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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: Are you a member of a church? So many sunday School rooms/sanctuaries sit empty during the week. Perhaps you can work out an exchange -- free lessons, odd jobs, etc., in exchange for practice time - and you remove your instrument before the room is needed.

    What other businesses / organizations can be approached this way? Social halls perhaps - where you offer your services for free at dances - or you put together a group that plays for free in exchange for practice time?
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      Oct 18 2012: I'm not a member of a church, no. I have given my services freely in the past to various organisations, though none have been able to offer even temporary practise space, not that they weren't willing- it is just very difficult to accommodate a drum kit!

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