On any given day, us drummers love getting into the practice room and shedding for hours. It’s our sanctuary. Our release. Our passion.
But sometimes it’s the complete opposite.
Sometimes we dread the practice room.
Sometimes we feel like we’re always playing the same stuff.
Sometimes we feel like we’re not getting better.
This is “burnout.”
And this burnout leads us feeling uninspired, frustrated, and stuck in a creative rut.
No, it’s not just you…it happens to all of us sometimes.
So what should you do?
As my friend Ryan Snyder told me years ago:
“Sometimes you just need to put down the instrument and step away for a while.”
Don’t force yourself to practice.
Don’t feel guilty about not practicing.
Don’t “go through the motions.”
Instead, go outside, take a walk, read a book…do something to get you away from the instrument and look for inspiration elsewhere.
You’ll find that you return to the instrument inspired, focused and full of new ideas.
So, how long should you stay away?
As long as you need to.
For me, 1–2 weeks is usually enough for me to get the fire back, but sometimes it’s been a month or two.
If you’re thinking “there’s no way I could go a week without practicing”, that’s great! That means you’re not burned-out and uninspired.
But if the day comes where you are, don’t be afraid to “step away, and put down the instrument for a while.”
Note: This isn’t to say that you should bail on your practice routine if you don’t “feel like” practicing. This is for the times when it’s been weeks or months and you are seemingly playing the same things and have lost a sense of inspiration and creativity.