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L.A. Beat

Discipline helps drum in the lessons of life

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Seriously playing drums taught me many valuable concepts and lessons about life. The three most important are overcoming the fear of the new or unfamiliar, discipline and patience.

I wish I had listened to them more.

First drumming helped me in overcoming my fears of life's unknown or things I am not familiar with.
When you hear something involving drumming that you do not understand do not be afraid of it or even think you cannot master it.

Drumming teaches you to break things down part by part. Once you have examined the  individual parts you can then proceed to put them together in a total sum creating the end result. It may sound silly but this is what we are taught from early on in how to deal with life challenges.

For example when learning something new at a job or at school you are taught parts of the overall learning objective so you can understand the end result.
You learn and understand different parts of something with the final result being a mastering of the objective. This is how I was taught to learn the drums and it has translated to several things in life ever since.

Lets look at algebra as an example of this. First you have to learn what all of the different symbols mean. You basically have to learn the parts of algebra. If you take the time to learn the rules and definitions of the symbols and terms then the overall concept of algebra become simple.

The same goes for your drumming. Say you are learning to play jazz. There are many styles of music in the Jazz genre such as bossa nova, Latin, swing, be-bop and so on. Each style has its own concepts. It involves placing beats together, dotted eights, playing the Clave', different tempos, etc. By breaking each of these styles down and mastering their basics you can then effectively play jazz as a genre. In other words learn the  rules and concepts or the parts that are the make up of these beats and then it is easy to get better at them.
Once you understand the rules or parts the beats become easy with a little practice. As we all know knowledge of something alleviates fear of the unknown.

The next thing drumming taught me was to be disciplined in decisions I make in life. Learning to play the drums requires a personal discipline. You must adhere to a practice routine. You must be serious and have a plan as to how to advance and get better. This is very useful in life's pursuits. Sometimes I believe drummers look at the drums as just a part of  their life. They view the drums as something that is unique to itself and must be approached that way. Many lose the sight that if you think of drumming as an added discipline in your life then it becomes very easy. Approach life and drums with discipline and success and advancement will be the end result without struggle.

I think we all can agree making disciplined decisions regarding life makes living much easier. For example discipline comes in handy when buying a house. You would not buy a house without looking at it, inspecting it, researching the affordability and so on. It requires discipline so you will not end up with a bad house that does not fit your needs. It is very easy to see the parallel here.

The most important thing I learned from drumming is of course patience. It would be hard to dispute that the most important skill to learn in life is patience. Sometimes it seems these days that everyone is looking for instance gratification in life's pursuits. For the most part in life the most successful accomplishments are a result of doing something slowly and methodically. When approaching something new it is easy to get frustrated due to your lack of knowledge concerning a particular  task. As you remain patient and keep doing the task it becomes easier and you become better at it.

This is an easily parallel to drumming. Certainly when learning to play the drums it is anything but instant gratification. It takes many years to learn to play. You encounter many obstacles and frustrations along the way. Many people give up learning to play because it is a slow process to become a good drummer. Drumming teaches you to be patient with your progress. Everyday is a challenge which teaches you to be very patient. It is not very long before you see progress and learn the value of patience.

There are of course many values and lessons to learn from your drums. The concept of this article is to show a few examples. The  idea is that drums or any musical instrument that you learn to play involves many of life's most important values. Learn to play the drums and you will be presented with many of the same things you will have to learn to be successful in your life  pursuits. Call me crazy but the drums will help you with the challenges of life if you let them.

— By Stanley Jackson, Special To L.A. Beat
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