Hope is not a strategy. This is a blog celebrating action in the drum room. The effective action that follows our careful deliberation and reflection. We are grownups. The time of fooling ourselves is over because time is up.
Here is an interesting start to our explorations: Time management
Premise: Practice time is precious and limited. It's limited by the limitations of our bodies and demands on our time from life. Therefore, wasting it with non-deliberate practice is counterproductive to our goal: playing as well as we can with time limitations.
Step one: Taking stock. "How do we spend our time when we are in the practice room? Do we carefully plan out the time, or do we jump Willy Nilly from one activity to another? It has been claimed that 90% music students play a piece through once, not even stopping to correct mistakes.
( http://www.escom.org/proceedings/ICMPC2000/Sun/McPherso.htm )
Tactic: At your next practice simply record yourself on your phone. Just put the recorder in the corner and forget about it. Later in the day listen back. Ask yourself this:
1. How did you spend your time? Fooling around, tuning, moving gear around, Facebooking, texting? You get the idea. Check out Benny Grebs funny stories about his practice journey. 475 - Benny Greb: Better Practice, Better Results (re-release) - Drummer's Resource: Conversations with the world's greatest drummers and music industry pros. (drummersresource.com) Start at 8 minutes 48 seconds. Worth your time.
2. How focused were you?
3. How do you sound?
4. What did you accomplish?
5. How did you work on problems?
If I can help you, call me.
The video below features Greg Hutchinson. I was lucky to study for a week with him in Rome Italy a few years ago. That was memorable.
Which famous drummers would you like to study with?
Chops, technique, rudiments are super important but...
#1 Play along with recordings is the key ingredient.
Yesterday fourteen music students, including 2 drum students got together and played jazz. What a blast! I'm so proud of everyone's achievements.
Next up February, Covid willing.
What a heap of swinging Scottish fun. I highly recommend having a go with this video.
What happens when we practice drums everyday?
Obviously we improve but let’s do the math.
Consider 2 students: John and Sally. Both students practice and arrive at class prepared each week. Each has done the following during the week.
You get the picture.
John practices 30 minutes a day. Sally 75 minutes. What happens?
If I can help you, please give me a call.
If I can help you, call me.
Later this month my drum students will join in with my piano students in a joint jazz performance workshop. Our first pairing since the before times. For some students who play electric drums at home it will be their first go on a traditional drum kit. Here are some tips to get ready for this experience.
1. Practice the rudiments and snare etudes softly this month. The power strokes and general joyous thrashing possible on electric drumkits won't work in an acoustic environment with pianists playing jazz.
2. Jam with jazz recordings this week. The album below is an iconic introduction to jazz drumming.
3. Practice the required pieces more than you might normally do.
4. Prepare to have fun. Playing with other humans, making improvisational music is thrilling. Music is a team sport.
Covid protocols will be in effect.
David Story, drummer, pianist, qualified online music teacher