A Plan fueled by Discipline will produce Growth and Confidence


10 years ago I released my first solo album, The Pilgrimage of Thingamuhjig. This album means a lot to me; and not just because some of my favorite musicians on the planet were kind enough to lend their talents to it. But, mostly, this album represents having a visions for something and completing it regardless of how much determination and discipline it would require.


This album took about a year to complete. Beginning with demoing the songs to recording all of the amazing musicians to working with the artist for the covers and finally mixing/mastering. There was a lot to juggle and it would’ve been very easy to just shelve it and move on to something less demanding. However, we know the ideas/goals that require more effort always produce more growth and keeping promises to oneself is the most effective way to build confidence.


However, to truly grow and build confidence requires a detailed plan. Just putting in time behind the kit isn't enough. Focusing on one objective will produce far more results than randomly working on whatever comes to mind. To help me focus, I’ve used the following method for years and every time it’s produced very fulfilling results; and I’m confident it will work for you as well. 

    1. Identify one song, fill, groove or concept you want to learn.
    2. Record yourself (preferably video) attempting to play it.
    3. Pick a deadline to have it accomplished  (Be realistic-don’t pick a date too far away that you lose interest but not too early that you get discouraged from potentially slow progress)
    4. Set daily and weekly mini goals to give you benchmarks of progress and reward yourself accordingly if the goal(s) are achieved.
    5. DON’T QUIT until you’re able to play it proficiently. 
    6. Finally, record yourself and compare to your initial video and be grateful for the growth.

Pretty simple, but it's the discipline to follow through that becomes the challenge. And this is where you will grow the most. Some say courage is the most important virtue because it elevates all others. However, I believe it be discipline. No good thing has ever been produced without the self-discipline of one or of many


And without discipline there can be no growth. And where there is no growth there is no life. The great thing is the more we can recognize and experience true growth the more confidence and courage will naturally develop. You have to challenge yourself if you want to change-if you want to become the best possible version of yourself. If not, the world will choose for you and that will not assist you in becoming your best. 



This song is called “Alpha Dog”  from my album The Pilgrimage of Thingamuhjig featuring the great Greg Howe on lead guitar Michael Elsner on all other guitars and Craig Martini on bass. My favorite aspect of this song is the open-handed approach for the verses. This allows us to access the entire kit unencumbered by crossing our hands. Stay tuned for a future lesson about getting started with open-handed playing. In the meantime, experiment with playing simple beats open-handed (ala AC/DC, most Top 40, etc.)

Watch "Alpha Dog" on YouTube here


So, how are you going to challenge yourself today so you can be better tomorrow? 

"I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions."
Stephen R. Covey 

Stay focused and practice with purpose!



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