All decisions have consequences. The decisions we make have a profound impact on what we become as drummers. With the deluge of easily accessible drumming information/education available to us, it is becoming increasing difficult to stay focused and make any true progress–let alone enable us to become the best drummers we can be.
Wether, it’s a cool “lick of the week”, a vintage Tommy Aldridge or new Benny Greb solo, a release of a new method book or just cool concept that neighbor Rasmus from down the street showed you – you have to make a decision.
You have to ask yourself “how valuable is this new information for me to reach my personal drumming goals?” Not goals that you feel others expect of you, but what is truly fulfilling and inspiring for you to be able to play and sound like.
I know you may say “but, Jeff I want to be great at everything”. I completely understand. But the reality is no drummer is great at everything. One can be really good at everything – but great? No.
When I say great, I mean it has to have a significant contribution to the drumming community. Sure, Vinnie Colaiuta is probably the most versatile drummer ever. But just because he played on a Megadeth album does not mean he set the standard for amazing Metal Drumming. He has set the standard for many other things; but you’d be hard-pressed to find a hardcore metal fan cite his drumming as the best in that particular style.
Now, if you want to be really good at everything, you have to have a realistic expectation of what that is.
You can’t expect to play at the level of all of your favorite drummers. It has taken them a lifetime of discipline and focus to sound the way they sound. Essentially, it would take you 5 lifetimes to sound just like your 5 favorite drummers.
However, what you can be great at is the best version of you. This is where implementing some simple strategies will help you achieve this. It goes back to that earlier question, “how valuable is this new information for me to reach my personal drumming goals.”
Here is a simple strategy in how you can define “valuable”. Ask yourself these two questions:
(A) Will this idea make me feel fulfilled once I'm able to play it?
(B) Is there other ideas I would feel more fulfilled to be able to play?
If (B), forget (A).
If not (B), focus on (A)
This is an easy and effective filter for you to help manage and focus your practice time. It easily produces the priorities that already exist in your own drumming identity. By focusing on what is the most important, you can begin to maximize your practice time and accelerate the process of you becoming the best version of you.
Remember, the drummers we all admire and are inspired by had the vision and, more importantly, the confidence to trust that what they wanted to become would require the discipline to resist the temptation to [try to] sound like everyone else. And I’m very thankful they did.
“Be inspired so you may become.”
Be you. The world deserves it and you owe it to us!
Stay Focused and Practice with Purpose,