Your practice time...pleasure to work ratio

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
80% pain for me. I believe in music books. I think they help bring a visual component to help bring structure and ideas to one's playing.

But I also play a weekly rehearsal with a really good band that I'm able to grow with, so my pain level is higher to please them.

I'm learning some finger techniques with my ride hand that is already a few months in the making and just by itself it's freaking amazing. So technique and endurance are mixed in there as far as importance.

I think the more you learn, and the more knowledge you get, the more efficient you become in your practice time. I definitely think everyone goes through a period where they think they've met the wall of what's possible, or what they think is possible. Getting to the other side takes work but the rewards stick with you.

My two cents..
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'm way too ADD to force myself into exercises for their own sake; I did some of that earlier on to make sure I had decent form when learning, but now I usually just play the few specific exercises I've kept up on for a few minutes, followed by usually some drumless songs and maybe a little bit of click-work.

Drumless song work takes the majority of the time when I sit by myself. I find it lies less than playing along to songs that already have drums and I get to hear how I'm affecting the sound of the song without the distraction of the original awesome drum tracks.
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
In the last month or two I think I've played a dozen totally separate gigs (including sightreading the musical Pippin) so when I sit down at the kit by myself I'm just dicking around with various toys to try to keep it from feeling like a job. Lately it's the Gretsch and a Hammerax mini hat, trying to get my left hand and right foot playing in unison, but it's only five or ten minutes here and there. I need to get back into a thirty minute routine or something and stick to it.
 

Channing

Member
Meaning do you play to recorded music (pleasure) or work from a book or on your technique for instance.
I think it's interesting that you equate playing to recorded music with pleasure and playing out of a book with work. Like, to you the sight reading stuff is the vegetables and the listening/playing by ear stuff is the dessert or whatever.

For me it's kind of the opposite. I've gotten a lot better at listening and playing what I hear, but it's always been more difficult and stressful for me than doing exercises out of a book. If left to my own devices I would just sit and play stuff out of books for my entire practice time every day. I can't really do that, though, because I'm in a band and so I have to spend time playing along to recordings of the songs we're trying to play. I also find that if I'm playing along to recordings, I'm not able to concentrate for as long and sometimes have to actually force myself to keep playing for the amount of time I said I would (I always try to practice for at least an hour each day), whereas if I'm playing stuff out of a book I tend to get lost and end up practicing for longer than I intended (sometimes 2 hours or even longer).

Another component of my playing time is making stuff up, soloing, working on sticking patterns and ideas that have kind of just appeared organically in my consciousness. Those things that you can hear in your head and then try to play them and can't quite do it, I always try to figure out how to play those things and then put the metronome on and just keep playing variations of whatever theme it is. Like for example fills that go with the double time punk beat, or fills that contain or start with 2 16th notes on the kick drum, or a groove that has 2 ghost notes in a row, or whatever the idea is. Basically just taking a couple minutes to be creative and play new things that I have made up.

As far as whether I spend more time playing along to recordings or playing out of books, it depends if we have a show coming up or not. Right now we have no shows planned and are using all our band practices to write new material, so I've been working my way through a book that has very little real world application for me. It's a book called Progressive Drumming Essentials. So now I find myself trying to get my bandmates to play and write songs in weird time signatures like 5/4 and 9/8.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Drumless song work takes the majority of the time when I sit by myself. I find it lies less than playing along to songs that already have drums and I get to hear how I'm affecting the sound of the song without the distraction of the original awesome drum tracks.
^^^This, I wish there were more options for original stuff. Drumless covers have been very eye opening. Much talk about recording ourselves to covers and listening to improve our playing. I agree hole heartedly, but drumless songs brought a whole different dimension. For one, I alway found that if my fills weren’t hit for hit even with the cover song with drums, I couldn’t tell if I had played correctly or not. With drumless I both surprised myself in a good way and bad. Nothing there to hide behind or question.

I find a lot of the drumless covers to be more interesting to play too though than the originals. Even if I don’t know the song well or never heard it, there’s a flow that’s very different than the other “royalty free” stuff. They tend to be very mechanical and repetitive. Good for somethings, like practicing rudiments to something or working out a fill over and over. A plus in some respects, but without some of the nuances, you or I at least tend to listen less for changes and to what’s going on.

Both have merit I suppose. Can’t fault the royalty free stuff though, it’s why they are what they are.

I’ve been working on polyrhythms and independence exercises that will likely never fit into any live playing, but great for just building up skills and timing. I guess that classifies as work, but when I sit down to play and practice, since I’m not working to get paid for anything, it’s all fun.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
Playing to recordings is rehearsing. I take the stuff I learn when I practice and use it here. I spend much more time actually practicing.

Playing to music is fun. Practicing makes me better.

Most things like fills, independence, solos etc are done by repetition and pattern memory. I can play paradiddles, liner chops etc in my sleep.

When I play to music I am not monitoring my BPM, pushing myself to get faster , or working out awkward patterns that make me fall apart.

I read once that after you learn something it should show up naturally in your playing in about 6 months and to not force it. That is when it will show up when I play to a recording.

Now, I am not saying playing to music is bad. Quite the opposite. This is where you learn groove, how to play with a band, timing and some feel. But I can work out my timing even better with a click at a high subdivision.

Playing diddles and doubles over a 16th note click at a high tempo like 180 sure cleans them up.

I recently went a few months ONLY using a pad and no acoustic kit.. I improved a ton more than playing songs and jamming with my bands or any music.


Once I get things like my rudiments down on the pad, I take them to the kit and repeat them over and over as grooves, fills, changing the subdivisions, modulation, beat displacement and on and on. You can spend months on a paradiddle making it sound different. Once you do this you have the FREEDOM to use it wherever you want. This is when playing to music becomes much more enjoyable.


Have a game plan when you practice. Pick a few things to work on. Log your progress and keep track of BPMs. Always play to a click. At the end of practice put on a few tunes on spotify, even random ones of all generas and take what you were working on while putting it in a musical context. You will notice a difference
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
^^^Taking the rudiments to the acoustic kit is eye opening. up and up the tempo goes on the pad, then reality smacks you in the face, when you try and do the same or move the rudiments around. I've had to draw the line on speed. Would love to keep getting faster, but at some level, it just flares up my arthritis, so I just had to accept the limit. That said, It's still made a big difference in my playing.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
^^^Taking the rudiments to the acoustic kit is eye opening. up and up the tempo goes on the pad, then reality smacks you in the face, when you try and do the same or move the rudiments around. I've had to draw the line on speed. Would love to keep getting faster, but at some level, it just flares up my arthritis, so I just had to accept the limit. That said, It's still made a big difference in my playing.
Recently I have put a ton of effort in to making sure my fingers are really being utilized every stroke and less wrist. It has increased my speed and isn't as hard on the limbs. I agree though. Once you get to a good speed, being tight is more important. Keeping ghost notes down and accents loud. then orchestration. I don't need music to work on this stuff.

Also. alot of exercises I work on would sound pretty bad played in a song. You don't hear guys jamming out independence exercises. and when you get into heavy displacement and modulation it's fun to do over songs, but not something you would do playing covers or in a band most of the time. hence why just playing radio songs won't make you much better.
 
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