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Lacking Motivation

We all go through it from time to time, feeling a lack of motivation or inspiration to practice and develop ourselves ... so don't beat yourself up or be too hard on yourself.

I don't know all the reasons as to why an individual might experience a lack of motivation to play or practice, but I do know that we as humans are typically inspired by exposing ourselves to new/fresh ideas and concepts.

Here's a list, in no particular order, of some things I've done over the years to inspire and motivate myself, and others, in the art of drumming.

  • Listen to some of your favorite music recordings, or better still, go buy some new CDs. Listen throughout the day, especially right before you start to practice.
  • Attend a drum / percussion clinic, workshop, seminar or masterclass. Check out the Drum.Events calendar for local drumming events.
  • Take drum / percussion lessons from a local professional (see our Drum Teacher List). If one is not available, travel to a location where there are some great teachers/players.
  • Purchase a drum video that you've never seen before. Perhaps watch the video before you plan to practice.
  • Go hear/watch some good live music or rent a concert video of a hot band.
  • Visit other fine art venues for inspiration (Art galleries, ballet/dance, etc.). Also museums, movies .... even the zoo!
  • Spend time with people who are doing what you want to do. Find a drummer or percussionist that you really admire and respect. Offer to take them to lunch ... then pick their brain.
  • Find and join an online drumming community — the Drummer Cafe forum is known for its fine Internet drum/percussion community!
  • Change your drum set-up. If you typically have a large kit, reduce it down to a 4-piece (or smaller). Experiment!
  • Attend a jam session; sit in once in awhile.
  • Buy some new drum/percussion gear!
  • Study about a new percussion instrument ... and learn to play it!
  • Read and/or subscribe to a drum/percussion magazine or periodical.
  • Record audio/video of your practice sessions or performances. Analyze what you see and hear ... setting goals on how to improve.
  • Check out some online drum or percussion lessons — like the Online Lessons here at the Drummer Cafe.
  • Find a new concept or idea on how to practice or apply a particular book (eg. Expanding Stick Control for the Drumset), then explore and create.

If you lack motivation for an extended amount of time, a really long time, you may need to spend some time doing some soul searching ... really figure out what's going on. It could be that you are trying to force yourself to do something that you weren't designed to do, and it's taking all the joy out of your life.

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40 years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the creator of, which he founded in December of 1996.

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