Music lover at war with the student ...

okiemuse

Junior Member
Been noticing that my nightly drum practice sessions don't end; they melt down. The part of me sitting in front of the kit is the (duh) student with some guidance on how to Get Better. Problem is the uninvited guest. Unfortunately also inside the student's noggin. The guest is a music lover who's enjoyed great songs for years. He's heard crap on the car radio, and promptly nuked it by changing the station. Find a good one instead. Don't like the sample tracks on that iTunes CD? Abandon it; buy something better. My practice starts well. The guest is quiet. If I get tired of the boom chick I've been told I must master, I mix it up with other little moves designed to address some problem. Or change from 4/4 to 3/4. Maybe go nuts and get out the polyrhythm metronome and give that a go.

Within 15 minutes, the music lover has steam coming out of his ears. He really does not like this station. He's itching to leave the musician behind. He tells me it's crap, and why the hell aren't I getting better? OK many have voices in our heads that just cause trouble. Like all the other folks with an inner trash-mouth, I'd love to just unplug the guy. Disconnect his power chord. Tell him "Please get out and go listen to something else." But he won't leave. I know this isn't a proper technique question, but he is interfering with my work on technique, so this request for advice is legit, right? Any of you had to stifle the part of you who enjoys good music, because in this context, he/she is just a colossal dead weight?
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I'm missing the love in your music lover-- he sounds more like a music consumer, or worse, judger-- a critic. And a pretty detrimental individual when you're trying to learn to do something, or to do it at all once you know how. I've known genius players crippled for years by that instinct, so it's possible that you may never be able to satisfy this so-called lover with his current attitude.

What you could do:
-- Stop being such a slave to your tastes. Stop instantly filing music in the "good" or "crap" bin. Make an effort to like more things.
-- Find, and learn to like things that sound like you could play them at your current stage of development.
-- Stop flipping around the media for things you like. Listen to actual albums-- real CDs. Try buying one record a week-- hopefully stuff well outside of your normal tastes-- and listen to the whole thing as many times as you need to for it to start to grow on you.

Hopefully more open mindedness in your general listening will extend to your own playing, and you will start hearing your playing as good music.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You answered your own quandary. Unplug the guy. Name him. Then banish him. He's your enemy, for real. You should despise this guy and kick him to the curb, he will do you no good for you whatsoever. Anytime you allow him in, you are hamstringing yourself. Why do you want to do that? You need to look into that. I applaud your self awareness, really I do. Learn how recognize when you yourself are creating self manufactured mental obstacles. Look into why you are doing it in the first place. Understanding why you do something goes a long way towards recognizing and solving self manufactured problems.

I solve electrical problems for a living. One thing I learned, once you can properly identify a problem, the solution makes itself apparent. You've identified your problem. The next step is to stop those thoughts. How do you do that? Anyway you can, after all it's all in your imagination! You could use opposites. Like if you can't stop his chatter, and he won't go away, then try controlling his chatter. Like whatever he is saying, after he says it, make him say the exact opposite. Just fake it till you make it. You have ultimate control over what this guys says. You just need to develop that "muscle"

Another point...practicing music and enjoying music are kind of mutually exclusive activities, would you agree? I mean they are related due to the fact that you wouldn't practice music if you didn't love to be able to play music. But that's where it ends. It's kind of like saying I don't want to run these football patterns, I want to sit back and watch the game. I mean one is kind of like focused effort and the other is pure pleasure.

Now playing the music while enjoying the music, hey that's the goal. But practice to me is a whole different animal than performing music. I see practice is serious self improvement work, where playing is a stone gas dog!

With all due respect, because I don't know you at all, and I don't mean to offend or accuse, but could it be a bad work ethic? Like the stuff you "have" to do is humdrum and you'd rather enjoy music instead of having to work at it? Like I said I don't mean to offend but I can't help but ask. Just probing for possible reasons. You seem like a pretty self aware guy that just needs a few guidelines to follow.

Like the first rule of drumming, according to me anyway, is all drumming problems start in the head. People standing in their own way, for whatever reason. You fit in that category to a "T" You could be a poster child for drumming problems that start in the head from that post. You gotta eliminate the negative factors. They're toxic. And you're not the only one who gets them, we all have to beat up that guy to get anywhere. F him. He's stealing from you and robbing you and fondling your little girl.

Meditation could help too. You have to clear the chatter in your head. Only then can you really be at peace. When I practice, it takes me a half hour before the chatter in my head quiets down. After that..... practice is amazing.
 
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MaryO

Platinum Member
Mix it up a little. Don't make every time you sit behind the kit all about practice. For me, I use the practice, especially things like rudiments that can become monotonous, as my warmup. After 30 minutes or an hour of working on those things I need to do to improve then it's onto playing for the fun and love of it. It actually works well because then I find myself playing better because I'm looser and warmed up and some of those things I've been practicing start creeping into the fun stuff. It's like practice then application....

If you approach the kit every night as just practice though, I can see where it could become frustrating. Allow yourself a day or two every now and then to say heck with practice...just approach the kit with having the goal of having nothing but fun, it's okay, your allowed :)

Happy Drumming!
 

Brian

Gold Member
Freddie Gruber once said "don't get ahead of yourself, be where you are at". "where are you, if you are not where you are at?"

My opinion is listen to what you want and play what you want, because that is the fun. however if someone glosses over the basic fundamental stuff too much, it's hard to get satisfying improvement and results. Too much fun diminishes goal-oriented and structured practice. Balance, I suppose.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iomrYZ_AAXc
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Another nice saying with a related message to the Gruber quote, "Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are".
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
My opinion is listen to what you want and play what you want, because that is the fun. however if someone glosses over the basic fundamental stuff too much, it's hard to get satisfying improvement and results ... Balance, I suppose.
This is my opinion as well. Tell the dude to take a time out while you get a handle on some essentials, but you banish him and you'll lose what makes you tick. Make him fearful of expressing himself and you'll merely train him to withdraw and you'll become a robot. If you have the artistic spark, do nothing to inhibit it. Work with it. Feed it. Make concessions to it. Learn other instruments and learn to write in the styles that move you and where your drumming will always fit.

Your technique needs to only be good enough for you to express your art. But it still needs to be good if you also want to sound like you know what you're doing.

Balance indeed.
 

okiemuse

Junior Member
I didn't expect you folks to put that much consideration into your replies. All the viewpoints gave me a fresh way to look at this. Seeing what I've received by simply asking the question, it reminds me of an earlier time in life when I had to "get over" one of the stereotypes I'd absorbed about being male in this world. I had bought into all that rugged macho individualist baloney so much that I was charging at every problem -- no matter how serious -- determined to overcome hardships completely alone.

So this reminds me of what I finally figured out back then: I needed to maintain enough good judgment to recognize when I had done what I reasonably could, but I didn't have enough pieces and was staying confused, so pull the car over and ask somebody for directions. It still applies.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
What you could do:
-- Stop being such a slave to your tastes. Stop instantly filing music in the "good" or "crap" bin. Make an effort to like more things.
-- Find, and learn to like things that sound like you could play them at your current stage of development.
-- Stop flipping around the media for things you like. Listen to actual albums-- real CDs. Try buying one record a week-- hopefully stuff well outside of your normal tastes-- and listen to the whole thing as many times as you need to for it to start to grow on you.
Nice suggestions, second that!
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
THis whole discussion reminds me of just how hard it is to plat the money beat, without fills or extra kicks on the &'s or whatever, for an entire song.

I am slowly learning that less is more and the music is where the head has to be, not a bunch of other musicians playing around whatever racket I am making. Playing with others is the only way I would have learned this too.

You play with others OP?
 

Sera

Member
Any of you had to stifle the part of you who enjoys good music, because in this context, he/she is just a colossal dead weight?
Get rid of everything that interferences or irritates your practise, and don't try to please those who cannot be pleased at all. Go with the flow and instinct, and always search something new beyond what you are now. If somebody does not understand where you went or what was your purposes, somebody surely will understand. And what most important - you understand it yourself, even if you cannot explain it with any wordly words to an amateur, who can at least listen everything and then whine about everything he/she hears but don't understand at all. When you try to fly into a moon, dead weigh is bad.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I love discussions like these because it forces you to consider what is going on in your head as you play. Basically, the clearer your mind, the less chatter, the better it is. That's what works for me anyway. But everyone is different.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Basically, the clearer your mind, the less chatter, the better it is. That's what works for me anyway. But everyone is different.
I can certainly relate. Music is such an emotive thing for me, that if I'm distracted in my head, or upset/stressed in some way, I really feel it affects the outcome of my playing. The more I can relax and just play, the better it sounds. On days of public performing, I can usually be counted on to take at least one session of what some would call meditation, which to me means sitting in a quiet place and literally clearing everything from my mind. I focus on thinking about and worrying about nothing.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Rush to the gig, quick set up. I always just make it by the skin of my teeth. Now clear your head! Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not. But I agree with the clear head, emphatically. Where do you find the time to meditate, after you are set up, or before you leave for the gig?
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I am slowly learning that less is more and the music is where the head has to be, not a bunch of other musicians playing around whatever racket I am making. Playing with others is the only way I would have learned this too.
I thought about that when I was playing keys and we were auditioning drummers. Every single one beat the kit (and everyone's ears) into submission. The technical term I hear here is "beat the snot out of them". When we suggested one guy pull back he brought out rods so he could continue to hammer.

Imagine auditioning for an acapella group and roaring over the top of everyone ... like the dumb, drunk guy at the bar who communicates by shouting. Guess that's one way of getting your head out of the way.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Rush to the gig, quick set up. I always just make it by the skin of my teeth. Now clear your head! Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not. But I agree with the clear head, emphatically. Where do you find the time to meditate, after you are set up, or before you leave for the gig?
Before. At some point during the day of a show or public performance I'll just sit and take as long as I need to clear out my mind entirely. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes an hour. Depends.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
One thing I learned, once you can properly identify a problem, the solution makes itself apparent. You've identified your problem. The next step is to stop those thoughts.
This ^^^^...

Coming here talking about your "problem" is half of the solution, the fact you recognize that there's a problem, is just a matter of finding the solution(s), which can come from many perspective, but there's only one "you", so you can work it out easily enough, practicing and wanting to get better at the kit is the main goal of most drummers, but generally speaking, we're not lying to ourselves, so all your voices are telling something which is right, right?

The key is to get the balance right, as mentioned in previous posts, your practice session are a mean to an end, to be able to express yourself musically and emotionally with your instrument, and while it's good to be honest with yourself, technique is just a tool, some of it is really hard to master, some of it is easier, trust your instinct, play what you like and be inspired, when someone is listening to your band they don't care about technique and what you can play or not play, if the music is good, the music is good! Period (even if your "uninvinted guest" thinks differently)

Music is fun, make sure you'll have some fun mastering your instrument and listen to the one of you which agree with this, ignore all the other "you" and ban them from your mind.

I thought about that when I was playing keys and we were auditioning drummers. Every single one beat the kit (and everyone's ears) into submission. The technical term I hear here is "beat the snot out of them". When we suggested one guy pull back he brought out rods so he could continue to hammer.

Imagine auditioning for an acapella group and roaring over the top of everyone ... like the dumb, drunk guy at the bar who communicates by shouting. Guess that's one way of getting your head out of the way.
This reminds so much of this :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjoBKEJj2eI
 
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