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Where I'm at with it all...

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  • Where I'm at with it all...

    Hey folks. Not sure what I need from you, maybe just to listen, i dunno.

    I've had my kit for a couple years now. I've tried time and again to stay on a regular practice scedule but I always fall off after a few days. I've tried paradiddles, Stick Control and the like, but never stick with it. Basically for the last couple years I have practiced on the kit, just trying to play a couple songs I like for a few times a week, like maybe 15 or 20 min. a shot. I really havn't gotten very far in my drumming.

    I have no fills to speak of. I can't keep decent time. I cannot play ANY song all the way through perfectly, or even decently for that matter. If you asked me to sit down and play something, I'd be completely lost. In short, I SUCK. I really really do. I've heard and seen several peoples' playing after just a few months that completely blow me away.

    I absolutely love drumming, and I have a great passion to learn. Some of the problem is my job involves heavy strain on my hands/wrists/arms and when I get home I am pretty much spent in that area. A big problem.

    I tried a couple local instructors and lets just say it was money well wasted. There seems to be no one around here that is worth a damn. I can do myself what they are telling me... in fact the only thing I can get from the instructors that are available around here, I already know... and that's PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. I don't need to pay someone $100 a month or more to tell me that.

    So lately, I've been doing pretty good. I got the RMP-5 and am going through George L. Stone's "Stick Control" and I've been keeping it up nicely. Small steps, mind you. 20 min. a day 5 days a week, with the occasional "set" practice thrown in. I'm seeing improvements, but still when I sit down at the kit to try a play a song, man I really suck.

    Sorry this is turning into a novel so I'll cut it off now. Not sure what I'm asking if anything. Basically, thanks for listening and yes, I will keep up what I'm doing and be gratefull for any suggestions or comments you may have.
    Last edited by Greenbutmean; 08-29-08, 06:35 PM.

  • #2

    Hang in there. If you enjoy it, that's all that really matters. So what if you are not the next "___________"(insert your favorite drummer's name), most of aren't going to be either.

    a couple lines from Harry Chapin's "Mr. Tanner"...

    "Music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
    It made him feel so happy, and it made him feel so good,
    And he sang from his heart, and he sang from his soul,
    And he did not know how well he sang, it just made him whole."

    There's something magical about making music, there's a Zen like aspect to practicing something...

    Anyway, I hope this helps a little bit....

    TD-12/Gibraltar rack/Pintech Concertcast drums 12" snare, 1 12" tom, 2 10" toms, 8" mesh kick, Visulite cymbals, 14" dual zone crash, 13" hi-hat, 18" 3 zone ride and 2 Dingbats, Roland PM-10, iPod, Zildjian anti-vibe sticks, Roc-N-Soc throne with backrest, Yamaha snare stand, Tama Iron Cobra pedal and HH75W hi-hat stand, Sennheiser HDR 110 wireless headphones. V-expressions 80's and 90's Giggin' Kits and Both Top 50 drummers (hopefully functional soon)


    • #3
      Hey Greenbut(notso)mean,

      I hear what you're saying and I empathise. I suggest that you split your practice time into 2 parts each day:

      1/ George Stone (or a formal discipline like that)

      2/ Enjoy yourself - jam on the kit and just play what you feel like, play little patterns and chase yourself around the kit....back and forth....fills down / fills up / bits of beats / bits of songs riffs you like / don't compete with anything and just drum for the sake of it

      Keep at it m8 - it's a gradual process and we (drummers) are our own worst critics as far as time and focusing on minute errors that others may not even hear.

      As an incentive - my mum took up the piano at age 87 and her teacher gave her a really good tip - if you make a mistake just keep on playing through - chances are no-one else will notice it then and by stopping and going back to the beginning you are re-inforcing the mistake. She's now completed grade 1 of piano after 18 months so there is hope for youngsters like you (and me.....)


      • #4
        patience, and as you say, you have a passion for it, so just enjoy the practice, and playing around on the kit...'success' will come in its own time, the important part is the above mentioned 'zen' like communing with the musical, creative part of your soul...and your self expression...how good the final 'product' is, is less important, the process is the important part, the moment of movement, the act of creating.

        so, small steps. small victories.

        I have been drumming for 4 years and am still crap, but i enjoy myself and find it a good and theraputic outlet.

        keep on keeping on!
        TD9+6v with Diamond Electronic pads, and cowbell.
        ATH-50m headphones, VEX packs
        not to mention keyboards, guitars, basses, and cats


        • #5
          "I absolutely love drumming..."
          That about sums it up. I only play maybe 3-4 times a week for half hour or so. I usually play without any backings tracks etc. I play for me. Last time I played was night before last and I ripped it up! I still feel good about it two days later. I'm not very good but I get a sense of pleasure, accomplishment and stress relief when I like what I hear. Granted some times I sit down and after 20 minutes I put down the sticks because I get frustrated.
          Don't push your self and don't set expectations. Let it come and it will.
          TD9 Frankenkit


          • #6
            I get really jealous of these guys with natural talent because drumming does not come easy to me. It took me a year to develop the coordination needed to play a proper bossa nova. I cannot play fast and all new techniques are a struggle.

            But it does fall into place. Every once in awhile magic happens and I start grooving. All the struggle was worth it.

            It will come. Just have fun. Turn up the music loud and play a simple beat till you get a smile on your face.


            • #7
              The key for me is small, consistent steps. If you can only do it for ten or 20 minutes a day, then do that. If you hear a song you'd like to learn, work on that. Consistency is more important than quantity or quality.

              I've been 'drumming,' and I use the term very loosely, for a long time and I still can't do a Rush song. So what? There are guys on youboob who constantly amaze me with their technical prowess and which I can't duplicate. Right now anyways. So what? Since I've been poking around on this forum I've learned tons (even stuff like which threads to avoid ) but it's been a little at a time.

              Things that refresh my motivation are simple. Like I just took the plunge and got a couple of Vex packs for my TD10. The sounds are so much better they are helping to re-energize my desire to improve. I got my first almost-blister (for some reason I've never gotten blisters before) the other night at band practice. I was having so much fun I was really moving around. 'Course, I probably didn't drum any better, I just enjoyed myself.

              Just take small consistent steps and look for simple things to keep it fresh for you.



              • #8
                Look at it this way: It's a hobby, not your job. It's an avocation not your vocation. You're having fun, so have fun! Repeat this:

                My avocation is a vacation from my vocation.

                There's no need for pressure. You want to get better. All forward-looking humans do. We move forward bit by bit, some days good, some not, but it's progress. Repeat this:

                I'm not what I'd like to be, I'm not what I hope to be, but thankfully I'm not what I was.

                I'll leave you with a quote from Robert Fripp which I have pasted on my office door and which has served me well in a variety of circumstances (drumming, running, life-in-general):

                "Begin with the possible and move gradually towards the impossible."


                • #9
                  What he said.

                  Say that ten times fast.
                  Originally posted by JimFiore
                  My avocation is a vacation from my vocation.

                  Shalom (peace)


                  • #10
                    Thanks so much everybody for taking to time to respond. All great advice that I'll take to heart.

                    I feel better.

                    You guys rock.


                    • #11
                      I play for 7 years. I don't really practice, I try to sometimes, but not too serious. I play a lot with music. There is improvment but its coming slow. I don't play fast and doing crazy rolls but with all that I did develop great feel and dynamics which are more important too me. I even got into a band which really appreciate me.
                      Enjoy your playing. enjoy your drums.

                      Good luck.



                      • #12
                        Enjoyment is the key to many things in life. For me, doing something well is a key to enjoyment too.

                        The problem is that I just expect to be able to do something well straight off the bat - then I find out I can't - then I get frustrated - then I'm not happy. So, rather than believe that I'll be able to jam along with my favourite tune - and end up frustrated - I set my sights on something more achieveable but still challenging. Eventually you will find you can groove along with your favourite tune but it didn't come about by flailing away at that tune endlessly - it came about slowly by starting slow on something else.

                        I've recently found great enjoyment in attempting to drum very different styles to the stuff I'm vaguely OK with - my enjoyment is coming from the challenge rather than the conquest.

                        A motto I've recently adopted for my drum practice time: Dream Big, Start Slow, Build Deep.

                        'I only ever quote myself - except when I quote someone else' - me

                        , plenty of , and , , triggered acoustics, , and a plethora of PA blah blah freakin blah...I mean does anyone care about the specifics of pedals, speakers, processors, hardware or anything that I'm using?? :confused: Hmmm, maybe this is an appropriate place to mention that I tried out a new cymbal stand the other day...


                        • #13
                          Progress comes slowly and needs hard work

                          One way to look at a learning proces is to devide it into 4 stages.

                          Stage 1 You are UNABLE to play and UNAWARE of that fact that you can't
                          Stage 2 You are AWARE of the fact that you are UNABLE to play
                          Stage 3 You are AWARE of the fact that you are ABLE to play
                          Stage 4 You are ABLE to play but UNAWARE that you do

                          Congratulations! You have reached stage 2, that is progress in itself. It is good that you start realizing that there is something wrong with your playing. You need to be critical to yourselve in order to move up one more stage.

                          You need to develop your ABILITY in multiple dimensions:

                          1) Technique (How to hold the sticks and how to hit the drums?)
                          2) Timekeeping (Can I keep time?)
                          3) Dynamics (Loud verses soft playing and everything in between)
                          4) Vocabulary (What notes, what patterns can I play?)
                          5) Feel (Do I play 'behind the beat', 'on the beat' or 'ahead of the beat'?)
                          6) Musicality (ultimate goal is to be musical)

                          We seldom develop each of these dimensions equally, maybe that is not even possible. At a certain moment the gap between your development between the dimensions becomes to big. Your timekeeping is great but you lack feel. Your vocabulary is fantastic but you forget that you are making music. You can play great fills but you speed up. In one word, we are stuck! A lot of drummers spend a lot of practise time on fills and licks but it does not sound right. Sounds familiar to you? Try to find your week dimension(s), work on those first before further developing your strong dimensions.

                          I think you are on the right track!

                          And Finally, my 10 commandments of drumming, to improve AWARENESS. I have them above my bed and I am not joking! I try to think about 1 everyday, because the mind needs to remember these.

                          1. Do not overplay!
                          2. Relax at all times!
                          3. Don’t rush!
                          4. 'Speak' rather than 'shout'!
                          5. Be a musician, not an acrobatt!
                          6. Listen!! (To music and musicians)
                          7. Always practise with a metronome!
                          8. Warm up before playing!
                          9. Do not think, play!
                          10. Practise what you can not play!
                          Last edited by cschriks; 08-30-08, 06:48 PM.


                          • #14
                            Why don't you try Mike Johnston's online lessons for $20 a month? He has beginner lessons once a week and you'd also have access to the intermediate and advanced ones.




                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pasta View Post
                              Why don't you try Mike Johnston's online lessons for $20 a month? He has beginner lessons once a week and you'd also have access to the intermediate and advanced ones.


                              VERY interesting. I will check this out. And cschriks and everyone else who replied, thanks very much. So great to have a place to get help from people who know and who genuinely care.