Quitting the Drums

By January 24, 2016 Music, Philosophizing 5 Comments

I quit playing the drums a couple times – the first was around 9th grade. I was tired of lessons and practicing, didn’t have a very exciting musical outlet and frankly was more interested in skateboarding. I guess the break lasted about a year.

The second time was a more complex situation. I’d just completed my first year as a music major at DU and was disillusioned with school and overwhelmed by the work. Certainly I was struggling with laziness, had some of the little fish, big pond thing going, but there were also frustrated expectations and some bad experiences.

My girlfriend at the time was moving to Portland so I decided to follow. Another complex situation. I worked odd jobs, went to CD and book stores and spent time with her. During that year I didn’t play drums and considered selling my set.

To circle back to my time at DU, one of the main reasons I felt overwhelmed was because of my sudden exposure to SO MANY phenomenal drummers. I felt like there was no place for me. If I had a band, I would’ve hired one of them over me any day!

After leaving Portland I moved back to Denver and ended up playing again through some connections with musicians I had from DU. There were 2 main reasons I decided to start playing again and they are the inspiration behind this blog post.

First, I saw that there were more opportunities to play than there were drummers. They couldn’t be everywhere at once so I’d get chances to play by default if nothing else!!

Second, and much more importantly, I realized that I was the only one who could be me. I was the only one who could fully realize MY artistic voice and at some point, others would need or want the perspective that only I could bring. All I had to do was keep trying and hopefully someday I’d be in that position. Obviously there was no guarantee, except that if I didn’t try, it was guaranteed NOT to happen.

These were powerful, inspiring ideas for me that have helped buoy me along ever since.

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Mario says:

    I love this, I think every musician especially if just starting should think of this and find their own voice. That what is about, we are all unique in our own way

  • *j says:

    Glad you did decide to play! 🙂

  • Mark Johnson says:

    Jon,

    I’m the fellow drummer who asked you about the udu last night at Soiled Dove. Great read as I have struggled (and still do) with the exact same emotions you describe in this piece. Your second point is EXACTLY how I try to deal with those emotions as well. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t, as I’m sure you can relate to.

    Great listening to you Charlotte and Joe last night. Your percussive contribution to the mix is what made it so great. Just the right touch and feel for each song. Well done!

    I’m a lifelong drummer who has never played a cajon. Do you happen to give lessons?

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