Less practice, but better practice?

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
This is more like a diary entry really, but folk may be interested. I'm a 48 year old born again drummer (ie, I played years ago and took it up again 18 months ago). I recently moved city to be with my fiance and her (now our) boy and have gone from a lifestyle where I was largely alone during the week with all the time in the world (like 1 - 5 hours a day) to practice drums to one where I'm now in a family situation and can't practice quite as much.

I'm noticing two things so far:

I'm actually getting more time on my acoustic kit. At the old place there were neighbours in the house both sides all day so I voluntarily kept my a-kit drumming down to about 1 hour a day. In my new place the neighbours are either out all day or OK with me doing 2 hours a day (I've spoken to them). The big bonus of this is that I'm really noticing that more time, doing rudiments, plus grooves on the a-kit is more like 'deliberate' practice and translating into better band playing already; it's like if you are practising to play on a drum kit then it's best to practice on a drum kit. I'm almost thinking of getting rid of the e-kit as a result.

Having said that, owing to the new family situation, getting the boy to school in the morning, spending evenings together, I'm now playing on my knees a lot more in idle moments. And having said what I said above about deliberate practicing I do feel it's really helping me with stickings, like I've been, for eg, doing 7 stroke rolls all week on my legs and really building up speeds.

So, all in all, in a situation where my time on a kit (a or e) has maybe nearly halved, I don't feel like I'm losing out at all, and am possibly gaining from better quality practice.
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
As you are discovering, more practice does not always mean better practice.

In my opinion, practice time (especially when at a premium) needs to be well thought out and deliberate.

I get about 1.5 hours per session about 4 times per week. I despise and won't work on pads or ekits, but that's just my preference. Nothing wrong with people who do - just not my bag - though I've tried. So my routine needs to be and is specific and focused. No down time deliberating on what to work on next.

Knowing what the areas are in need of practice also helps to improve. It's easy to get trapped into practicing the things we are good at to the point where we're not really improving, but having a ball doing them.

It's also important to extract as much from any one exercise as possible. For example, practicing any exercise without a focus on time, feel, and the hows of execution is a wasted effort. All needs to fall together until it's comfortable to execute on all levels. Without doing so in my opinion is rushing through something in order to feel like we're improving by moving on.

So yes, less practice can indeed amount to better practice.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think a lot has to do with attitude. You have a good attitude and I believe will make the best out of any situation. You are a positive force. Not everyone is a positive force. It sounds to me like you have the makings of a very satisfying home life. I always like to hear how things improve for someone.
 
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PDPx7Drummer

Guest
Pretty much goes with the saying: "Everything in moderation" or "Less is more". Take weight lifting and exercise for example. They say a half an hour to an hour a day, working different muscle groups each day, is better than 4 and 5 hours pushing one or all muscle groups to their breaking point in one session. Your brain is a muscle, playing a rudiment intensely for an hour or so and going back to it a day later is better than sitting at your kit and playing the same thing for 4 or 5 hours at a time. It sort of teases your brain and makes you think about the motions and the exercise that you just did while you are away from the kit. When you do something you enjoy for a very short period of time and then take time away from it, it creates a huge urge to get back to that activity. When you finally do a day or so later, your mind explodes with a sigh of relief and after thinking about it for so long it just comes back naturally and better than before.

What you described Liebe is exactly what I seen out of myself during high school over the course of a year when I first started playing. I too had neighbors, only had an hour or so to mess around on the kit every day or other day after school and would be surprised at how much more comfortable I was behind the kit and how things started to come together for me.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
I think a lot has to do with attitude. You have a good attitude and I believe will make the best out of any situation. You are a positive force. Not everyone is a positive force. It sounds to me like you have the makings of a very satisfying home life. I always like to hear how things improve for someone.
Aw, thanks Larry. I appreciate that. I guess it takes one to recognise one
 

KBadd

Silver Member
I have been absent from the forum a bit....................work you know.

It's all about perspective. We all work a "real job" (most anyway)..... and practice, to me, is a LUXURY in any amount of time! Enjoy the practice time all the time. Have fun....relax and just groove or POUND or whatev, like I do. Rock on.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
After a while, practice is useless unless it's inspired. You can move your hands and then the next day do the same thing and in 50 years you''ll be a guy who plays exercises really well.
 

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
And another update to my OP. Well, it turns out I'm actually getting more practice. Now I'm in one place most of the time and it's where my kit is, so getting some practice on my kit in at weekends that I wasn't before. The neighbours are fine with daytime practice and in the evening I'm practicing quiet stuff on the a-kit or using the ekit. And being a dad now has made me more focused. If I have spare time not looking after the boy I don't waste it watching TV, like tonight when my other half is working I was down in the cellar playing ride along to some jazz and practising brushes.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
To me the best practice is going out and playing. You can practice fills and beats all day long, but in order to develop a groove and use those fills is by playing in a band. I'm 43 and have been playing since I was 8 or 10. I was playing out 3 to five times a week in my late teens and early 20's. By playing music with other musicians is how you really develop good timing, and how things fit into the music you are plying. I got married had kids and did not play for 6 years, I started practicing again to develop my facility and took some lessons to get a technique tune up. I finally got back into a band went to go play. My timing and feel felt awful to me. I spent all of my time practicing grooves and fills and getting my chops back. Once I got some more time and some gigs everything started to feel good again. There is nothing wrong at all with working on fast feet great fills grooves, and chop's I sure do. I don't think I have ever used much of them, I would rather have an engine that puts out 500hp and only use 150hp. If you get the moment to pull something out while playing a tune, you have the confidence to do it. you can only get so far by playing in your basement. I still play almost every weekend. and practice about an hour a night. When I do practice I work on things I can't play. The great thing about drums is you play simply for your own enjoyment and never play in a band. Drumming and music is a life's work, enjoy it no matter what level you are at. BE ENCOURAGED NOT DISCOURAGED.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Regarding OP's practice time. Glad you can find it still. The introduction of kids into one's life is a fast track to becoming very time-efficient in the way you do all things, including drumming. It appears your new child is pretty young.....it gets even busier!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I still "practice/rehearse" about 8-10 hours a week at the kit. Problem is that it's only split between two nights a week. This is not ideal for me... I definitely notice when I skip days. Even if I attempt to "keep up my chops" on the pad, I'm still not happy with my kit playing totally unless I've been able to practice some each day. I'd rather do a few hours each day, but it's just not in my schedule at the moment.

Anyhoo, I think there's something to be said for spending time with your instrument every single day.
 
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