Thursday, June 3, 2021

The 14-Year-Old Aesthetic

 When I was 14 years old, I had been playing the drums for 4 years. I hadn't really played with a band, other than concert bands. What did I appreciate in drummers I saw and heard? Flash, speed, volume, and spectacle. That was about it. As time went on  I learned about what it takes to be a team member and make a band sound great. I listened to music and tried to learn why the drummers (and other musicians as well) made the musical choices they did. I tried my very best to serve the music the best I knew how, and still strive for this everyday.

Why, do you ask, do I bring up the idea of a 14 year old boy's aesthetic?


Everywhere I turn, social media is filled with stick-twirling, no dynamics playing, self attention seeking, frankly….IDIOTS! 

And the worst part is, most (but not all, mind you) of the industry, from publications, to instrument companies, etc. is ENCOURAGING AND CELEBRATING THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, if I was just starting out, I would probably feel if I didn't have blistering hand/foot chops and some sort of gimmick, that I wouldn't have a place in the music world. As well, I probably would have ignored all the things that have kept me working as a musician. Things like reading, brushes, blending in an ensemble and dynamics, various feels, and listening, to name a few.

I sometimes feel worried about where the drums are headed these days. I believe the pioneers of this instrument didn't give their whole lives to developing the modern drum set so self-centred kids could do circus tricks in the pursuit of "likes". There has GOT to be more to it than this……..

Okay, rant over. Throw away your practice pad and learn how to make a band sound and feel great…...


  1. Ted: you mentioned " there's so much flash/speed/spectacle for it's own sake", and I can't help wondering whether that is a function of the medium? People "watch" music now more than they listen to it, because of video technology. And then platforms like Instragram and TikTok amplify the need to be visual and in a short space of time. "Watch me play", as opposed to "listen to what I'm playing"...?