Busker Drummer
THE TENOR DRUMMER Fun How to Keep Drumming After You Age Out

How to Keep Drumming After You Age Out

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Busker Drummer

How do you keep drumming after aging out?

Unfortunately, this time comes for everyone. You’ve been developing your skills for years, drumming is your life, and then, all of a sudden, you’re 22 years old.

Unless you majored in Music Performance or Instruction, what do you do with that finely-tuned technique and those monster chops?

When I found myself in this position, I felt stranded, desperately searching for somewhere to land. Here are some options I’ve found and/or experienced for drumming after aging out.

All-Age Drum Corps

This is the most obvious answer. There are plenty of all-age drum corps that you can march in. Most of them seem to be along the east coast, but there are some scattered throughout the country as well. I specifically remember the Kilties being at a handful of the DCI competitions, and they always seemed to be enjoying themselves! At the bottom of this post, there are links to some of the main DCA corps for you to check out.


Another pretty obvious answer is to start teching at a nearby drumline. Reach out to your network and see if there are any open positions available. High schools, and even corps, are almost always looking for staff. Given the nature of the activity, and the extremely large time commitment, it’s difficult for a small drum staff to always be around. They could use some help!

You most likely won’t receive too much, if any, compensation for your time, but you should be able to find a line that you can add to your resume. You can also find some good customers for private lessons this way, which can be much more lucrative.

Professional Groups

If this doesn’t satisfy your craving for performing, I understand, and there are more options for you. One of the first places that should come to mind are shows like BLAST, BLUE MAN GROUP, and STOMP, and I have some experience trying to become a part of the latter two.

Through a shared connection, I was able to meet one of the Blue Man Group percussionists. These are the guys playing various percussion instruments above the stage.

He let me know that very few of them ever quit (understandable!), and I might have better luck auditioning for a Blue Man position. I did some research and found out that acting skills and a willingness to relocate are pretty essential to success, neither of which I had at the time.

Stomp was coming to town (this is when I lived in Las Vegas) and looking for some talent, so I figured I should give it a shot. Given my strong drumming background, I thought for sure I would make it pretty far. I soon found out that they also focused more on acting, through animated body movements, than drumming chops. I didn’t make it past the first cut…

Humbled and slightly demotivated, I went home to search for more options. This is when I came across VEGAS VANGUARD ENTERTAINMENT DRUMLINE. This was right up my alley, and became a great fit for me. The pay was decent and the gigs were a lot of fun.

Some of the highlights included performing with Enrique Iglesias at the Latin Grammy’s, performing at a Toyota Convention, TUFF ‘N UFF matches, nightclubs, and with some NINER NOISE guys. It helped being in a place like Las Vegas, but if you live near a big city, you might be able to find an entertainment drumline near you.

If you’re a SoCal drummer, be sure to check out SLIDE ENTERTAINMENT. In addition to corporate and sporting events, they also perform for film and TV production.

The nearby theme parks can also be an option for you.

Sports Drumlines

That brings me to my next point, the entertainment drumline near you is most likely a NBA or NFL drumline! These have been popping up all over the place. I personally haven’t been a part of any of these groups, but I do know a handful of guys that were/are in the CHICAGO BEARS and BULLS DRUMLINES.

If you are a sports fan, it’s a great way to experience the games for free and get to perform in front of tens of thousands of people. At least for the Seattle Seahawk’s Blue Thunder drumline, the performers are paid minimum wage ($15 in Seattle!), so you can even make some money while watching world-class athletes. Many of these lines also do gigs at nearby events, so there could be more opportunities to make some dough too.

At the bottom of this post, there are links to pretty much all of the NFL drumlines out there. Some may or may not be still around. Of course, 2020 will be a strange year, but you can always plan for the future.

For the entrepreneurial/self-motivated types, you have two fun and possibly very lucrative options.


One, you can always become a busker. I’m in the Seattle area now, where busking is huge. After a quick and cheap registration process, you can sign up for time slots all over the city.

Of course, performing on the street has its benefits and drawbacks, but it’s a great way to keep playing however little or much you want. Make sure you get used to the rebound (or lack thereof) from playing on buckets or whatever you choose to hit. Crowds love a nice beat to bob their head to, so feel free to put your licks on loop.

These guys are particularly inspiring.

Drumming DJ

Two, become a drumming DJ! I have met a couple guys who make very good money drumming along while DJing. With proper promotion and networking, they had no trouble getting some really high-end work at conventions and nightclubs.

Whether you have a full set of tenors, electronic drum pads, or a mixture of both, play along with some simple but grooving beats and get people dancing.

This drummer hooked up lights and even sequenced video to play when he hits the drum pads! Having crazy chops isn’t nearly as necessary as some creativity. Most drum pads have trouble picking up fast drags and rolls anyway. Just get creative!

It can be tough once you find yourself aged-out, graduated from college, thrown out to the real world; but search around, get creative, and keep the music flowing!

NFL Drumlines


Atlanta Falcons Drumline, Carolina Panthers Drumline, Chicago Bears Drumline, Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Drumline, Detroit Lions Drumline, Green Bay Packers Tundra line, Minnesota Vikings Skol line, New Orleans Saints Fat City Drum Corps, New York Giants Drumline, Philadelphia Eagles Drumline, San Francisco 49ers Niner Nois Drumline, Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline, Washington Marching Band


Baltimore Ravens Marching Ravens, Buffalo Bills Drumline, Cincinnati Bengals The Growl Drumline, Cleveland Browns Drumline, Denver Broncos Stampede Drumline, Houston Texans Deep Steel Thunder Drumline, Indianapolis Colts Drumline, Jacksonville Jaguars D-line, Kansas City Chiefs Rumble Drumline, Los Angeles Chargers Thunderbolt Drumline, New York Jets Aviators Drumline, Pittsburgh Steelers Steeline, Tennessee Titans Blue Crew Drumline


Atlanta Hawks Halftime Live Drumline, Brooklyn Nets Brooklyn United Drumline, Chicago Bulls Stampede Drumline, Cleveland Cavaliers 216 Stix Drumline, Dallas Mavericks Drumline, Denver Nuggets Sky-Line Drumline, Detroit Pistons Drumline, Golden State Warriors Drumline, Houston Rockets Sonic Boom Drumline, Indiana Pacers High Octane Drumline, LA Clippers – Slide Entertainment, Memphis Grizzlies Grizzline, Milwaukee Bucks Beat Drumline, Minnesota Timberwolves Packcussion, New Orleans Pelicans Drumline, New York Knicks Drumline, Oklahoma City Thunder Drummers, Orlando Magic Beatz Drumline, Philadelphia 76ers Drumline, Phoenix Suns Drumline, Portland Trail Blazers Drumline, Sacramento Kings (Mandarins) Drumline, San Antonio Spurs Rim Shots, Toronto Raptors Drumline (416 Beats), Utah Jazz Drumline

DCA Corps

Buccaneers, Reading, PA; Atlanta CV, Atlanta, GA; Caballeros, Hawthorne, NJ; White Sabers, Dansville, NY; Bushwackers, Princeton, NJ; Fusion Core, Morris County, NJ; Cincinnati Tradition, Cincinnati, OH; Hurricanes, Seymour, CT; Southern Knights, Birmingham, AL; Sunrisers, Long Island, NY; Carolina Gold, Greensboro, NC; Skyliners, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA; Govenaires, St. Peter, MN; Columbus Saints, Columbus, OH; Alliance, Atlanta, GA; Bayou City Blues, Houston, TX; Blue Eagles Alumni, Wind Gap, PA; Caballeros Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Hawthorne, NJ; Cadence, Surrey County, England; Chops, Minneapolis, MN; Connecticut Hurricanes Alumni Senior Drum and Bugle Corps, Seymour, CT; Crusaders Senior Drum and Bugle Corps, Boston, MA; Erie Thunderbirds, Erie, PA; Excelsior, Troy, NY; Golden Knights Alumni, Red Bank, NJ; Gulf Coast Sound, Houston, TX; Hanover Lancers Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Gettysburg, PA; Highland Regiment, Somerset County, NJ; Kidsgrove Scouts, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom; Kilties, Racine, WI; The Maine Regiment All Age Drum & Bugle Corps, Portland, ME; Minnesota Brass, St. Paul, MN; Mon Valley Express, Pittsburgh, PA; Muchachos, Manchester, NH; New York Skyliners Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Boonton, NJ; North Star Alumni Drum and Bugle Corps, Peabody, MA; Renegades, San Francisco, CA; Rogues Hollow Regiment, Doylestown, OH; Shenandoah Sound, Sterling, VA; Syracuse Brigadiers, Syracuse, NY

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