In case you hadn’t noticed, the folks at DRUM! really like drumming a lot. Okay, to be honest, we’re totally fixated on it. When we aren’t writing about drumming, we talk to other drummers about drumming, or test new drum gear, or hang out at drum shops, or watch drumming videos. And when we aren’t doing any of those things we go out and play drums as often as possible. It keeps us busy.
But I was reminded recently that there’s more to life than hitting things with sticks when my band’s gig schedule suddenly ground to a screeching halt. It’s not as if anything in particular went wrong either. We play almost every weekend, and hit a dry spell every so often. But this time the break was a bit longer than usual. Like two full months.
So what did I do with all that spare time? Well, for one thing, my deadline for this issue seemed to be oh so much easier to manage. I had more free time to wrap up loose ends, and for once didn’t need to edit stories on my laptop while wedged between a speaker cabinet and a bass drum case as I rolled down the freeway in the back of the band’s van (a dubious skill I’ve grown accustomed to over the past few years).
But I also did some things I haven’t done in quite a while, like heading out of town with my girlfriend for a weekend by the coast, reading a good book, going to the theater (more than once even!), visiting with friends, and attending parties and art openings. After a few weeks something amazing happened – I began to unwind. Strangely, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that I was all wound up to begin with.
My band recently began rehearsing new material, preparing for a full slate of dates that are suddenly right around the corner. It felt incredible to play again – maybe even better than before. In more ways than one, my little inadvertent breather was really good for me. So if you find yourself with time on your hands, don’t freak. It’s okay to give yourself a mental vacation from the drums for a little while. It can actually be beneficial to your playing, believe it or not – just don’t make it a habit!