Disciplined vs. Loosey-Goosey
Here’s one person. Do you see part of yourself here?
If you are the type person that keeps your nose to the grindstone and have worked on that one or two things for a week, break it up! Make your practice session a practice in diversity. Find something else to do. I suggest working on not thinking. Seriously! Play some notes and just listen to the notes – do not think about how you are playing the notes, do not think about your grip or posture or anything. Be empty. Just LISTEN to those (let’s say) 3 notes.
Then add more notes but remember those first three notes and go back to visit them every once in a while during that one singular sit down. Be a snowflake and enjoy the fall to ground.
This is a beginning of “practice playing.”
Here’s another person. Perhaps this is a better description of you?
On the other hand, if you are great at not thinking…. Now please, I’m not joking here, really I’m not. I’m actually this guy more than the disciplined guy. Anyway, if you are great at not thinking and simply reacting, then you are all over the fun of spacing out on your kit and messing around. You get distracted easily. Sometimes you never play at all, you just move everything around in your setup. Or other times you end up completely de-tuning your snare and then messing around with heads and tuning to get it back to something as good as it was, or even better. You have the ability to get lost when listening to music. Perhaps you get too lost when playing music? This is where playing with other people will help you. Other musicians playing with you in a live setting are checkpoints for what is good and what is not.
This is all I’m going to say at this time about Practice playing. I think the concept has to be taken on in baby steps. In general, if you lean more towards the first person noted here, good for you. You keep your goals in mind. However, try to set a goal of being THERE, in the moment; On your drums but also when listening. Stop following physical technique when you listen to music. Try to feel the music more.
Or conversely, if you are the space cadet, pick a weakness and spend part of your playing time working on that particular weakness. It could be independence or hands or one particular beat or groove, but work on these obstacles in earnest. Take that groove and learn to play it really stupidly slow. With a click in your ear.
For both of these types of people, record yourselves and judge harshly when you listen. The next rehearsal time will give you an opportunity to better yourself again! Just mix it up people J Have fun and don’t ever hurt yourself. Pain is an alert, remember that.
We all need to feed our head (and hearts) with music. Don’t forget that. There have been times in my life that I have been so upset that I denied myself one of the things I love the most; Playing music and listening to music. Why? Who knows. One general concept of living well holds true, and that is do diverse things. Don’t obsess on any singular thing. Stay open to change and embrace change. I’m now talking to myself here as much as you.
Another re-drilling of an earlier thread from earlier blog:
“Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living.” -Kirke Mecham on his life as a composer
My father in-law was a sculptor and art teacher. He put it this way; “If you are in the arts for fame or money you will have a very disappointing life. If you are in the arts to save your own life, then you will have very fulfilling life.”
I want to add “Ten Gold Stars of approval” to this statement.
This coming Friday and Saturday I’ll be attending PASIC again. If you are there and see me, come up and say hello! It’s a good scene at these conventions. I get a big boost being around so many PLUs! (People Like Us) I performed at PASIC in 2001. Man, time flies… Is it just me? Sometimes I feel like the only instance that time doesn’t fly is when I’m playing and lucky enough to be lost inside of what I am playing. Or with a loved one. Same thing.
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I’m taking a break from the blog for a few weeks. I hope to return to writing in December. No promises, but I will get back sooner than later. If any of these blogs are any good (and I hope they are) you may wish to re-read some of them again. Or not. Just do something else! That’s what I’m doing by taking a break. Being contrary can lead to enlightenment, yes?