Today I gave a drum lesson to a good friend who is also a very good drummer. But lately he hasn’t been playing drums that much. In fact, I was surprised when he contacted me to set up a lesson.
At the beginning of the lesson, I asked “What do you want to work on today?”
“I just want to play some fun rock stuff–some Bonham grooves. I was thinking that I hadn’t been playing enough. I miss it. Let’s just have fun.”
So, we structured our get together like that–we worked on grooves that my friend was interested in. We worked on drumming that was exciting and fun for my friend. We were trying to re-kindle the passion.
I asked my friend why he hadn’t been playing that much recently.
He told me that it had stopped being fun. He had started to get caught up in how to make a living as a drummer;, it was a major challenge. The making a living part was not fun. He had been playing musical theater and he was good at it. His reading skills are strong. He did a bunch of musical theater work, but he couldn’t make enough money.
That made the whole thing a downer. Then he decided he didn’t like the music in theater that much anyway. And that realization made the whole thing kind of pointless.
Imagine–you work really hard to become highly skilled at an instrument, but the music you’re playing is lame and you can’t make a living.
Of course, that’s depressing! And that’s how you lose the joy. That’s how the passion leaves you.
So, here are my answers to keeping the joy alive in your music:
1) Only play music you like
2) Practice and keep getting better –experience the joy of being great at your instrument.
3) Find a way to make a living that doesn’t require you to be whore on your instrument. Get a side job/freelance job, or better yet, start your own business.
Some examples? I have another friend who plays guitar with an internationally known artist. But for years, he was a proof reader in a law office until he got that gig. But he rarely played music he didn’t like. It is documented that Elvin Jones had a manual labor job while he was trying to get his career going. Philly Joe Jones drove a trolley. But they always pursued music they enjoyed.
Don’t let money get in the way of your passion.
Hope this helps.
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sound advice, but this story makes me think of any drummers I hear saying yeah this song or this album was heavily influences by Bonham, sometimes I think to myself, man I have that album or I heard that song a bunch of times and either it is crap, or it may even be some real quality drumming, but either way I can’t hear the faintest signs of The Godfather in there, it’s as though its vogue to say that you were influenced by Bonzo or they think that will sell their product, have any of you felt or witnessed that?