Dealing With Bad Drumming Days
We all know what it’s like… you come in, sit behind your kit, perhaps initially excited to play, and as soon as you start playing - nothing feels right. Your setup feels weird, your arms feel stiff, and your creativity has come to a complete halt. Everything just feels terrible some days, and it can be really hard to push through. So how do we deal with days like these?
This exact thing happened to me today, just hours before I’m writing this. I was excited to record a couple of drum demos for a project, but as soon as I sat down with the songs and started tracking, I just felt terrible. I tried to stick with it for a while, and managed to fully record one of the songs, albeit with great effort and probably not my best performance (luckily these are just demos so it’s not the end of the world). I’ve been in this situation many times in the past with my drumming - some days are just like this - but I’ve come to a few conclusions that I want to share with you today.
First of all - it’s not a big deal. It really isn’t, don’t beat yourself up over it. We can’t always feel amazing and perform at our best. Try to push through when you’re in this situation, but if your entire body is just screaming at you to stop playing and do something else instead, then do something else instead. And this brings me to an important realization I’ve made, at least about myself and how I function - there’s always SOMETHING I’m interested in doing. It might not be drumming. It might not be anything music related at all, but usually there’s something in the back of my head, if I do a bit of digging, that I think about and feel like “yeah, I can do that”. Today that was tidying up my drum room - instead of feeling miserable behind the kit, I started going through some of my things, reorganizing all my gear storage, and generally tidying up the place. That felt good - it wasn’t how I had originally hoped to spend my afternoon, but it worked out just fine anyway. I got something done.
I wrote a bit about this in a recent post on Instagram and Facebook in regards to health - I’ve realized the importance of taking small steps and just doing SOMETHING every day. It doesn’t really matter if things turn out exactly as planned or not - more often than not, they don’t. At the end of the day, what matters is that you go to bed having done SOMETHING of value, something that brought you a little bit further along your journey, and something that made you an ever so slightly better person than you were the day before.
So in conclusion - next time you sit down behind your drums and nothing feels right, don’t beat yourself up over it. Recuperate, focus your efforts on something else, and try again next day. If you’re going through an extended period of time where everything feels like shit and you don’t want to play drums, then don’t. Whenever I go through something like that, I back away from music completely. I see some friends, visit my family, play some video games, and focus on other things for a week or so. Eventually the spark always returns, and I return to the kit again. Don’t burn yourself out for no reason - take breaks!
Hope this helps someone out there.
- Siros Vaziri