insane amounts of practice and potential benefits

voyager

Junior Member
I'm reading a book on the life and music of the famous Hindustani Classical maestro Ravi Shankar. The beginning goes into great detail about his practice regimen, and the sheer amount of practice he put into learning the sitar early on in his tutorship is astonishing. He was compelled by his guru to practice a MINIMUM of eight hours a day, usually getting in about twelve hours but at times as much as sixteen hours of practice a day.

I understand that for beginning drummers, generally it is more important to learn how to practice efficiently and get the most out of your exercises than the sheer number of hours involved, and that novices can get stuck learning something the wrong way and doing it that way for hours on end and not really benefiting from it. I understand that learning drums is a lifelong process and you never stop learning.

But I can't help but wonder, watching the progress of my drummer friends through their three, five, seven years of playing (I'm only 22), taking into account the amount they practice per week and how long collectively they've been playing (random example 6 hours per week for 3 years) , if someone was truly gnarly enough to dedicate themselves to practicing an insane amount, like Shankar did, like I'm sure many drummers do every day, to what level could one possibly accelerate the learning process? If you really get down your form and basics and literally, not just saying it but literally practicing six hours a day for like a year straight, how fast could you potentially progress? I know it depends on the person and their aptitude, but say someone like me who's been told by more than a few people that I learn very quickly and have natural rhythm. I mean 40+ hours of practice per week for a year is quite a lot of time behind the skins..like 2,000 hours of playing drums, you think after a year of that you'd be shredding pretty good if you have natural aptitude?
 

jazzin'

Silver Member
I'm reading a book on the life and music of the famous Hindustani Classical maestro Ravi Shankar. The beginning goes into great detail about his practice regimen, and the sheer amount of practice he put into learning the sitar early on in his tutorship is astonishing. He was compelled by his guru to practice a MINIMUM of eight hours a day, usually getting in about twelve hours but at times as much as sixteen hours of practice a day.

I understand that for beginning drummers, generally it is more important to learn how to practice efficiently and get the most out of your exercises than the sheer number of hours involved, and that novices can get stuck learning something the wrong way and doing it that way for hours on end and not really benefiting from it. I understand that learning drums is a lifelong process and you never stop learning.

But I can't help but wonder, watching the progress of my drummer friends through their three, five, seven years of playing (I'm only 22), taking into account the amount they practice per week and how long collectively they've been playing (random example 6 hours per week for 3 years) , if someone was truly gnarly enough to dedicate themselves to practicing an insane amount, like Shankar did, like I'm sure many drummers do every day, to what level could one possibly accelerate the learning process? If you really get down your form and basics and literally, not just saying it but literally practicing six hours a day for like a year straight, how fast could you potentially progress? I know it depends on the person and their aptitude, but say someone like me who's been told by more than a few people that I learn very quickly and have natural rhythm. I mean 40+ hours of practice per week for a year is quite a lot of time behind the skins..like 2,000 hours of playing drums, you think after a year of that you'd be shredding pretty good if you have natural aptitude?
Of course. Anyone that practices that amount of time will get very good. If you want to become a pro then you would need to spend many years doing six hour days, but spending one year doing six hours would get you very competent at whatever style you play. It would solidify your fundamentals and give you the internalisation that you need to be able to play something relaxed and with complete ease.

When you see a pro do something (whatever it is ie. sports, music, anything) and it looks easy, the only reason it does so is because they have spent so much time doing it that it becomes second nature. To make something feel like second nature, you need to do it so much that nothing feels out of place.

Like walking: We walk so much that you don't even think about it but learning balance and how to propel yourself forward properly takes a lot of practice and after a few years of doing it all the time you are able to walk without thinking. It is the same with music. You should spend more than one year, but if one year is your goal, then stick with it and make sure you stick with the six hours a day because you will notice a huge improvement.

as long as you practice the right stuff and don't end up just noodling around for lots of the time, it will work wonders. The most important thing though is to make sure you practice one thing and work it until completion (ie. truly master it in every way) before moving on and then once you have moved on, keep moving on. Don't come back to stuff you already know because it makes you feel better about yourself, when you can't get something new. This is often a big problem when you try to practice long hours. You can get frustrated that you aren't picking something up quick enough and so start noodling on old things that you already know to make your ego feel better. Don't let that happen.

Give it a go and see how you feel after a year. You'll probably find that you want to do another year just to see how it is after one more. Then you'll do another, and another, and another.......and another. lol

Before you know it, your mother will be worried and you'll have forgotten who your friends are. lol
 
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wy yung

Guest
I'm reading a book on the life and music of the famous Hindustani Classical maestro Ravi Shankar. The beginning goes into great detail about his practice regimen, and the sheer amount of practice he put into learning the sitar early on in his tutorship is astonishing. He was compelled by his guru to practice a MINIMUM of eight hours a day, usually getting in about twelve hours but at times as much as sixteen hours of practice a day.

I understand that for beginning drummers, generally it is more important to learn how to practice efficiently and get the most out of your exercises than the sheer number of hours involved, and that novices can get stuck learning something the wrong way and doing it that way for hours on end and not really benefiting from it. I understand that learning drums is a lifelong process and you never stop learning.

But I can't help but wonder, watching the progress of my drummer friends through their three, five, seven years of playing (I'm only 22), taking into account the amount they practice per week and how long collectively they've been playing (random example 6 hours per week for 3 years) , if someone was truly gnarly enough to dedicate themselves to practicing an insane amount, like Shankar did, like I'm sure many drummers do every day, to what level could one possibly accelerate the learning process? If you really get down your form and basics and literally, not just saying it but literally practicing six hours a day for like a year straight, how fast could you potentially progress? I know it depends on the person and their aptitude, but say someone like me who's been told by more than a few people that I learn very quickly and have natural rhythm. I mean 40+ hours of practice per week for a year is quite a lot of time behind the skins..like 2,000 hours of playing drums, you think after a year of that you'd be shredding pretty good if you have natural aptitude?
I wonder. A while ago I did the math and came up with a rough estimate of 94,000 hours practice over my 32 years of drumming.Sure, one can develop technique but is technique all that is required? During those hours I failed to study business, accounting, management etc. Where did it get me? Sure, I can teach at top drum stores and in schools but I'm not wealthy. Compared to a builder I am broke!

I think practice alone is not enough.
 

JPW

Silver Member
I wonder. A while ago I did the math and came up with a rough estimate of 94,000 hours practice over my 32 years of drumming.Sure, one can develop technique but is technique all that is required? During those hours I failed to study business, accounting, management etc. Where did it get me? Sure, I can teach at top drum stores and in schools but I'm not wealthy. Compared to a builder I am broke!

I think practice alone is not enough.
Networking is everything today. But the tough part is that it's greatly inlfuenced by your natural personality and that can be hard to change or even analyze on a personal subjective level. Everybody thinks they are the greatest person ever but that might not be the case. And then they wonder why they struggle making and maintaining contacts.
 
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wy yung

Guest
I can be a social butterfly, have been. But the performing thrill has gone. I just want to teach and help now. But you know what, am I just making excuses now that I am no longer young or super fit as in my youth? I really wonder if my current thinking is dictated by cowardice brought about through a huge loss in confidence after my illness????
 

gusty

Platinum Member
I can be a social butterfly, have been. But the performing thrill has gone. I just want to teach and help now. But you know what, am I just making excuses now that I am no longer young or super fit as in my youth? I really wonder if my current thinking is dictated by cowardice brought about through a huge loss in confidence after my illness????
If you want a boost in confidence, have a look back to post #5.

Holy crap! 94,000 hours of practise! I haven't even done 1,000 yet. Thinking about all the woodshedding over the years should put you in a good frame of mind, making you confident about your playing. You're 9.4 drum masters!
 
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wy yung

Guest
If you want a boost in confidence, have a look back to post #5.

Holy crap! 94,000 hours of practise! I haven't even done 1,000 yet. Thinking about all the woodshedding over the years should put you in a good frame of mind, making you confident about your playing. You're 9.4 drum masters!
You are very kind. But I really do wonder why. That time equates to nearly 10 full years. What I gained is unequal to what I expended. After my illness I became quite fat and it hurts because I am also a martial arts master. Health is so important. I hope one day to train again as martial arts is my second love. And I miss her very much.

Here is a younger me performing a controlled scissor kick. I put even more hours into martial arts training and was a champion fighter. I am qualified in, I think, more than 15 styles. I studied 32!

 
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wy yung

Guest
Does not surprise me; I have seen photos of wy yung's enormous collection of drums!!!

Happy new year wy yung.

GJS
Same to you. And thanks. I am not feeling good about my life tonight. So much went with my health. But at least I can walk and play drums!

God I love drums and drumming. It is everything to me. It is why I never married!
 

JPW

Silver Member
Same to you. And thanks. I am not feeling good about my life tonight. So much went with my health. But at least I can walk and play drums!

God I love drums and drumming. It is everything to me. It is why I never married!
Hmm. So martial arts were more important than drums? ;) Because you made the choice between marrying and drums and not between marrying and martial arts. Just kidding of course. But I'm in a similar cross of roads now in my life. I know I want to drum very seriously but I also have a soon to be wife. So I propably have to get a job outside of drumming at first. But there's so much more to life too. I like playing video games a lot. I have tried to stay away from them since they are seen as a waste of time but it just feels so good when you play a great game. I think I never really can quit playing. So I just don't know where I'm going to get all the time I need. Seems like I need a 48 hours day.

At least for now it seems one person can only do two things in life really good at the same time. Take a third interest and you aren't going to get that good in any of them anymore. =(
 
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wy yung

Guest
I am also a champion modeller! Here is one of the many IPMS gold awards I acheived.

My life is practice. Musashi said "Never take part in useless activity." It has been my life's code.

 

JPW

Silver Member
BTW Wy Yung, how did you manage your daily routines to achieve all those hours with drumming while doing all the martial arts stuff? I mean body needs to recover too. Did you do all the things every day or alternate between these things daily?
 
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wy yung

Guest
BTW Wy Yung, how did you manage your daily routines to achieve all those hours with drumming while doing all the martial arts stuff? I mean body needs to recover too. Did you do all the things every day or alternate between these things daily?
Often I combined them. Stretching in side splits while practicing on a pad. Simply devoting time to one for a period on a day. For example, wake at 5 am and jog for 5 miles. Then train for 3 hours. Then go about what needed to be done. There are 24 hours in a day. In order to detail my practice I would have to detail my life. I am unwilling to do that here.
 
I can be a social butterfly, have been. But the performing thrill has gone. I just want to teach and help now. But you know what, am I just making excuses now that I am no longer young or super fit as in my youth? I really wonder if my current thinking is dictated by cowardice brought about through a huge loss in confidence after my illness????
What is wrong with just teaching and helping? I am sure you are making many, many people happy learning to play! Also, it is pretty cool to pass along a skill, especially the way you think it should be taught, to an eager student.
 

JPW

Silver Member
Often I combined them. Stretching in side splits while practicing on a pad. Simply devoting time to one for a period on a day. For example, wake at 5 am and jog for 5 miles. Then train for 3 hours. Then go about what needed to be done. There are 24 hours in a day. In order to detail my practice I would have to detail my life. I am unwilling to do that here.
Yeah, of course. Basicly you have just mastered multi-tasking and organizing time. But I don't think thats a thing anyone can start doing immidiately. Time organizing and multi-tasking needs practice too if you haven't born in a family where you grew up in that sort of frame work. I'm only now at my middle 20's starting to really pay attention to all of this and have started to analyze my daily routines and how they take time. But I still have a long way to go.

Sleep is one thing people should organize more. One of my friends sleeps like 13 hours a day and wonders why he never achieves anything. You could easily cut 6 hours from there and dedicate to anything and become a master in a 10 years or so. For me the main reason is distractions, I start to read up forums and stuff like that and I don't notice how the time flies and then I'm glad if I am able to practice for 4 hours. But I'm glad I have been starting to think about these things, I think I can eventually begin to discipline myself more.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I can be a social butterfly, have been. But the performing thrill has gone. I just want to teach and help now. But you know what, am I just making excuses now that I am no longer young or super fit as in my youth? I really wonder if my current thinking is dictated by cowardice brought about through a huge loss in confidence after my illness????
Wy, it might be that you're sick of dodgy ripoff bar managers, lugging back at 2am, chaotic tours and the general feral sleaze of the music industry. Very few of us are as fit as we were in our youth and baulking at the climbing the mountain again in middle-age after a long period of being unwell is completely understandable. It's not cowardice IMO

If this new job you have with a better-run shop works out it might be worth practising less (you've paid your dues) and instead working out to get healthy again. The you can more readily look for some civilised and reasonably paid gigs. You love teaching and you love playing so getting in a position where you do both makes sense.

Re the OP: What Jazzin' says is true. I'd guess that one year of disciplined practising is worth a number of years of unstructured practice.
 

Caz

Senior Member
Wy Yung - thanks very much for your posts, and I'm very sorry to hear that you are having a hard time just now. Most people don't seem to have the drive (or even want to have the drive) to achieve anything of significance. All members of my family and the majority of my friends don't seem to need that - they are content with their lives and are happy with being surrounded by their loved ones. And that's great! However, some people just have a constant niggle that they should be doing more and should be trying to achieve something - I really like what Wy Yung said about "Never take part in useless activity". To some people 'useless activity' is getting enjoyment out of life - computer games, tv etc etc I would class that as (though not to offend anyone who's into those things!). I personally feel terribly guilty when I spend time doing such things - it feels like WASTING time. I'm not sure why some people have that, and others do not - but I almost envy the other side, people who're much more chilled out who can go and watch a film at the cinema without freaking out that they're wasting time. I'm currently doing a doctorate in Astrophysics at a uni that's pretty heavygoing - it takes up a lot of time and energy, and I want desperately to keep the drum practice happening and to keep improving, but it's just really difficult. Even if I have the time at the end of the day I struggle to find the energy. People keep saying that you have to choose just one thing to do well in life - and I was really starting to believe that and let the drums slip. Wy Yung after reading your posts and seeing all the stuff that you've achieved I plan to change direction and continue trying to do both..... don't feel bad about yourself at all, the way you've lead your life as you have described here is a true inspiration. And just because you've hit a bad patch it doesn't take away all the hard work and results which you've achieved so far :) We can't control everything in life, things like sickness and just plain bad luck just happen - but my idea of an inspiration is someone who takes charge of the things that they CAN control and makes the most out of them. On that note, I'll make a cup of tea and get studying!! Cheers everyone :)
 
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wy yung

Guest
Oh Hell Caz, are you trying to make me cry??? Man, I wonder. My brother is a very successful producer. A few weeks ago he said to me "You really aren't successful!" but I had to wonder. I have taught anti rape classes, I've taken mor than 300 pupils from white to black belt... WTH is success????

Is it money alone? In which case I am a failure. But ask Polyana, can I play drums? If so is that not success?
 
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