You've been taking beginner drum lessons online or perhaps even supplementing them with classes 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 could be an excellent time to start playing with other musicians. At Drum Ambition, we have many subscribers 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 playing in a band may not seem as far-fetched as it may have done when you first started.
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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.
This was certainly the case for our Founder and Presenter, Simon DasGupta, when at age 13, he moved to a new town and met a guitarist that lived on the same street. They went on to form their first band with some local school friends, and that was the start of a journey that helped shape his life. They rehearsed every week, had mini-concerts for family, and performed at local schools. Lifelong friendships were formed, and they grew together, both musically and personally.
It was a great place to grow and develop in a forgiving and safe environment from a musical standpoint. Musical skills were carefully honed, mistakes frequently provided 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, which are all part of the experience.
You don't have to be a 13-year-old wannabe professional musician to benefit from this incredible life experience. While we have many subscribers in their teens (and some considerably younger), many others are working professionals leading busy lives. A pool of like-minded individuals play other instruments, all looking to meet and play music, and the trick is knowing how to connect with them.
It can be easier to connect with other musicians through music programs, summer camps, school notice boards, and social media circles if you are at school or college. Adults and busy professionals can find local musicians through local jam nights*, work colleagues, or by advertising for like-minded people in local free-ads, which often have a music section. Be honest about who you are looking for and how you represent your own goals and level, as this 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 known as Open Mic). This is an organized event, generally hosted at a local bar or social center, where a group of musicians congregate and play for fun. They usually are open to all levels, and it can be a fun and encouraging environment in which to learn. You'll 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 typically consist of playing covers - popular songs by recognized artists.
If you want a less public environment to learn your craft or are too young to visit some of these venues, researching other organized options has never been easier. Many music schools, retailers, and local instructors offer rock camps and rock schools for all ages. Local instructors work with individuals to practice playing with other musicians, often forming hobbyist bands. One of the most popular is the School of Rock franchise, which has locations nationally. This great organization emphasizes live performance, involving multiple lessons, rehearsals, and usually culminates in a live performance at a local venue.
Having a solid background gives you a headstart in these environments. Andy, a Drum Ambition subscriber in Seattle, discovered this first-hand, commenting: "My teacher was impressed that I had already built a solid foundation, could read music, and understood basic charts. I learned all this through Drum Ambition."
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 an excellent opportunity to socialize, stay active, have fun, and perhaps satisfy a long desired goal or fulfill a personal ambition. Many of our subscribers are currently enjoying their retirement, learning new skills, and meeting new people.
Playing with other musicians is a wonderful experience. While we have provided some pointers as to when you might be ready, the reality is that it is fun to get together with like-minded individuals. If you have the opportunity to do this and feel comfortable, then what have you got to lose?
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