If you are anything like me, there are times when you feel great about practicing, you are confident about your playing, and are excited to work on new and challenging aspects of your drumming, and then there are the times when you dread the idea of wood shedding, do not like the way you are playing, and are asking yourself “why bother?” Well, I dare say we are not alone, and with that, I recently found an article which touches on several ways to stay inspired. It was helpful to me and I hope it will be to you as well. As the article states, These tips will help you keep things fresh, keep moving forward and most of all to keep on drumming. Enjoy!
1) Play For You – First and foremost is to play for you. Play songs that you like and practice things that you really want to develop. You’ll stay consistent for years to come if you feel like you are in control of your playing and are doing what you know is right. If you want to explore a certain topic then follow your instincts and go for it.
2) Set Goals – Setting big picture goals and little practice goals is a great way to keep you excited about playing. Say you want to be a working professional in three years time with a brand new DW kit and a Mercedez van. What steps do you need to take in order to get there? How much practice will you do? Who do you need to build contacts with? How much will you need to save? Figure out what you can do each day, monitor your progress and keep that dream alive at all times.
3) Watch And Listen – Go to live gigs, listen to incredible music and musicians, check out drum clips on you tube. If you are always exposed to playing and players that blow you away then you can’t help but want to get better. Watching and listening is time well spent and will help to get the music inside of you.
4) Find A Mentor - Finding a drum teacher is one thing but finding a mentor can be life changing. If you are under the tutelage of someone you really want to emulate you will come on leaps and bounds. There success, drive and enthusiasm will rub off on you and you to will find yourself on an accelerated learning curve.
5) Competition - For some unknown reason, I’m not sure why, musicians tend to shy away from competition as if it’s a bad thing. But think about it. How do top athletes become so damn good year after year? It’s the competition pushing them to reach new heights of ability and performance. If you are surrounded by mediocre players there is nothing forcing you to improve but if you are surrounded by great players then your competitive streak will kick in and drive you to practice better and more often.
6) Have A Big ‘Why’ – If you have a big enough why, you can get yourself to do almost anything. Ask yourself, ‘Why do I play the drums?’ How does it make me feel? What will happen if I don’t practice? For some people it could mean the difference between happiness and depression, having to work a job or not, paying the bills or being skint. The bigger your list of why’s and the stronger your list of why’s the more motivated you will be.
7) Take A Break – When I ask all of my friends who are working musicians how they freshen up they always say to take a break. Just a little time off here and there to go for a run, read a book, play tennis or do something not related to the instrument. You’d be surprised how creative and disciplined you’ll be when you come back to it.