Do you have a feeling that you don't have to practice something that you have already mastered?

I have been drumming for years and I am also dedicated to practice for hours everyday. In recent year, I found that I am not able to practice something that I have already mastered and repeated playing for so many times. I can play it in front of the people but I just can't play it in my practice room alone. Like my body and brain tell me "Dude, I just can't do it anymore, please give me a break.."

I don't know if I already feel bored to the same exercise or because I am mentally and physically exhausted to something I have already played for thousand times. Do you have similiar experience?
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Yeah, I have to maintain my material. If I don't go back and practice it, and just play it, I start to get sloppy. It helps to practice it just like its something new. Low tempos, think about it analytically, what is that note etc. I also find for many songs, I notice something new every time I practice it. Chord structure, form etc. phrasing.

It also helps to do quotes in other songs, that you don't know as well. I find many of my mastered patterns become lick material I can slip in other tunes and forms.

For example, I practice a nice rhumba. I practice it at half tempo double tempo, going back and forth. I also noticed several salsa timbale fills from my timbale book, are actually just the rumba beat pattern.
 

moodman

Well-known member
I have a warm-up that covers most of the things I think I need. Single and double rolls, pull-outs and control strokes, accents, displacing sticking and accents. This is distilled from all my work material. I have it memorized and usually practice it before a gig for a few days. It can be boring but it always puts me in shape. If I have a specific part, preparing for a song, I work on it.
Cellist Pablo Casals practiced scales into his 80's, asked why he said "I'm starting to see some improvement"
Any time you play something, that informs the next time, and you dig a little deeper, like SmoothOperator is saying.( I think)
I worked on Stick Control for decades before it became internalized and I could start a roll with either hand not thinking about. I've played 59 years started Stick Control in 1970.
I think the boredom factor can ebb and flow, my fix for that would be something completely new. I found that NOLA and Second Line drumming gave me a whole new world of drumming to work on.
My 2 cents
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
To answer the initial query, I still practice things I have mastered. As an example, I've been playing double kick since 1992. It still gets practiced all the time. Maybe not the same each time, but I still work it, not just use it. I may work on broken patterns, I may work on heal toe, I may just go all out and work on speed and endurance. But I still work on it. If I dont, it gets sloppy and I lose it.

As for only being able to do something as you are playing but not when practicing, that's in your head. The difference is when you are playing you arent thinking, when you are practicing you are thinking. Thinking is getting in the way. Obviously you CAN do it, your brain and limbs are no longer in sync.

I call this Tin Cup syndrome. If you haven't seen the movie, go watch it. Kevin Costner is a golf pro who forgets how to hit the ball because he thinks he cant do it anymore. Cheech Marin fixes it with some choice words. This applies to a lot of things in life.

 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Man I find things that Iv'e worked on and felt I mastered (least as good as I can) can get stale without practice. I use to think some people are just "more talented" and that's true to some degree but all the masters of various instruments I note play and practice all the time (I finally noted over my lifetime). It finally sunk in to "master" something isn't a finale but a constant effort. I found when I focus to much on one thing other things can suffer-which admittedly when I do focus I hyper-focus (part of ADHD). So now I try to balance my playing with going over a list of rudiments, then go over songs I finally got down (as good as I'm going to get it) to make sure I keep fresh in memory-then add some new stuff to listen and work on. I think with any sport, music, art or sciences you can have stale periods and then periods of productivity and then have moments of "enlightenment' where you break through some barrier to your progress. I really it like when the light bulb turns on-but alas it isn't to often. But what a great feeling when you can finally play something you thought you'd never be able to do. But to keep doing so I need to practice it.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I very much enjoy practicing patterns and songs I've already mastered. Because such material is committed to muscle memory, I can play it subconsciously and think about nothing. Also, to preserve one's mastery, repetition is imperative. All mastery is temporary if it isn't maintained.
 
Thanks so much for your comments. I will still keep on practicing and maintaining the patterns I know. But sometimes I feel that I cannot repeat playing it for so long as I could before. Do you think that it takes less time to maintain something we know since we have already mastered it?
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Thanks so much for your comments. I will still keep on practicing and maintaining the patterns I know. But sometimes I feel that I cannot repeat playing it for so long as I could before. Do you think that it takes less time to maintain something we know since we have already mastered it?
If a given pattern or exercise is fully engrained in both mind and body, maintenance generally isn't very taxing. The necessary frequency of practice will depend, of course, upon the complexity of the material, as well as upon the aptitude of the individual drummer. The best advice I can offer is this: Practice something as often as you feel you need to. Let no one define those terms for you.
 
Last edited:

johnwesley

Silver Member
I've only played twice in the past 4 months due to studio being 21 miles from home. Lockdown due to Covid-19 has me home because my wife is scared to death of getting the "bug", and rightly so since she has high blood pressure and a few other health issues. That being clarified, I would say YES, I would need to practice many of the things I've "mastered" over the years just to get the muscle memory back to normal. If it weren't for this stupid virus and subsequent isolation I don't need to worry about not being able to accomplish what I set out to do. It all comes pretty naturally.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I just practice what I want. If I'm bored with something I do something else. Unless I know I really need to work on it, then I get unbored and do the work.
 

ToneT

Well-known member
At my age, 61, if I let certain things go, I'll get a little rusty. I will then work on certain things to maintain them. Can I play like I did in my twenties? Yes!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Unless I know I really need to work on it, then I get unbored and do the work.
And that's a key consideration in relation to practice. Sometimes you just have to buck up and get something done through necessity. Depending on the circumstances, drumming isn't all fun and games. Discipline and professionalism are often more important than inspiration, intrigue, and personal entertainment.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
At my age, 61, if I let certain things go, I'll get a little rusty. I will then work on certain things to maintain them. Can I play like I did in my twenties? Yes!
That's great to hear, ToneT. I'm in my late forties now and certainly hope to extend my drumming prime into future decades.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I think all practice sharpens the tools. Like it almost doesn't matter what I'm working on, as long as it's something.

(rant about use of the term master) I mainly practice basics because that's what I use most, and in my mind I don't even have a good enough handle on them. I never feel I'll master anything. I'm not sure I ever want to feel that way. That's what makes drumming so great. It's the fight for me, because there's not enough time for me to whip drumming so bad that I think I can do it all.

I think it's an arrogant term, master. I'm too humbled by this mountain to even use the word master. I can't even keep an unchanging jazz ride pattern when I comp with my other hand. I get tongue tied. I'm pitiful in the grand scheme of drumming. Master. What's the word again? Oh right. Pffft. (rant over)

Any practice is good. Practicing improves one's focus. It's the changing for the better of the internal brain structure. That's what's really happening. It's the mental focus that's the real gem. The improved hands aren't too shabby of a side effect either.

And that post wasn't schizophrenic at all lol
 

ToneT

Well-known member
You will, C.M. My agenda is as follows....I have the rest of my life to learn something that I can't yet master. Take care of yourself, eat good foods, some exercise, and you'll be just fine.
When C.M. tells us something, we listen!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
You will, C.M. My agenda is as follows....I have the rest of my life to learn something that I can't yet master. Take care of yourself, eat good foods, some exercise, and you'll be just fine.
When C.M. tells us something, we listen!
Useful wisdom, ToneT. I do my best to stay fit and healthy. I'm also more conservative with the duration of my practice sessions now. Recovery between sessions is something I focus on too. That goes a long way toward keeping the system in optimal working order.

"When C.M. tells us something, we listen!"

Caution is highly recommended. :)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I think all practice sharpens the tools. Like it almost doesn't matter what I'm working on, as long as it's something.

(rant about use of the term master) I mainly practice basics because that's what I use most, and in my mind I don't even have a good enough handle on them. I never feel I'll master anything. I'm not sure I ever want to feel that way. That's what makes drumming so great. It's the fight for me, because there's not enough time for me to whip drumming so bad that I think I can do it all.

I think it's an arrogant term, master. I'm too humbled by this mountain to even use the word master. I can't even keep an unchanging jazz ride pattern when I comp with my other hand. I get tongue tied. I'm pitiful in the grand scheme of drumming. Master. What's the word again? Oh right. Pffft. (rant over)

Any practice is good. Practicing improves one's focus. It's the changing for the better of the internal brain structure. That's what's really happening. It's the mental focus that's the real gem. The improved hands aren't too shabby of a side effect either.

And that post wasn't schizophrenic at all lol
I think "master" is used loosely to imply an action you can carry out with reasonable accuracy, the results of which you can replicate on almost every occasion, not unlike walking down the street. No one has a perfect gait, just as no one has a prefect drum stroke. Perfection is a contrivance. Striving for it is like crawling up a mountain that lacks a summit. That's a whole lot of stress to reach a destination that doesn't exist.
 
Last edited:
Top