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Danny Cox

Drummer, Drumset Tutor,

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How can one achieve their full potential in the face of strict limitations?

Hello TED users,

My question comes from a personal angle, but I'm sure there are many others faced with similar problems.

I make a living as a drummer. I also teach my instrument. I have played for 15 years now, but for half of this time (since I left home) I have had nowhere to practise my craft. Of course this practise is incredibly noisy, which is the root of the problem, but why I am unable to do it is not my question- rather I am seeking opinions on how I might still achieve my full potential in spite of my limitations.

I am often misunderstood on this matter. I generally receive two responses when I reach out. The first is 'book some studio time.' Unfortunately, this is prohibitively costly in terms of both time and money, with it taking an hour to set up and an hour to pack down a drum kit and studio time costing anywhere between £5-20 per hour. Considering that to truly master a craft one needs endless hours, this is no long-term solution. The second response I receive is 'use digital drums'. Digital drums, while certainly less noisy, are not my instrument. Anyone who has played them will understand that they are a far cry from the real thing and so this suggestion is somewhat like asking a writer to produce a novel using only words beginning with letters A-M.

Of course two solutions that few people mention due to their obviousness are 'move to the country' and 'soundproof a room'. Both of these options are again prohibitively expensive and with musicians not exactly on the highest pay-grade both of these things are sadly far-off.

As a result of these circumstances I feel my whole life is off-center. I deeply crave self-improvement in my chosen field but every day I feel like an artist with no canvas.

I am unsure if anything can be done to improve my personal situation, but I know that TED attracts intelligent minds and perhaps by discussing this issue in a broader context some revelation may be stumbled upon.

Thank you.


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  • Oct 17 2012: Danny you are reallygood guy. Look at what is yor accomplishments are!!! From a point of a person who lives in a city, i think somewhat I understand your situation. But I would recomend three things to do, if you do not do it it is your choice, but if you follow it God bless you.
    1) Go out to te nearest park, find a right place and drum as much as you want.
    2) Go near houses where tey have too much sound proof glass and drum
    3) give free concerts in hospitals, schools and for homeless. i believe you will be the source of inspiration for young and old!!!
    best wishes,
    Andrey Kurchatoff
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      Oct 17 2012: Thank you Andrey. Your first two points I believe I have touched on below with other kind contributors but your third is something to think about. I have done demonstrations in schools many times. Hospitals I am unsure would appreciate the extreme noise level. As for the homeless, maybe that is something to look into but of course these are concerts, which is very different to finding a 'spiritual home' where I can practise and develop my skills.

      I really am grateful for all the feedback here, even if I have already explored the possibilities of most of the suggestions offered. It is encouraging to see that people don't just dismiss my problem as selfish!

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