Updated: Jun 19, 2022
I would like for you to understand how important passion for your instrument is. How having it can help you to improve quicker as a musician. And, how it can even be a 'make or break' factor in regards to your career.
To start - let's look at the Oxford dictionary definition for the word 'Passion'. 'Passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm, or excitement for something, or about doing something'. I suppose if I were to think of a real life person that passion perhaps looked like, someone like Michael Jordan, Dwayne Johnson etc, would probably be it’s closest to it's human counterparts.
If we study some of the world's most accomplished people in history, it's often quite easy to see how passionate they were about the things that they loved. In fact, more often than not, it appears to be their driving passion (along with an abundance of hard work) that is often attributed to how they gained success. Think about it. Can you honestly imagine Dave Grohl having done the Sonic Highways series if he wasn't passionate about music? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what someone like Gregg Bissonette's career would've turned out like if his passion didn't shine through (like it so obviously does) every time he sits behind the drumset?. Obviously, hard work and time are huge factors for success as well (and we’ve spoken about this before), but would the work or effort required ever have been done, if it wasn't for the initial passion or love required in the first place? I personally doubt it.
I once took on a small influx of drum students who although on the surface, appeared to really want to learn how to play, proved not to be very interested in the actual instrument itself, the influential players who came before them, or even practicing in order to improve. In fact most of them just wanted to "bash" on the drumheads like they were beating on oppositional fighters in some type of UFC event, rather than taking the time to realize that there was so much more to the drums, than simply trying to break them. When asked about what music they liked and wanted to learn, I found that most of them answered with an ‘I don't know, or I don't really care about music' type attitude. (They’re probably all selling NFT’s and millionaires now, so jokes on me, darn).
After lessons like these, I would often find myself thinking back to my early years as a drummer and as old as it makes me sound - I find myself wondering about what drumming, and music in general, will be like in the next twenty and/or more years.
I think about how I couldn't wait for Friday's to roll around so that I could get to my one private weekly drum lesson, show my tutor the progress I'd made that week, and see what we were going to learn next - or how, I would go through leaps and bounds to find out about drummers and different techniques, (pre internet days of course), and I was always excited by the prospect of learning and growing as both a musician and a person.
The missing ingredient with a lot of musicians I meet now days (and unfortunately, I'm stereotyping) would definitely appear that there's a lack of passion in a lot of them that actually want to try become instrumentalists, and I personally feel that the whole 'wanting to learn' concept (as great as it is) may just not be enough (unless it's purely for hobby purposes of course). After all, if you can't be passionate about what you're wanting to do, or at least passionate about working towards what you're hoping to achieve, is there really any point in trying?This is (of course), purely my opinion. Food for thought one might say. I'm not trying to deny anyone their place in this world and I firmly believe that every single person deserves their chance to 'make it' in whatever field they're trying to be successful in. All I'm saying is that if you can't find a reason to want to do what you're doing, and be somewhat passionate about it, you might be setting yourself up for failure from the start. In the words of Les Brown - 'you gotta be hungry'. You need to live, breathe, eat and sleep it, because believe it or not, that's exactly what the greats did, so if you want to be great simply follow the blueprint man.