The 20-Minute Practice Routine

Last week we looked at getting in tune with our goals. This week, we get specific. This is a quick and easy 20-minute practice routine generator - just fill in with your own material, go forth and shred.

"Why bother?" you may ask. 

The answer is: drums are too much fun to play. What do you do when you sit behind the kit? Practice rudiments and time exercises? Most people don't. More likely you play some beats, some fills, maybe throw on some music and play along. You know, have fun playing music. I do it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. You might even say it's the entire point of what we're doing here.

However-

If you're looking to improve your playing, that's not the most direct route. Bad habits can creep in. You're probably going to stay in some kind of comfort zone and not get around to fixing the stuff that's holding you back. Most of us will spend way more time on the stuff that's easy for us (you can do it well and get to feel good about it) and skip past our weaker areas (annoying, frustrating, confusing, no fun).

So maybe today you have a half hour, you haven't gotten to play for a while so you just mess around for a while. Tomorrow you'll practice that stuff. Tomorrow comes and goes, the day just kinda got away from you. The day after that you meant to play but there are people around and your drums are too loud. Next thing you know it's a week later........ repeat.

It's kinda like exercising. Throwing a basketball around once a week is better than getting zero activity. It's fun and good for you. Just - you're not likely to build all of the necessary skills to play on a team that way, let alone a competitive league. If you want to dominate the court (or the kit), you'll have to work smarter and harder. We're going to start with smarter.

This is your secret weapon. Your personal trainer. This will force you to get organized and address all of the aspects of your playing, while making the most efficient use of your time. Because it's not even about how much time you put in. You can play every day for your entire life and never make it out of the basement. It's all about how you spend your time. With focus and commitment, you can do great things. This will get you started.

Click here to download.

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Ryan Brown
Tracking Your Progress

Did you get better at anything this week?

How close are you to where you want to be?

What's your goal as a musician? Is it to impress your friends? Play a particular piece of music for your own satisfaction? Be good enough to play in a band? (The bar for that last one is probably lower thank you think, but THANK YOU on behalf of myself and all of your audiences for taking it seriously.)

It's easy to lose focus and motivation - not only is the world full of distractions, it's full of better drummers than you. And they're all just a click away.

But! Here's the trick - there's only one you. If you look a little closer, you'll see that anyone who's achieved at a high level has specialized in something. No one can do it all. Dave Grohl can't play like Elvin Jones, who played nothing like Travis Barker, who sounds totally different from Questlove, who's great, but can't solo like John Bonham....... etc etc etc. All giants. All totally different. (All men. I know.)

So the truly important question, over and over again is.... what are you after? Are you on track to get there? You can take inspiration from other musicians, but you're never going to become them, and you don't want to anyway. You're on your own trip.

It is with this in mind that I've devised a simple sheet to track your own progress. Because music is an art form, and art is creative and subjective, there's no simple set of rules or guidelines to becoming a certified drummer. You need to come up with them yourself. (It's not about "are we there yet." All achievement is temporary. As soon as it's done, it's just a memory. Then you have to find something else to do. Check out Hired Gun on Netflix if you don't believe me.) It can be easy to compare yourself to others, or jump from thing to thing and a month later, feel like you've just been spinning your wheels. A simple system with a tiny bit of accountability will help you stay on track.

Click here to download the sheet (or just take a look and make your own). Happy trails.

Ryan Brown
CKDU

Shoutout to CKDU. Great station. Been listening all day. Tuned in for news and let it roll. Quality programming. Friends, in-depth reporting and cool music. I thought I was going to shut off the Celtic show but I'm hooked.

TBH I haven't listened in a while. I kinda forgot I could. Was away, not really listening to radio, got a kitchen radio used primarily for CBC and aux jack (also The Wave). Recently "discovered" I could tune it in. Favourite thing of the moment. Check it out!

https://ckdu.ca/

88.1 fm

 

Ryan Brown