Practice, practice, practice


Welcome to Column Number 4 and we have finally reached 10 hours of sunlight a day. For this column I believe it is valuable to touch on the importance of a practice routine. We will explore practicing in all of its glory. Practicing is what sets players apart. Every good player for the most part has dedicated themselves at least a couple of times in their lives to woodshedding. Woodshedding is an intensive learning regime designed to become profusely proficient at your instrument. Each person’s practice routine is different but for the most part you should include the following:
• 2 hours a day on stick control and rudiments. This exercise is basically a chop builder. Once you have chops, then it becomes a chop maintainer.
• Take you five favorite rudiments. Start your practice by playing these five rudiments of your choice for 10 minutes each. In between each rudiment take a two minute break.
• For the last hour of practice many combinations of paradiddles with different accents. Try paradiddle diddle's as well. Make sure and try all of them with double strokes as well.
• Develop a routine that allows for you to practice and break up the monotony.
• For the next two hours get on your set and practice your lesson for the week. Now obviously having a great teacher and homework  from your lessons is ideal. If you cannot afford a teacher or there is not a competent teacher near by, there is the internet, the library and the local music store to seek out material and things that you can form your own lessons from. The key here is to not get on the set and just play a bunch of beats and mess around without a cohesive plan for getting better.
For the last two hours play to as many recordings as you can. Play to as many styles of music you can. As painful as it might be, make sure to stay current on all radio music. This keeps you well rounded. It helps your timing and keeps your chops alive.
Once you are done with all of this practice you can go to rehearsal for the evening.

Practice long, practice efficiently and most importantly have fun with it. If it is not fun, most people woodshed for about a week and quit. Dedicate yourself to woodshedding for two years and you will gain a lifetime of proficiency on the drums.  If it becomes boring take a day or two off but remember, not to give you a guilt trip, but, it does not matter how hard you work or practice, someone, somewhere out there is doing it more than you are.
Another important note is intensive practice rarely yields instant gratification. In fact I have found it is best to subscribe what I like to call the "Three Month Theory". When you start to practice something new, if you practice it diligently it will be three months until you notice it in your playing and utilize it without thinking about it while performing. So relax, and have some patience with your development.
Concept in drumming #4— drummer as a point guard
The conceptual drumming thought for this column centers around the thought that being a drummer is the same as being a point guard
on a basketball team. Rarely are drummers the so-called stars of a band. Drummers are support players but believe me without this support the band would fall apart. It is the same for a point guard on a basketball team. Point guards lead the team. Good teams always have a good point guard. Good bands always have a good drummer.
They point guard provides the feel and flow of the game by pacing the team. They distribute the ball to the players when they are ready and are in best position to execute their given skills. It is the same as drumming. You provide the foundation and control for the band to perform at its best. By providing solid beats and playing for the music or the overall sound of the band you are doing the same thing as a point guard. You are leading a group of individuals by providing solid support leading to the maximum execution of the unit at its specified task. Next time you have a chance watch a basketball game with this in mind. Its no wonder so many musicians want to be athletes and athletes want to be musicians. The two tend to be very similar.
Lesson #4— Don’t be a dick
The lesson for this column is very very simple. It does not concern beats, notes, metronomes or any execution of music. It is the best lesson of all especially if you want to actually play gigs. Don't be an dick. Get your ego, your attitude and professionalism in check. If you are likable, responsible, passionate and agreeable it will enable you to obtain gigs. I believe if you are the weakest player in a band situation that the other players will extend you some slack until you catch up with them.
This in turn enables you to play with players that are better which helps and advances not only your playing but your career. Sooooo, don't be a dick.

Have a great day,
Stanley Jackson

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