Practice Tip: The power of exploration
Students who practice, diligently practice the “notes,” struggle with rhythm and continuity trying to get it “right.” This is all important. But I’d like to add a new idea.
A short story in which I’m the hero. I’m learning to play the jazz xylophone. I started at Christmas; I practice every day. I’ve got a 100-year-old textbook, a stack of tunes I want to learn, video recorder and oodles of desire. Here is the process I usually follow.
Level 1: Fun is guaranteed. Just show up and play your part. Playing in a community concert band or playing at the family Christmas party would be in this camp. On the lesson front, level 1, is leisurely and steady. Ten thousand hours spread over decades.
Level 2: You are going to perspire. Lessons are intense. You audition to play in community groups. Your rock band plays in pubs at open mic sessions. Your concert band has professional guests performing. Standards are enforced. Lessons require an hour a day or more of preparation. Think of it as a marathon level of commitment.
Level 3 is going to hurt, tears will be shed. But, you are all in. Your daily focus is drumming. You have multiple lines of attack. You put yourself out there. You are preparing to be an Olympian. Many dream, few make it. But this doesn't deter you. Large amount of time and money is spent.
Weekend athletic parallels
1. Weekend running group
2. Marathon preparation
3. You might die.
Let me know where you stand.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher