A recent survey response I received from one of you guys blew my mind… But it made me realize something interesting.
A few weeks ago I emailed out to you a survey asking you questions about what your struggles and goals are on the drums. Someone’s response read like this:
SURVEY QUESTION: If you could accomplish anything in your drumming in 2021, what would it be? (Your biggest drumming dream!)
RESPONSE: Play live
SURVEY QUESTION: What is your biggest fear that you worry about all the time as you’re learning drums?
RESPONSE: Playing live
Wait a second… you mean the biggest, most exciting, ultimate dream… is also the greatest fear? For a minute I thought this was crazy. Then I looked back at my own life.
In middle school my biggest dream was to play drums in a rock band. I got to high school and had the opportunity to literally play drums in a rock band… and I was terrified. Thankfully I faced my fears and did it....
I felt the stress completely crushing me, weighing down on my shoulders and paralyzing me. I had no idea what to do or what decision to make, and every option felt equally discouraging. I was at a crossroads, having to decide whether or not to pursue a major life path…. and it was only Wednesday of my first week of school.
I was crazy enough to go to music school in college and major in percussion performance. I had no actual percussion experience, I’d never played in band or orchestra, and I’d never played drumset in jazz band. But I wanted to take on a challenge and do it all for the first time since I knew I wanted to do music for a living after school.
Monday afternoon of that first week of school was wind ensemble rehearsal. I went to a school that had what you could probably call a “regionally renowned” wind ensemble. The group played very well, performed at prestigious events, and put on fantastic concerts every semester. The group’s...
We’ve all dealt with nervousness and anxiety at some point in our lives. Thinking back to my childhood, I know I can name a whole bunch of piano recitals, plays, public speaking scenarios, and more when I remember that paralyzing fear. I know you can relate, so I won’t waste time listing off more examples. Whether your most anxious moments in life were music related, school related, or work related, you know what I’m talking about.
Today, however, I’d like to address the fear and anxiety often associated with performing on an instrument. You’re getting ready for the performance, and you know you’ve prepared well. But you can’t get rid of that nervous feeling deep down inside where a little bit of fear dwells. This is the “what if I mess up and can’t recover?” kind of fear. This is the “what if I don’t sound good and nobody likes my playing?” kind of fear. “What if I play the...
"Stephen, they need you to play drums Sunday."
My mom’s words smacked me in the face then echoed back and forth in my 15-year-old head. They what?? I laughed to myself. How do they even know that I play drums? No one’s supposed to know that! I just started lessons two months ago! This is crazy.
But somehow word had gotten out and I was getting dragged into the high school student worship band at church. Turns out their regular drummer had graduated high school and the replacement hadn't worked out. Little had I known 5 minutes before this moment that I was about to play my very first gig with just two months of drum lessons under my belt. I didn’t even own a real drumset at the time.
I was totally unprepared, terrified, and looking for a way out of this. I remember laying in bed that night praying about it, saying “God if you want me to go way out of my comfort zone to do this, you have to go with me and somehow enable me to do what...