offline

    My biggest hurdle is total insecurity about my playing.

    When I look at my drumming in the cold light of day, I’m really not the worst drummer in the world by any measure. I have my weaknesses sure but I’m at least not TERRIBLE and I do somethings really well. The problem is I can never really look at my drumming that way for very long. I’ve often thought about putting some videos on youtube or whatever just because I want to share what I’m doing and I want people to hear it but then I see what else is up there and I just forget about it. I don’t think I could actually handle negative comments because I am so insecure about it. I have a gig in two weeks, its actually my first proper gig behind a kit (because I’ve struggled to actually get out and play in front of people) I’m dreading it in case everyone things I’m terrible and lets me know about it.

    There’s so many opportunities to get out and play around here with jam sessions and stuff but I just can’t bring myself to do it as much as I’d love it.

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