You've been taking online beginner drum lessons, and maybe even supplementing them with lessons from a local drum teacher. You've followed the curriculum and built up a solid understanding of basic grooves and fills, and you are playing along to songs and having a great time. So now what? Well, this is just the beginning! Now may be a good time to start playing with other musicians.
At my drum studio in San Diego, I have many students who are having fun in bands, some of whom never envisioned taking this step when they first started playing. But playing the drums builds confidence, and as you become more competent, the idea of "driving" a band may not seem as far fetched as it may have done when you first started. Playing with other musicians can be a life changing experience. It can be (and should be) a lot of fun, a great way of meeting friends and building personal relationships, and may even open doors that you might never have expected.
"Lifelong friendships were formed, and we grew together, both musically and personally. From a musical standpoint it was a great place to grow and develop, in a forgiving and safe environment."
Simon DasGupta - Founder, Drum Ambition.
This was certainly the case for me when, at age 13, I moved to a new town and met a guitarist that lived on the same street as me. We went on to form our first band with some local school friends, and that was the start of a journey that literally defined the course of my life. We rehearsed every week, had mini concerts for our family, and performances at local schools. Lifelong friendships were formed, and we grew together, both musically and personally. From a musical standpoint it was a great place to grow and develop, in a forgiving and safe environment. Musical skills were carefully honed, mistakes were frequently made providing valuable learning opportunities, and plans for world domination were masterminded. There were moments of joy, times of frustration, great camaraderie, and the inevitable fall-outs - all part of the experience.
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Now you don't have to be a 13 year old wannabe professional musician to benefit from this great life experience. While I have many students in their teens (and some considerably younger), many of my students are working professionals leading busy lives. There is a pool of like minded individuals that play other instruments, all looking to meet and play music, and the trick is knowing how to connect with them.
If you are at school or college, it can be easier to connect with other musicians through music programs, summer camps, school notice boards, and social media circles. Adults and busy professionals can find local musicians through local jam nights*, work colleagues, or by advertising for like minded people. (Be honest about who you are looking for and how you represent your own goals and level - that ensures that you attract the right people, potentially saving a lot of time). Local music stores, rehearsal studios and recording studios are also great resources - especially if they have an "old school" notice board, and most do.
* Jam Night (Also know as Open Mic). This is an organized event, normally hosted at a local bar or social center, where a group of musicians congregate and play for fun. They are normally open to all levels and it can be a fun and encouraging environment in which to learn. You'll definitely want to feel confident in holding down solid grooves and be experienced with playing along to songs before you jump in, and you may want to check out a session or two first. Jam nights normally consist of playing "covers", which are popular songs by recognized artists. (As opposed to "original" songs, written by local songwriters and independent artists).
If you want a less public environment to learn your craft or you are too young to visit some of these venues, then researching other organized options has never been easier. There are many websites offering "rock-camps" and "rock-schools" for all ages, where local instructors work with individuals to practice playing with other musicians, often forming hobbyist bands.
By the way; if you are reading this wondering if you are too young, or even too old to be in a band, then think again! Boys and Girls Clubs, Scouts and Guides often offer a group music option for younger children. These involve instruction, regular rehearsal, and occasional concerts. (Even recording in some cases). And for older ladies and gentlemen, this is a great opportunity to socialize, stay active, have fun, and perhaps satisfy a long desired goal or fulfill a personal ambition. (A Drum Ambition, if you will). I routinely teach individuals enjoying their retirement.
Subscribers to Drum Ambition qualify for Drum Ambition Connect, a free referral service that connects students with local teachers. This also extends to local camps and organized music groups. If you would like to make an enquiry please email [email protected].
In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback relating to this article, I'd love to hear from you: [email protected].