6 Lessons Learned From Following My Dream of Being a Drummer

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” ― John Lennon

It’s been three years since I started my journey to make drums more than just a hobby, and I really haven’t delved into that experience much on the blog.

So, it’s about time I share how going on tour changed my life for the better.

Here is what I learned from chasing my dream.

I hope it helps you realize and believe in greater possibilities for your life.

1. You just have to be “good enough”

First off, timing doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to be the best. You just need to be good enough to get started and take a calculated risk.

When I went on tour I had never played with a click track. I had never really experienced a professional tour in front of large crowds. I wasn’t a formally trained musician or the most talented drummer on the tour. On paper, it was easy to doubt that I would be able to cut it.

It took intention not to fall prey to fear and worry of impending failure.

Don’t let the story of “not enough” hold you back. Stop comparing yourself to others and realize that you’re good enough to get started. (Tip #2 can help you do this!)

2. Deliberate practice and preparation are a must

Yes, you just have to be good enough, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your weaknesses. You still have to practice and work on your craft so you can reach the point of “good enough,” whatever that looks like for your dream.

You need a realistic measuring stick. You need to have a clear assessment of your capabilities in comparison to your vision or goal. I had to at least be able to hold a rhythm and play with a click track. I had to be able to play the songs without messing up (at least not often). So I made sure this was the case.

The reason I was good enough, is deliberate practice.

Whatever it is you want to do, start deliberately practicing and working on getting better.

3. Slow down and live

We were the support act for the first month of the Neon Tree’s tour. This doesn’t seem like much time, but I found myself fully engrossed in my day to day experience, and because of this time seemed to be in slow motion.

Embracing a seven hour drive through the desert of Utah or feeling reverence for the splendid heights of the Rocky Mountains, I learned to feel grateful for the moment and what true presence means.

I really noticed things. There was nowhere that I needed to be and no to-do list to accomplish. The anxiety and neuroticism of a bustling hectic life was replaced with a calm sense of the fulfillment.

I now know that I want my lifestyle and state of mind to reflect this, and is one reason I will keep pursuing this dream.

4. You can try on a new role

Going from a day-to-day routine of meeting with therapy clients to living on the road is a big shift.

It was a shift in my identity and how I viewed myself. I stepped into a new role as a drummer.

Even though I was a licensed psychotherapist the day before leaving on tour, when we hit the road I was a drummer, and no one I meet along the way assumed otherwise.

My “role” didn’t matter and I felt free. I grew as a person and was able to reinvent myself.

Who we’ve been doesn’t have to get in the way of who we can become.

You’re allowed to try on new roles. What role do you want to try?

5. Turn up the joy and serve

Like most people do from their artistic expression of choice, I get great joy from playing and creating music.

What I didn’t fully connect with until I went on tour however, is how much playing music provides joy to the audience. Every night we played I had the opportunity to share in a moment of joy and delight with the crowd – to be a part of a cherished memory.

I used to think playing in a band, or creating art, was mainly just for personal passion. Now I know it is filled with purpose. The purpose of serving others, poignantly striking an emotional chord that helps to release pain, and to break people free from life’s inertia.

Pursue your passion or artistic expression from a place or service and you’ll realize that it provides immense joy and inspiration to others.

6. People will support you

If you believe in what you’re doing and are willing to ask for support. You may be surprised who’ll come to your aid. Yes You Are wouldn’t have been able to make the tour happen without the numerous people who were abundantly hospitable.

From Denver to Seattle, back to Denver, and down to Austin, Texas we had family and friends providing generosity and encouragement, and from time to time a place to stay and a warm meal. I was a little surprised and immensely grateful.

People will respect and admire you following a dream. If you’re on a wholesome path and you have an honorable reason why you’re doing it, people will want you to succeed.

“Don’t die with the music still in you.” ― Wayne W. Dyer

We should all follow a dream if only to gain the peace of mind that we tried.

Music was that golden thread that kept weaving through the fabric of my life, so when the opportunity came I decided to go for it.

I was just an average guy (and still am) that got to tour around the country playing drums.

If this dream can be a reality, yours can too!

There will be adversity along the way and it won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it.