No One Said Drumming Is Easy!

A bad day playing the drums is better than not playing the drums at all.

But I have good days and I have bad days. Don’t we all?

I find, sometimes, as I improve my skills in some areas, that I slip up in areas that I have already covered. I find this to be true when I play along with my set list. What was once easy-ish to play last time became more difficult this time.

What’s this all about?  Here I am practicing and working through some very challenging exercises and patterns in Marco Minneman’s Extreme Drumming, Gary Chester’s New Breed II, and Ted Reed’s Syncopation books, seemingly improving on a daily basis. But when I put the books down and start playing music that I am seemingly very familiar with, it all falls to pieces.

Granted, this typically manifests itself on more complicated pieces that are probably beyond my current skill level. But I do work through them and get to a point where I am somewhat satisfied with my ability and performance.

It’s when I come back to these pieces after not playing them for while (and only after improving and learning new ideas and figures) where I either blow myself away by nailing it even better than before or by completely messing it up. AGAIN – WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?

Is this normal? Do we sometimes retrograde before we can advance? What happens to the human brain and body when you train it?  Does it get worse before it gets better? When I play along with my set list, I have good days and I have bad days. I guess we all do.

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2 Responses to No One Said Drumming Is Easy!

  1. Yes, this *is* normal.
    Yes, I can’t/won’t speak for anyone but myself. However, I do retrograde from time to time in my drumming infuriatingly while practicing a ton. On a great number of occasions I find myself practicing for hour after hour, with focus and realizing considerable progress, only to come back shortly thereafter and to newly found skill shockingly subpar! In my life, I’ve found this to be the beginning stages of practice, and that this exact happening tends quickly to abate when dedicated.
    With training it becomes trained. It’s gets better all the time.
    Playing with a full 3 minute song is a tall order for anybody, myself included without focus, familiarity and repetition. I invite you to realize the breadth of your drumming career to-date. Thinking on countless hours you’ve invested in your current drumming ability, resulting in your present skill,you might remember back to a time you couldn’t hold a solid groove for more than a few bars. Scary enough, you might not even be grooving at all if you go back far enough!

    What I’m struggling to get across here is that playing in rapid succession a dozen or more full songs is a tall order. It requires tremendous discipline, skill, and determination & so much more… Without being absolutely committed to the endeavor, it is quite normal to have many “bad” days. Even when fully immersed I have bad days. In fact, I’m almost never happy with my playing. But that’s just me.

    Keep up the great work and the inspiring blog!

    • Peter says:

      Thanks for the note, Cam. This is very reassuring. I can’t wait for the day to come when I can look back on this year and marvel at how far I’ve come and much I’ve progressed.
      Looking back at 2014, I am amazed at everything that I learned just in the past 12 months. I think 2015 will kick the proverbial ass.

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