‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – Laozi (604 bc – 531 bc)
6. Failure to set and stick to a practice routine.
This one is huge, and incredibly difficult for most people.
Ineffective or wasted practice time is for another day/post..
Whatever practice schedule you go for, it has to be manageable. If you figure out that after a 9-5 you can do 7 hours a day… forget it. It’s just not going to happen. The fad diet approach to drumming is going to last 3 days or until you have a nervous breakdown and never want to see a drum kit again.
The ‘big hero’ practice routine has got to go. It doesn’t last and it doesn’t work.
The default setting for musician practice: Whenever someone finds him or herself with some spare time AND feels like practising. This usually happens once or twice a week and varies in time spent. There is no goal for the session because you’ve accidentally stumbled upon the spare time.
Then it’s all guns blazing, playing the best stuff you’ve got until you run out of ideas or motivation.
While I wouldn’t say this is a total waste of time (especially for the casual player). It certainly won’t get you to any high level. Never… EVER.
‘What gets measured gets managed.’ – Peter Drucker
A successful and results driven practice schedule needs to be many things including planned, managed, challenging and sustainable.
Plan – Know what you are going to work on.
Managed – Record yourself. Write down bpm markings. Make comments.
Challenge – Improve things you can already play. (Simple drumming at a high level).
– Work on weaknesses.
Sustainable – Stick to the practice routine and schedule. No excuses.
If you have literally just started or have been playing a while and are looking to improve, go for 1 minute of focussed practice a day. It sounds stupid. I really mean 1 minute. Whether you are the CEO of Coca Cola or a 6-year-old who would prefer to be in a sandpit, you have 1 minute spare EVERY day.
This is responsible, intelligent and ensures SUCCESS.
‘You did 1 whole minute 6 days a week for 2 weeks?’ ‘Yeah of course… that’s easy.’
‘Awesome. Let’s go for 2 minutes now.’
See what I mean? You have installed healthy habits. Build on successes, not failures. Short and focussed practice means drumming isn’t a chore and in fact you want to spend MORE time on the kit because you’ve noticed improvements.
Keep it really simple and really achievable.
See you on part 7!